SBD/19/Franchises

CAN CAPS' PLAYOFF RUN EXCITE DC'S SUSPECT HOCKEY FAN BASE?

          While the Capitals "have had to hustle to sell seats"
     at the MCI Center for the NHL Playoffs and are registering
     overall "flat" TV ratings, there is "new hope and
     opportunity for Washington's often ignored hockey" team as
     it plays in the Eastern Conference finals, according to
     Thomas Heath of the WASHINGTON POST.  Team officials hope
     that the series against Buffalo will also help increase the
     team's "modest" season-ticket base of "about" 6,500.  As of
     late yesterday, there were 3,200 tickets remaining for Game
     One on Saturday and 7,400 for Game Two on Monday.  The
     league also changed the date of Games Five, Six and Seven
     because league and team execs "failed to realize the
     original date" of Game Five was reserved by WCW for a
     "Monday Nitro" event at MCI Center.  While the team has sold
     out four of its six playoff games, they "have had to work to
     do it," by offering discounted seats to season-ticket
     holders and other "inducements, including spreading some
     free tickets around town."  But Washington Sports President
     Susan O'Malley said, "Nothing helps ticket sales like
     winning" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/19).  
          SCHEDULE SNAFUS: With the date changes, if the Caps-
     Sabres series goes to a Game Seven, it would be televised on
     ESPN2, not ESPN.  Since ESPN2 is not available to DC
     Cablevision customers, the NHL is seeing whether RSN HTS
     could carry it to "affected homes" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/19). 
     In Dallas, schedule makers failed to notice a Champions on
     Ice show at Reunion Arena on June 2 and were forced to move
     Game Five from June 2 to June 3, and move Games Six and
     Seven back a day as well (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/19). 

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