SBD/13/Franchises

FALCONS' SMITH THINKS HIS TEAM IS TAYLOR-MADE FOR SUCCESS

          Falcons President Taylor Smith is "determined" to "not
     only keep the Falcons in the Smith family but prove they can
     become a consistent winning team," according to Grimes &
     Barry of GEORGIA TREND, who profile Smith in a cover story
     this month, and write that "this is his autumn of destiny --
     the one that could determine the ultimate fate of the
     Falcons."  Smith admits that the team had a "shortfall" of
     $8-10M last year, and said the Falcons "can't afford many
     years like that.  We have to win games, sell tickets and
     generate revenue, no doubt about it."  While teams such as
     the Cowboys rely on the NFL's TV contract for "only about"
     40% of their revenues, 70% of the Falcons' revenues come
     from the league's TV deal, and Millard & Barry write that
     "tickets sold -- and actual attendance -- are major Falcon
     problems."  However, "despite attendance problems, the
     Falcons are in sound financial shape, with scarcely any
     long-term debt," and a gate increase of 20,000-30,000 per
     game "should bring in" $8-10M more in revenue.  Smith: "When
     the Falcons start winning consistently, the fans will come
     ... And it will be very special" (GEORGIA TREND, 8/98).
          PANTHER PRIDE: NFL Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson is
     profiled by Dyan Machan of FORBES under the header "A Fast-
     Food Guy Caters To The Fans."  Machan writes that
     "financially, Charlotte is working" (FORBES, 8/24 issue).

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