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  • FALCONS SMITH MEMORIALIZED, REMEMBERED AS "CIVIC TREASURE"

              At a memorial service for Falcons Owner Rankin Smith
         yesterday, the "unwavering love of his birthplace and
         football team and, most important, his family, both nuclear
         and extended, were common themes," according to Len
         Pasquarelli of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION.  The service was
         "so well-attended that the crowd filled every pew and
         spilled over into a nearby chapel."  Commissioner Paul
         Tagliabue and "at least" 10 NFL owners attended, and
         "virtually" every franchise was represented at the service. 
         Before the service, Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell said that
         part of the city's Super Bowl XXXIV festivities will include
         "honoring Smiths's role" in bringing two Super Bowl games to
         the city (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/29).  Tagliabue, on
         Smith's legacy: "It is hard to balance.  The most visible
         thing was the won-lost record.  What was less visible was
         his laying the groundwork for the future.  The bringing of
         the NFL to Atlanta.  The Georgia Dome.  The Super Bowls. 
         I'm sure it was his great wish that [son] Taylor and the
         rest of the family turn around that record.  That would make
         him smile most of all" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/29).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Falcons, Franchises, NFL
  • FRANCHISE NOTES

              Former Labatt exec Don McDougall, a "key player" in
         landing the Blue Jays in '76, is part of Lawrence Dale's new
         group trying to buy the team (TORONTO STAR, 10/29)....The
         Hawks will play the Bulls on November 7 in front of "the
         biggest home crowd in franchise history."  Hawks Exec VP Lee
         Douglas said the lower decks at the Georgia Dome are sold
         out of more than 21,000 tickets and that the team is now
         selling $10 tickets for Dome's upper deck (ATLANTA
         CONSTITUTION, 10/29)....In Sacramento, R.E. Graswich wrote
         that Kings Owner Jim Thomas "is a proud man, tough and
         tested ... but the nonsense with the Kings is getting to
         him."  Graswich added that people close to Thomas "indicate
         he's nearing the end of his rope" (SACRAMENTO BEE,
         10/28)....The Padres have increased ticket prices for the
         '98 season.  The "biggest increase" is $2 for skyboxes and
         infield field-level seats that will cost $18.  Ticket prices
         for "nearly half of the seats" at Qualcomm Stadium "will not
         go up" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 10/25).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Franchises, Labatt Brewing, San Diego Padres, Time Warner, Toronto Blue Jays
  • STAY INDOORS! THESE PURPLE PEOPLE EATERS MAY BE ON THE MOVE

              The Vikings "are for sale and secretly have been on the
         market for at least two months," according to two team
         sources cited by Don Banks of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. 
         Vikings Vice Chair and part Owner Philip Maas and a "second
         team source" said that the team's Board members have
         "already entertained four out-of-state prospective buyers"
         and have "received and rejected" a $150M bid for the team. 
         The interested suitors represent L.A., Toronto, Birmingham,
         AL, and one other "unidentified area."  But Banks writes
         that no group representing Cleveland "is involved."  The
         Vikings' Maas said the four potential buyers "have already
         visited the Twin Cities," and the second source "confirmed"
         that the initial bid came from the "unidentified area."  It
         is "believed" that the bidder "intends to keep" the team in
         MN.  The asking price for the team is "estimated between"
         $150-210M, "depending on how an offer is structured to
         include the team's debt."  Team President Roger Headrick
         "declined to comment" on the report (STAR TRIBUNE, 10/29).
              BOOK REPORT: Maas and two other Vikings' owners said
         that Coach Dennis Green "could help diffuse" the controversy
         surrounding his new book by "giving his explanation,
         although they are not demanding an apology," according to
         Jeff Seidel of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS.  Green is
         scheduled to meet with reporters this afternoon (PIONEER
         PRESS, 10/29.  Controversy surrounding the book "has helped
         spark an explosion of interest" as Barnes & Noble "decided
         this week" to distribute the book nationally and has
         "ordered additional copies."  The book had a first printing
         of 10,000-15,000, and David Kasel, Dir of Marketing of
         Sagamore Publishing, the book's publisher, said that
         "[a]bout" 25% of the print run has gone out this week, and
         "that's very good" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/29).   
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Minnesota Vikings
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