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  • CLANCY MEETS WITH TAGLIABUE, DETAILS OWNERSHIP BID ON VIKES

              Tom Clancy's pursuit of the Vikings "remains on track"
         after a two-hour meeting Monday with NFL Commissioner Paul
         Tagliabue, "but it appears likely to extend beyond next
         week's owners' meeting in Miami," according to Paula Parrish
         of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  NFL VP/Communications Greg
         Aiello said it is uncertain whether the owners will formally
         vote next week on Clancy's bid to buy the Vikings.  Clancy
         spokesperson Marc Ganis said Clancy's group presented a
         package detailing 19 investors who comprise the group; the
         percentage of the team each investor would own; and the
         financial and operating structure of the group.  Ganis said
         actor Tom Selleck is not an investor (Minneapolis STAR
         TRIBUNE, 5/12).  In DC, Leonard Shapiro reports that while
         the NFL described the meeting as "constructive," league
         sources said that Tagliabue "still had many of the same
         concerns he had before the meeting" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/12).
         In St. Paul, Charley Walters writes to "count on" Clancy
         selling his 24% interest in the Orioles, worth an estimated
         $50M, in his bid for the Vikings (PIONEER PRESS, 5/12). 
              A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER? In St. Paul, Bob Sansevere
         writes that there are "league-affiliated people with
         concerns about Ganis' involvement" in the deal.  Sansevere:
         "The word is, people around the NFL worry that Ganis is fond
         of litigation and fear he'll sue if things don't go his
         way."  Ganis, whose Sportscorp Ltd. consults on facility
         development, said that during yesterday's meeting, the "only
         issue with respect to me that came up (had to do with)
         conflict of interest. ... If there are projects the league
         feels conflict, I'll bow to the league."  Ganis, asked if
         he'd step aside if he somehow was hindering the deal: "Don't
         even bother asking the question" (PIONEER PRESS, 5/12).  
     
    

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Franchises, Minnesota Vikings, NFL
  • DAVIDSON STILL STRUCK BY LIGHTNING; TEAM DROPS TICKET PRICES

              Pistons President Tom Wilson said that Pistons Owner
         William Davidson and the Lightning "may have the outline of
         a sale in place by the end of the week," according to Ira
         Kaufman of the TAMPA TRIBUNE.  Both sides "reported
         progress" on Monday (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 5/12).  Attorney Stephen
         Wayne, who is representing the Lightning owners in the sale:
         "We'd like to close by the Lightning's (fiscal) year-end,
         which is June 30" (Tim Buckley, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 5/12).
              LET'S MAKE A DEAL: After dropping 21% in attendance
         last season, the Lightning is reducing its season-ticket
         prices for the '98-99 season.  Cuts have been made by as
         much as $10 a game for some seats, and upper-deck tickets
         "will cost less than during the inaugural Ice Palace season"
         of '96-97.  Incentives, such as trips to road games and
         tickets to this year's All-Star Game at the Ice Palace, also
         are included with certain packages if payments are made
         early.  Single-game prices remain unchanged, but some upper
         level seats are dropping as much as $3 (TAMPA TRIBUNE,
         5/12).  In St. Pete, Tim Buckley reports that the team is
         using "a blunt and rather self-deprecating marketing
         campaign" to persuade ticket holders to renew.  From the
         brochure: "We lose 55 games.  Had three coaches.  (And
         couldn't score to save our lives.)  What do we have to say
         for ourselves?  We owe you big time" (ST. PETE TIMES, 5/12). 
         
    

    Print | Tags: Detroit Pistons, Franchises, Palace Sports & Entertainment, Tampa Bay Lightning, Wilson Sporting Goods
  • FRANCHISE NOTES

              BASEBALL: In N.Y., gossip columnist Neal Travis creates
         a scenario in which, following a World Series win this year,
         "maximizing their value," Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner
         sells his team for around $500M and buys his home-town Devil
         Rays "for less than half that price."  Travis: "I'm not
         saying the owner has actively explored this scenario" (N.Y.
         POST, 5/12)....ESPN's Peter Gammons, on Cubs P Kerry Wood:
         "It's just wonderful for the Cubs.  They're a team that in
         the '90s [has] really struggled. ... But now to put out
         there on WGN all the time, they have their home-grown hero
         that people will look forward to pitching every five days"
         ("SportsCenter," 5/11).  Wood, on whether he sees himself
         getting endorsements soon: "I've had six starts.  I don't
         think it's commercial time yet" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/12).
         ..Former Durham Bulls Owner Miles Wolff Jr. will be the
         owner of a new Quebec City franchise in the Northeast League
         of Professional Baseball.  The Quebec City team, yet
         unnamed, will begin play in '99.  Wolff also is Commissioner
         of the independent Northern League and President of Baseball
         America, the bi-weekly publication (Northeast League).
              EN FUEGO: In its inaugural season, the MLS Fire is
         drawing an average crowd of 29,413 per game at Soldier
         Field.  Fire GM Peter Wilt: "This isn't going to be typical
         throughout the year.  Especially when we get to weeknight
         games."  The Fire has only five weekend dates among its 13
         remaining home games (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/12).
    
