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  • A RE-VISIT TO THE QUESTION OF TEAM-SPONSORED PHYSICIANS

         The way teams pick their medical care providers is re-
    visited by "Scorecard" in the current SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.  The
    issue was first examined by ABC's Armen Keteyian on the November
    1st "Nightline."  Because of the "intense publicity that comes
    with the job, doctors and hospitals are willing to pay handsomely
    to become a team's 'official health-care provider.'"  After
    examining the deals struck by the NFL's newest teams, the Jaguars
    and Panthers, with their health care providers, SI notes, "The
    ultimate victim of priorities so skewed that medical care is put
    up for bid are the men who play America's most violent game."
    Arthur Caplan, Dir of UPenn's Center for Bioethics: "I'd like to
    suggest an unbreakable rule that requires every professional
    league to issue a Miranda-style warning to every player informing
    him that he not only has the right but the obligation to get his
    own personal physician" (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 5/8 issue).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, Franchises, Jacksonville Jaguars, NFL, Sports Illustrated, Time Warner, Walt Disney
  • BULLETS USE OF LOCAL GYM CHALLENGED

         Students at Bowie State Univ. are reportedly upset at the
    fact that the Bullets pay only $9,000 annually for the use of a
    gym there as a practice facility and is not open for use when the
    team is not using it.  The maintenance cost to the school is
    $21,500 and nearly $140,000 in public funds have been spent on
    repairs.  Students argue that the team pay more for the use of
    the facility.  Other schools that have pro teams as practice
    tenants have much better deals.  The Knicks practice at SUNY-
    Purchase, where they pay $100,000 a year and made a one-time $1M
    capital improvements investment (David Montgomery, WASHINGTON
    POST, 5/3).
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Franchises, New York Knicks
  • CELTICS ISSUE RESPONSE TO FINANCIAL WORLD PIECE

         In a letter to the editor released to THE SPORTS BUSINESS
    DAILY, Celtics CFO Joseph DiLorenzo accused FINANCIAL WORLD of
    including "numerous errors of fact" and  drawing the "erroneous
    conclusion" that the Boston Celtics Master Limited Partnership
    has been a poor investment for its 93,000 public unitholders.  In
    its May 9 issue, FINANCIAL WORLD examined the Celtics stock
    concluding, among other things, that the recent sale of Boston TV
    station WFXT to Fox was a good deal for the general partners, but
    a bad one for the numerous limited partners.  DiLorenzo writes,
    "Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, when the
    Celtics repurchased the TV station in 1993, the principal
    partners effectively reduced their own stake in the extremely
    profitable TV station from 83 percent to 60 percent, before Fox's
    option to purchase presented itself, which benefited all
    unitholders of the Boston Celtics Limited Partnership.  The
    article also insinuated exclusive profits from an affiliated
    television sale that never took place and incorrectly stated both
    the price of the Initial Public Offering and per unit
    administrative costs associated with the master limited
    partnership."  DiLorenzo concluded by stating that ownership,
    chaired by Paul Gaston since '92, "has raised the net asset value
    of the company and has increased cash flows dramatically.  As an
    organization, the Celtics take as much pride in delivering for
    our investors as we do in delivering for our fans" (Celtics).
    

    Print | Tags: Boston Celtics, Franchises, News Corp./Fox
  • NEW ROYALS OWNER: GREATER KANSAS CITY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

         The IRS approved a complicated plan established by the late
    Royals Owner Ewing Kauffman that would allow for the team to be
    owned by local Kansas City charities, according to this morning's
    K.C. STAR.  The team will have six years to find a buyer that
    promises to keep the team in K.C., before opening up bidding to
    an outside entity.  The charitable group that will own the team
    is the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and Affiliated
    Trusts -- a collection of smaller groups managing 400 charitable
    funds and 11 affiliated trusts with combined assets of $170.6M.
    Although the foundation is to own the team, the Royals will be
    directed by a five-member group led by current Royals Chair/ Wal
    Mart CEO David Glass.  Royals President Michael Herman also will
    be on that board.  The Kauffman plan still needs to be approved
    by MLB owners (Charles Crumpley, K.C. STAR, 5/3).      HOW IT
    WORKS:  The Foundation must raise $50M in donations from the
    community at large, with the interest (perhaps as much as
    $3M/year) directed towards some of the losses the team regularly
    incurs.  Any additional losses would be paid from a different
    reserve fund of $37.5M that Kauffman donated before he died.  The
    six-year search for a new owner could begin as soon as June, when
    the team is expected to be officially turned over to the
    Foundation.  When a buyer emerges, the $50M would "flow back to
    the community foundation."  A large share of any funds beyond the
    $50M purchase price also would flow into "special donor accounts
    at the community foundation, and that money also would be given
    to various charities."  Among the donors to the $50M fund:  $5M
    each from Kauffman and his late wife, Muriel;  $1m from the
    Kansas City Star Co. and a foundation tied to its parent, Cap
    Cities/ABC (KANSAS CITY STAR, 5/3).
         THE FINANCIAL SHAPE:  Kauffman came up with the plan to buy
    time for the city in the hope that MLB's new economics would help
    the small markets.  Last year the team lost a reported $25M, but
    Herman said with cost-cutting measures they hope to break even in
    a couple of years.  Kauffman had said "several times that no one
    would want to buy a baseball team that consistently loses
    millions of dollars and had little prospect of making money
    because it was in a small city."  Glass has expressed interest in
    buying the team but was unavailable for comment (KANSAS CITY
    STAR, 5/3).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, Franchises, Kansas City Royals, MLB, Walt Disney
  • OTTAWA SUMMIT YIELDS LITTLE SUPPORT FOR CANADIAN TEAMS

