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Oakland Coliseum Board Member Dennis Cuneo yesterday announced that Muhleman Marketing, Inc., of Charlotte, NC, has been retained to oversee the marketing efforts of the Oakland Football Marketing Association. Marc Ganis will now assume the role of Senior Policy Advisor (OFMA). BAY AREA ROUND-UP: In Oakland, David Li writes, "With less than three weeks remaining until the Oakland Raiders kick off the regular season, Coliseum officials Wednesday handed their troubled sales program to North Carolina sports marketing whiz Max Muhleman." Hoping to "quell" complaints from ticket-buying fans, Muhleman vowed to sell all tickets and protect taxpayers from stadium costs: "We believe it will happen. This is going to be a dynamite package." At least 80% of the PSLs must be sold before the '96 season to retire the $225M in bonds (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 8/17). A report in the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE noted, "A new marketing team brought in to stem a rising tide of anger and confusion over the Oakland Raiders' ticket plan attempted yesterday to shore up public confidence but failed to directly address concerns about whether the sales were producing promised revenues" (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 8/17). NOT THE FALL GUY: Ganis has denied being a "fall guy" in the Raiders' PSL campaign, according to the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Ganis: "That would infer that I'm being pushed out and there's no pushing out here. ... I asked for this. I'm more into the policy and strategy mode" (Kouty & Witt, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/17).
Local Winnipeg business leaders have already begun meeting to discuss purchasing an IHL franchise for the city, according to the WINNIPEG FREE PRESS. Jets President Barry Shenkarow: "I have said I would lend help in making that kind of thing happen." Local sports entrepreneur Jeff Thompson said he is part of a group that has talked with not only the IHL, but also the Western Hockey League. John Douglas and Paul Samyn report that Winnipeg may already be on the IHL's expansion list, and that a Winnipeg team could "trigger" a Canadian Division in the IHL to include Halifax, Toronto, Saskatoon and Quebec City, which has been awarded a franchise for the '96 season (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 8/17). BACK TO THE JETS: Winnipeg Mayor Susan Thompson yesterday met with local officials on how to keep the Jets' losses (which are taxpayer-backed) at a minimum this year, according to the WINNIPEG FREE PRESS. The mayor also has meetings scheduled with Manitoba Finance Minister Eric Stefanson and other senior provincial officials. Noting that the taxpayers can't afford a "lame-duck season," Thompson added, "The reality is, we need a filled arena for every game" (Nick Martin, WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 8/17).