SBD/8/Franchises

SUITES AT NEW HAWKS/THRASHERS ARENA AMONG HIGHEST IN SPORTS

          Officials of Atlanta's new arena, home of the Hawks and
     Thrashers in '99, "quietly" have been leasing private suites
     "and, in the process, confirmed that the luxury seating is
     reachable only for the upper crust," according to Jeff
     Schultz of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION.  The suites are priced
     at $135,000 to $225,000 per year, "among the highest in
     sports."  About half have been leased, including "a majority"
     of the top-priced models.  Arena President Bob Williams said
     the price point "has not been an issue."  The average suite
     price of $189,000 is 51.2% higher than the projected $125,000
     in a '96 feasibility study.  Suites have been leased for
     five, seven or 10 years (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 5/8).  

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