SBD/16/Franchises

FRANCHISE NOTES

          PUCKETT UP? In St. Paul, Charley Walters reports of
     talk that Kirby Puckett could "become a significant investor
     in the Twins, and that owner Carl Pohlad and his family
     might help finance Puckett's portion, even if the Pohlads
     sell the team."  Walters adds that Ogden Entertainment
     Services, which operates the Target Center for the
     Timberwolves, "is undergoing management changes at its New
     York headquarters and will curtail its aggressive attempt to
     control operations at the Metrodome" (PIONEER PRESS, 6/16).
          NOTES: In Seattle, Mariners CF Ken Griffey Jr. blamed
     Microsoft exec Chris Larson, who reportedly owns 30% of the
     team, for vetoing the trade of P Randy Johnson: "This one is
     Chris Larson.  Everyone agreed to the trade except one
     person, Larson."  Mariners CEO John Ellis: "I absolutely
     cannot comment because it just isn't true" (SEATTLE TIMES,
     6/15)....In TN, David Williams examined the public's
     confusion over the role of the Memphis and Shelby County
     Sports Authority.  Exec Dir Ross Bartow: "Do people know
     what a sports commission can do?  I'd say no.  I've got to
     ...  get out to civic clubs and meet with people, continue
     to answer questions that are out there" (COMMERCIAL APPEAL,
     6/15)....In Phoenix, the WNBA Mercury lead the league in
     season-ticket holders with "more than 9,000" (AZ REPUBLIC,
     6/16)....In Tampa, after announcing a $5M increase in
     payroll, Lightning GM Phil Esposito said that new Owner Art
     Williams has agreed to pour another $1M into the budget for
     player salaries for the '98-99 season (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 6/16).

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