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Whether or not the Panthers beat the Flyers in their second- round playoff series, the team will win at the cash register, writes Larry Lebowitz of the FT. LAUDERDALE SUN-SENTINEL. Although the Panthers will only see a small fraction of the revenue their run for the Stanley Cup is generating -- retail sales are split evenly among all teams -- they are negotiating a new broadcast and cable deal this year and "hot playoff teams can anticipate an increase in season-ticket sales." The team gets 6- 10% for licensing royalties which becomes lucrative with some of their hot-selling items. The team commissioned red "Year of the Rat" baseball caps and sold all 2,400 of them for $19 each during the Bruins series (FT. LAUDERDALE SUN-SENTINEL, 5/9).
CT Gov. John Rowland "hardened his stance" on the Whalers self-imposed ticket-selling deadline on WTNH-TV in New Haven Thursday when he warned it could cost the Whalers money should they break their Civic Center lease and leave for a new city. The HARTFORD COURANT's Michael Arace reports Rowland called the team's 11,000 -ticket deadline "somewhat artificial" and invoked the two-year lease the Whalers have with the Civic Center, saying "that contract is binding unless they spend a huge amount of money to move out of the state." Arace notes there "has been some question" if the Whalers' lease requires team owners to pay $10.5M or $25.5M to move prematurely. Though he admitted Rowland's warning surprised him, Whalers President/GM Jim Rutherford refused to comment on Rowland's statements (HARTFORD COURANT, 5/10). Meanwhile, the COURANT's Jeff Jacobs writes some life was breathed into the Whalers when Sun International committed to buy 120 season tickets. Sun's Kevin DeSanctis, managing partner of the Mohegan Sun casino, announced the tickets will be donated to area youth. The team had averaged 46 ticket sales a day, which would have landed them 11,000 in time for the '99-2000 season (HARTFORD COURANT, 5/10).
Brewers President and acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig admitted he "goofed" when he wrote fund-raising letters on team stationery in support of State Sen. George Petak, according to Daniel Bice of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Selig sent letters to 167 friends and business associates encouraging them to attend an April 23 Republican fund-raiser using Brewers stationery -- a transgression since state law prohibits corporate contributions to candidates. Bice writes Petak's "last minute change of heart" was instrumental in passing a bill for a new Brewers stadium earlier in the year. Selig reimbursed the team $245.11 to cover postage, staff time and supplies, but said the "use of that stationery was inadvertent and unintentional." Elizabeth Erven, leader of a committee seeking Petak's defeat, criticized Selig: "He is surrounded by attorneys. He's a corporate principal. He's not a sixth grader raising money for class president." Ervin filed a complaint with the state ethics board (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/9).