SBD/23/Franchises

KARMANOS SHOOTS THE BULL OVER WHALERS SITUATION

     In a spirited interview with Michael Arace of the HARTFORD
COURANT, Whalers Owner Peter Karmanos insists there is no
"cynical twist" to the team's recent season ticket drive and
denies he would move the club without the state of CT's
permission.  Saying while he is "not making any money" by staying
in Hartford, Karmanos says he hopes to "stabilize" the franchise
and generate a revenue base of $37-38M so the club can compete
with the "deep pockets" of the Bruins and Rangers.  Karmanos
calls the ESPN story which had the Whalers headed to Nashville
"horse crap" and "very frustrating," but he admits if he were a
"prudent business person" he should have been looking last fall
for "alternative locations."  Karmanos mentions a site "in
between New Haven and Hartford" as the possible location for a
new arena, but says "we can't even talk about that when we're
averaging 10,000 people per game and ... when we can't fill the
skyboxes."  He goes on to criticize the union's view of
economics:  "The NHLPA's position, privately with the league, is
screw the small markets.  When we were trying to do revenue
sharing and salary caps ... the NHLPA's position was, 'You know,
if the team can't make it in the market they're in, move 'em'"
(HARTFORD COURANT, 4/21).
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