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  • FRANCHISE NOTES

              In Boston, Peter May on Larry Bird saying he plans to
         return to basketball in a front office position: "In short,
         [Celtics Chair Paul] Gaston is the one in whose hands this
         whole matter lies.  His judgment is on the line.  His
         stewardship of the franchise is on the line.  His fiduciary
         responsibility to shareholders is on the line.  He has the
         franchise's most valuable resource in the last generation
         issuing a clarion call. Will he listen?" (BOSTON GLOBE,
         3/30)....Washington Sports President Susan O'Malley, on
         reaction to ticket increases for the Bullets and Caps at the
         new MCI Center: "The (fans') reaction is what we though it
         would be."  In DC, Heath & Solomon note although "several"
         interviewed expressed concerns over MCI Center, including
         parking, safety, and the ticket price increases, most said
         they would stay with the teams (WASHINGTON POST, 3/30).
              
    
    

    Print | Tags: Boston Celtics, Franchises
  • HARTFORD MAKES ONE FINAL PLAY TO SAVE THE WHALE

              A group of Hartford business and political leaders
         "want to broker an agreement" with the Whalers to keep the
         team in a new arena in Hartford, according to Mike Swift of
         the HARTFORD COURANT.  The group is "reaching out" to Owner
         Peter Karmanos "with a carrot and a rope" to bring him back
         to the bargaining table with CT Gov. John Rowland.  The
         group is asking the Rowland Administration to delay final
         approval of the team's $20.5M exit agreement with the state
         and is offering the team $20M in support from the city. 
         Swift writes that Karmanos "apparently did not understand
         the full value of the city's offer" when he rejected the
         state's final bid last week.  Whalers President Jim
         Rutherford: "I hope that the change in the offer is enough
         to make this deal work."   Also, Brian Foley, owner of the
         CBA Connecticut Pride, said he would head a group to buy the
         Whalers if operating losses "can be cut" to $6M annually. 
         They are now estimated at $15M/year (HARTFORD COURANT, 4/1).
              REAX:  Hartford Mayor Michael Peters, who is leading
         the effort at mediation: "I gotta give a damn.  I'm the
         mayor" (Tom Puleo, HARTFORD COURANT, 4/1).  An editorial in
         Friday's COURANT called Karmanos' "cavalier fatalism about
         what to the Hartford region is a major economic blow was
         galling."  It also wrote that Rowland's negotiations with
         Karmanos "seemed lethargic from the outset. His tone never
         reflected the urgency of the situation" (HARTFORD COURANT,
         3/28).  COURANT sports columnist Jeff Jacobs gave two
         reasons the Whalers failed: a history of poor performance
         and the fact that "distant fiefdoms in our state don't give
         a hoot about" the team (HARTFORD COURANT, 3/29).  The
         COURANT's Swift & Keating wrote an extensive page-one piece
         Sunday entitled "Anatomy Of A Deal That Didn't Happen"
         (HARTFORD COURANT, 3/30).  In N.Y., Frank Brown wrote "just
         about everybody" did their "best" to keep the team in
         Hartford.  Brown: "It didn't work out, and that's that.  You
         can't keep throwing good money after bad, so goodbye" (N.Y.
         DAILY NEWS, 3/28).
              SUITORS: ESPN's Keith Olbermann: "Remember hockey fans,
         this team could be yours, if -- the price is right" 
         ("SportsCenter," 3/27).  Karmanos, on potential new homes
         for the Whalers: "Columbus is in it big time.  I like
         Columbus."  He also said St. Paul, MN, and Raleigh-Durham,
         NC, "are at the top of his list" (Kevin Allen, USA TODAY,
         3/28).  In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont wrote that "insiders
         say" that Las Vegas "is a Karmanos favorite" (BOSTON GLOBE,
         3/30).  In MN, Gov. Arne Carlson said he would support bonds
         to renovate the St. Paul Civic Center in an effort to lure
         the team (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/28).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Franchises, Walt Disney
  • JAZZ AND DELTA CENTER OPPOSE STATE'S TAX SYSTEM

              Delta Center officials are "protesting" UT's process
         for determining sales taxes on the arena's luxury suites,
         according to Sheila McCann in the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE.  Arena
         and Jazz officials "are also objecting" to the state's
         decisions to tax promotional items given out at games, and
         to tax handling fees collected for telephone ticket orders. 
         UT Tax Commissioners ruled against the arena and the Jazz in
         February, but an appeal was filed last Wednesday in District
         Court by the parent companies of the team and arena.  The
         taxes in question have already been paid, and cover an audit
         period between October '91 and September '94.  According to
         Bob Hyde, VP/Finance for the Jazz and Delta Center, the
         disputed amount is "significant," but is not a "major
         financial setback" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 3/28).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Utah Jazz
  • NBC PURCHASES OWNERSHIP STAKE IN MADISON SQUARE GARDEN

              An agreement yesterday between NBC and Cablevision
         "converted" NBC's stakes in cable services owned by
         Cablevision's Rainbow Programming Holdings "into 25 percent
         of Rainbow itself," according to Richard Sandomir of the
         N.Y. TIMES.  Rainbow owns 50% of MSG and has agreed to
         purchase the rest from ITT by '99.  By owning 25% of
         Rainbow, NBC will "ultimately own" 25% of MSG.  Sandomir:
         "The possibility that Rainbow, with the Garden as one of its
         assets, could go public is intriguing" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/1). 
         The agreement did not include a cash transaction and NBC
         will assume no debt.  NBC said future projects with Rainbow
         "could include" new cable networks and local TV programming
         (Mark Robichaux, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/1).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Franchises, Madison Square Garden, NBC
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