SBD/31/Franchises

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  • FRANCHISE NOTES

              The Ackerley Group, parent of the Sonics, reported a
         record profit for '96, according to Greg Heberlein of the
         SEATTLE TIMES.  Ackerley's profit was $15.8M, or $.50/share,
         up from a year-ago loss of $2.9M, or $.09/share.  Sales were
         up 19%, to $280M.  Ackerley Chair Barry Ackerley said player
         salaries, marketing expenses for a World Wide Web site and
         name change cut fourth-quarter operating cash flow by $1M
         (SEATTLE TIMES, 1/30)....In Miami, First Union National Bank
         has partnered with the Dolphins to put a 10,240-square-foot
         sign on top of the Dolphins Training Facility at Nova
         Southeastern Univ. in Davie, FL.  The sign will be visible
         to all planes as they enter or exit Ft. Lauderdale Int'l
         airport (Dolphins). ...Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones issued a
         memo yesterday preventing anyone in the Cowboys'
         organization, including coach Barry Switzer, from discussing
         football-related matters with the media.  Taylor calls the
         move "the final step in a season-long trend by the Cowboys
         to limit media access" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/31)....The
         Brewers will hold a memorabilia sale out of their clubhouse
         Sunday, selling everything from team jerseys to Ken Griffey
         Jr.'s baseball pants (USA TODAY, 1/31)....In Dallas, the
         Mavericks are interviewing former Knicks coach Don Nelson
         for their GM position (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/31).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Franchises, Miami Dolphins, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Knicks, Southwest Sports Group
  • HERALD NOTES QUESTIONS SURROUNDING PANTHERS STOCK PURCHASE

              Stock purchases made late last fall by four directors
         of Florida Panthers Holdings have attracted the attention of
         other investors, according to Cindy Krischer Goodman of the
         MIAMI HERALD.  Recently filed records reveal the execs
         bought $2.87M of the company's stock "just before" the
         announcement of a "key" acquisition drove up the stock.  The
         directors purchased 285,000 shares for $10.06/share from
         November 13-December 16, six days before the Panthers
         acquired two Fort Lauderdale resort hotels.  The shares are
         currently trading for $32.  Among the directors: Republic
         Industries Vice Chair Harris Hudson and President Steven
         Berrard; Huizenga Holdings President Richard Rochon; and
         Huizenga's Extended Stay America CEO George Johnson. 
         Huizenga spokesperson Stan Smith said there were no "insider
         purchases" of Panthers stock, adding the investors "have a
         lot of confidence in the company and the management."  But,
         some early investors are "miffed," and have filed suit in
         federal court in Ft. Lauderdale on behalf of those who sold
         their shares between the period in which the execs made
         their purchases.  They charge Huizenga and other officers
         with securities violations and misrepresentation of the
         company's short-term prospects (MIAMI HERALD, 1/30).
    
    

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  • MSG'S GROWTH AND FUTURE EXAMINED IN WAKE OF HILTON BID

              In the midst of Hilton Hotels' hostile takeover bid of
         ITT, the economic value of MSG is examined by Sanger & Zipay
         of NEWSDAY.  Under ITT/Cablevision's ownership, MSG's
         financial performance "has vastly improved," as MSG CEO Dave
         Checketts drove revenues to $425M in '96, 10% higher than
         they were the year before.  However, with player salaries
         increasing, and possible renovation facing MSG, "future
         results may not be such a slam dunk."  Financial World
         editor Michael Ozanian notes the Knicks "have raised ticket
         prices so high, it's difficult to see much more revenue out
         of them.  The Rangers have more upside."  Ozanian adds MSG
         "is outdated in terms of the amount of revenues it can
         produce," adding if there is a new buyer for the properties,
         "they're going to have to think about redoing that building
         in three to five years: better suites, better locations,
         more advertising, better concessions" (NEWSDAY, 1/31).   
              TV TALK: Sanger & Zipay write that the MSG Network "is
         perhaps the most valuable of all the [MSG] properties."  And
         Checketts also desires a radio station.  Checketts: "I'd
         like to have a radio station to promote concerts and our
         productions and carry our sports.  I don't think we would
         build another WFAN, but we'll have a radio opportunity"
         (NEWSDAY, 1/31).  On "Moneyline," CNN's Sean Callebs
         examined the possibility that ITT "may be planning on an
         asset sale of its own" on "Moneyline."  Noting ITT's share
         of the Rangers, Knicks and MSG Network "may be up for
         grabs," Callebs mentioned News Corp. as a "potential buyer." 
         The Marquee Group CEO Robert Gutkowski: "Fox, from a cable
         standpoint, doesn't have much leverage to try and get
         exposure in this marketplace.  If they own MSG Network,
         certainly that will help them from a leverage standpoint." 
         Callebs also mentioned Walt Disney and Wayne Huizenga,
         although each owns an NHL franchise already, and is
         prohibited from buying another ("Moneyline," CNN, 1/30).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Franchises, Madison Square Garden, New York Knicks, News Corp./Fox, NHL, Time Warner, Walt Disney
  • THIS IS THE DAWNING OF THE AGE OF THE COMETS

              The WNBA Houston Comets unveiled their name and logo
         yesterday, according to W.H. Stickney Jr. of the HOUSTON
         CHRONICLE.  The Comets' colors will feature "Fireball Red"
         and "Galaxy Blue" trimmed with "Stardust Silver."  The logo
         is oval-shaped with stars and comets dotting the inner blue
         space and a basketball shooting through the oval and
         trailing a red comet tail.  Rockets Exec VP John Thomas said
         the Comets have already sold 1,000 season-tickets so far and
         said that each of the 15,000 Rockets season-ticket holders
         will be sent a five-minute videotape highlighting women's
         basketball (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/31).
    
    

    Print | Tags: AEG, Franchises, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Galaxy, WNBA
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