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              The MA State Ethics Commission is investigating Nets
         coach John Calipari for "his conduct" during his tenure as
         coach of the UMass basketball team, according to Don Burke
         of the Newark STAR-LEDGER.  The commission "intends to
         investigate" whether Calipari "misused his position ... to
         gain profits and publicity from the 'Refuse to Lose' slogan
         that he had trademarked."  Burke wrote that the alleged
         violations include "participating in the decision to place
         the slogan ... on garments worn" by the UMass team; using
         the team "as a means of gaining publicity for the slogan";
         and "having a financial interest" in UMass contracts
         involving trademarks.   If the inquiry finds that Calipari
         broke the law, he could be fined.  Nets President Michael
         Rowe had "no comment."  Calipari, through a spokesperson,
         called the story "old news" (STAR-LEDGER, 3/1).
              CAN HE TAKE THE HEAT? During Friday's home loss to the
         Heat, Calipari shouted "a profanity at a fan, which could
         result in a league reprimand or suspension," according to
         Michael James of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS.  During the game,
         Calipari turned to a heckler and shouted "You shut your
         mouth.  Shut the (expletive) up."  James wrote that the
         comment "shocked many fans" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/1). 
         Calipari: "In the emotion of the moment, I said something I
         shouldn't have said."  NBA VP/Ops Rod Thorn said the league
         would "look into" the incident (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/2).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Miami Heat, NBA, Brooklyn Nets

              NY-based business exec Michael Largue is in Edmonton
         today "to decide whether he'll take a run" at the NHL
         Oilers, according to Jac MacDonald of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. 
         Largue will meet with Mayor Bill Smith and the local group
         of prospective buyers and also tour Edmonton Coliseum. 
         Largue said Friday that while he is "looking at signing a
         general partnership agreement" with the local group, he
         "wants day-to-day responsibility" of the team.  MacDonald
         writes that Largue's financial credentials "are as elusive
         to Smith as they are to everyone else" and that "[n]obody
         knows for sure if he has the funds necessary" to buy the
         club (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 3/2).  In Houston, Neil Hohlfeld
         wrote that Largue and his partner, Lester Mittendorf, a
         Zurich banker, have $100M "available to invest" in the
         Oilers, which would cover the purchase price and provide
         operating capital.  Hohlfeld called Largue's desire to have
         controlling interest a "drawback" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/1). 

    Print | Tags: Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, NHL

              Disney Chair Michael Eisner said the Angels are "making
         the necessary moves to build lasting success," according to
         Kevin Acee of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER.  Eisner, who said
         that he "does not see the Angels ever having a Yankees-type
         payroll," said the team would be "competitive."  Eisner: "We
         are competitive.  I don't think there's any secret our
         company has spent the money in every area, including the
         stadium, including the executives and players, to be
         competitive. ... We don't want to own a team that's not
         competitive.  We'd rather not be in the game."  Acee wrote
         that the theme of Eisner's comments "always returned to
         Disney's long-term commitment," and that Eisner "even said
         he can accept the Angels continuing to lose money for a
         time" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/1).  Eisner, on the team's
         aim to sign young players to long-term deals: "It would be
         nice to re-create the loyalty baseball used to have, for
         fans to know you'll have certain players from one year to
         the next."  Eisner, on the team's goals: "What we're
         building toward is having a winning organization year in and
         year out, so that every season there's a sense of hope.  You
         just can't shoot from the hip."  Eisner, on the Marlins: "To
         me, I'm still idealistic, and I think it takes the luster
         away if you buy a championship.  I hope that was an anomaly. 
         I don't think the fans in Florida are going to be loyal if
         they buy a team one year and dissolve it the next.  I don't
         think that will happen here" (L.A. TIMES, 3/1).

    Print | Tags: LA Angels, Miami Marlins, Franchises, New York Yankees, Walt Disney

              NHL: Although Steve Stavro and the Maple Leafs "have
         scored" with the deal to buy the Raptors and Air Canada
         Centre, the franchise's "biggest win might come if they gain
         control of Union Station."  The station, which the Leafs
         plan to acquire to act as a "grand entrance" to Air Canada
         Centre, is the country's largest transportation hub and a
         property with "huge development potential and prospects for
         massive profits" (TORONTO STAR, 2/28)....The NHL reportedly
         spent $120,000 investigating the new Islanders' owners
         before approving the team's sale.  Former Owner John Pickett
         "is responsible" for the payment (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/1). 
              NFL: The Nashville Sports Authority said the Oilers
         have sold 42,200 of 56,485 PSLs for their new facility in
         Nashville.  The sales have raised "about" $58.9M of the $71M
         earmarked to help finance the facility's construction
         (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 3/1)....The loss of the Browns
         and the return of the franchise in '99 were examined by
         CNN/SI's Vince Cellini on "Page 1."  Cellini noted that
         Cleveland wants an expansion team, not a relocated one.  NFL
         Exec VP/League Football Development Roger Goodell: "We think
         at this stage that we're moving in a direction that would
         allow us to go to the membership and seek approval for an
         expansion franchise so that we can put an expansion
         franchise in Cleveland for '99" (CNN, 2/28).  USA TODAY's
         Gordon Forbes reports that the NFL "will soon evaluate as
         many as six prospective ownership groups for its new
         Cleveland franchise.  It hopes to have personnel and
         marketing people in place by mid-April" (USA TODAY, 3/2).   
              OTHERS: In N.Y., Murray Chass reported that the Braves,
         who hold spring training at the new Disney baseball complex,
         are "believed to have become the first team" to charge fans
         to watch workouts before the exhibition season began. 
         Disney officials said the $8 fee was "general admission for
         the entire sports complex" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/1).

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Browns, Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, New York Islanders, NFL, NHL, Sports Illustrated, Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Walt Disney

              The NJ Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSEA) is "having
         a hard time breaking even on running" Continental Airlines
         Arena, according to Thomas Fitzgerald of the Bergen RECORD. 
         The NJSEA "expects to clear just" $167,000 on $38M in arena
         revenues this year, according to the agency's budget.  That
         "reflects the continuing costs" of "major lease concessions"
         it made with the Devils to keep them in NJ in '95, as well
         as "some concessions" it made with the Nets.  Fitzgerald
         reported that the NJSEA lost $22,000 on the arena last year. 
         NJSEA CEO Robert Mulcahy said that he is "optimistic" that
         the arena "could do better than projected" because both
         teams are "sure bets to make the playoffs this year, meaning
         extra games with extra revenue" (RECORD, 2/28).
              DEVIL'S ADVOCATE: Devils Owner John McMullen's drive
         for a new arena in Hoboken, NJ, was examined by Frank Brown
         in the N.Y. DAILY NEWS.  McMullen called Continental
         Airlines Arena (CAA) "antiquated" and said the team "cannot
         survive" there.  McMullen, on why he wants a new arena: "The
         question is, can an individual or a family organization
         compete against a big corporate owner?  In order to do it,
         you need a certain stream of income.  I get not a penny out
         of this thing, and nobody should expect me to do it forever. 
         Certainly, my heirs aren't going to do it; they'll sell the
         damn thing" (Frank Brown, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/1).

    Print | Tags: Continental Airlines, Franchises, New Jersey Devils, Brooklyn Nets
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