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  • ARE AFL FANS READY TO START LEARNING THE BENSON BOOGIE?

              The Arena Football League Board of Governors approved
         the application for Saints Owner Tom Benson to place an AFL
         team in New Orleans for the '99 or 2000 season.  The Saints
         are the first-ever NFL team to apply for and purchase an AFL
         team.  NFL bylaws previously prohibited NFL owners from
         investing in other football leagues or teams, but an
         amendment to the NFL Constitution was passed last month
         which made the AFL an exception.  The only remaining
         requirement for Benson is to secure a lease at New Orleans
         Arena, which is expected to open in July '99 (AFL).  The AP
         reports that AFL execs feel that "as many as nine more NFL
         teams" may be venturing into the AFL (AP/DETROIT NEWS, 6/4).
    
    

    Print | Tags: AFL, Franchises, New Orleans Saints, NFL
  • FRANCHISE NOTES

              MLB: Fox Group VP/Communications Vince Wladika said
         "[t]here is no truth to" yesterday's reports that the
         Dodgers plan to dismiss manager Bill Russell and GM Fred
         Claire and replace them with Marlins manager Jim Leyland and
         GM Dave Dombrowski (L.A. TIMES, 6/4).  Leyland is quoted in
         the MIAMI HERALD as saying, "I've never talked to anybody. 
         I don't want to talk to anybody."  But Dombrowski "refused
         to comment" on the report (MIAMI HERALD, 6/4)...Yankees P
         Orlando Hernandez's major league debut drew 27,291 fans to
         Yankee Stadium last night, including 4,000 in walkup sales
         (Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 6/4).  The Cuban's debut was
         featured in a number of media profiles, including the front
         page of the N.Y. TIMES and "CBS Evening News," where Dan
         Rather said Hernandez's story is that "of an immigrant who
         risked his life to get to the United States" (CBS, 6/3).
         ...Advance ticket sales show that this weekend's Indians-
         Reds series at Cinergy Field will challenge the Reds' all-
         time three game series attendance record of 152,565, set in
         '74 against the Dodgers (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 6/4).
              NHL: Stars Owner Tom Hicks "found himself in a shoving
         match with an unruly fan" at last night's Red Wings-Stars
         playoff game in Dallas.  Hicks was escorting the fan out of
         the lower seating area "when the fan shoved him back, and a
         number of security guards came to [Hicks'] rescue."  Hicks
         received a standing ovation from surrounding fans upon
         returning to his seat (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/4).
              NOTES: Former Vikings CEO Mike Lynn said he is
         "thinking about" making a bid on the team, and that he will
         speak with Twins Owner Carl Pohlad about "subjects of mutual
         interest" (STAR TRIBUNE, 6/4)....Suns CEO & D'Backs Managing
         General Partner Jerry Colangelo, asked if he would get
         involved with the NFL someday: "I doubt that very much" ("Up
         Close," 6/3)....The WNBA's Starzz-Mercury preseason WNBA
         game drew 11,348 to America West Arena (DESERET NEWS, 6/3). 
    
    
    

    Print | Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, CBS, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Miami Marlins, Franchises, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Vikings, MLB, New York Yankees, News Corp./Fox, NFL, NHL, Phoenix Suns, Southwest Sports Group, Viacom, WNBA, YankeeNets
  • GRIZZLIES TRY TO RE-UP FANS BEFORE NBA GOES INTO HIBERNATION

              The Grizzlies "are holding the line" on the cost of
         renewed and new full or partial season-ticket packages, but
         "there's a catch," according to a report in the VANCOUVER
         SUN.  In order to buy at last year's prices and "avoid" a
         C$1- and C$2-per game increases in price which will also
         affect single game tickets, fans "must commit before" July
         3, which is "just two days" after the NBA's "expected
         lockout" would begin.  After that date, prices in six out of
         seven ticket levels will rise by either C$1 or C$2 a game. 
         Grizzlies officials said that they "are uncertain" about
         what impact a lockout would have on sales, but Kevin Gass,
         the team's VP/Communications, said the verbal response to
         renewal notices has been "very positive."  Gass, on a
         possible lockout: "[T]here's never been a missed game in the
         NBA due to a labor situation.  We're going to assume
         optimistically that it won't happen" (VANCOUVER SUN, 6/4).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NBA
  • PACERS LOOK TO CASH IN ON UNPRECEDENTED TEAM EXPOSURE

              Pacers Dir of Public Relations Mike Henn said that
         95.2% of the team's approximately 8,500 full-season ticket
         holders have renewed for next season, according to Sean
         Horgan of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS.  Henn said that
         interest in the team has increased with its appearance in
         the Eastern Conference Finals.  Henn: "Generally in past
         seasons, we're usually right at about 90 percent.  That 5-
         point jump is really significant" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS,
         6/4).  In other news, the Pacers divided their playoff pool
         of $579,250, with each player receiving "approximately"
         $40,000 after partial shares were given to support
         personnel.  The players awarded a partial share to Ann Hart,
         wife of longtime equipment manger Bill Hart, who died during
         the past season (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 6/3).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Indiana Pacers
  • UPON A MIDNIGHT DREARY, WILL THE RAVENS HAVE TICKET QUERIES?

              The Ravens move into their new stadium this fall "with
         something many would have thought unlikely ... empty seats,"
         according to Morgan & Preston of the Baltimore SUN.  The
         team has sold "about" 52,000 season tickets, each with the
         required PSL, and has "about" 7,000 remaining.  The one-time
         PSL fees "range from" $250-$3,000.  Ravens VP/Public
         Relations Kevin Byrne said the team was "pleased" with sales
         thus far: "We always kind of paralleled ourselves with
         Carolina, and they had 4,000 PSLs available when they
         started their season at the Charlotte stadium."  Byrne added
         that he thinks the team will open the season "with about
         54,000" PSLs sold.  The unsold seats, all located in the end
         zones, "will be sold on a single-game basis and be marked so
         fans know they are available."  Once season-tickets are sold
         out, the Ravens will make 6,000 single-game seats available
         for each game in the 69,000-seat facility (SUN, 6/4).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Franchises
  • WILL TRIBE IPO HAVE WALL STREET SINGING "CLEVELAND ROCKS"?

              Indians Owner Richard Jacobs "will be swinging for the
         fences today, hoping to raise more than" $60M through an
         IPO, as shares in his team begin trading this morning on the
         NASDAQ, according to Bill Lubinger of the Cleveland PLAIN
         DEALER.  Jacobs, who "will retain overwhelming financial and
         management control" after the stock offering, is looking to
         sell "up to" 4.6 million shares.  The stock, which was
         priced at $15 a share yesterday, will trade under the symbol
         "CLEV," and investors must buy at least 100 shares
         initially.  The IPO is being underwritten by McDonald & Co.
         Securities Inc., which is also serving as the lead brokerage
         (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 6/4).  Some financial analysts
         believe that the stock offering "will be sold out through
         brokerage house commitments before the NASDAQ market opens"
         (USA TODAY, 6/4).  In Akron, Mary Vanac reports that the
         offering "is expected" to raise between $53.8M-$62.2M for
         the team, and Indians VP/Public Relations Bob DiBiasio said
         that the organization "decided to keep its stock
         certificates under wraps until after" this morning's
         offering.  Many potential buyers have "indicated that they
         want certificates" for their shares, which signals that they
         "intend" to hold on to them (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 6/4).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Cleveland Indians, Franchises
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