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         The Bulls sent out notices to season ticket holders
    informing them of price increases for '96-97.  The team will
    raise prices $10 on $65 and $50 tickets, and $5 on tickets
    costing $15-$40.  Courtside seats will rise from $325 to $400.
    Columnist Steve Rosenbloom notes Bulls prices "compare favorably"
    to the Blackhawks, adding "Next year the Bulls will charge what
    the Hawks have been charging since the United Center opened two
    years ago."  Bulls VP/Marketing and Broadcasting Steve Schanwald:
    "Obviously, we're leaving money on the table.  We could command
    significantly more money than we're charging -- significantly
    more.  Just look at what the scalpers are getting" (CHICAGO SUN-
    TIMES, 2/27).
         NINERS UP BY A FIVER:  The 49ers will raise ticket prices $5
    a seat for the '96 season to $44.75 each.  Team President Carmen
    Policy said the team raises ticket prices every two years, but
    that this increase "probably would last for three years" (S.F.
    CHRONICLE, 2/29).

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, Franchises, San Francisco 49ers

         Blue Jays President Paul Beeston said yesterday the team's
    new owner, Belgian-based Interbrew, has yet to talk to any
    buyers, but that a "number of people" have expressed interest.
    Beeston: "They are not down the road with anybody, but they're
    certainly down the road to the point where they want to do
    something with it sooner rather than later."  In Toronto, Richard
    Griffin writes to "look for a 10-member consortium of hand-picked
    and equal partners," with Interbrew holding on to 10% with
    Beeston controlling their share and continuing on as general
    partner (TORONTO STAR, 2/29).  Beeston said the team will sell in
    excess of 22,000 season tickets (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 2/29).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Toronto Blue Jays

         The Bucs pulled "an abrupt about-face" Wednesday night,
    announcing they would be willing to join Tampa and Hillsborough
    County officials in asking the FL Legislature for taxes to help
    pay for a new stadium.  The team's change of heart comes just two
    days before a self-imposed deadline to come up with a funding
    plan to keep the team in Tampa.  Joe Henderson reports, as part
    of the new position, the Bucs want "assurances from negotiators
    that they be allowed to leave for another city without being sued
    if attempts in the Legislature fail."  Henderson reports
    officials "are lukewarm" to that idea (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 2/29).
    Meanwhile, in Orlando, Larry Guest expects the Bucs to announce
    "perhaps as early as Friday, they are officially pulling the plug
    on stalled negotiations" in Tampa.  Guest adds the team will then
    "openly resume pursuit of the deal they want to happen -- a move
    to a new Osceola County stadium in time for the 1998 season"

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

         The Padres will play a three-game series with the Mets in
    Monterrey, Mexico, August 16-19.  The series, originally home
    games for the Padres, was moved in part because of scheduling
    conflicts with the Republican Convention.  The games, the first
    MLB games to be played outside of the U.S. and Canada, will be
    played at Monterrey Stadium, a facility with seating capacity of
    26,000 (Chuck Johnson, USA TODAY, 2/29).  Mets Manager Dallas
    Green compared the facilities to Triple-A level.  Green and
    Padres Manager Bruce Bochy inspected the park in December (N.Y.
    POST, 2/29).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, MLB, New York Mets, San Diego Padres

         Should the Nashville Metro Council fail to give final
    approval for a deal to lure the Oilers tonight, team officials
    said they may look elsewhere.  The HOUSTON CHRONICLE reports
    opponents of the Nashville stadium deal delivered signatures of
    44,485 people demanding a public vote.  If 28,084 of those are
    registered voters, a referendum must be held around May 1.  This
    action has led some council members to say "if voters are going
    to have the final say," there is no reason to act tonight.
    Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen said he "would not back down" from
    his plan to use $4M in water fees annually to fund the deal.
    Polls consistently show voters favor the Oilers deal by a 2-1
    margin.  Meanwhile, the TN Senate approved the state's $55M share
    by a 23-9 margin (John Williams, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/29).  Larry
    Graham, who heads Concerned Citizens of Nashville, says "among
    the most vocal opponents of the project" are women, many of whom
    are calling for more education funding (Jane DuBose, ATLANTA
    CONSTITUTION, 2/29).
         WHAT ABOUT BOB?  Houston Mayor Bob Lanier hopes to strike a
    bargain similar to the one NFL owners gave Cleveland last month
    that will guarantee the city another team in exchange for
    allowing the Oilers out of their Astrodome lease.  The CHRONICLE
    reports Lanier will meet with NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue
    Friday in Washington to consider options before a March NFL
    meeting in which Lanier will address owners about his city's
    desire for another team.  John Williams notes Lanier has "at
    least three good bargaining chits":  1) The threat of an
    antitrust lawsuit against the NFL; 2) the likely construction of
    a new stadium financed through PSLs and parking fees; and 3) a
    guarantee the Oilers must stay in Houston for two more years
    unless a deal can be struck.  Lanier also hopes to "change the
    impression" Houston is not a good football town.  Williams
    writes, "Many NFL owners have frowned on the city because there
    has been virtually no local effort to keep the Oilers," unlike in
    Cleveland (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/29).

