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  • BLAZERS SELL TOTEM SPACE TO VISA; FOCUS ON OTHER AD METHODS

              Trail Blazers Inc. sold the third of four media
         "totems" in the Rose Garden's concourse to Visa Inc.,
         according to Jeff Manning of the Portland OREGONIAN. 
         Construction of the 23-foot-tall totem began in mid-February
         and should be complete by the playoffs.  Coca-Cola and
         Panasonic purchased space on the first two totems, but a
         deal with GM for the fourth totem "fell through."  Manning
         notes that Visa "apparently is paying somewhat less" than
         the $395,000-per-year price Coca-Cola and Panasonic paid. 
         Blazers VP/Sales Erin Hubert said the organization would
         "recoup some or all" of the revenue it gave up on the
         purchase price from sales of a Blazers affinity credit card
         that Visa will offer.  In total, industry sources say Trail
         Blazers Inc. brings in $8M a year in signage business, and
         the organization is in the process of installing a $1.5M
         system from Health Signs of Yakima that will line the
         concrete ring that separates the lower bowl from upper
         levels with about 55 ad panels.  Hubert hopes to have ten
         sponsors in place by next season (Portland OREGONIAN, 2/28).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Coca-Cola, Franchises, Portland Trail Blazers, Visa, Vulcan Ventures
  • CHIEFS IN THE HUNT FOR GOOD: OWNER TRANSFERS STAKE TO KIDS

              Chiefs Owner Lamar Hunt has transferred 80% ownership
         of the team to his children "to ensure that the team remains
         in his family," according to Kent Pulliam of the K.C. STAR. 
         Hunt and his wife, Norma, still own 20% of the team, and he
         will continue to serve as team owner.  Hunt's daughter and
         three sons each received 20% of the franchise, which was put
         into a trust.  Hunt said "the children are the beneficiaries
         of those trusts over a long period of time."  All four of
         Hunt's children live in Dallas, "but have ties" to K.C. 
         Hunt said the move "does not change the Chiefs' status in
         Kansas City and is merely part of a long-range financial
         plan."  The transfer of ownership "eases exorbitant estate
         taxes" Hunt's children would have had to pay upon inheriting
         the team.  Pulliam notes that the move has "already saved
         the Hunt family more" than $35M in potential taxes."  Hunt:
         "It's the smart thing to do ... If you wait until you die,
         there are some huge estate taxes that would come due. I
         don't want to have a situation where this large an asset
         would be hanging over my estate. ... It is more difficult
         for family ownership now because the prices have gotten
         larger and because of the estate taxes" (K.C. STAR, 3/1).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Kansas City Chiefs
  • FRANCHISE NOTES

              Felix Sabates, who withdrew Raleigh's bid for an NHL
         expansion team after he could not work out a lease agreement
         at a proposed arena, contends -- "and sources on the NHL
         Board of governors agree" -- that Raleigh would have made
         the league's cut from eleven candidates to six and had a
         chance of winning a franchise.  Sabates: "It's a
         heartbreaker. ... I tell you this Raleigh thing is a real
         heartbreaker" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/1)....Shares in Ascent
         Entertainment Group are "slouching toward historic lows" due
         to "too much uncertainty," according to industry observers. 
         N.Y.-based Smith Barney analyst Bill Meyers: "Everybody has
         questions, but nobody is providing the answers."  Among the
         unknowns: "Who will manage the company?"  MD-based Comsat
         Corp. announced plans to divest its 80% stake in Ascent in
         October, but no buyers have surfaced so far; "Can the
         company be kept together?; Can a lucrative arena deal be cut
         with the city of Denver?" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 2/28)....The
         Lions hope to begin negotiating "in the next few months,"
         with the Pontiac Stadium Authority to discuss leaving the
         Silverdome before their lease expires in 2004.  The team
         hopes to be in their new stadium "for the 2001 season"
         (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 3/1).  
    
    
    

    Print | Tags: Detroit Lions, Franchises, General Motors, NHL
  • GIANTS RAISE TIX PRICES "ACROSS THE BOARD"

              For the first time in three years, the NFL Giants have
         raised ticket prices, with an increase of five dollars
         "across the board for every seat" for next season, according
         to Paul Schwartz of the N.Y. POST.  Prices will be $40 for
         the upper and lower tiers and $45 for mezzanine seating. 
         The Giants "expect their new ticket average of $40.85 to
         rank no higher than 10th in the NFL" (N.Y. POST, 3/1).
    
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New York Giants, NFL
  • IS DELAWARE NORTH TALKING WITH CABLEVISION ON MSG STAKE?

