SBD/20/Franchises

COMCAST COMPLETES DEAL FOR FLYERS, SIXERS, TWO ARENAS

     Flyers Owner Ed Snider, fitness entrepreneur Pat Croce and
the Comcast Corp. announced yesterday the formation of a Comcast-
Spectacor venture to create a "super-regional sports partnership"
to own and operate the Flyers, 76ers, the new CoreStates Center
and the CoreStates Spectrum.  Comcast will hold a 66% ownership
interest (Comcast).
     DETAILS:  To gain 66% of the teams and arenas, Comcast
contributed $250M in cash and stocks, and also assumed 66% of
their combined $180M in debt.  Croce, who is credited with
getting the deal "in motion," is said to have contributed less
than $5M to be a part owner in Comcast-Spectacor.  Croce will
become 76ers President.  Comcast Chair Ralph Roberts and
President Brian Roberts said they would have nothing to do with
the day-to-day operations of the teams or arenas.  Outgoing 76ers
Owner Harold Katz said he received "significantly more" than the
reported price of $125M for the team.  However, he described his
decision to sell as a reluctant one (Sokolove, Rozansky & Stark,
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/20).  Snider retains 34% of the Flyers
and each arena, also adding a 34% stake in the 76ers.  Snider
said he will have "operational control" of all entities, noting
that Comcast "wouldn't do the deal unless I stayed in" (Gary
Miles, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/20).
     PHILLIES NEXT?  There are "strong indications that the
Phillies were edging close to involvement with the Comcast-
Spectacor venture."  There was no indication the team would be
sold, but it was possible that Comcast-Spectacor could help with
the building of a new stadium.  One Comcast exec said, "It's only
in the context of creating a [sports] channel, cooperative stuff
with regards to sports rights" (Sokolove, Rozansky & Stark,
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/20).
     REAL DEAL:  In the DAILY NEWS, Joseph Daughen reports the
reality is that it was Snider, not Croce, who drove the deal.
Snider, described as wanting to "virtually corner the sports and
entertainment market in the metropolitan Philadelphia area," knew
he needed the 76ers to do so.  According to sources, because his
relationship with Katz was "so poor," Snider found Croce's
interest in the team an "attractive alternative" (PHILADELPHIA
DAILY NEWS, 3/20).
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