SBD/21/Franchises

FRANCHISE NOTES

          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).

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