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              TICKET PRICES: WNBA Mercury officials will increase
         ticket prices next season and expect their season-ticket base
         to reach 6,000-8,000, up from 4,500.  Mercury VP/Operations
         Seth Sulka said there would still be 8,000 upper-level seats 
         for $8: "We're not talking about anything massive" (ARIZONA
         REPUBLIC, 11/19)....The ECHL Raleigh IceCaps announced a new
         ticket price -- $5 -- for youth 14-and-under and high school
         and college students with ID (NEWS & OBSERVER, 11/18).
              NHL: The SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS reports that twice in the
         last week, the Sharks have played against teams with African-
         American players.  In each game, the Foreigner song "Dirty
         White Boy" was played when the African-American players were
         sent to the penalty box.  In San Jose, David Pollak asks,
         "Coincidence?  Pattern?  Two minutes for cluelessness?" 
         Sharks Exec VP Malcolm Bordelon: "Mistakes.  Embarrassing
         mistakes."  Bordelon said that the team has pulled the song
         from the playlist (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 11/18).

    Print | Tags: ECHL, Franchises, NHL, Phoenix Mercury, San Jose Sharks

              Raptors Exec VP/GM Isiah Thomas "admitted ... he's
         negotiating for a job with NBC-TV at the same time he's
         trying to cut a better deal for himself with team owner Allan
         Slaight," according to Smith & Young of the TORONTO STAR. 
         Speaking last night, Thomas "refused to put a deadline" on
         the talks with both parties, but a "high-level" NBA official
         said that the situation "should be cleared up by Friday"
         (TORONTO STAR, 11/19).  In Toronto, Craig Daniels writes that
         Thomas "is waiting to see what gives. ... [W]hether Slaight
         will pony up the okay to spend money, specifically on Damon
         Stoudamire ... and generally on the bevy of free agents
         available this summer" (TORONTO SUN, 11/19).  NBC Sports VP
         Ed Markey: "We have no deal with Isiah Thomas, I don't know
         where the report came from.  Maybe somebody at Isiah Thomas's
         office" (Michael Grange, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/19).
              A CLEAN SLAIGHT? In Toronto, Bill Harris writes that
         Slaight "isn't panicking and won't be pushed."  Slaight: "We
         have a contingency plan in place."  He "reacted strongly" to
         suggestions that he had vetoed trades or signings due to a
         "lack of funds."  Slaight: "Those accusations outrage me." 
         Raptors President Richard Peddie: "In my time here there has
         not been a single time when a salary request or player move
         has been flatly turned down" (TORONTO SUN, 11/19).  
              REAX: In Toronto, Stephen Brunt: "Perhaps Thomas sees
         the writing on the wall.  He doesn't have a close
         relationship with Slaight.  He has no relationship with
         Peddie.  It's his own dough that's on the line, and the cash
         calls to get the arena built are proving to be a financial
         strain."  Brunt adds "the biggest threat to the Raptors long-
         term success isn't one man's absence," but "it's an ownership
         that's so strung out financially trying to pay off the
         remaining franchise fee and finance its own arena that it
         doesn't have the wherewithal to compete" (GLOBE & MAIL,
         11/19).  Also in Toronto, Dave Perkins: "[T]he Raptors are
         this close to being in a fight for their very survival in
         this town. ... This is strictly about money ... Whether or
         not Slaight wants to pay for players isn't what matters right
         now; the cash is not there.  The cash is at Lakeshore and
         Bay. ... Both men will be painted as villains, but put the
         extra coat of the stuff on Slaight" (TORONTO STAR, 11/19). 
         In Toronto, Chris Young adds this "is one power play that
         Isiah Thomas can't win" (TORONTO STAR, 11/19).  

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, NBA, NBC, Toronto Raptors

              Twins Owner Carl Pohlad said that he "is committed to
         selling the team" to a group of investors who plan to move it
         to NC after next season, according to Patrick Sweeney of the
         ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS.  In Phoenix, MLB owners appointed a
         five-man committee Tuesday to guide the team through the
         "sport's relocation rules and expedite the sale."  Committee
         Member/Rockies Chair Jerry McMorris: "We really don't want to
         give up on Minnesota.  But the bottom line is you have to do
         what you have to do."  Carl Pohlad's son, Bob, said that MLB
         owners "probably will not take a final vote on the sale until
         mid-February or early March and that owners could reject" the
         sale to NC business exec Don Beaver if MN legislators "agreed
         to build a ballpark by that time" (PIONEER PRESS, 11/19).
              CHARLOTTE'S WEB: The Charlotte Chamber yesterday hosted
         "a private meeting for about 15 business and civic leaders
         who decided to put together a plan to bring baseball to
         Charlotte, including an uptown ballpark" that could cost more
         than $200M, according to Moore & Rhee of the CHARLOTTE
         OBSERVER.  The group "found itself in the delicate position
         of trying to ready a plan -- but not appearing to undermine
         the Greensboro area's efforts to land a team."  Chamber Chair
         Sharon Decker: "The Triad is sitting in the driver's seat
         right now.  We will look at alternatives if there is a need
         for one" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 11/19).   Beaver said that he
         was "encouraged" by the news out of Phoenix and Charlotte:
         "All of this is a confirmation of our efforts and a signal to
         move ahead" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 11/19). 

    Print | Tags: Colorado Rockies, Franchises, Minnesota Twins, MLB
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