SBD/23/Franchises

GRIZZLIES TAKE STOCK AFTER FIRST YEAR -- THE SHOW MUST GO ON

     The Grizzlies' inaugural season is profiled by Lowell
Ullrich of the Vancouver PROVINCE.  Ullrich:  "Did the Grizzlies
capture enough of the market to ensure their long-term future?
Especially if they carry out a planned hike in ticket prices?"
Tod Leiweke, VP/Business for Orca Bay Entertainment, the team's
parent company, suggested a single-digit price increase will take
effect next year and believes the team can improve on its season
ticket base of 13,000.  The team averaged just over 17,000 per
game, just under the NBA median.  With "few vocally opposed" to
the C$15,000 spent nightly on game presentation, Ullrich writes,
"They'll be just as much glitz next year."  Where "changes are
needed" is in radio/TV coverage, as Orca Bay produces games for
BCTV/CHEK, but is "last in the league in over-the-air revenues."
And with rights deals in place, the Grizzlies "might be stuck"
unless the area gets a regional sports outlet (Vancouver
PROVINCE, 4/23).
     KILLER WHALE?  Orca Bay unveiled a giant blimp dressed as a
killer whale at GM Place.  The Whale is estimated to have cost
over $50,000 and will be used at both Canucks and Grizzlies
games.  Greg von Schottenstein, Orca Bay Director of Game
Presentation, said "early indications from fans are that it's a
huge success" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 4/23).
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