SBD/1/Leagues Governing Bodies

CFL ROUND-UP: IS THE HONEYMOON OVER IN CHARM CITY?

     Jim Speros and the Baltimore CFL franchise are featured in
this morning's Baltimore SUN, but Ken Murray writes that "beyond
the football revival, there were problems."  Although the team
"boasted a league leading average" of 36,377 fans/game, Murray
reports that as may as 10,500 fans a game were given tickets free
of charge.  In addition, despite revenues of $7.9M, Speros says
the team lost $1.1M.  The team was also sued by two local
companies for non-payment of bills.  Murray writes, "Those
developments have raised doubts about the future of the team --
and the league -- in Baltimore."  Among other obstacles, the team
has less corporate support this season, as last year's $1.1M
figure is only $850,000 this season.  Season tickets are only
being renewed at 73% (Baltimore SUN, 6/1).  CFL Commissioner
Larry Smith blamed the drop in Baltimore's season ticket sales on
"shoddy journalism" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 6/1).  Headline over SUN
columnist Ken Rosenthal's piece this morning: "CFL is joke, and
even we can't laugh."  Rosenthal writes, "The simple fact is, the
Baltimore Football Club peaked in its first year of existence.
Sadly, this team is in trouble."  Rosenthal notes factors that
brought success last year are "gone," calling the fight for the
Colts name and the city's hatred of the NFL "exhausted."  He
continues, "The ragtag CFL -- a joke.  This is the league that
drafted a dead man.  It is also the league that tried to move a
team to Jackson, Miss. -- and couldn't get it done" (Baltimore
SUN, 6/1).
     RIDIN' FOR REDEMPTION:  The Ottawa Rough Riders, saved from
extinction during the offseason, are trying to regain the trust
of the local business community after the previous ownership's
bankruptcy filing left creditors regaining only C$.14 on every
dollar owed by the team.  Commissioner Smith is "confident" new
owner Horn Chen can "quickly build back business support" (Ken
Warren, OTTAWA CITIZEN, 6/1).
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