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The Bills have signed a deal with CA-based ETM Entertainment Network to "provide round-the-clock access to Bills tickets," according to Sharon Linstedt of the BUFFALO NEWS. The Bills become the first NFL team to use the ETM machines, which function like ATMs, accepting credit cards to pay for tickets. However, the machines are currently used by MLB's Mets, Rangers and Dodgers. The NFL Cardinals "are expected" to sign with ETM soon. Customers will be provided with stadium seating diagrams and price options, or can obtain the "best-available seat" with one touch of the screen. ETM East Managing Dir Steve Smith said transactions are completed "very quickly," averaging about 50 seconds. The machines can also dispense tickets previously ordered through the Bills ticket offices. Although the team has not finalized locations for the ETMs, it "is negotiating" with Marine Midland Bank to put "as many as" 14 in bank branches near ATMs. The team plans to set up 20 machines. The service fee for ETM purchases is $2.75 per ticket, compared to Ticketmaster's $3.50 per ticket fee (BUFFALO NEWS, 6/4).
For the second straight year, the Mavericks will not raise ticket prices (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/5)....Sixty-five Eagles staff members, along with 31 players, helped students from five area schools put together playground equipment and set it in place at the Eagles Unity Playground, six blocks from Veterans Stadium (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 6/5). ...Prospective Lightning Owner Art Williams met with the NHL Exec Committee in New York on Thursday, and when the meeting ended, "several members of the committee, composed of team owners, told him 'Welcome aboard.'" The official vote on his ownership comes June 25, but Williams "expects the vote to be 'no more than a formality.'" Williams: "I think the meeting went very, very well" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 6/5). ...In Chicago, Michael Sneed reports that Bulls F Scottie Pippen "is singing his swan song at a party he is planning June 17 ... [which is] being billed as 'The Last Dance' and it's supposed to be the current Bulls' last goodbye event." Sneed: "It's done" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/5)....The ECHL Greenville Grrrowl announced the formation of a health care partnership with the Greenville Hospital System (Grrrowl).
Rockets Owner Les Alexander has hired Ken Harmon in an interim capacity as the COO for Rocketball Ltd, according to Eddie Sefko of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE . Harmon, who recently retired after more than 30 years at Dow Chemical, will be responsible for "overseeing all aspects" of Alexander's teams' business operations. Besides the Rockets, Alexander owns the WNBA Comets and the AFL ThunderBears. Harmon will also be involved in Alexander's pursuit of possible NHL and NFL franchises. A Rockets spokesperson said that Harmon "will be considered for the newly created job on a permanent basis, but an exhaustive search will be conducted before any decisions are made" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/5).
The Indians' "opening pitch on the stock market was a little low and outside," but Owner Richard Jacobs raised $60 million and "declared it a hit," according to Bill Lubinger of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. The shares closed the day's trading "at a lackluster" $14.75, down $.25 a share from the offering price with 1.5 million shares trading hands. On the price drop, Jacobs said, "Oh, that happens, for goodness' sake. A lot of people buy the stock to flip it" (PLAIN DEALER, 6/5). In Akron, Mary Vanac reports the IPO raised $55.8M and "as expected, the real interest in the shares came from area residents" (BEACON JOURNAL, 6/5). SWING AND A MISS? CNN's Jan Hopkins reported that the Indians' IPO "came in dead last [Thursday] on Wall Street" among yesterday's debut stocks. Hopkins: "That investor shutout should come as little surprise to anyone who follows the IPO market. History shows that stock and sports are not usually a winning combination" ("Moneyline," CNN, 6/4). In N.Y., Aaron Lucchetti reports that while a "one-day loss doesn't ruin the whole season, giving up ground on the first day after an IPO is unusual. The average company going public this year has gained 16% on its first day of trading." IPO Reporter's John Fitzgibbons: "They struck out." But Lucchetti writes that whether the Indians' investors "really care about the stock market is debatable" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/5). Also in N.Y., Peter Grant reports that investors "were concerned about warnings that the company has very limited growth potential." But he adds that Jacobs' success "will encourage" other team owners to explore IPOs. The Bonham Group Chair Dean Bonham: "It unquestionably was a home run for Jacobs" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/5). In S.F., Mark Veverka writes that while the IPO "wasn't exactly a home run for shareholders," Jacobs was the "real winner" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/5). Header of BLOOMBERG NEWS story in the N.Y. POST: "Cleveland IPO A Swing And A Miss." Bonham: "From an investment standpoint, on a scale from 1 to 10, this is a 2" (N.Y. POST, 6/5). CNBC's Scott Cohn said the reason for the drop in Indians' shares is that MLB is "a lousy business. The sport still hasn't recovered from the players strike four years ago, so this would be an investment for love" ("The Edge," CNBC, 6/4). SALARIES: USA TODAY's Hal Bodley notes the Indians' prospectus with the SEC lists the following salaries: Jacobs at $700,000; GM John Hart at $600,000; Exec VP Dennis Lehman and Assistant GM Dan O'Dowd at $300,000 and Marketing VP Jeff Overton at $225,000 (USA TODAY, 6/5).