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              The Suns announced a ticket increase for the '98-99
         season, according to Kent Somers of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. 
         Some seats will cost 18-20% more, and prices will increase
         an average of 13%.  Suns President & CEO Jerry Colangelo:
         "This is not about greed, not about the bottom line.  This
         is about trying to remain competitive."  Most of the seats
         in the lower level of America West Arena are increasing in
         price from $7 to $9.  Upper-level seats are increasing $2 to
         $3 per ticket.  Colangelo said that to compete, the Suns
         "have to increase" their gate receipts.  The Suns were 10th
         in the league in gate receipts last year, averaging a little
         more than $600,000 a game.  The Knicks were first, at $1.2M. 
         Colangelo said that the ticket hike "should boost the Suns
         to about eighth, at $720,000" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/7).

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Franchises, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns

              New Isles Owner Steven Gluckstern was on the concourse
         during the Isles-Avalanche game Saturday exchanging
         Islanders items with the Fisherman logo for a free T-shirt. 
         More than 1,295 Islanders fans exchanged items (Jim Benton,
         ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/8)....The Stars have increased their
         season-ticket base from 6,500 in '95-'96, to 11,000 this
         season (STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/7)....NBC's Jim Gray interviewed
         Magic Johnson during the Pistons-Lakers game Sunday. 
         Johnson, asked why he is selling his stake in the Lakers:
         "Because I am managing athletes" ("NBA on NBC," 3/8).
         ...49ers co-Owner Eddie DeBartolo's brother-in-law, John
         York II, disputed a S.F. Chronicle report that Eddie
         DeBartolo "was trying to buy his sister's share of the
         team."  York: "The facts are not right" (Mult., 3/8).

    Print | Tags: Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Detroit Pistons, Franchises, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBC, New York Islanders, Orlando Magic, San Francisco 49ers

              News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch's bid to buy the
         Dodgers was examined in a front-page feature by Richard
         Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES.  Sandomir wrote that "absent a
         late bout of nerves," MLB will by March 19 formally approve
         the sale to News Corp., an "outfit run by an aggressive,
         continent-hopping dealmaker with no sentimental or historic
         attachment to the country's most tradition-bound sport."  
              A CAVEAT OVER REGIONAL DEALS: Murdoch pays "at least"
         $100M a year for the local cable rights to 22 MLB clubs, and
         it is News Corp.'s consolidation of "a once balkanized
         universe of regional sports networks into the Fox Sports
         Net" that "worries" some MLB people.  Murdoch's "substantial
         investment" in MLB "is seen either as a vote of confidence
         in the sport's recovery from labor strife or worrisome
         leverage over his future partners in ownership."  Padres
         President Larry Lucchino said that Fox Sports'
         "disproportionate influence on two dozen teams through its
         TV deals creates an opportunity to manipulate the
         arrangement for political purposes.  Fox can say, 'If you
         don't vote for X, you'll have trouble on your TV deal.'" 
         The Padres and other clubs also "worry" that Fox "will have
         access to their financial statements and use that knowledge
         at future television rights negotiations.  Or, knowing how
         important local rights payments are, teams are concerned
         that Fox can influence the signing of free agents through
         well-timed extensions of cable rights deals."  Fox/Liberty
         Exec VP Jim Martin: "The teams have the business we need and
         can get rid of us for another competitor.  If we try to
         influence anybody's votes, the teams ... can tell us to go
         to hell."  Disney's Michael Eisner, on Murdoch: "I can't
         judge whether he would be a good or a bad owner.  But I
         don't think he would not follow the rules" (N.Y. TIMES,3/6).

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Franchises, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, New York Liberty, San Diego Padres, Walt Disney

              Through the Devil Rays' first six home games against
         MLB opponents, before Saturday's first sellout, the team had
         drawn an average of 4,393 to Al Lang Stadium, about three-
         fourths of the 6,100-seat capacity and seventh among 20 FL-
         based MLB clubs, according to Marc Topkin of the ST. PETE
         TIMES.  However, because the Rays conduct spring training in
         their hometown, Managing General Partner Vince Naimoli said,
         "I'm not sure what to make of it."  One line of thinking is
         that the Rays "are overexposed in the Tampa Bay market, that
         they are tapping out the same audience by selling regular-
         season tickets, tons of new merchandise and spring training
         tickets."  Naimoli: "I'm sure there's something to what
         you're saying.  If we trained somewhere else, we could
         probably sell more tickets.  But there are a lot of
         intangible advantages to training here.  I think there are
         far more pluses than negatives" (ST. PETE TIMES, 3/8).      

    Print | Tags: Franchises, MLB, Tampa Bay Rays

              A "rumor out of Edmonton" was that the local group
         trying to buy the NHL Oilers were set to receive $10M from
         Wayne Gretzky, according to the N.Y. DAILY NEWS.  NHL
         Commissioner Gary Bettman: "I haven't heard that.  And until
         something like that is confirmed for me, I won't even
         comment on it" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/8).  In Edmonton,
         MacDonald & Simons report that the local group has until
         Friday "to table an offer to buy the team" for C$102M, or
         the team could be sold to Rockets Owner Les Alexander. 
         Under NHL rules, any new buyer can borrow no more than half
         the purchase price of the team, meaning the local Edmonton
         group must raise C$51M by Friday (EDM. JOURNAL, 3/9).  In
         Houston, Aeros Owner and prospective Oilers suitor, Chuck
         Watson, was told Friday that the Edmonton group had secured
         C$35M in financing from a "consortium of Canadian banks." 
         Watson: "I was told they have a deal in place with Canadian
         banks."  Neil Hohlfeld reported that Watson still could
         provide the group with "as much as" $5M for operating
         expenses, a gesture that could keep him "in line" for an NHL
         team when an arena is built in Houston (HOUSTON CHRONICLE,
         3/7).  In other news, Molson's Alberta-wide promotion, where
         it gives C$1 from each case of beer sold to the Oilers
         Forever Fund, may reach C$300,000 (EDMONTON SUN, 3/8).  

    Print | Tags: Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, Houston Rockets, NHL

              Maple Leaf Gardens [MLG] might find that the NBA's
         approval of the Raptors sale "is not a slam dunk," according
         to David Shoalts of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL.  Shoalts:
         "That's because the NBA governors have some questions, a
         number of which have been raised by one lawsuit in the wake
         of the sale and by another that is expected to be filed this
         week."  The first lawsuit was filed by former Raptors Owner
         John Bitove and "concerns the concession rights at the Air
         Canada Centre."  The second lawsuit, "expected to be filed
         this week in Toronto by former Gardens shareholder Harry
         Ornest," will raise "a number of issues," including plans to
         make a public offering of shares in MLG.  MLG Minority
         shareholder Larry Tannenbaum said that MLG doesn't expect
         the sale to be rejected by the NBA, nor has the company
         considered going public at this point (GLOBE & MAIL, 3/9).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, NBA, Toronto Raptors
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