SBD/17/Franchises

NBA OWNERS ON ICE, PART II: SHINN EYES VA AND CAROLINA SITES

     Hornets Owner George Shinn is considering both Raleigh, NC
and Hampton Road, VA region as a possible home for an NHL
expansion team, according to Rick Bonnell of the CHARLOTTE
OBSERVER.  Shinn recently met with Raleigh officials at the
invitation of marketer Max Muhleman, who helped Shinn land the
Hornets and is also working as a consultant for a potential
Raleigh NHL bid.  Shinn became involved with the Norfolk-VA
Beach-Hampton Roads region through TV evangelist Pat Robertson,
whose Christian Broadcasting Network is based there.  Shinn said
he has met twice with a mayors group from the VA region looking
for a potential owner and has discussed the area with NHL
Commissioner Gary Bettman.  Shinn: "I haven't filled out any
application for Raleigh or Virginia Beach. In the future?  That's
a good question. I'm a businessman. I'd pursue it if it made
sense."  Shinn said bringing an NHL club to Charlotte "doesn't
make sense" because the city is not "big enough to support two
major league teams under the same roof."  Shinn added that his
"immediate focus" at the present time is on building a new uptown
arena for the Hornets.  Bonnell notes a VA bid "isn't likely" to
be ready immediately, but ready to bid "over the next two years"
(CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/16).
     FROM THE OLD DOMINION:  Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim
confirmed he has met with Shinn, but would not say whether a
potential NHL franchise was discussed.  Fraim: "He came here at
my request to offer advice and consultation on the prospects of
Hampton Roads being a viable market for professional sports."
Fraim added he was "encouraged" by the meeting.  With 1.6 million
residents, Hampton Roads is the nation's largest metropolitan
area without a major league sports franchise (VIRGINIAN PILOT,
10/17).
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