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Media companies' ownership of sports teams is examined by Grover, Barrett et al. in BUSINESS WEEK. While 52 public companies have interest in the 130-odd major sports teams in North America, "at least a third" are media companies. BUSINESS WEEK adds that media companies buy sports teams and "programming for one simple, hugely compelling reason: In the fragmenting American TV audience, sports is the only surefire way to land a substantial and predictable audience." News Corp. Co-COO Chase Carey: "Sports programming sells anywhere, anytime" (BUSINESS WEEK, 9/22). THREE IS ENOUGH: In Atlanta, Time Warner Vice Chair Ted Turner spoke at the Commerce Club yesterday. Asked if he wanted to buy the Falcons, Turner said, "We've got enough teams already." To which Braves/Hawks President Stan Kasten chimed in, "Amen" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/16).
A crowd of 63,149 at Sunday's Chargers game "wasn't large enough" to meet the city's "controversial general admission-seat guarantee," according to Barry Bloom of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. If the city "must refund" Sunday's "full 5,000-seat commitment," it would fall $200,000 in arrears, which comes in the form of a rent rebate 30 days after each game. The city can get money back when the total general admission ticket sales are tabulated at the end of the season. On Sunday, Chargers Owner Alex Spanos "angrily declared the guarantee a modest fee" to keep the team in San Diego. Spanos: "At least it shows they want us here. Baltimore gave Art Modell $75 million. And a 15-year lease at a new stadium, rent free." He added that he "shunned several more lucrative offers" to move the team. Spanos: "I love San Diego. I intend to stay here and I don't want to move. And I can't stand what everyone is doing knocking us and knocking the city. Especially when you look at what other cities have done." The club has "actively marketed" its premium seats, having sold about 90%, and Spanos said that for the first time the team will turn a "healthy profit" this season (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 9/15).
The future of the NHL Oilers "remained uncertain" as two "separate local consortiums put the final touches to deals they hope will keep the team" in Edmonton, according to Dolphin & MacDonald of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. The group considered the "front-runner" is led by Cathy Roozen, heir to the Charles Allard fortune, and "software tycoon" Bruce Saville. A second consortium is led by Robert Proznik, a property manager and restauranteur. Dolphin & MacDonald report that "none of those interviewed ... thought Proznik and his consortium -- believed to include another restauranteur and a financial consultant -- had deep enough pockets to compete against Roozen and Saville." Proznik could not be reached for comment (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 9/16).