         "The fate of struggling franchises in Winnipeg and Quebec
    City remains in doubt today after the federal government signaled
    it's not prepared to sign a blank cheque to keep teams from
    moving to the United States," according to Mark Kennedy & Ken
    Warren in today's OTTAWA CITIZEN.  Human Resources Minister Lloyd
    Axworthy and Finance Minister Paul Martin met with NHL
    Commissioner Gary Bettman, Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow and
    Nordiques Owner Marcel Aubut.  Axworthy emerged from the meeting
    citing a "hard dose of reality" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 5/3).  The
    meeting provided "no magical solution" for the Jets and
    Nordiques, according to the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL.  "There is no
    standing federal offer to save pro franchises for the sake of
    pride in the national game" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/3).
         ANTI-AMERICANISM:  ESPN's Al Morganti noted that Winnipeg
    fans booed the U.S. National Anthem last night, saying that they
    view the Jets' situation as "a Canada-U.S. thing rather than a
    small market-large market thing."  Asked what can be done for the
    smaller markets, Morganti cited the necessity for some form of
    revenue sharing.  But he added, "Thus far, the owners haven't put
    their heads together to get this done, and I think at some point
    Gary Bettman's going to have to bang those heads together or just
    give up everything on the small markets" ("National Hockey
    Night," ESPN, 5/2).  In a speech before the annual Canadian Press
    meeting in Toronto, Bettman acknowledged the NHL will be a
    "scapegoat" if the Jets and Nords move, but he defended the need
    for team "stability."  Bettman:  "This is not an attempt to take
    the game away from Canada, but to make the game as strong as
    possible."  Bettman was hopeful Canadian losses would end with
    the two teams (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/3).  Jets GM John Paddock,
    asked about the small-market/large-market issue during last
    night's game:  "If we can't remain competitive, we shouldn't be
    here" ("National Hockey Night," ESPN, 5/2).       THE WORD FROM
    QUEBEC:  In Montreal, columnist Don MacPherson writes, "Here in
    Quebec, with a possible referendum looming, it's considered only
    a question of time until the Parizeau government announces that
    it will spend public funds to help the Nordiques wipe out their
    debt, build a bigger arena with luxury boxes, or both."  But
    MacPherson considers any assistance for the Expos "a waste of
    public funds" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 5/3).  The Expos drew 46,515 for
    their home opener last night (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/3).
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Franchises, New York Jets, NHL, Walt Disney
  • PAM SHRIVER MAY HAVE A PIECE OF THE NEW BALTIMORE AHL CLUB

         Baltimore's new AHL club is expected to announce its
    ownership group, NHL affiliation and ticket prices at a May 15
    news conference.  Sources indicate the group may include minority
    Orioles owner Pam Shriver.  Baltimore AHL owner Bob Teck said he
    is not sure if they will be ready to reveal their name, logo and
    colors.  Suggestions for team names include:  Beavers, Bulldogs,
    Bobcats, Badgers and Blades (Sandra McKee, Baltimore SUN, 5/3).
    

    Print | Tags: AHL, Baltimore Orioles, Franchises, NHL
  • WAS IT FAREWELL OR AU REVOIR FOR WINNIPEG FANS LAST NIGHT?

