SBD/10/Franchises

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).

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