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  • BALTIMORE NFL TEAM STARTS TO FAST-TRACK SALES EFFORT

         The greatest obstacle the Baltimore NFL team faces in terms
    of getting ready for the coming season is, "pure and simple,
    time," according to David Cope, recently hired as the team's VP
    of Sales & Marketing.  Cope, who was General Sales Manager for
    Capitol Sports from September '94 until March '96, acknowledged
    there is a challenge in terms of selling PSLs to buyers who
    already know they are getting a team.  Cope told THE DAILY that
    PSL buyers "are not going to be sold on their dollars attracting
    the team," but rather on the fact that their purchase is
    necessary to cover the expenses of moving.  Cope, who said they
    will stress the "investment" aspect of PSLs, added, "It is up to
    us to put the proper educated word out."  On competing for
    corporate dollars with the Orioles, for whom he worked as Dir of
    Marketing from '91 to '94, Cope expects a "great amount" of
    cross-over.  In '93, when Baltimore was going through the NFL
    expansion process, Cope said he and the O's wanted "nothing to
    do" with the return of the NFL to the city.  But what was clear
    then and now, according to Cope, is the "passion" shown by
    Baltimore's fans and the corporate community for football.
    Choosing a name remains the top priority, with Cope admitting
    that NFL Properties is eager for a decision.  As reported, the
    short list is Ravens, Mustangs, Americans and Marauders -- with
    Bulldogs an outside possibility.  A decision is expected this
    week.  As for playing in Memorial Stadium, Cope said one early
    concern is finding ways to accommodate premium seat holders, with
    off-site entertainment options being explored (THE DAILY).
    

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Ravens, Franchises, NFL
  • BUCS DEAL MAY HINGE ON FIELD PERFORMANCE

         Hillsborough County Commission Chair Jim Norman proposed
    yesterday that the county's $2.9M ticket shortfall guarantee to
    the Bucs as part of a new stadium deal be contingent on the team
    having a winning record.  Joe Henderson reports in this morning's
    TAMPA TRIBUNE that team officials had no reaction to the idea,
    which Norman says would be an incentive to win.  Stadium
    negotiators agreed to grant the Bucs the revenue guarantee if
    sales levels fall below certain levels.  Norman pointed out,
    while the club was one of the most profitable during the '80s, it
    hasn't had a winning season since '82.  In addition to Norman's
    clause, Henderson reports two "sticking points" to a deal: 1) The
    team's desire to take over stadium operations and receive a $4M
    subsidy each year for maintenance; and 2) What happens if the
    deal collapses -- the Bucs want the right to leave without being
    sued if the county cannot commit to the project by September.
    Meanwhile, Tampa-area state legislators indicated the 5% local
    rental car tax will have a "tough time" getting approved (TAMPA
    TRIBUNE, 3/19).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • FLYERS OWNER SNIDER COULD REAP $40M BONUS IN COMCAST DEAL

         Because of the "attractiveness" of an over-arching deal for
    the Flyers, Sixers, CoreStates Spectrum and CoreStates Center,
    Comcast agreed to set the value at $500M, about $40M more than
    the value of the individual parts.  In Philadelphia, Joseph
    Daughen reports that Flyers Owner Ed Snider is seeking that $40M
    as a "premium" for putting the package together.  Snider
    reportedly is looking forward to no longer having an interest in
    the team or arenas.  However, sources tell the DAILY NEWS that
    the $40M premium "is the tricky part," as 76ers Owner Harold Katz
    "is going to want his share of that money."  The source added,
    "Anytime you have anything involving Ed Snider and Harold Katz,
    it has the potential to blow up" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/18).
    In a separate piece, Phil Jasner notes a 76ers sale could please
    NBA officials, as some suggest the team :hasn't kept pace with
    its brethren in the marketing and promotion departments"
    (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/18).  It is possible the deal "could
    be wrapped up this week" (Sokolove & Rozansky, PHILADELPHIA
    INQUIRER, 3/19).
         THE TV STORY:  In today's INQUIRER, Mike Bruton notes
    Comcast wants the teams "for programming so it can get some elbow
    room just like Turner Sports used the Braves and Hawks to
    expand."  Bruton also notes Phillies Owner Bill Giles has been
    "talking to Comcast for some time" about joining the Flyers and
    Sixers on a cable sports channel.  There is  "angst" at local
    RSN, Prism, which is owned by SportsChannel Philadelphia, as
    Prism currently televises all of Sixers and Flyers home games,
    and several road games.  Bruton:  "A new sports cable outlet
    would leave Prism with a bunch of old movies."  One "optimist" at
    Prism said Comcast "might swallow up the entire Prism operation"
    (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/19).  Comcast stock rebounded from
    Friday, as shares rose $.25 to $18.375 (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER,
    3/19).
    

