SBD/Issue 144/Franchises

Franchise Notes

PLAYOFF PAYOFF: In Detroit, Daniel Fricker notes if the Red Wings reach the Stanley Cup Finals, fans will pay $450 for a seat in the lower bowl at Joe Louis Arena. The $450 seat would be the second highest in the league behind the Maple Leafs, which offer a US$583 seat in the first row at Air Canada Centre (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 4/16)....In Boston, Will McDonough wrote, "How about a little round of applause for the Celtics and Bruins for not gouging the fans on playoff ticket prices this year. The Celtics get the salute for upping the price, on average, just $5 throughout the playoffs, even if they go to the finals." Celtics COO Rich Pond: "We feel we owe this to our fans for being so loyal." Meanwhile, McDonough noted the Bruins "will raise their ticket prices for the first round $5 as well, but they have not set the price for the next round, if they advance." Bruins President Harry Sinden: "I don't like to raise the price for the playoffs at all, I really don't. And [percentage-wise] we are not going to raise them the way we did in past years" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/14).

NOTES: A summer trial date was set yesterday for a $1.1B lawsuit in which the Raiders claim they fraudulently were lured back to Oakland in '95 with "promises of sellout crowds that never materialized." During a brief court appearance in a Sacramento County courtroom yesterday, attorneys for the Raiders, the city of Oakland and Alameda County "decided they will choose a jury" for the trial on July 2 (AP, 4/15)....In New Orleans, John Reid writes, "To broaden their base of fans, the Hornets have changed their advertising push this week from club seats, which was the focus the week before owners' meetings, to selling half-season ticket packages that start at $599 for 21 home games" (TIMES-PICAYUNE, 4/16)....The AFL Desperados have sold more than 4,500 season tickets (Richard Alm, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/13)....In FL, Michael Russo wrote, "In a letter that went out [last] week, the Panthers guarantee they'll make the playoffs next season. If they don't, the team will give full season-ticket holders next season a credit on their 2003-04 renewal." Meanwhile, Panthers COO Jeff Cogen said the team has "re-scaled their ticket prices." Cogen said, "We raised about 30 percent of the house, held 30 percent flat and reduced 40 percent. The majority of the reductions are [in the upper bowl]" (SUN-SENTINEL, 4/13).

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