              Delaware North Cos., the Buffalo-based conglomerate
         that owns the Bruins and the FleetCenter, "denied rumors
         that it is looking to join" with Cablevision Systems Owner
         Charles Dolan in an attempt to purchase MSG, according to
         Kevin Paul Dupont of the BOSTON GLOBE.  Delaware North
         spokesperson Brenda Follmer called the speculation "all
         false," but added, "Now, that's not to say things don't
         change around here -- sometimes with lightning speed." 
         Dupont wrote deal between Delaware North Chair Jeremy Jacobs
         and Dolan "would be closely scrutinized" by the NHL. 
         According to league ownership guidelines, "overlapping
         ownership interests are forbidden."  Delaware North would
         have to relinquish either the Rangers or Bruins, or "spin
         one or the other off" into separate ownership.  Dupont: "The
         Bruins put up for sale?  It could explain a lot of what has
         happened -- or hasn't happened -- on Causeway Street over
         the last number of months" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/28).  Dupont,
         after Saturday's deal that sent three high-profile players
         to the Capitals: "Are the Bruins being stripped to be sold? 
         It sure looks that way.  All they do is get leaner on the
         payroll and worse on the ice, with no mention of lowering
         ticket prices" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/2).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Boston Bruins, Cablevision, Franchises, Madison Square Garden, NHL, Washington Capitals
  • IT ISN'T WHO GETS THE HOUSE, IT'S WHO GETS THE BULLS TICKETS

              The demand for Bulls tickets was examined by Brown &
         Zimmermann in a front-page feature in Sunday's CHICAGO SUN-
         TIMES.  About three-fourths of the Bulls' 15,000 season-
         tickets are owned by businesses, in addition to 3,000 skybox
         seats, which are owned almost exclusively by businesses. 
         Brown & Zimmermann: "Bulls tickets are now Chicago's
         unofficial corporate currency, the preferred means for
         wooing a client, thanking a customer, sealing a deal or
         greasing the machinery  of politics and government."  Mike
         Rolfes, a media buyer at Leo Burnett: "Bulls tickets are the
         closest thing you have to a guaranteed meeting.  It would
         take something really extraordinary for someone to turn you
         down on Bulls tickets."  The tickets are also the subject of
         legal disputes, "especially in divorces," and a few months
         ago, LaSalle Northwest National Bank President John Lynch
         was sued by the bank's partners in a United Center skybox. 
         They alleged he had "hogged the tickets to the best games." 
         Lynch called it a "coincidence," but a judge ruled for a
         redistribution of the tickets (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/2).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Chicago Bulls, Franchises
  • UNIFORM NEWS & NOTES: CANUCKS EYEING NEW LOOK AND NAME?

              The Canucks are considering a possible change of
         uniform design and colors for the next NHL season, according
         to the VANCOUVER SUN.  GM Pat Quinn said the team has looked
         at a blue-based jersey, but no final decision has been
         reached.  Also, the Canucks denied speculation that the team
         may change its name.  Canucks VP/Business Operations Steve
         Tambellini: "No way. The name will remain the Canucks"
         (VANCOUVER SUN, 2/28).  Northwest Sports Enterprises Ltd.,
         partner in the Canucks, reported a loss of $9M, or $8.97 a
         share, for the six months ended December 31.  That compares
         with a loss of $3.1M, or $3.07 a share, for the period last
         year.  Northwest attributed the loss to "lower attendance
         levels, increased hockey operation expenses and the absence
         of any income tax recovery" (VANCOUVER SUN, 3/1). 
              CUBS: The Cubs debuted their new alternate road jerseys
         yesterday with the "walking bear" logo on the front.  The
         royal blue bear is surrounded by a red "C."  The Cubs
         regular road jersey has "Chicago" written across the front,
         replacing the script "Cubs" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/3).
              JETS: The Jets wanted to make changes in their logo,
         but were told by the NFL they were too late to do anything
         for the '97 season (Gary Myers, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/2).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: Chicago Cubs, Franchises, New York Jets, NFL, NHL, Canucks Sports and Entertainment, Vancouver Canucks
  • US WEST COULD BE BUSY IN LONG DISTANCE DEAL WITH ROCKIES

              Hi Corbett Field in Tuscon, AZ, is now "Hi Corbett
         Field at the US West Sports Complex" after a multimillion-
         dollar sponsorship deal between the Rockies and US West,
         according to Kerri Smith of the DENVER POST.  Terms of the
         deal were  undisclosed, but it calls for advertising,
         marketing and promotional tie-ins between the Rockies and US
         West, according to US West spokesperson Jeff Garrett.  The
         deal also entitles the company to one large US West sign
         inside Coors Field, additional signs in the Coors Field
         concourse, ads in the Rockies' official program, sponsorship
         of player headshots on the JumboTron scoreboard and a "call
         to the bullpen" feature for visiting team pitcher changes. 
         Also, the new "US West Long Distance Homerun" board will
         display how far a Rockies player hits a home run, and the
         company will mount a "US West Home Plate Camera" that will
         have the company's name on televised shots and on video
         screens in the stadium (DENVER POST, 2/28).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Colorado Rockies, Franchises, US West/Qwest
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