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks, Comcast-Spectacor, Franchises, NBA, Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Flyers, Philadelphia Phillies, Time Warner
  • FRANCHISE NOTES

         The Angels plan to "close the door" today on their
    unsuccessful sale to Disney and possibly investigate other
    buyers, according to USA TODAY.  Angels Exec VP Jackie Autry was
    reportedly angry at reports Seahawks Owner Ken Behring was
    interested in buying the Angels and building a "Sportstown
    complex" (Hal Bodley, USA TODAY, 3/19).  Autry believes Behring
    "is responsible for undermining" the Disney deal and has said "no
    way" to Behring's reported interest in buying the Angels ("Sports
    View," CNBC, 3/18)....The Rangers have filed tampering charges
    against the Blues because of remarks Blues President Jack Quinn
    reportedly made to THE SPORTING NEWS after the Gretzky trade.
    Quinn detailed the Rangers' offer for Gretzky and noted they had
    decided not to re-sign Jeff Beukeboom and would use that money
    for Gretzky.  The Rangers contend that remark has affected
    contract talks with Beukeboom (Helene Elliott, L.A. TIMES,
    3/19)....The city of New Britain, CT, will charge fans of the
    Double-A Hardware City Rock Cats $2 per game to park at
    Willowbrook Park (Matthew Brown, HARTFORD COURANT, 3/18).
    

    Print | Tags: LA Angels, Anaheim Sports, Franchises, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Blues, Vulcan Ventures, Walt Disney
  • TAGLIABUE CONCERNED ABOUT CLEVELAND-REDUX IN STEEL TOWN

         NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue is "worried the same thing
    may occur" with the Steelers that happened to the Browns in
    Cleveland if a new baseball-only stadium is built for the
    Pirates, according to the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE.  In an
    interview with the GAZETTE's Ed Bouchette, Tagliabue noted
    "similarities" between the Pittsburgh's recent agreement with new
    Pirates Owner Kevin McClatchy to fund a new stadium within two
    years and the building of Jacobs Field and Gund Arena in
    Cleveland.  Tagliabue called for Pittsburgh to build a multi-
    purpose stadium to house both teams, in the hopes that the city
    can "set an example for the country" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE,
    3/17).
    

    Print | Tags: Cleveland Browns, Franchises, NFL, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • TAGLIABUE NOT PLEASED WITH SEAHAWKS' EARLY MIGRATION

         NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue yesterday summoned Seahawks
    President David Behring to New York for a Friday meeting after
    the team began off-season workouts in Anaheim.  Seahawks attorney
    William Temko released a statement saying the workouts were "in
    the best interests of the team," and that they wished to conduct
    workouts "away from the media circus" if they remained in
    Seattle.  Tagliabue called the Anaheim workouts "pre-emptive and
    supportive" of the February 2 move announcement.  Tagliabue:
    "The Kingdome safety issues raised by the Seahawks have no
    relationship to the club's ability to conduct training programs
    in its Kirkland facilities" (Boren & Farnsworth, SEATTLE P-I,
    3/19).  In L.A., Steve Springer reports the team will not conduct
    draft activities in Anaheim, as previously planned, "to not
    further offend the league" (L.A. TIMES, 3/19).
          MOVING EXPENSES:  Meanwhile, the club's undetermined status
    for next season is costing owner Ken Behring plenty.  The SEATTLE
    P-I reports the team is down $6M it normally would have from
    season ticket deposits, while Behring still must pay $275,000 to
    lease the Anaheim training complex and more than $12,500 a week
    to house players in a CA hotel.  Behring insisted yesterday the
    team was not for sale, though the P-I reports "he would listen"
    if offered enough money (Farnsworth & Boren, SEATTLE P-I, 3/19).
    The TACOMA NEWS-TRIBUNE reports that Microsoft Co-Founder Paul
    Allen is reportedly weighing the "emotional value" of owning a
    team in his hometown.  Allen's representative Bob Whitsitt said
    he expects no action in the near future while Allen decides
    (Clayton & Foster, TACOMA NEWS-TRIBUNE, 3/18).
    

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