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              The Atlanta NHL expansion team which plans to be called
         the Thrashers "has filed a federal lawsuit" against the
         owner of a S.F.-based skateboard magazine named Thrasher and
         "seeks a court order giving the club permission to use that
         name as well," according to Henry Unger of the ATLANTA
         CONSTITUTION.  The team, which initially offered $50,000 for
         the name, "has failed so far" to negotiate a financial deal
         that would compensate the 17-year-old magazine, which has a
         trademark for the name and sells other merchandise using it. 
         Unger adds the name "now becomes a key legal and financial
         battle for the franchise just before it had planned to
         unveil its logo and merchandise" (ATL. CONSTITUTION, 1/7).  

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NHL

              A federal tax court "has upheld the way" Broncos Owner
         Pat Bowlen valued the team when he purchased it in '84,
         according to the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS.  The decision "allows
         him to retain" a $1.35M tax deduction "that has been in
         dispute for nine years."  The "key issue" involved whether
         Bowlen's acquisition of the team was "technically the
         purchase of a franchise or the purchase of a partnership." 
         By contending that it was the purchase of a partnership, he
         was able to write off $36.1M in player contracts against
         future profits.  The IRS "questioned the tactics," leading
         to Bowlen filing a complaint (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 1/7).

    Print | Tags: Denver Broncos, Franchises

              In Edmonton, Jac MacDonald reports that Alberta
         Treasury Branches (ATB) "has tightened its grip" on the
         business affairs of the NHL Oilers by appointing its second
         rep on the team's Board of Directors.  Oilers COO John
         Ramsey has joined Robert Kallir and Owner Peter Pocklington
         on the boards of the Oilers and Coliseum Management. 
         Kallir, who is ATB's General Counsel, was appointed to the
         board last spring.  Each of the directors has a single vote
         on team affairs (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 1/7)....In Dallas, the
         smallest Reunion Arena crowd in 14 years, 8,833, watched the
         Mavericks beat the Nuggets last night (DALLAS MORNING NEWS,
         1/7)....NEWSDAY's Rob Parker, on the Nets' desire to move
         out of Continental Airlines Arena: "It's time to move off
         Exit 16W of the New Jersey Turnpike. ... No matter how you
         slice it, they will ultimately never make it there"
         (NEWSDAY, 1/7)....In St. Paul, columnist Jim Caple writes
         the Vikings must "dump Roger Headrick from control as team
         president.  Headrick's disgraceful management has held the
         Vikings back more than anyone.  If the team is to have any
         hope in the future, he must go first" (PIONEER PRESS, 1/7).

    Print | Tags: Continental Airlines, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, Minnesota Vikings, Brooklyn Nets, NHL

              Twins Owner Carl Pohlad and Acting MLB Commissioner Bud
         Selig have received questions from MN Attorney General
         Hubert Humphrey III "seeking information that could be the
         basis for an attack" on MLB's antitrust exemption, according
         to Weiner & Whereatt of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  Twins
         President Jerry Bell: "It's a let's-go-after-antitrust
         things (questionnaire).  They're fishing, is what they're
         doing."  MLB Dir of PR Rich Levin said questions for Selig
         were forwarded to MLB's lawyers.  Weiner & Whereatt write,
         "Exactly what avenues Humphrey is pursuing are unclear." 
         Traditionally, MLB's exemption "has served to limit
         franchise movement, not encourage it."  Potential Twins
         buyer Clark Griffith said that he's "concerned" about
         challenging the exemption, adding that it "is of enormous
         benefit" to MN baseball fans (STAR TRIBUNE, 1/7).

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Franchises, Minnesota Twins, MLB

              The Tampa Sports Authority (TSA) lost "nearly" $4M over
         the past two years because of "incentives given" to the Bucs
         to remain in Tampa, according to Wayne Washington of the ST.
         PETERSBURG TIMES.  The TSA lost $1.8M in '96 and $2M in '97
         because it "allowed the Bucs to play in Houlihan's Stadium
         rent-free and keep all parking and concession revenue during
         those seasons."  Beginning next season, when the Bucs move
         into a new stadium, the TSA "expects to collect" $3.5M in
         rent from the team and "just under" $2M from a ticket
         surcharge.  Under normal circumstances, the county or city
         of Tampa "would have to cover TSA losses;" however, because
         the TSA held some money "in reserve against anticipated
         losses," that won't be the case (ST. PETE TIMES, 1/6).  
              ADIDAS PARK? Two companies, Eckerd and Fuji, "have
         shown an interest" in naming rights to the Bucs stadium, and
         that "[a]n athletic apparel company -- possibly Adidas -- is
         also reportedly talking to the Bucs."  The team had no
         comment (Dave Simanoff, TAMPA BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/5).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Nationals

              Stars Owner Tom Hicks is buying the MLB Rangers, paying
         what a source says is $250M for the team, the ballpark lease
         and surrounding property, according to Sullivan & Schnurman
         of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM.  The Rangers have scheduled
         a news conference today to announce the deal.  A source
         familiar with the purchase said it includes the team's lease
         at The Ballpark; a 165,000-square-foot office building; a
         ballpark restaurant; more than 300 acres of nearby land; and
         the option to acquire additional acreage nearby.  A source
         close to the team said that Tom Schieffer will remain as
         club president.  Schieffer and Hicks did not return phone
         calls yesterday (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/7).  In Dallas,
         a source told Gerry Fraley that Hicks will pay more than
         $230M for the team.  An MLB source said that Hicks began the
         ownership approval process yesterday by visiting the
         league's office in N.Y. (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/7).
              TV TALK: Fraley adds that several MLB officials said
         Hicks "probably pursued the Rangers to provide valuable
         programming for LIN Television," since he could use the
         Stars and Rangers as the foundation for an RSN "that would
         include some games offered" on PPV (DALLAS MORNING NEWS,
         1/7).  In Dallas, Barry Horn reports that with the Stars' TV
         deal with KDFI expiring next year, that team could move to
         KXTX, a Hicks-owned station (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/7).  
              IMPACT ON ARENA: Some analysts said buying the Rangers
         "could hurt" Hicks' bid to get Dallas voters to approve a
         new arena for the Stars and Mavericks, while others said it
         "won't sway" the January 17 election, according to Lee &
         Gillman of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS.  Some analysts added
         owning the Rangers "could strengthen" Hicks' hand "by giving
         him a tie to Arlington and a reason to move the Stars there
         if Dallas' arena vote fails" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/7).
              PRAISE: In Dallas, columnist Randy Galloway writes,
         "Hicks brings a dynamic new dimension combined with having
         quick success in the Stars' turnaround."  Galloway adds that
         the Rangers' current ownership is selling in part because
         some of the minority investors want to cash in on their
         original investment.  Among the group is TX Gov. George W.
         Bush, "who reportedly wanted out before he announced his
         intentions to run for President" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/7).

    Print | Tags: Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, Franchises, MLB, Texas Rangers
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