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HURRICANES' "STRUGGLE" IN CAROLINA GETS FRONT-PAGE ATTENTION
Published December 8, 1997
The Hurricanes' move from Hartford to NC so far "has been a struggle," according to Bryan Gruley of the WALL STREET JOURNAL, who examines the team's move in a front-page feature. Gruley: "To claim its place among America's great metropolises, upstart Raleigh is out to prove it can support a major professional sports franchise." But with the team playing in Greensboro while their Raleigh arena is completed, the 'Canes average attendance of 8,500 is "the lowest" in the NHL, as "Raleighites haven't proven eager" to make the 150 mile round-trip drive to Greensboro, "nor to pay $50 to $100 for a decent seat." Team Dir of Ticket Ops James Baldwin also said, "There's a lot of jealousy, which we didn't realize, between Greensboro and Charlotte and Raleigh." But Gruley writes that 'Canes Owner Peter Karmanos and area leaders are unfazed. Karmanos: "This is a tremendous opportunity. When we move to Raleigh, everything will be fine." With the team "prepared to lose more than" $20M in its first two seasons in NC, and having signed a 20-year arena lease, "divorce is almost unthinkable in this marriage of North and South." The team is "counting on three core audiences to help" it succeed in Raleigh, "companies from all over the world, people from the South and people originally from the North." Sims Hinds, VP/Raleigh Arena Management, said that the team has leased 49 of its 72 luxury boxes at a price of $110,000-140,000 (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/8).