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  • CAPS, BULLETS TO MERGE UNDER NEW "WASHINGTON SPORTS" GROUP

         Prior to the groundbreaking of his new arena in downtown DC
    this fall, Abe Pollin will merge the business aspects of his
    sports holdings into one entity, THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY has
    learned.  That entity will be called "Washington Sports" and will
    be headed by Susan O'Malley.  Pollin started a consolidation
    effort last year when sponsorship sales for his teams were
    brought together under Capitol Region Sports Marketing.  In
    describing the outline of the new changes, Bullets Dir of Public
    Relations Matt Williams said it was a "first step in a
    streamlining process" prior to moving into the new building.  In
    addition to the two teams, the Centre Group, which manages
    operations at USAir Arena, Baltimore Arena and the Patriot Center
    will also fall under Washington Sports.  O'Malley will remain as
    President of the Bullets, while Wes Unseld, presently Exec VP of
    the Bullets, will add the No. 2 position at Washington Sports to
    his duties.  The basketball and hockey operations will not be
    changed, meaning Capitals President Dick Patrick will continue to
    oversee the "hockey side" of Pollin's business.  While the change
    is aimed at "streamlining" business operations, Williams said
    there have been no decisions made yet on the elimination or
    merging of positions on the staffs of the the two teams (THE
    DAILY).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Washington Capitals
  • CHARGERS LOOK TO CASH IN ON POST-SEASON SUCCESS

         The Chargers appear ready to translate their appearance in
    Super Bowl XXIX into front office success.  The team's season-
    ticket base sits at an all-time high of 55,000 -- an increase of
    13,000 from the beginning of the '94 post-season -- and their 79
    skybox suites are essentially sold-out due to an aggressive
    marketing strategy.
         SUITE SALES UP:  The city of San Diego owns Jack Murphy
    Stadium, but the Chargers control the master lease on the
    skyboxes and are responsible for the year-round leasing and
    management of the skyboxes.  Under this deal, the Padres receive
    revenue from stadium signage.  Two years ago, suite occupancy for
    the Chargers hovered around 50%, but the team's success and new
    marketing techniques have led to a virtual full house, according
    to Ted Sprink, Chargers Dir of Executive Sales.  Sprink, who
    handles the year-round leasing and management of the suites at
    Jack Murphy, told THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY of the challenges
    selling to the San Diego market.  Sprink: "We don't have a strong
    Fortune 500 presence here and San Diego has always been known as
    a branch town.  So, only a fairly narrow segment of the business
    community candidates to fully utilize the boxes."
         THREE CATEGORIES:  Sprink said the team took the economic
    realities into consideration by placing the 79 suites into "three
    different products for three different buyers."  One was the
    annual lease which runs from $30,000 to the mid $50,000's.
    Sprink said most of their skyboxes are leased on a annual basis,
    but the club also has leased suites on a single-event basis,
    primarily through Chargers games.  Sprink:  "A company that just
    doesn't have the entertainment needs or budget for a full-season
    skybox, can get all the amenities for a single event. ... It is a
    different market.  It is a higher margin deal for the club as
    well."  For single-event suites this year, prices run from $3,275
    per game for a small box to $6,000 for large boxes.  The third
    category is suite-sharing, essentially a time share, where fans
    can buy a couple of tickets or a small company can buy four or
    six tickets.  That cost is $2,750 per season, or a ten-game
    package for $275 per game.  Sprink said San Diego's warm weather
    climate creates less of a need for skyboxes, putting more
    emphasis on the need for alternatives and aggressive marketing
    (THE DAILY).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, San Diego Chargers, San Diego Padres
  • NEWSPAPER QUESTIONS PUBLIC FINANCING OF RAIDERS DEAL

         The San Jose Mercury News is asking the courts to force the
    city of Oakland and Alameda County to release financial figures
    they used in determining that the Raiders' deal was a "virtual
    no-risk" for taxpayers.  The paper sued Alameda County Superior
    Court Wednesday over release of the documents.  Earlier this
    month, Oakland Deputy City Manager Ezra Rapport was asked for
    projections, but he refused, saying the information "would be
    kept secret because it could be easily manipulated by a hostile
    press."  According to the paper, public officials "have been
    allowed to see the papers but were ordered to return them to the
    private consultants so the city and county would not be obligated
    to release them" (AP/Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/28).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Oakland Raiders
  • T-WOLVES MOVE FORWARD WITH TIX SALES

         Despite the lockout of NBA players, the Timberwolves "sent
    out letters to season-ticket holders this week asking them to pay
    the remaining balance on their accounts for the 1995-96 season,"
    according to the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  The letter says the
    team is "proceeding with the upcoming season as planned.  This
    includes maintaining the previously established season ticket
    payment schedule."  The letter also says, if games are canceled,
    ticket holders can receive refunds or apply them to '96-97
    tickets with a credit to the account of an additional 5% over the
    face value of tickets for canceled games (Minneapolis STAR
    TRIBUNE, 7/27).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA
  • TWO STORIES, TWO LEVELS OF SUCCESS -- ROCKIES, MARLINS

         In the second part of a two-part piece, Pat Jordan examines
    the on- and off-field progress of the Rockies and Marlins in this
    week's THE SPORTING NEWS.  Jordan writes that while the Rockies
    are now enjoying success in the books and in the standings, the
    Marlins were originally expected to be the team competing for a
    title first.  Jordan credits the signings by Rockies GM Bob
    Gebhard and record attendance in Denver for the team's success.
    However, the Marlins' lack of on-field success has translated
    into a drop in attendance and made it necessary for GM Dave
    Dombrowski "to tighten his purse string at the same time the
    Rockies are loosening theirs."  Some of the fan apathy in Miami
    may be due to fans "punishing" owner Wayne Huizenga, "one of the
    hardest of the hard-line owners" during the strike.  In addition,
    Jordan blames Huizenga's over-emphasis on marketing.  Jordan, on
    the signing of Miami-native Andre Dawson:  "As a businessman,
    Huizenga is determined to make a profit with his team, and if
    that means signing a 40-year-old Miami native rather than a 25-
    year-old Californian in order to draw fans, then so be it" (TSN,
    7/28 issue).
    

    Print | Tags: Colorado Rockies, Miami Marlins, Franchises, Vulcan Ventures
  • WINNIPEG CITY COUNCIL VETOS TAX EXEMPTION FOR JETS DONORS

         The Winnipeg City Council defeated a motion to grant
    charitable tax status to an endowment fund set up by the Spirit
    of Manitoba to cover losses for the Jets until a new arena is
    built, according to today's WINNIPEG FREE PRESS.  Mayor Susan
    Thompson, warned the vote could cost taxpayers nearly C$18M, as
    the team may now be sold and moved with the city responsible for
    next year's debt.  Councilman Jae Eadie, a one-time supporter who
    voted against, said his vote was symbolic of Spirit's failure to
    live up to a promise to raise the necessary money to buy the team
    in exchange for public arena financing (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS,
    7/28).
         IS THE SPIRIT WILLING?  Spirit President Cam Osler, whos
    group claims to have over C$42M raised towards an endowment, said
    they will proceed with three options:   continue to raise funds
    without a charitable ruling and approach the council at a later
    date; find another vehicle for getting a tax break; or admit the
    attempt to save the Jets has failed (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 7/28).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New York Jets
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