SBD/10/Franchises

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).

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