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              Talks to sell Bills tickets at Wegmans stores
         throughout Western NY starting this summer "have all but
         ended and now the team is leaning toward setting up kiosks
         in malls," according to Leo Roth of the Rochester DEMOCRAT &
         CHRONICLE.  Bills VP/Administration Jim Miller said that the
         stumbling blocks with Wegmans "involved concerns about
         surcharges, software and internal control policies."  A
         spokesperson for Wegmans said that the surcharge proposed
         "was highly competitive" (DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 5/8).

    Print | Tags: Buffalo Bills, Franchises

              The Nets have received a bid from N.Y. Sports Ventures,
         owners of the Islanders, which is believed to be in excess
         of $150M, "within the past two months," sources told Richard
         Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES.  But the NJ Sports & Exposition
         Authority (NJSEA) believes that talks to rework the Nets'
         Continental Airlines Arena lease "are going well, and that
         there have been no recent problems to upset the Nets'
         ownership."  NJSEA President Dennis Robinson: "We've had
         substantive and positive negotiations with the Nets." 
         Sandomir wrote that there is also "no guarantee" that the
         Nets' seven owners would sell at this time, as they have "a
         great attachment to the Nets and have fielded offers
         before."  Minority Partner Don Unger said, "We haven't even
         had a board meeting on this" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/9).

    Print | Tags: Continental Airlines, Franchises, Brooklyn Nets, New York Islanders

              NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will meet in New York
         today with prospective Vikings Owner Tom Clancy, along with
         his adviser Marc Ganis "at the commissioner's request"
         (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/11)....The NFL Cardinals sold
         550 season tickets the Monday following the NFL Draft
         (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/10)....The brokerage firm of Raymond James
         and Associates stated that -- thanks "largely" to a new
         arena -- FL Panthers Holdings "should generate about" $29M
         more in revenue next fiscal year than this fiscal year.  The
         firm's report says the extra revenue will result in a
         projected $6.9M profit (MIAMI HERALD, 5/9)....Suns President
         Jerry Colangelo said that his team "turned only about a $1
         million profit last year" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 5/10).

    Print | Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Franchises, Minnesota Vikings, NFL, Phoenix Suns

              The Brewers have set a "franchise record" by securing
         9,062 season-ticket packages as of Sunday, according to Tom
         Haudricourt of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL.  The team has
         sold 1.25 million tickets so far this season, about 250,000
         more than at this point last year.  Through 20 home dates,
         the team has drawn 335,890, compared with 247,619 in '97
         (Tom Haudricourt, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/10). 
              A'S: In San Jose, Howard Bryant reported that
         attendance at the Oakland Coliseum  is "consistently under
         10,000 so far," and there are large, "macro issues that poor
         attendance continues to push to the forefront -- negotiating
         with the Oakland Coliseum Authority on a new lease, the
         possibility of selling the team, moving to a new location
         within the Bay Area or out of the region."  Bryant reports
         that various groups in the South Bay "are interested in
         attracting baseball" to Silicon Valley, and "[p]rivately,
         the A's believe a new start ... would allow them to be
         competitive with the bigger spenders" in the AL (SAN JOSE
         MERCURY NEWS, 5/10).  In Oakland, the TRIBUNE examined the
         sparse attendance, as the A's are on pace to draw fewer than
         one million for the first time since '80: "Is it the
         attitude of the current owners? ... Is it the coolness and
         distance of [co-Owners Steve] Schott and [Ken] Hofmann? ...
         Is it ownership's failure to express unconditional
         commitment to the area?" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 5/10).
              MARLINS: Marlins President Don Smiley, on his plan to
         reduce payroll to $12-16M in '99: "This is restructuring. 
         There is no doubt about it.  It's just like any other
         company restructuring that's in trouble.  You must make
         difficult decisions and you must accept the rough water that
         goes along with it" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/10).  ESPN's Peter
         Gammons, on the team's payroll reductions: "What's so stupid
         to me is that, you know, you never get that attendance bump
         the year that you're going for it for the first time ... you
         get it the year after. ... I don't see that they've done
         anything for that franchise" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 5/10).
              OTHER MLB NOTES: In N.Y., Murray Chass, on New York
         City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's calls for increased attendance at
         Yankees Stadium: "Does he know the Mets exist?  He has been
         so busy tub-thumping for the Yankees that maybe he has
         forgotten that they do" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/11)....The Devil Rays
         drew 42,486 Saturday versus the Orioles, their second
         biggest crowd of the season (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 5/10).
         ....The Phillies announced during yesterday's game versus
         the D'Backs, which was played during inclement weather, that
         all used or unused tickets for the game could be exchanged
         for a future game (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 5/11)....The
         Pirates held their second "meet and greet the fan night"
         Friday, but it didn't go "quite as well" as last year's
         event, when the team was "mobbed by enthusiastic fans and
         the idea gained national media attention."  Paid attendance
         Friday was 13,848 (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 5/9).