         The Jets may have played their last game in Winnipeg last
    night, a 2-1 loss to the L.A. Kings.  According to sources cited
    in this morning's WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, the team could be headed
    to Minnesota "as early as today under a deal brokered by NHL
    Commissioner Gary Bettman."  The reported deal would be for $75M
    and is said to have been negotiated over the weekend by Bettman
    and Dana Warg, who manages Minneapolis' Target Center.  The MN
    group "has apparently been told to get its financing ready by
    today and that they could be selling season tickets in
    Minneapolis by early tomorrow."  Bettman would neither confirm
    nor deny that he has had contact with possible investors.
    Bettman:  "People call me on a regular basis wanting to buy an
    NHL team" (Douglas & Taylor, WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 5/3).
         DON'T START THOSE MOVING VANS YET:  The Manitoba
    Entertainment Complex (MEC), "refused to say die last night as
    they worked to cobble together a last-minute deal to keep the
    franchise in Winnipeg and build a new arena."  Jets Owner Barry
    Shenkarow had extended his May 1 midnight deadline for MEC, which
    had turned to the federal government for financial support.  MEC
    is said to have attracted a new C$10M investor, but they "did not
    get what they wanted" from federal Human Resources Minister Lloyd
    Axworthy.  In addition, last night, Shenkarow said that MEC's
    option to buy 64% of the team for C$32M had expired and that the
    price is now doubled -- a development which MEC members disputed
    (Douglas & Taylor, WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 5/3).  Axworthy said that
    MEC has applied for federal funds under a federal-provincial
    infrastructure plan, but that any deal depends on the existence
    of an "acceptable business plan."  The Toronto GLOBE & MAIL
    reports that an emergency meeting of the Winnipeg City Council
    will take place today to examine a new MEC plan.  An MEC source
    said the group may be able to produce an extra C$18M to rescue
    their bid for the team (Christie/Delacourt/Roberts, Toronto GLOBE
    & MAIL, 5/3).
         FROM LAST NIGHT'S GAME:  Shenkarow held a press conference
    between the 2nd and 3rd periods of last night's game, which was
    carried by ESPN.  ESPN's Bill Clement:   "I think we can describe
    it best as a non-press conference." Clement, on Shenkarow's
    assertion that for the team to survive, it would need to have a
    new rink built, play rent free and receive all concession
    revenue: "Is that going to happen?  Unh-unh."  In a subsequent
    interview, Jets GM John Paddock said of the situation:  "There
    could be a chance, but it doesn't look good" ("National Hockey
    Night," 5/2).
         BETTMAN READY TO PULL THE TRIGGER:  Bettman, on the Jets:
    "If this team is pre-ordained to move, then I think we should get
    it over with and not, at taxpayer expense, build a white
    elephant" (Mary Ormsby, TORONTO STAR, 5/3).  Bettman, from ESPN:
    "The problem we're having in Winnipeg is that nobody wants to
    stand behind the franchise.  It's almost as if they want to make
    a charitable contribution to the opera, and if it doesn't work,
    have it go out of business.  Well, you can't do that with a
    professional sports franchise" ("National Hockey Night," ESPN,
    5/2).
         PLAIN SPEAKING:  Columnist John Dafoe notes that no MEC
    member was willing to assume enough risk to convince the NHL that
    the team would be secure.  Dafoe writes, "The message from that
    is very simple.  If the private investors were not sufficiently
    convinced of the soundness of the arena and Jets deal to invest
    their own money in it, there was no way on earth that governments
    should make their taxpayers take that risk" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS,
    5/3).
         OFF TO MINNESOTA?  While Shenkarow denied having received
    any formal offers for the team, one NHL source said "Barry's
    ready to open his mail now" -- suggesting that there have been
    inquiries.  According to this morning's Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE,
    the Nederlander family from New York -- brothers Harry, James and
    Robert, all partners in the Yankees and Broadway investors --
    have joined the leading MN-based group, led by health care
    entrepeneur Richard Burke.  A representative of the Nederalanders
    is expected in Winnipeg today.  The Metropolitan Sports
    Facilities Commission met yesterday to discuss possible public
    funding, but MSFC Chair Harvey Savelkoul said any such talk is
    "premature."  However, the Target Center's Warg called for some
    "creative" public financing.  Warg:  "We could be playing 41
    games and playoffs next season" (Jay Weiner, Minneapolis STAR
    TRIBUNE, 5/3).
         IT WON'T BE ATLANTA:  Both Turner Sports President Harvey
    Schiller and Braves/Hawks President Stan Kasten said it is highly
    unlikely that Ted Turner would bring an NHL team to Atlanta
    before a new arena is built.  Schiller said there have been no
    talks between Turner and the Jets -- or any other NHL team.
    Recent reports have had Turner offering $65M for the Jets.
    Kasten:  "Our first priority is the arena.  Anything else would
    be putting the cart before the horse" (Tim Tucker, ATLANTA
    CONSTITUTION, 5/3).
    

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks, ESPN, Franchises, New York Jets, New York Yankees, NHL, Time Warner, Walt Disney, YankeeNets
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