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Nashville's Metro Council approved an amendment to the Oilers' stadium agreement that reduces the team's rent by $19.1M over the 30-year life of the lease, according to Rob Moritz of the NASHVILLE BANNER. Council members said their decision to support the change "was swayed heavily" by the Oilers' announcement Monday to locate their $17M practice facility locally in Bellevue and not a neighboring county. The rent change "was needed" because the team had exercised a contract option not to have the practice facility built next to the Nashville stadium. Mayor Phil Bredesen and the Oilers negotiated the rent reduction from $1M a year to $362,319 (NASHVILLE BANNER, 4/17).
The NHL Panthers will purchase a minority interest in the AHL Carolina Monarchs. Carolina Ownership rep Bill Black said that the Panthers, who have a parent-club affiliation with the Monarchs, "probably" would purchase between 25-40% of the team (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 4/16). ...The Stars, who sold out nine of their 41 regular season home games, drew 16,418 last night for their playoff opener against the Oilers at 16,924-seat Reunion Arena (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/17).....The Knicks' Patrick Ewing denied allegations that he sexually harassed a flight attendant on the team's jet (N.Y. POST, 4/17)....Warriors Owner Chris Cohan is interviewed by the S.F. CHRONICLE's David Steele. Cohan says he has "done everything right as far as getting us into a fan-friendly building that they will enjoy going to, and paying for it in a non-taxing way to the public, with no PSLs." Cohan, on the team's front office and on- court performance: "The production has not worked out" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/17)....In Toronto, Steve Simmons writes that "highly placed sources" from within MLB said that the Murray Frum-led bid to buy the Blue Jays is "considered suspect" and "may never be approved" by MLB's ownership committee. Simmons notes the "baseball bosses wonder where the money, the $180 million, is coming from" (TORONTO SUN, 4/17). ...Cablevision and ITT signed a "definitive agreement" for ITT to sell its 50% interest in the MSG sports and entertainment properties to Cablevision (MSG/Cablevision).
The Rams' performance on the field during the '97 season "could have a direct impact on its bottom line" for the first time in the organization's history in St. Louis, according to Josh Gotthelf of the ST. LOUIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Following the '97 season, 20%, or 1,220 of the Rams 6,100 club seat agreements expire. Rams VP/Sales Brian Ulione said 200 of those have already been renewed, leaving 1,000 fans "to decide if they're getting their money's worth." The BUSINESS JOURNAL's Gotthelf notes that over the three years, the length of the shortest club-seat lease, "swaying the undecideds" could be worth $4.5M to the team. This is the last season the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission and Civic Progress has guaranteed to buy unsold club seats, which in two years has contributed over $1M to the team. Also, a $900,000-a-year Southwestern Bell sponsorship is in its final year, as are four other "major" sponsorships that team sources put at close to $250,000 per year each (ST. LOUIS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/14).
The Sacramento City Council gave "what should be the last approval needed" to implement a $70M loan to the Kings, although council approval "came only after considerable debate" about the actual value of Arco Arena, according to Tony Bizjak of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Under the loan deal, the city would end up with the arena if the Kings ever default, but the value of the arena remained unresolved despite the council's loan approval. While the arena was appraised for $87M in '94 by a private valuation company, the county assessor set the value of the arena and the property in it at just under $49M two years ago for property tax purposes. City staff members "have said they guess the arena would be worth about $50M to them, if they were stuck with it." Two pending court suits over the proposed ticket surcharge at the arena must still be resolved before a bond sale to finance the loan can happen (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/16).
A recent Quinnipiac College Poll surveyed New Jersey voters' sports interests and focused on interest in supporting a Yankees move from New York to the Meadowlands. The poll of 867 NJ residents who say they are registered voters was conducted April 1-6 with a margin of error of +/- 3.3%. The poll surveyed fans on the subject of their favorite pro teams. In the NBA, 23% named the Knicks as their favorite team; 10%, Bulls; 7%, 76ers; 5%, Nets. With the NFL, 27% named the Giants as their favorite team; 13%, Eagles; 5%, Jets. In the NHL, 24% list the Devils, 16%, Flyers; 14%, Rangers. For MLB, 36% named the Yankees their favorite team; 13% tabbed the Phillies; 11% named the Mets. The following lists a statewide breakdown of voters' preferences on the future of the Yankees, compared to a similar poll from the end of '96 (Quinnipiac College).SHOULD YANKEES STAY IN NEW YORK OR MOVE TO NEW JERSEY?TOTSOUTHCENTRALNORTHDEC '96
Stay in New York44%45%36%48%48% Move to New Jersey36%32%39%38%27% Don't Know/No Answer20%23%25%15%24%
WHO SHOULD PAY FOR STADIUM IF YANKEES MOVE TO NEW JERSEY?TOTSOUTHCENTRALNORTHDEC '96
The State7%6%6%8%6% Independent/ Meadowlands29%27%30%29%30% Yankees55%58%55%54%55% Don't Know/ No Answer9%9%9%9%9%
IF YANKS MOVED TO N.J., MORE LIKELY OR LESS TO ATTEND A GAME?TOTSOUTHCENTRALNORTHDEC '96
More Likely37%20%40%47%35% Less Likely6%8%6%5%5% No Difference55%71%52%47%58% Don't Know/No Answer1%1%1%2%2%
Today, THE DAILY continues our exclusive MLB team profiles with a look at the Rangers. On deck: The CardsTEAM:
Texas Rangers'97 SLOGAN: "Let's Paint the Town Red"PLAYERS FEATURED: Juan Gonzalez, John Wetteland, Mark McLemorePAYROLL (^): $50, 177,039 (6 of 28)SEASON-TICKETS: 15,100 (full season plans)SELECT KEY SPONSORS: Miller Brewing Co., Coca-Cola, Dodge, Office Depot, A-B, Blockbuster VideoOUTFIELD WALL ADS: Coca-Cola, Office Depot, GTE, Target, A-B, Armitron, Miller Brewing Co.VIRTUAL ADVERTISING: NoneWEB SITE: www.texasrangers.comSITE DESIGNER: Netcom Interactive/Icon InteractiveADVERTISING ON SITE: Ft. Worth Star-TelegramBROADCAST TV: KXAS-TV, KXTX-TVGAMES/YEAR IN DEAL/$: KXAS-15 games, KXTX-35 games/2 of 5/$7MCABLE TV: Fox Sports SouthwestGAMES/YEAR IN DEAL/$: 60 games/1 of 4/naSALES RESPONSIBILITY: Station for both broadcast and cableRADIO: KRLD-AMGAMES/YEAR IN DEAL/$: 162/1 of 1/$4.5MSALES RESPONSIBILITY: Station
Although the Red Wings will continue to use the "Al the Octopus" character as a marketing mascot, the team is "discouraging fans from flinging seafood on the ice" during the Stanley Cup playoffs, according to Steve Schrader of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. The NHL has decreed that "any concerted or widespread conduct by the fans which results in the littering of the ice ... will not be tolerated" and may result in a delay of game penalty. Ted Speers, Wings Dir of Marketing: "We're going to work with fans to keep the octopus as a symbol, not an action." Kevin Dean, owner of a Detroit-area fish market: "As the rounds progress, we'll see our octopus sales increase" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 4/16).