SBD/15/Franchises

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).
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