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              BASKETBALL: A seat "near the rafters" for last night's
         Pacers-Bulls Game Seven was selling for $750 outside United
         Center.  Courtside seats were going for around $7,000 (Steve
         Aschburner, Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 6/1)....The WNBA
         Liberty drew 12,399 to the Sunday's preseason game against
         the Mystics, including 3,000 Girl Scouts (N.Y. TIMES, 6/1).
              NFL: In St. Paul, Charley Walters wrote that Marc
         Ganis, who repped Tom Clancy's failed Vikings bid,
         "telephoned Vikings owners to apologize for the embarrassing
         mess in which he left them" (PIONEER PRESS, 5/31)....In
         Cleveland, Tony Grossi wrote that N.Y. developer Howard
         Milstein "tried to recruit" Step2 Founder Thomas Murdough to
         his Browns ownership group, but was "rebuffed."  Murdough is
         also forming a bid group and said he wants "total Cleveland
         involvement."  In addition, the NFL has "stopped sales" of
         luxury suites at Cleveland Stadium until an owner is named. 
         About 12 to 14 suites will be left unsold, because the NFL
         "is preoccupied with selecting the owner, and the league
         wants to reserve a number of suites for the owner to sell at
         his discretion" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 5/31). 

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Browns, Franchises, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Vikings, New York Liberty, NFL, Washington Mystics, WNBA

              A Northern VA group is "prepared to start talks" with
         the Expos about moving the team to the Washington, DC area,
         assuming that the team "cannot win financing" for a new
         Montreal ballpark, according to Maske & Lipton of the
         WASHINGTON POST.  Expos President Claude Brochu said that he
         has "not spoken directly" with VA Baseball Club Chair
         William Collins about a possible sale, but added that he "is
         aware" of the group's interest.  Gabe Paul, Exec Dir of the
         VA Baseball Stadium Authority, said that the group "hopes to
         choose" three or four possible stadium sites "by summer's
         end."  The state is also testing lottery games this summer
         to "see if they can raise" the $14M a year needed to help
         build a ballpark (Maske & Lipton, WASHINGTON POST, 5/30).
              TEAM NOTES: Saturday's Braves-Cubs game drew 39,817 to
         Wrigley Field, the Cubs' largest crowd of the season
         (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/31)....This weekend's Red Sox-Yankees
         series drew 200,244, the most for a four-game series at
         Yankee Stadium since '85 (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/1)....In N.Y.,
         Dunstan Prial writes that investors "are expected to be
         eager" for this week's Indians IPO, "[d]espite signs that
         the IPO market is running low on gas" (WALL STREET JOURNAL,
         6/1)....Yesterday's White Sox-Tigers Beanie Baby Day game in
         Detroit drew 27,200, and in Detroit, Tom Gage writes that
         some in the crowd "turned around and left right" after
         receiving their Beanie Baby (DETROIT NEWS, 6/1).
              BATTLE OF THE MEDIA TITANS: In CA, Steve Bisheff graded
         the performance of Disney's Anaheim Sports under the header,
         "Disney Fails To Make Grade, Good Decisions."  Comparing
         Disney's performance to that of Fox, Bisheff wrote Disney
         "is more concerned with the money line," while Fox "seems
         more concerned with the winning line" (ORANGE COUNTY
         REGISTER, 5/31).  Dodgers President Bob Graziano was
         profiled by Barbara Kingsley of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. 
         Kingsley wrote that while Graziano "has been called a
         glorified payroll clerk" for Fox, he "is running the show"
         (Barbara Kingsley, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 5/30). 

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Franchises, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Tennessee Titans, Walt Disney

              In the year since Ken Dryden became President of the
         Maple Leafs, "he sure hasn't knocked anyone's socks off,"
         according to Damien Cox of the TORONTO STAR, who added that
         while "it's unclear" whether Dryden "can or can't do the
         job," the "much-criticized Leafs ownership group still
         believes He Da Man."  Cox gave Dryden's first year a "C,"
         and wrote that Dryden "has failed to chart or articulate a
         bold new direction for the franchise" (TORONTO STAR, 5/30).
              TEAM NOTES: Although "all indications" are that
         prospective Lightning Owner Arthur Williams "is the kind of
         guy the NHL wants," the league will be "digging deep" into
         his background.  NHL Senior VP/Legal Affairs Bill Daly, on
         how the John Spano situation affected the league's
         investigative process: "[W]e just cut a wider path now.  We
         take an extra deep cut in the area of financial due
         diligence and moral character" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 5/31)....In a
         front-page piece in this morning's WASHINGTON POST, Rachel
         Alexander writes on the Capitals' playoff success and says
         "a team that often is an afterthought in the Washington pro
         sports hierarchy is dominating conversations around town." 
         Tuesday's Game Five at MCI Center is sold out, the first
         time this postseason that all tickets have been sold for a
         game more than a day in advance (WASHINGTON POST, 6/1).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, NHL, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals

