SBD/17/Franchises

WHY IS DON SMILEY-ING? TALK IN MIAMI OF DOWNTOWN PARK

          Marlins President Don Smiley and city of Miami execs
     have "quietly been discussing the franchise's future - one
     that could include a move to downtown Miami," according to
     Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD.  Miami Mayor Joe Carollo
     said Thursday that he has had "several conversations" with
     Smiley about "everything from changing the name of the team
     to the 'Miami Marlins' to building a stadium adjacent to the
     Heat's planned bayfront arena."  Carollo said that he would
     be "willing to consider" the use of a tourist hotel tax to
     help finance a new ballpark, and that marked the "first time
     a local official has publicly expressed" possible public
     investment in a facility.  Smiley said he "won't seriously
     pursue" a new stadium until he purchases the team, and that
     he "remains confident" that he will be able to put together
     an investment group (MIAMI HERALD, 10/17).
          FISH BITS: In Miami, Anne Moncreiff Arrarte wrote that,
     "[M]arketers from Manhattan to Miami are rushing to take
     advantage of the momentum" of the Marlins postseason run. 
     The team's official sponsors, including American Airlines,
     NationsBank, Blockbuster and AutoNation, have received
     "first dibs" on all new postseason promotions (MIAMI HERALD,
     10/16)....Pro Player Stadium has sold out for all four World
     Series games, with each expected to draw more than 65,000
     (Marlins)....The Ft. Lauderdale Convention and Visitors
     Bureau estimates that the Marlins participation in the World
     Series will result in a $24M regional economic impact (SUN-
     SENTINEL, 10/16)....The Marlins' popularity, especially
     among Miami's Hispanic population, is examined by USA
     TODAY's Tom Weir in a front-page cover-story: "The Marlins
     multinational roster has tapped the spirit of Miami's
     Spanish speaking community in a way that football,
     basketball and ice hockey can't" (USA TODAY, 10/17).

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