SBD/8/Franchises

THE PLACE TO BE SEEN FOR FANS AND PHONIES: COURTSIDE AT MSG

          Knicks VP/Public Relations Chris Weiller, who handles
     celebrity ticket requests, will "have plenty of power this
     weekend" as the Knicks host the Pacers for Games 3 and 4 of
     their playoff series, according to Kelly Carter of NEWSDAY. 
     The Knicks have eight complimentary floor seats to each game
     for distribution, and Lakers PR Dir John Black said, "If I
     had eight complimentary floor seats for every game, I would
     own Los Angeles.  Chris Weiller is doing something wrong if
     he's not mayor yet.  [He] is more powerful than Rudy
     Giuliani."  Weiller said the "key" to selecting the courtside
     celebs "is if they're a Knicks fan.  You'd rather have
     someone who is a fan rather than a great face."  The team
     tries to "differentiate between real fans and those who just
     want to be seen."  Weiller: "We love Elle [MacPherson].  But
     if she left at halftime and was talking on the cell phone the
     whole time, she wouldn't be back."  The team also reportedly
     "warned" Sean "Puffy" Combs for constantly talking on his
     cell phone during the game.  Spike Lee, Woody Allen, Tom
     Brokaw and John Kennedy Jr. are among season ticket holders,
     and Billy Baldwin, Matthew Modine and Robin Leach are celebs
     who attend Knick charity functions and thus "are going to get
     a comp seat" when they request one (NEWSDAY, 5/8).

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