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Published May 21, 1998
Falcons President Taylor Smith dismissed a rumor yesterday that his family intended to sell the team: "I have no idea how it all got started, but it's absolutely not true" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 5/21)....In Minneapolis, Twins Owner Carl Pohlad said that he entertained "two Charlotte businessmen in the past week who remain interested in moving the Twins" to NC. One was Charlotte Regional Baseball Partnership Chair Johnny Harris (STAR TRIBUNE, 5/21)....In L.A., WNBA Sparks President Johnny Buss said the chances are "better than 50-50" that his team will move into the Staples Center, probably in 2000, joining the Lakers, Clippers and Kings. Previously, he had said the team would remain at the Forum (L.A. TIMES, 5/21)....In Chicago, the MLS Fire drew 10,520 yesterday against the Galaxy, its smallest crowd of the season (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/21)....Of Red Wings C Sergei Fedorov's $12M, up-front bonus, $4.9M "most likely" will go to the IRS (USA TODAY, 5/21)....ESPN's Peter Gammons reported that while the Padres "are working so hard" to try to get the November referendum for a new ballpark passed, some Padres people "are so worried" about the vote that a few members of the board, including Calvin Hill, are already looking at a Washington, DC, location in case they have to move there in the 2000 ("SportsCenter," 5/20)....Sabres CEO Tim Rigas said that the team "makes an average" of $300,000 to $350,000 per home playoff game. A trip to the Stanley Cup finals would mean up to $4M in net revenues "for a team that is struggling" with an $81M debt (BUFFALO NEWS, 5/20). QUESTIONING A FULL HOUSE: In Tacoma, Frank Hughes wrote that the organization of the Ackerley Group, parent of Full House Entertainment and the Sonics, has recently become "murky." When Bill Ackerley, who oversaw "aspects" of the Sonics Full House Entertainment (FHE), resigned two weeks ago he cited family reasons, but sources within Ackerley say he "resigned because he has had ongoing disputes with [his father] Barry Ackerley about the Sonics." An Ackerley Group spokesperson "vehemently denied" any disputes among the family. Bill Ackerley could not be reached for comment, but Hughes wrote that with him gone, "there has been speculation" that FHE President John Dressel, who is close to Bill Ackerley, "could lose his job." However, both Dressel and an Ackerley spokesperson said Tuesday that "that was not the case" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 5/20).