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Toronto businessman Lawrence Heisey confirmed that he is part of the consortium headed by Murray Frum that is bidding to acquire the Blue Jays (TORONTO STAR, 4/29)....NBA Commissioner David Stern said he "doesn't plan to pressure" the Clippers, who finished last in the league in attendance, to move to the Pond at Anaheim (L.A. TIMES, 4/29)....ESPN's "SportsCenter" examined the success of the Mariners. Post- Intelligencer columnist Art Thiel: "Their campaign, 'You've got to love these guys,' has worked very, very well because you do." Pitcher Norm Charlton: "We've got a bunch of players that are very likeable by the fans, kids can look up to them. They're not getting into a fight twice a week, or they're not getting pulled over with a gun in their car or drugs in their car" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 4/28).
Sales of Super Bowl merchandise, "most of it featuring" the Packers, hit a record-setting $130M, according to NFL Properties documents cited by Larry Weisman in USA TODAY. The previous record was $100M for '96's Cowboys-Steelers Super Bowl XXX. Among the sales breakdown: Logo Athletic's selling of 650,000 Packers' locker-room hats. The previous high for such hats was 400,000 Bulls hats after they won the NBA title last year; NFL Films' Packers highlights video selling more than 65,000 copies in its first five days, making it the fastest-selling sports video ever. Another 64,000 sold the next week; and the NFL selling 950,000 Super Bowl programs, topping the record of 700,000 for the '86 Bears-Patriots Super Bowl XX (USA TODAY, 4/29). TRUST FUND BABY: Packers President Bob Harlan said he hoped to start a trust fund this fall for a new stadium if the NFL approves a plan for the team to sell shares of stock, according to Cliff Christl of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Harlan "said he was not sounding any alarms," but "said he though it was imperative" that the team start planning for a new stadium (JOURNAL-SENTINEL, 4/29).
Raleigh's "latest flirtation" with the NHL "is starting to look very serious," as Whalers Owner Peter Karmanos said Monday evening that his decision to relocate to Raleigh, N.C. or Columbus, OH, would "come in the next few days." Raleigh's Centennial Authority overseeing the city's planned arena has hired Maryland Stadium Authority Chair John Moag, who was the lead negotiator in bringing the NFL back to Baltimore. Moag "is expected to contact" Karmanos today (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 4/29). The Durham Herald-Sun this morning quotes Raleigh Chamber of Commerce President Harvey Schmitt as saying, "Get ready to lace up your skates." The HARTFORD COURANT's Greg Garber notes "in private conversations in recent days, Whalers executives have taken to speaking highly of Raleigh, while acknowledging problems in Columbus." The Hockey News is also predicting the team will land in Raleigh as the league "does not want to alienate" Lamar Hunt, who is bidding for an NHL team in Columbus (HARTFORD COURANT, 4/29).
Today, THE DAILY continues our MLB team profiles with a look at the Cubs. The Tribune Co. owns the team, WGN-AM, WGN-TV and ChicagoLand TV. On deck: The Blue Jays.TEAM:
Chicago Cubs'97 SLOGAN: NonePLAYERS FEATURED: Mark Grace, Brian McRae, Shawon Dunston, Ryne Sandberg, Sammy Sosa (print ads)PAYROLL: $39,829,333 (14 of 28)SEASON-TICKET BASE: approx. 15,000 (9,000 full; 6,000 partial)SELECT KEY SPONSORS: A-B, PepsiCo, Chrysler, Lincoln Mercury, Chicago Tribune, Southwest AirlinesOUTFIELD WALL ADS: NoneVIRTUAL ADVERTISING: NoneWEB SITE: www.cubs.comSITE DESIGNER: Chicago-based Tribune Media ServicesWEB SITE ADVERTISING: Handled by teamBROADCAST TV: WGN-TVGAMES/YEAR IN DEAL/$: 140+/na/naSALES RESPONSIBILITY: StationCABLE TV: ChicagoLand TVGAMES/YEAR IN DEAL/$: 11/na/naSALES RESPONSIBILITY: StationRADIO: WGN-AMGAMES/YEAR/$: 162/na/naSALES RESPONSIBILITY: Station
The White Sox have "backed down" from their policy requiring fans who want tickets to the series with the Cubs in June to buy seats for three other games, according to the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Fans who did purchase "4-Pack" tickets will get first choice at buying the best remaining upper- deck seats for the Cubs series, with season-ticket holders and group customers following in priority (CHICAGO SUN TIMES, 4/29). In Chicago, Steve Rosenbloom notes that until May 27, tickets to the Cubs games can only be bought inside Comiskey Park. Rosenbloom notes White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf "instituted the plan because he didn't want Cubs fans showing up. Now, apparently, he'll settle for anyone showing up" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/29).