SBD/2/Franchises

FRANCHISE NOTES

          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).

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