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  • DESPITE LOSSES AND RED INK, MCCAW REMAINS COMMITTED TO TEAMS

              Six months into his term as Orca Bay Sports &
         Entertainment's President & CEO, Stephen Bellringer
         "commands a corporation immersed in a sea of red ink caused
         by rising salaries ... and an unsteady Canadian dollar,"
         according to Grant Kerr of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL.  Kerr
         reports that Northwest Sports Enterprises, the Orca Bay
         subsidiary which owns the Canucks, reported a loss of C$15M
         through the first half of the NHL season after reporting a
         loss of C$21.2M last year.  This season, the Canucks may
         report losses up to C$30M, and the Grizzlies up to C$9M. 
         Bellringer, on Vancouver's "mid-market" status: "We get no
         market-size relief from the NHL, zero, under the current
         policies.  We are obviously concerned about the losses, but
         there's no magic-wand solution."  Bellringer, who said Orca
         Bay is "committed" to retaining its top players, including
         Pavel Bure and Shareef Abdur-Rahim: "It's a North American
         business, competing for North American talent.  You can't go
         to the players ... and offer Canadian dollars."  Bellringer
         added that Orca Bay Owner John McCaw's commitment to the two
         teams "has not wavered," while "admitting there may be room
         for additional partners" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 3/10).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NHL, Canucks Sports and Entertainment, Vancouver Canucks
  • FRANCHISE NOTES

              MLB: ESPN's Peter Gammons reported that Marlins
         President Don Smiley thinks a deal to buy the team "will be
         done by sometime in May or June."  Gammons adds that the
         Marlins are "still looking at possibly ending up with close
         to" 13,000 or 14,000 season tickets, "which isn't that great
         a decline from the" 16,500 the team had in '97 ("Baseball
         Tonight," 3/9)....The D'Backs are considering a proposal to
         transport fans to games in shuttle buses.  D'Backs Managing
         General Partner Jerry Colangelo: "I think the potential is
         there for a crisis."  The cost of the shuttle service could
         come from the city's share of new sales-tax dollars
         generated by the baseball team (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/10). 
              HOCKEY: Red Wings Owner Mike Ilitch, after matching the
         $38M offer sheet for Sergei Fedorov and the impact of
         lucrative contracts on the NHL: "[T]he difference in hockey
         is that we don't have the owners ... to sustain that kind of
         heat.  They're not getting anything out of national TV, so
         you've only got your gate, basically" (DETROIT FREE PRESS,
         3/10)....Despite his increasing interest in film production
         and the increased role of co-Owner Roger Marino, Penguins
         co-Owner Howard Baldwin said there is "no change" in his
         role with the team.  Baldwin: "I've always been devoted to
         the Pens, it's just that now I have a partner [Marino] who
         is really enjoying it, and that's a good thing."  Baldwin,
         asked if he will keep his interest in the team: "Absolutely"
         (TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 3/10)....The WPHL announced the addition of
         its 15th franchise for next season in Tupelo, MS.  The team
         joins two other new franchises in Corpus Christi, TX and
         Arkansas (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/9).
              NOTES: The Bills and Rochester, NY-based Wegmans Food
         Markets are negotiating for the supermarket chain to become
         the team's new main ticket outlet, making tickets available
         in 55 stores in NY and PA (DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 3/9)...The
         NPSL Milwaukee Wave announced a sellout of 18,000-plus for
         its game Friday night, the largest crowd in Wave and NPSL
         history.  The "drawing card" is Brett Favre, who will appear
         in a halftime promo titled "One on One with Brett Favre" and
         will throw 30 passes to fans in a fund-raising event for
         Children's Hospital of WI (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/7).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Red Wings, ESPN, Miami Marlins, Franchises, MLB, NHL, NPSL, Pittsburgh Penguins, Walt Disney
  • THE SUM OF FOUR PARTS: TAGLIABUE TO MEET WITH VIKES OWNERS

              The Vikings "saga" took an "unexpected turn Monday with
         news NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will receive some
         further but final testimony Wednesday morning from four of
         the team's co-owners," according to Don Banks of the
         Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  Tagliabue, who will meet with
         John Skoglund, Wheelock Whitney, James Jundt and N. Bud
         Grossman, has assured all parties that he is prepared to
         "promptly issue his decision" after Wednesday's hearing
         (STAR TRIBUNE, 3/10).  In St. Paul, Jeff Seidel writes that
         "some believe Tagliabue has decided [Vikings President
         Roger] Headrick has the right to match [Tom] Clancy's offer
         but will give the owners one last chance to explain their
         stance," while others believe Tagliabue "wants to hear the
         owners explain their mindset and the partnership agreement
         before deciding in their favor" (PIONEER PRESS, 3/10).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Franchises, Minnesota Vikings, NFL
  • U.S. SENATE ANTITRUST SUBCOMMITTEE AIMS TO QUESTION MURDOCH

              The U.S. Senate's Antitrust Subcommittee "is planning
         to move forward with a hearing April 1 that will take a look
         at concentration in the cable business, including Rupert
         Murdoch's deal to control the Dodgers," according to
         Christopher Stern of VARIETY.  U.S. Senate staffers said
         Murdoch's potential ownership of the Dodgers, as well as of
         FSW and L.A.-based KTTV, "raises issues that they would like
         to examine at the hearing."  While Senate staffers
         reportedly "would like to book an appearance" by Murdoch,
         News Corp.'s Washington lobbyist Peggy Binzel said that an
         invitation to testify "had not been issued" (VARIETY, 3/10). 
              DODGERS SALE OK? The AP cites two anonymous members of
         MLB's Exec Council who "predicted" that the Dodgers sale to
         News Corp. "will be approved next week" (Ronald Blum, AP,
         3/9).  D'Backs Managing General Partner Jerry Colangelo also
         said that he expects the deal "to be approved at next week's
         owners meeting" (L.A. TIMES, 3/10).  But Giants Owner Peter
         Magowan said, "There are reasons why Murdoch people could be
         good for [MLB], and there are a number of concerns.  This is
         not a slam dunk" (USA TODAY, 3/10)
    
    

    Print | Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Franchises, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, News Corp./Fox
  • WOULD PREDATORS BE JUST FINE MISSING SEASON TICKET DEADLINE?

              The Predators, who must sell 12,000 season-tickets by
         March 31, are "believed to have sold between" 9,500 to
         10,000 as of Friday, according to Jeff Legwold of the
         TENNESSEAN.  But if the team does not meet its goal, "it is
         highly unlikely the franchise would be revoked."  Legwold
         wrote that many "inside the league have said privately" the
         team would be "heavily fined -- as much as" $5M to $10M --
         if the sales target is not reached.  NHL Commissioner Gary
         Bettman: "Simply put I have to take into account that there
         are three other franchises coming into the league over the
         next three seasons who are watching, so this is a condition
         I take very seriously" (TENNESSEAN, 3/7). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Nashville Predators, NHL
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