SBD/30/Franchises

THE NHL'S MUSICAL FRANCHISES

     DEVILS REVEL:  The Devils, headed to the Eastern Conference
finals, are still being grilled in the New York/ NJ area for the
prospect of possibly moving to Nashville.  In Sunday's N.Y.
TIMES, Dave Anderson calls the possibility "a low blow."
Anderson believes that McMullen will keep the team in the area
and that he should.  Anderson: "In an era when small-market
sports franchises are pleading poverty and hoping to move to a
big-market area ... McMullen would be skating backward: from one
of sport's biggest markets to one of its smallest markets."
Anderson suggests the Islanders   -- who finished behind the
Devils in the standings and attendance -- move to Nashville if
one team must move out of the New York market (N.Y. TIMES,
5/28)....PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER's Gary Miles writes that "if the
Devils don't head south, look for the NHL to end up placing an
expansion team in Nashville" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 5/28).
     SOON-TO-BE RENAMED NORDS SETTLE: In Denver, former Comsat/
Nuggets exec Tim Leiweke told a panel last week that Denver's
population could "probably not" support all four pro franchises.
However, Leiweke stressed that teams must market to the 25
million people who live in the 10-state Rocky Mountain region.
Leiweke: "The teams who don't do that are going to be in trouble"
(Norm Clarke, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 5/28).  Nords players are
"laughing all the way to the bank" about the team's move,
according to Alan Adams of the CANADIAN PRESS.  CO's income tax
is estimated at its highest to be 39%, compared with the 55%
players had to pay in Quebec.  Agent Steve Bartlett estimates
players will be making as much as 10-15% more for that reason
alone (CP/Hamilton SPECTATOR, 5/30).  In Quebec City, although
police patrolled Marcel Aubut's suburban home regularly, there
was little public outcry (CP/EDMONTON JOURNAL, 5/27).
     JETS METTLE:  The deal to keep the team in Winnipeg will
reportedly be signed sometime this week, according to Winnipeg
Mayor Susan Thompson (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 5/29).  Meanwhile,
CanWest Global Communications Chair Izzy Asper, who headed the
drive to save the Jets, told a Toronto group the effort was "all
done for the people of Manitoba."  Asper: "I don't go to hockey
games" (TORONTO STAR, 5/27).
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