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  • ASCENT REPORTS HIGH EARNINGS IN 4TH QUARTER, LOSS FOR YEAR

         Ascent Entertainment, parent company to the Nuggets and
    Avalanche, reported revenue of $57.2M and pre-tax earnings of
    $6.3M for the fourth quarter.  The revenue figure was a  27%
    increase over $45M in '94.  Earnings for the same period of '94
    were $11.8M.  The company reported a net loss for the year of
    $19.4M or $0.80 cents per share.  Ascent CEO Charlie Lyons said
    the results were "as expected ... by eliminating the unproductive
    Satellite Cinema operations, we can focus in 1996 on increasing
    revenue and cash flow in our On Command Video operations while
    pressing ahead with plans to enhance revenue opportunities in our
    entertainment business."  Lyons said 4th quarter entertainment
    revenue increased 108% to $25.8M with the start up of the
    Avalanche, since the addition of the NHL team required only 17
    new operational staff positions (Ascent Entertainment).
    

    Print | Tags: Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Franchises, NHL
  • CLEVELAND MAYOR WHITE SAYS HE'S NOT ON PROWL FOR BENGALS

         Cleveland Mayor Michael White yesterday said again he is
    opposed to the Bengals moving to Cleveland.  White said he would
    simply avoid Bengals Owner Mike Brown.  White:  "I won't talk to
    the man.  If the NFL can do a deal without me to bring Cincinnati
    here, then that's their business" (Bart Hubbuch, Akron BEACON
    JOURNAL, 2/15).  In other news, Cleveland's deal with the NFL
    ends just two of 10 lawsuits filed against the Browns since
    November 6, according to the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER.  Cuyahoga
    Common Pleas Judge Kenneth Callahan is scheduled to meet next
    Tuesday with the lawyers from pending cases (Cleveland PLAIN
    DEALER, 2/14).
    

    Print | Tags: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Franchises, NFL
  • DOES LOSS OF RILEY MEAN TOUGH TIMES FOR FAMOUS KNICKS FANS?

         The "cachet of Knicks home games is fading fast now that
    Viacom has sold the Garden to ITT/Cablevision," according to
    Landman & Mitchell of NEW YORK magazine.  Seats on the floor that
    were occupied by such notables as Madonna, Billy Crystal and
    others "are now peopled with unfamiliar faces atop suited bodies"
    -- while "more illustrious fans" are pushed back six or seven
    rows "tending to mitigate the excitement of their presence."
    Sources say the new MSG owners regard to famous ticketholders as
    "freeloaders" and "even discussed plans to turn the former VIP
    suite into a $20,000 per-year private membership club."  Thorn
    EMI-Capitol Head Charles Koppelman:  "The crowd seems to have
    less star power now.  It definitely seems more corporate if you
    look around."  Spike Lee:  "The vibe has changed. Knicks games
    are not as loud as they used to be" (NEW YORK, 2/19).
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Franchises, Madison Square Garden, New York Knicks, Viacom
  • FRANCHISE NOTES

         After an initial ticket surge created by Magic Johnson's
    return to the Lakers, there has been no rush to buy tickets
    further into the season.  Bob Steiner, a spokesperson for Lakers
    Owner Jerry Buss, said the same thing happened when Johnson
    returned as coach in '94 (L.A. BUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/5
    issue)....The Sabres announce ticket prices for seats in the new
    Marine Midland Arena today.  Buffalo's BUSINESS FIRST reports top
    club seating will go for $59 per seat, about $9 more per seat
    than gold levels at the Aud.  Lower seats, equivalent to current
    Red or lower Blue seats at the Aud, will go for $40 per game
    while visitor's end lower bowl seats will go for $32 per seat.
    In the upper level, seats will start at $24 and drop to $10
    (BUSINESS FIRST, 2/15)....The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have told the
    CFL they are in for the '96 season, but only if they can solve
    financial woes through the sale of 20,000 season tickets.  Their
    business plan is called "Third and Long" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL,
    2/15).
    

    Print | Tags: Buffalo Sabres, CFL, Franchises, Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic, RDV Sports
  • PADS OWNER MOORES SEEKS HOUSTON FOOTBALL PARTNERS

         Padres Owner John Jay Moores met with "influential
    businessmen" in Houston yesterday and said he is "upbeat" about
    putting together a package that could include public stock to
    attract an NFL team to replace the Oilers. According to John
    Williams of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE, Moores asked close to 50
    business-people to "invest at least" $1M each to help buy a team,
    and gave the group until next week to "give an indication of
    interest."  Moores said he also hopes to gain NFL approval for
    "allowing average fans to buy shares in the team," a practice
    "currently banned by the NFL."  NFL Dir of Communications Greg
    Aiello said the league "has no plans to change its prohibition of
    public ownership."  Aiello:  "Those rules are there to minimize
    the chance that a company would transfer revenues from the
    football team to help another part of the corporation."  Sources
    close to the meetings said Moores "intends to borrow as much as
    the $40 million maximum in debt that the NFL will allow a team to
    carry."  He will then contribute half the remaining cash and
    other investors will contribute the other half.  Moores
    reportedly won't do the deal if it means selling his stake in the
    Padres (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/15).
    

    Print | Tags: Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, NFL, San Diego Padres
  • WASHINGTON FILES SUIT AGAINST BEHRING TO KEEP SEAHAWKS

         The state of WA has filed an antitrust suit against Seahawks
    Owner Ken Behring.  The suit contends he violated state and
    federal antitrust laws in moving the team to L.A. and that
    "Washington's economy and public welfare would be harmed."  ESPN
    later reported that state officials have estimates that the
    economic impact of the loss of the team is around $100M
    ("SportsCenter," 2/14).  King County Exec Gary Locke:  "This
    lawsuit today by the Attorney General's office tightens this
    community's grip on its football team" ("Sports Tonight," CNN,
    2/14).  WA Atty General Christine Gregoire said the lawsuit did
    not seek monetary damages, but she held put the possibility the
    state could ask for more than $3B from Behring.  In L.A.,
    Behring's lawyer, Bill Temko, called it "just another step in a
    political barrage to vilify Mr. Behring" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY
    NEWS, 2/15).
         WHY THE LONG FACE?  In an interview with the LONG BEACH
    PRESS-TELEGRAM, Behring said he is "perplexed by the cool
    reception he has been given in Los Angeles."  Behring:
    "Normally, when a NFL team moves to a new city, that city gets
    behind it.  But that certainly hasn't been the case since we
    decided to move to L.A."  He expressed confidence they would play
    in L.A., but he added, "It could get to a point where there is so
    much opposition that I'll say, 'The heck with it,' and go in
    another direction.  Life is just too short to put up with all
    this stuff" (LONG BEACH PRESS  TELEGRAM /PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS,
    2/15).  In L.A., Mike Downey writes recent words from NFL
    Commissioner Paul Tagliabue have him "convinced" the Seahawks
    will stay in Seattle.  Downey "strongly suspects" Cleveland and
    L.A. will be the NFL's expansion franchises in '99 (L.A. TIMES,
    2/14).
         AD HOC:  The L.A. City Council will form a committee to lure
    a football team to L.A. and broaden the panel to include members
    of other key local groups, according to the L.A. TIMES.  The
    council panel will be called the "Ad Hoc Sports Franchise
    Committee" and will negotiate for other pro teams.  The expanded
    committee will include members of the Coliseum Commission, the
    mayor's staff and the L.A. Convention and Visitors Bureau (L.A.
    TIMES, 2/14).
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Franchises, NFL, Seattle Seahawks, Time Warner, Vulcan Ventures, Walt Disney
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