SBD/9/Franchises

TAMPA EXECS TRY TO CATCH LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE TO BOOST GATE

          According to official NHL documents obtained by Tom
     Jackson of the TAMPA TRIBUNE, in seven games played at the
     Ice Palace through November 14, the Lightning were
     "substantially" behind last season's year-to-date totals in
     paid attendance, percentage of arena capacity and ticket
     revenue.  The Lightning were down nearly 26% in paid
     attendance, down 20% in arena capacity, and down 11.1% in
     ticket revenue.  Lightning President Steve Oto: "We are not
     quite pleased."  Jackson reports that this comes after a
     nearly 20% increase in ticket prices.  While the Capitals,
     Avalanche and Oilers joined the Lightning in raising ticket
     prices, only the Lightning have a year-to-year decrease in
     ticket revenue to show for their increase.  Oto attributed
     the team's early-season struggle to the success of the NFL
     Bucs and the Lightnings' poor start (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/9).

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