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  • BLIZZARD SEEMS TO BE A POPULAR FORECAST IN NEW ENGLAND

              The ABL Blizzard was profiled by Greg Garber in a
         front-page piece in Sunday's HARTFORD COURANT.  The Blizzard
         have drawn eight of the 11 largest crowds in ABL history
         this season at the Hartford Civic Center.  Garber wrote that
         ticket prices, which average around $11, have "something to
         do" with the team's success, while the success of the UConn
         women's basketball team has been another "significant
         factor."  The team, which has "only" 24 full-time employees,
         saw its season-ticket base in Hartford "swell" from 1,900 to
         5,088.  Garber added that a Blizzard crowd "isn't anything
         like a Whalers or UConn men's crowd."  Garber: "You can buy
         a beer in about 30 seconds, but you'll have to invest some
         time in the line for ice cream sundaes."  ABL CEO Gary
         Cavalli said that women's basketball is most popular with
         "[f]amilies with female children, professional women who are
         single, and senior citizens."  Blizzard GM Pam Batalis added
         that the sport "gives the gay and lesbian community a
         legitimate sports environment."  Batalis: "We fill a very
         large void or niche in the marketplace. ... Seniors, gay and
         lesbian groups, families with girls, never had this outlet
         before" (Greg Garber, HARTFORD COURANT, 1/11). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises
  • FRANCHISE NOTES

              Former Seahawks coach Chuck Knox has filed a $6M
         lawsuit against Seahawks Owner Paul Allen in L.A. Superior
         Court, claiming "he helped broker" Allen's $200M purchase of
         the team "and didn't get the commission he was promised"
         (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/12)....Detroit's WNBA team will be
         called the Shock and be coached by Nancy Lieberman-Cline
         (DETROIT NEWS, 1/11)....The ABL StingRays drew 6,006
         Saturday at The Pond in Anaheim, but StingRays GM Bill
         McGillis said, "We're still committed to Long Beach as our
         home" (L.A. TIMES, 1/11)....In Philadelphia, Phillies Chair
         Bill Giles: "Somebody told me they heard on TV we'd be sold
         by opening day.  I can tell you unequivocally that nobody is
         talking to us, and even if they did, we have no interest
         whatsoever" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/11).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Palace Sports & Entertainment, Philadelphia Phillies, Seattle Seahawks, Vulcan Ventures, WNBA
  • MCMULLEN MEETS WITH NETS OWNERS; NJSEA'S MULCAHY TO RUTGERS?

              Devils Owner John McMullen "appears to have renewed his
         pitch" to buy the Nets "as part of a bid to secure a
         secondary tenant for his proposed arena in Hoboken," a
         "highly placed source" told Steve Hirsch of the Bergen
         RECORD.  McMullen, who met with members of the Nets
         ownership group on Friday: "I'm just not going to discuss my
         private affairs anymore."  One source, on McMullen: "His
         ultimate goal is to buy the team.  I think it's a question
         of how high the Nets' price is.  I've heard it's $150
         million.  The question is whether they cop out at $125
         million because they want the money" (Bergen RECORD, 1/10). 
         In N.Y., Fred Kerber reported that the Nets' meeting with
         McMullen was "not to hear an offer to buy the team, but
         rather a proposal to join the Devils in Hoboken" (N.Y. POST,
         1/11).  The Nets are due to begin talks with the state
         within two weeks, and the RECORD's John Rowe wrote that NJ
         Gov. Christie Whitman most likely "will extend [NJ Sports &
         Exposition Authority Chair] Robert Mulcahy's contract beyond
         its Jan. 31 expiration date so that Mulcahy can sit on the
         other side of the bargaining table from Nets President
         Michael Rowe, his former right-hand man" (RECORD, 1/11). 
              MULCAHY TO RUTGERS? Whitman has proposed that Mulcahy
         take over Rutgers' athletic department, according to Abby
         Goodnough of the N.Y. TIMES.  While Whitman and others said
         Rutgers President Francis Lawrence should "snap up" Mulcahy,
         whose NJSEA term ends this month, Lawrence said he would
         conduct a nationwide search for a new AD (N.Y. TIMES, 1/10).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New Jersey Devils, Brooklyn Nets, YankeeNets
  • REPORTS HAVE ED SNIDER SNOOPING AROUND THE METRODOME

              Flyers & 76ers Chair Ed Snider met last week with the
         Vikings' Wheelock Whitney and other members of the committee
         appointed to sell the team, according to Sid Hartman of the
         Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  Whitney "refused to confirm the
         visit," but Hartman wrote that Snider "did tour the
         Metrodome and is a serious candidate to buy the club" (STAR
         TRIBUNE, 1/10).  In St. Paul, Charley Walters reported that
         it's "a decent bet" that Snider "would form a management
         company to operate the Metrodome if he can acquire the
         Vikings."  Walters: "If Snider, regarded in the professional
         sports business as a fair and good operator with a 'regular
         guy' reputation, were to purchase the Vikings, he could
         manage the Metrodome, as well as its concession service,
         under a 20- to 30-year lease" (PIONEER PRESS, 1/11).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Comcast-Spectacor, Franchises, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Flyers
  • SMILEY HOLDING "SIGNIFICANT MEETINGS" IN HIS BID FOR MARLINS

              The Marlins' "unsettled ownership situation should be
         clarified by the end of January," according to Barry Jackson
         of the MIAMI HERALD.  Speaking through a spokesperson, Owner
         Wayne Huizenga said that Marlins President Don Smiley will
         have "significant meetings" this month, and then he will
         decide "whether to abandon efforts to put together an
         investment group to buy the team."  Smiley would not
         comment, but Jackson wrote that "he is believed to be trying
         to borrow from banks to help finance the deal."  However, NL
         rules say financing of a sale must have two parts equity to
         one part debt (Barry Jackson, MIAMI HERALD, 1/11).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Miami Marlins, Franchises
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