    Print | Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, ESPN, Miami Marlins, Franchises, Milwaukee Brewers, MLB, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, Walt Disney

              Cracks "are already surfacing" in the new $140M
         Warriors arena deal, and "once again, it looks like
         taxpayers will get stuck," according to Matier & Ross of the
         S.F. CHRONICLE.  The Warriors, who have been negotiating
         with Oakland and Alameda County to take over the management
         of the renovated Oakland Coliseum Arena, "have asked that
         the deal be put on ice for at least a year" due to "fear of
         a possible NBA players strike next season."  East Bay
         officials "are scrambling to find an outside firm to manage
         both the arena" and the Oakland Coliseum stadium, and two
         names "being mentioned for the job" are SMG and Ogden Ent.
         Meanwhile, Joint Powers Authority officials overseeing the
         arena "say they don't know if it's operating in the black,
         and they've brought in an outside auditor to look at the
         books."  Matier & Ross also report that the Warriors "are
         only guaranteeing to pick up" about $7.4M of the $11.4M in
         annual costs from the new arena.  The team says it "hopes to
         cover" the remaining $4M from a 5% ticket surcharge and from
         the sale of naming rights (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/11).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Golden State Warriors, NBA

              Lawyers for the Twins, MLB and the MN Attorney
         General's office "were ordered Friday to work out an
         agreement on the scope of a preliminary antitrust
         investigation by the state against the team and the game's
         owners," according to Jay Weiner of the Minneapolis STAR
         TRIBUNE.  Ramsey County District Judge Margaret Marrinan
         told both sides to report to her today on any agreement they
         may reach, but Weiner reported that "resolution seemed
         unlikely."  Lawyers from the Attorney General's office said
         they were willing to "scale back" their earlier request for
         dozens of documents dating back to '61 and answers to
         questions to Twins Owner Carl Pohlad, Acting MLB
         Commissioner Bud Selig and others, and would instead settle
         for information from MLB dating to '83.  But Twins lawyer
         Roger Magnuson said, "We believe the law requires that there
         be no discovery in this case" (STAR TRIBUNE, 5/9).  
              SHOW HIM SOME MONEY: Pohlad, on rumors that he turned
         down a $100M offer to buy the Twins: "Nobody has made any
         offers to me. ... Clark Griffith and others talk, but I have
         never seen the color of their money."  On Wednesday, though,
         Mike Veeck "will meet" with Pohlad's financial adviser, Bob
         Starkey.  Veeck: "We have the financial backing to buy the
         club if it is for sale" (Sid Hartman, STAR TRIBUNE, 5/9). 
         On "Baseball Tonight," ESPN's Peter Gammons reported the
         Twins may be "able to work something out [and] eventually
         get a ballpark in either St. Paul or somewhere around
         Minneapolis, but in the meantime, why lose money with a $27
         million payroll if you're going to finish fourth in the
         division anyway?"  Gammons said it is "likely" that the
         Twins will pare down payroll to "maybe" $12 to $14 million
         and try to rebuild ("Baseball Tonight," 5/10)

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, ESPN, Franchises, Minnesota Twins, MLB, Walt Disney
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