              The Magic will raise ticket prices from an average of
         $50 last season to $52 in '98-99, according to Tim Povtak of
         the ORLANDO SENTINEL.  The increases are the "smallest"
         since the team's inception in '89.  The cost of $72 floor
         seats will remain the same, while $58 seats will go for $60,
         $50 seats will go for $51, and $40 seats will run $42. 
         Upper-level seats were raised by $1.  Magic Exec VP Jack
         Swope: "It's really just a cost-of-living increase."  The
         Magic, who lost money last season for the first time, have
         an "estimated" 15,000 season-ticket holders, with a waiting
         list of 3,500 (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/30).  
              SIXERS: The Sixers announced price increases for next
         season that average "about" 10.8%.  $12 seats will move to
         $13, $21 to $23, $28 to $31, $40 to $44, and $54 to $59 
         (Phil Jasner, PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 5/29).

    Print | Tags: Comcast-Spectacor, Franchises, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers

              The NHL Oilers said yesterday that they had sold 13,121
         season tickets, enabling them to meet the 13,000-ticket
         requirement mandated by the NHL in order to qualify for the
         US$2.5M small-market subsidy, according to Andrew Chung of
         the EDMONTON JOURNAL.  This was the "third consecutive year
         [that] season-ticket sales have come down to the wire"
         (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 6/1).  Oilers VP/Business Administration
         Doug Piper said that the team surpassed the requirement
         "without the help of a large corporation buying up a block
         of seats."  Piper: "We did see quite a few newcomers and a
         lot of people sharing" (Jerry Ward, EDMONTON SUN, 6/1).  

    Print | Tags: Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, NHL

              CT Gov. John Rowland and Phoenix Home Life Mutual
         Insurance CEO Robert Fiondella met last week with Patriots
         Owner Robert Kraft and NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, but
         no plans to lure the Patriots to a potential new stadium in
         Hartford have been announced, according to Christopher
         Keating of the HARTFORD COURANT.  CT officials "were
         cautious about raising any expectations" about a possible
         move by the team, since the state has been talking to the
         Patriots, "off and on, for the past five years without any
         stadium ever being built."  The talks come as plans to
         provide a $33M monorail system for transportation to the new
         sports complex were proposed on Friday (HARTFORD COURANT,
         5/30).  Kraft and Tagliabue were given "a view of the city's
         future" during their meetings in Hartford, described as "a
         series of discussions."  The talks took place at Fiondella's
         offices, overlooking the riverfront site of the planned $1B
         Adriaen's Landing development, which includes a domed arena
         that "could seat as many as" 50,000.  Sources said that
         Rowland also met with Kraft earlier in May, and that Kraft
         "was observed in Hartford consulting with architects from
         HOK Sport" (Ken Davis, HARTFORD COURANT, 5/30).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New England Patriots, NFL

              Devil Rays Managing General Partner Vince Naimoli said
         Friday that attendance at Tropicana Field "is running well
         below projections and could impact the team's ability to
         eventually compete for a championship," according to Joe
         Henderson of the TAMPA TRIBUNE.  Through Friday, the Devil
         Rays were averaging 31,455 a game, and Naimoli said that the
         team had "projected an average of about" 36,000 a game. 
         Naimoli had "remained optimistic" despite low early season
         numbers, but said Friday that "frustration is starting to
         get to him as the numbers haven't significantly improved." 
         Thursday's crowd of 27,017 for the Mariners was
         "particularly galling" to Naimoli, since it was the Devil
         Rays' first home game in two weeks, and the Mariners are a
         one very popular team.  Naimoli: "I'm very, very surprised
         and very, very disappointed" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 5/30).  
              IS THE MARKET THERE? In Tampa, Martin Fennelly wrote
         that the Devil Rays' sellout streak "began and ended on
         Opening Day."  Fennelly: "By all standards of expansion
         fever, the Rays have been running cold.  Even the Marlins
         drew three million fans their first season.  Weren't we
         supposed to be a better market?" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 5/30).

    Print | Tags: Miami Marlins, Franchises, PepsiCo, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays

              Mets co-Owner Nelson Doubleday, who was "credited with
         an assist" in the team's trade for C Mike Piazza, "likes the
         immediate results of his effort and plans to play a more
         active role" in the team with co-Owner Fred Wilpon,
         according to Murray Chass of the N.Y. TIMES.  Doubleday:
         "Absolutely I'm getting more involved."  Wilpon, the Mets'
         President & CEO, said that Doubleday, who "has been more of
         an absentee owner," is "welcome to play any role he
         desires."  Wilpon: "He's my partner.  He's been involved. 
         He chooses to do what he wants to do."  Doubleday, on
         trading for Piazza: "We weren't going anywhere, weren't
         doing anything" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 5/31).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New York Mets
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