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  • FRANCHISE NOTES

              NBA: The off-the-court troubles of the NBA Wizards are
         examined by Mike Wise on the front-page of the N.Y. TIMES. 
         Wise reports that the Wizards' "informal contract with the
         city has turned out to be worse than the empty cliche it has
         often been elsewhere. ... [F]or many fans in the city, the
         Wizards, rather than an example of rebirth, have been one
         more expensive failure" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/14).  In S.F., David
         Steele wrote that crowds at the MCI Center "are dwindling
         and growing hostile," while the "immediate future of the
         franchise is suddenly grim" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/14)....The
         T'Wolves, who had a 96% season-ticket renewal rate last
         year, are finishing current renewals and project a rate of
         92%-93% (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 4/14).
              NOTE: Columbus, OH, investors in the NHL Blue Jackets
         "won a major victory" when a federal judge ruled that a
         legal dispute over ownership of the team must be tried in
         Franklin County, OH, Common Pleas Court.  The trial is
         expected to begin April 20 (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 4/10).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets, Franchises, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA, NHL, Washington Wizards
  • JAMMED AT THE JAKE: INDIANS SELL-OUT REMAINDER OF '98 SEASON

              The Indians have sold-out individual game tickets for
         the rest of the '98 season.  The Indians consecutive home
         sellout streak now stands at an MLB record 211 straight
         games (Indians).  In Boston, Peter Gammons called the
         Indians' IPO "troublesome because it sends a message that it
         isn't enough to sell out the ballpark every night, have
         creative sources of revenue, and provide one of the most
         entertaining teams in the business.  So what does that say
         about Detroit and Milwaukee when their parks open?" (BOSTON
         GLOBE, 4/13).  In Cleveland, Glenn Gamboa reported that in
         the Indians' public offering application with the SEC, the
         team said it earned $100,000 from ad sales on their Web
         site, www. indians.com, in '97 (PLAIN-DEALER, 4/13).
              MLB NOTES: Reggie Jackson said that he and a group bid
         $300M to buy the Dodgers last year, but lost out when team
         Owner Peter O'Malley accepted the $311M bid from Rupert
         Murdoch's Fox Group (NEWSDAY, 4/13)....Expos President
         Claude Brochu, on team payroll: "We'll double the payroll
         next year and again the year after" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/13).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Cleveland Indians, Franchises, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, News Corp./Fox
  • LAKERS REMAIN PART OF MAGIC'S KINGDOM; AGENT PLANS IN LIMBO?

              Magic Johnson "has decided not to sell" his 5% stake in
         the Lakers and "instead will remain in his current position
         that also includes" the title of VP, according to Scott
         Howard-Cooper of the L.A. TIMES.  Johnson was looking to
         sell his stake "to divest himself of NBA holdings as a
         prerequisite to the planned opening of a sports management
         firm," which Howard-Cooper writes is "either history or on
         the back burner" (L.A. TIMES, 4/14).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Orlando Magic, RDV Sports
  • RED SOX PONDER STOCK SALE, MAY OFFER A PIECE OF NEW FENWAY

              The Red Sox are "seriously considering" a public stock
         sale that would give buyers a piece of a new Fenway Park
         "but not the team," according to Will McDonough of the
         BOSTON GLOBE.  While the Red Sox "do not want to give up any
         part of the team [they] would jump at an opportunity to sell
         stock in a new park if they felt it would give them a major
         financial boost" (Will McDonough, BOSTON GLOBE, 4/11).
              HUB NOTES: The Celtics have sold out 13 consecutive
         games at the FleetCenter, and 19 of their last 21 (THE
         DAILY).  The GLOBE's McDonough added that with the success
         of the Celtics and Bruins this season, FleetCenter President
         Richard Krezwick "is breathing a little easier."  Many of
         the original premium seat-holders have three-year contracts
         which expire August 31, and with both teams struggling last
         year, "renewals didn't look promising."  Now, Krezwick said
         he is expecting 100% "renewals on the suites" (BOSTON GLOBE,
         4/11).  However, hockey writer Kevin Paul DuPont said the
         fact that the B's are averaging about 3,000 below capacity
         at the FleetCenter shows "that the average Boston hockey
         fan, contrary to decades past, won't put up an average of
         $50 to see just a good product" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/11).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Franchises
  • REPORT HAS DOLAN BROTHERS EYEING POSSIBLE BID FOR THE BROWNS

              Cablevision Chair Charles Dolan, a Cleveland native,
         "has met with NFL officials and intends to file an
         application to own" the expansion Browns with his brother,
         Lawrence Dolan, according to Grossi & Lubinger of the
         Cleveland PLAIN-DEALER.  NFL rules forbid corporate
         ownership or cross-ownership of teams in other pro leagues,
         unless the teams are in the same market, but the Dolans
         "intend to own the Browns as a family enterprise."  Charles
         Dolan: "There is no strategic reason for (Cablevision) to be
         involved with the Browns.  Our interest has nothing to do
         with Cablevision."  The Dolans are the fourth group to come
         forward as candidates to own the Browns.  Lawrence Dolan, a
         corporate lawyer who lives in suburban Cleveland, said the
         brothers "would not need partners," but they would not rule
         out "some strategic alliances that would be appropriate." 
         Charles Dolan, on a potential $500M expansion fee: "All of
         this is subject to reasonableness.  If it becomes
         unreasonable, obviously we can't do it" (PLAIN-DEALER, 4/9). 
         NEWSDAY's Feigenbaum & Sanger reported that the Dolans "are
         preparing to bid about" $350M (NEWSDAY, 4/10).  
              NO BID BY LERNER? In Akron, Terry Pluto wrote that he's
         heard that MBNA Chair Al Lerner "is reluctant to make a bid
         for the Browns.  His family does not want him to end up on
         the public stage where he would be subject to another round
         of criticism about his involvement with Art Modell's move to
         Baltimore" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 4/12).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Cleveland Browns, Franchises, MBNA America Bank, NFL
  • WITH ESTATE SETTLEMENT, JOHN KENT COOKE SET TO BUY REDSKINS

              The estate of former Redskins Owner Jack Kent Cooke has
         "agreed to pay" his widow $20M to settle her challenge to
         his will, according to Finn & Shear of the WASHINGTON POST. 
         The settlement provides Marlene Ramallo Cooke with financial
         security, and "ensures that most" of Kent Cooke's estate,
         which is estimated at $500M-825M will go to a charitable
         trust, as he had instructed.  The agreement "also will make
         it easier" for Redskins President John Kent Cooke to
         purchase the team from the charitable foundation, since
         legal experts had speculated that if Marlene Cooke's lawsuit
         had been successful, the team might have been sold to
         "generate the cash to pay her off."  John Kent Cooke said
         the settlement "allows me to pursue my plans to purchase
         control of the Redskins" (WASHINGTON POST, 4/14).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Washington Redskins
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