    Print | Tags: Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, NFL

         Wayne Gretzky met the media yesterday on his trade to St.
    Louis.  Gretzky, on potential marketing opportunities with the
    Blues:  "A whole new barrage of merchandise goes along with that.
    It's a capitalistic country.  It's good for the Blues and for
    Wayne Gretzky.  Everyone's going to win in this case."   Blues GM
    & Coach Mike Keenan denied rumors Gretzky's deal had any
    involvement from local businesses.  Keenan: "To my knowledge I
    don't think there are any businesses in town that are related to
    Wayne's contract.  Maybe on the merchandising end" (THE DAILY).
         EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES:  ESPN showed video footage of a long
    line of fans lining up at the Kiel Center box office buying
    tickets for future Blues games ("SportsCenter," 2/28).
    Meanwhile, jersey orders for No. 99 Blues sweaters soared in St.
    Louis.  The team sold out the next two home games, and has only
    scattered seats for five other games.  Team officials expect to
    sell out all regular-season tickets soon.   A retailer located
    near the Kiel Center reported 20 orders for custom-made Gretzky
    jerseys (Dan Mihalopoulos, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/29).  The
    Post-Dispatch is expected will run a Blues ad announcing that the
    team is taking orders for No. 99 jerseys (USA TODAY, 2/29).
         TOUGH SELL IN TINSELTOWN:  "SportsCenter" noted Kings
    attendance during the Gretzky-era was up 45% from '88-96 -- the
    team averaged 10,664 from '67-88 without Gretzky, and 15,418
    after his arrival (ESPN, 2/28).  Last night's first non-Gretzky
    game at the Forum may be a sign of things to come.  The club drew
    just 11,405 -- the third smallest gate of the season (USA TODAY,
    2/29).  Covering last night's Lightning-Kings game, Roy Cummings
    notes in a sports apparel store two blocks from the Forum, the
    only two hockey jerseys on display were of the Ducks' Teemu
    Salanne and Paul Kariya.  Cummings notes, "Other than Gretzky,
    the Kings don't really have anybody whose name and number can
    help a retailer sell a jersey" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 2/29).  Kings
    officials say their plan centers on building a young team for a
    new arena, which they hope to open in '99 (Helene Elliott, L.A.
    TIMES, 2/29).  Magic Johnson, on Gretzky's impact on L.A.:  "He
    turned this into a hockey town. ...  He brought celebrities out
    to the hockey game.  Kids in Los Angeles never played hockey
    before.  The ice rinks were empty.  Wayne comes and now ...  you
    can't get ice time" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 2/28).

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Franchises, Orlando Magic, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Walt Disney

         King County officials met with NFL Commissioner Paul
    Tagliabue yesterday in New York, while in CA, Seahawks Owner Ken
    Behring met over lunch with a representative of Paul Allen, the
    team's most prominent suitor.
         FROM THE EAST COAST:  King County Executive Gary Locke and
    Councilman Pete von Reichbauer expressed optimism after their
    meeting with Tagliabue, according to Farnsworth & Thiel in this
    morning's SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER.  The two were "buoyed by
    what they described as the prospect of a partnership" with the
    NFL to keep the Seahawks in Seattle.  Locke said the NFL would
    "take action over the next two weeks," but "would not elaborate."
    Tagliabue suggested that he would prefer that the dispute be
    "handled locally" before any action is taken by the league
    (SEATTLE P-I, 2/29). Former Seahawks Owner John Nordstrom, a
    friend of Tagliabue's, joined Locke and von Reichbauer in New
    York for the meeting (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 2/28).
         RED BEHRING?  Over lunch with Blazers President Bob
    Whitsitt, representing Allen, Ken Behring reiterated that the
    team is not for sale.  However, team operations were discussed.
    The P-I's Farnsworth and Thiel note, "If Allen decides to make an
    offer for the Seahawks, Whitsitt figures to be a primary
    negotiator" (SEATTLE P-I, 2/29).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NFL, Seattle Seahawks, Vulcan Ventures

         Baltimore city officials notified Stallions Owner Jim Speros
    yesterday he must move his team's equipment out of Memorial
    Stadium, taking the first step to evict the CFL club in order for
    NFL franchise to move into the facility.  Speros owes the city
    $73,000 in back rent and is the target of three city lawsuits,
    including one seeking a total of $575,000.  Baltimore NFL
    officials say they will have to work out of their homes until
    space at Memorial Stadium can be cleared, as their temporary
    office lease runs out tomorrow (Michael James, Baltimore SUN,
         OTHER NEWS FROM CHARM CITY:  The AHL Bandits were bought by
    VA businessman Michael Caggiano.  The deal still needs AHL
    approval.  Caggiano purchased the club from former owners Bob
    Teck and Alan Gertner (Baltimore SUN, 2/29).

    Print | Tags: AHL, CFL, Franchises, NFL
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