SBD/12/Franchises

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). 
     
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