SBD/16/Franchises

MCMULLEN STILL MUM ON POSSIBLE PLANS TO MOVE

     Devils Owner John McMullen has not told the NHL whether he
plans to move the team to Nashville, according to a source cited
by Larry Brooks of the N.Y. POST.  The source:  "Only [McMullen]
knows if he is hard-ball negotiating for a better deal in New
Jersey or if he is planning to ask the league for permission to
move.  As of now, he has had no discussuion with the league
concerning a possible move."
Brooks reports that NHL officials do not believe that Bylaw 36.5
(a), which sets criteria for franchise relocation, applies to the
Devils because of New York's three-team market, and that the
Devils are alleging "financial malfeasance" on the bahelf of the
new Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority.  There are
"indications" that the NJSEA would agree to "reconfigure" the
lower tier for high-priced club seating at Brendan Byrne Arena,
as well as increase the Devils' share of advertising, parking and
concessions revenues.  A reduction in rent -- currently 5% of
gate receipts, which would project to an approximate $900,000
payment next season -- is also "likely."  For NJ Gov. Christine
Todd Whitman, the question is a "political calculation" on how
much she can offer on behalf of the state.  Whitman has to decide
whether she wants to be known as "the Governor who 'lost the
Devils'" or as "the Governor who 'refused to give away the
taxpayers' money to support a wealthy owner's pro sports
franchise'" (N.Y. POST, 5/16).
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