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              NBA: The Sonics will not increase any ticket prices for
         the '98-'99 season -- which range from $7 to $100.  John
         Dresel, President of Full House, the Sonics' business arm:
         "Despite continued increases in operating costs, our ongoing
         efforts to maximize nonticket revenue have made it possible
         this year for us to hold prices at the '97-'98 level"
         (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/1)....The Raptors apologized and offered
         free tickets to fans "inconvenienced by Tuesday's ticket
         confusion" at Maple Leaf Garden (TORONTO SUN, 4/2).
         ...FanMail Inc. President Budd Nesi -- who has been handling
         the Pacers' correspondence for three years -- said the team
         has averaged 12,000 to 15,000 pieces of mail each year,
         which is up about 20% this season due to new coach Larry
         Bird and the team's improved performance (STAR-NEWS, 4/2). 
              NOTES: Twins GM Terry Ryan, on the team's exhibition
         game Tuesday in NC: "A lot of people there want us to move
         there, but a lot of people with the ballclub want to stay in
         Minnesota.  It was a little awkward" (Minneapolis STAR
         TRIBUNE, 4/2).  In St. Paul, Charley Walters writes, "Good
         bet: The Twins, without a place to go, return to the
         Metrodome for the 1999 season after negotiating a one-year
         lease" (PIONEER PRESS, 4/2).....ESPN's Peter Gammons noted
         that both Cliff Politte, the Cardinals rookie RHP who will
         make his first start today, and Cardinals President Mark
         Lamping, are graduates of Vianney HS in St. Louis.  Gammons:
         "In honor of Politte's debut the entire school will be
         closed, and all 800 students will be guests of the Cardinals
         at Busch Stadium.  Another reason St. Louis is the best
         baseball town in America" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 4/1).

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, ESPN, Franchises, Indiana Pacers, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Minnesota Twins, NBA, Toronto Raptors, Walt Disney

              News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch "is near agreement on
         deals to buy part of the new Staples Center and part of the
         Lakers," according to Heisler & Hofmeister of the L.A.
         TIMES.  Under the deals, "which would be announced in
         stages, Fox would purchase 40% of the arena and a similar
         percentage" of the NHL Kings' option to buy a piece of the
         Lakers.  Because the Kings' option is for 25% of the Lakers,
         Fox would become a 10% owner.  One source: "It's a done
         deal, at least as far as the arena is concerned."  Fox has
         cable rights to the Dodgers, Lakers, Kings and Clippers and
         is "pushing to hold on to those rights as part of its
         rivalry" with Disney, which will form ESPN West.  Heisler &
         Hofmeister report that the Fox Group originally tried to
         purchase 40% of the entire Kings franchise, but "was turned
         down" by the NHL because Fox has a 20% stake in Madison
         Square Garden -- as part of its Fox/Liberty entity -- making
         it a minority Owner of the Rangers.  Fox then restructured
         the deal to purchase the Kings' arena and their option on
         the Lakers.  A source "close to the negotiations," said the
         deal would give Murdoch "creeping control of the Kings,
         through the backdoor."  Fox's MSG stake also give it a share
         of the Knicks, but NBA rules allow minority owners to hold
         noncontrolling shares of multiple teams (L.A. TIMES, 4/2).

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, ESPN, Franchises, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Madison Square Garden, NBA, New York Knicks, New York Liberty, NHL, Walt Disney

              NFL VP/Communications Greg Aiello said that the NFL
         could take "months" to evaluate 49ers co-Owner Eddie
         DeBartolo's offer to buy out his sister Denise DeBartolo
         York's share of the team, according to Matier & Ross of the
         S.F. CHRONICLE.  The league could also put the entire deal
         "completely" on hold, "pending the outcome of DeBartolo's
         legal problems" in LA.  Matier & Ross: "Nevertheless,
         sources close to DeBartolo say that he and his lawyers will
         push for the league for quick approval ... possibly as early
         as May, when the league holds its next general meeting." 
         But the NFL "faces a dilemma" in that any further delays
         "could threaten" the team's $525M stadium/mall project, and
         the "image conscious league ... does not want to act hastily
         while DeBartolo is a target of a federal racketeering
         investigation."  League sources say a complete check of
         DeBartolo's bid could take anywhere from three to six months
         and then face a vote by ownership.  But sources close to
         DeBartolo said they think the deal does not require a vote  
         -- and that DeBartolo "may be prepared to go to court to
         challenge the league."  The league may also "hold" up any
         possible removal of team President Carmen Policy, as league
         rules mandate no management changes until a new ownership 
         deal is finalized and closed (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/2).
              POLICY BACKER: In S.F., Glenn Dickey writes that the
         league will not approve DeBartolo amid questions of a
         possible indictment, and he adds that an indictment "is
         virtually certain, probably in June."  Dickey also calls
         Policy's removal a "disastrous mistake," and says that
         DeBartolo's return as owner "would destroy what has become
         the NFL's bellwether franchise" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/2).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NFL, San Francisco 49ers

              Despite "not coming anywhere near their goal," Packers
         President Bob Harlan said the team was "not disappointed"
         with the $24M raised from the recently concluded stock sale,
         according to Brad Zimanek of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. 
         The Packers, who had hoped to raise $80M from the offering
         by selling 400,000 shares at $200 apiece, ended up selling
         more than 120,000 shares.  Harlan: "The goal was very
         difficult to determine.  We had not tried a stock sale for
         47 years and that sale in 1950 netted about $118,000.  We
         really did not know where this would take us."  More than
         half of the shares were sold in WI, but all 50 states were
         represented, as well as Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 
         With the stock sale, the Packers' "first priority ... is to
         add a rehabilitative swimming pool" to the team's training
         facility next to Lambeau Field (JOURNAL SENTINEL, 4/2).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Green Bay Packers

              Predators Owner Craig Leipold said the team has sold
         over 500,000 game-day tickets for next season and that it
         would reach the luxury suite and club seat sale requirement,
         set by the NHL, by yesterday's midnight deadline, according
         to Jeff Legwold of the Nashville TENNESSEAN.  The Predator's
         had to sell 75% of the arena's club seats and luxury suites,
         and they sold 51 of the 66 single suites available and 1,379
         of the 1,839 club seats.  The team has also sold out all of
         the advertising space on the dasher boards around the rink. 
         Leipold added that the NHL had already completed 90% of its
         audit of the team's sales figures and other sponsorship
         deals last week (Jeff Legwold, Nashville TENNESSEAN, 4/1).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Nashville Predators, NHL
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