    

    Print | Tags: AEG, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Cubs, Chicago Fire, ESPN, Franchises, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Walt Disney, YankeeNets
  • NHL EXPANSION BLUE JACKETS AND THRASHERS SET TICKET PRICES

              The NHL expansion Blue Jackets will have an average
         ticket price of $47.50 when they begin play in 2000-2001,
         according to Craig Merz of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH.  In all,
         the team will have 17 different seating venues at Nationwide
         Arena, ranging from $15 for '97-98 ECHL Columbus Chill
         season-ticket holders to $125 for center ice lounge
         "premium" seats.  In order to qualify for the $15 seats,
         Chill season-ticket holders must purchase a PSL for $500 and
         pay $645 for a 43-game package (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 5/11). 
         In Columbus, Mike Pramik reported that as many as 15,500
         seats at the 18,500-seat arena will be held by PSLs owners,
         and the PSLs will range from $500 to $4,000, with 64% of
         them costing less than $2,000.  So far, more than 11,000
         ticket requests have been made (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 5/10).
              SUITE DEAL: The Blue Jackets also revealed prices and
         other details of their 36 executive suites and 22 loges. 
         The suites are priced at $118,500, $128,500 and $138,500 and
         average about $130,000.  The loges are priced at $58,500 and
         $68,500 and average $64,000.  Income from the suites and
         loges goes to the team, and if they are fully leased, the
         Blue Jackets will receive $5.5M in the first year.  Income
         from PSLs and 16 Founders suites goes to Nationwide
         Insurance Enterprise to pay for arena costs. Founders suites
         cost a one-time fee of $2.5M.  Founders suites and PSLs "are
         expected" to raise $40-60M (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 5/12).
              THRASHERS: The NHL expansion Thrashers announced ticket
         prices ranging from $10 to $70 for their inaugural '99-2000
         season.  Price levels for season tickets are $10, $24, $35,
         $40, $45, $50, $55, $65 and $70.  The average season-ticket
         price is expected to be $45 (Thrashers).  In Atlanta, Steve
         Hummer: "Just as feared, the numbers were high, reflective
         of the fact that hockey players are as overpaid as any other
         professional athlete" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 5/12).
       
    

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Thrashers, Columbus Blue Jackets, ECHL, Franchises, Nationwide Insurance, NHL, Time Warner
  • RAPTORS MARKETING 101: LOSE 66 GAMES, INCREASE TICKET PRICES

              The Raptors announced their season-ticket prices for
         next season yesterday, which "for the first time in Toronto
         sports history" will include a C$100 ticket for a regular-
         season game, according to Frank Zicarelli of the TORONTO
         SUN.  The top seats increase to C$107.50 from C$98.50. 
         Other increases are as follows: C$82 to C$89.50; C$76-80;
         C$53-56; C$20-29; C$12-18; and C$5-7.50.  In explaining the
         increases, Raptors VP/Sales & Marketing Michael Downey
         "stressed the upgrade in seat locations" at SkyDome,
         including for fans in the new C$18 and C$29 seats, and the
         "overall quality of the sightlines and amenities" at the Air
         Canada Centre.  The Raptors will split the '98-99 season
         between the two arenas (TORONTO SUN, 5/12).        
              
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Toronto Raptors
  • TWINS MUST ANSWER TO ATTORNEY GENERAL ABOUT LAST SIX YEARS

              Ramsey County, MN, District Judge Margaret Marrinan
         ruled that MN's Attorney General "may ask questions and seek
         documents" from the Twins and MLB about events dating to '92
         to determine if the team and league execs violated antitrust
         laws, according to Jay Weiner of the Minneapolis STAR
         TRIBUNE.  Twins attorney Roger Magnuson was "unavailable for
         comment," but said last Friday that the team "would appeal"
         any initial ruling "allowing an investigation of any kind." 
         The Twins "also sought an expedited appeal" to the MN
         Supreme Court, which was denied by Marrinan.  The Twins and
         MLB "are expected" to take the case to the MN Court of
         Appeals.  Marrinan selected '92 as the cutoff date for the
         investigation "because that year a similar case was heard in
         Florida" (Jay Weiner, Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/12).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Minnesota Twins, MLB
  • WHEN FISH HIT "ROCK BOTTOM," WILL FANS KEEP SMILEY-ING?

              Marlins President Don Smiley "expects the team to hit
         rock bottom," according to his "confidential business
         prospectus" to investors obtained by Alan Snel of the Fort
         Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL.  He projects that the team's '99
         average attendance will hit a team-low 13,500 from a
         projected 21,000 in '98, while season-ticket sales will drop
         from the current 14,000 to 7,500 as the team cuts its
         payroll to $16M.  With the plan, Smiley is "pinning the
         Marlins' future in South Florida squarely on the team's
         ability to win a taxpayer-subsidized ballpark for the 2002
         season."  Snel writes that with a new stadium, team revenue
         "supposedly will soar in several categories" by 2002.  Total
         team revenue will jump to $114.1M from $61.8M in 2001, and
         ticket revenue would increase from $23.4M to $53.5M, in part
         due to an increase in average ticket prices.  The team is
         projected to average 40,000 per game in 2002, up from the
         23,000 in 2001.  Smiley writes in his business plan that in
         2002, a new stadium would generate $16.4M, including $4.9M
         in advertising, $4.6M in luxury suite sales, $3M in naming
         rights and $2.4M in ticket surcharges (SUN-SENTINEL, 5/12).
              LEYLAND ON A JET PLAN? In Miami, Edwin Pope writes the
         Marlins would lose manager Jim Leyland if Smiley conducts a
         major rebuilding process.  Leyland: "Don Smiley knows I
         wouldn't want to be here if we had a team with a $12 million
         payroll.  I don't think any manager would want to go through
         that" (Edwin Pope, MIAMI HERALD, 5/12).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Miami Marlins, Franchises
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