SBD/6/Franchises

FRANCHISE NOTES

     SI's Tim Kurkjian notes the Pirates' financial prospects
look "bleaker than ever," but he adds that Owner Kevin McClatchy
should not be blamed as much as MLB for "bending over backward to
allow [McClatchy] to buy the club when it was clear he didn't
have the capital to make it work" (SI, 9/9 issue)....Atlanta
columnist Steve Hummer examines how "quickly" the Falcons have
"squandered the drawing power" of the 71,104-seat Georgia Dome in
just four years, noting that a crowd only in the 40,000 "range"
is expected for Sunday's home opener against the Vikings.
Hummer:  "A vicious cycle is in play.  The Falcons get run over
on the road, and the fans squeamishly turn away.  Ticket sales
plunge for the home games, the television blackout is invoked,
and only a few see the team at its best.  The impression created
is bleak and incomplete" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/6)....Calling
him "Gerald Ford on AstroTurf," BASEBALL AMERICA's Alan Schwarz
profiles the "tremendous" job new Reds CEO John Allen has done
since taking over the club from Marge Schott.  Allen:  "The
support for the change has been most rewarding on a personal
basis.  This shows if you do what's right from a fan's
perspective, things will work out" (BASEBALL AMERICA, 9/16
issue)....The CISL has assumed operational control of the
Indianapolis Twisters (CISL)....The ECHL awarded a franchise to
New Orleans to be called the Brass.  They will begin play in '97
(SPORTS TICKER, 9/6).
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