SBD/Issue 121/Franchises

Franchise Notes

In Cleveland, Bud Shaw writes Browns Owner Randy Lerner "expects to sign" GM Phil Savage to a contract extension, a "much better idea than when he considered firing Savage" at the end of the '05 season, Savage's first with the team. Savage's "recent work in trades and free agency showed that even though he made his reputation via the draft, he's flexible enough to see the value in getting more immediate help -- even if he overpaid for some of it." Shaw: "Compared to the narrow focus of the Butch Davis-Pete Garcia regime when it came to evaluating and accumulating talent, ... Savage's dexterity in the draft and free agency looks like a David Copperfield magic show" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 3/13).

FLYIN' HIGH: Flyers VP/Business Operations Shawn Tilger yesterday said ticket prices for the '08-09 season "are going up about $5 per seat." The Flyers also are introducing an Ice Row ticket plan where fans can sit in the first row along the ice for $175. The "formidable price" purchases various amenities, "including a $25 concessions credit." Those seats currently go for $73 for season-ticket holders and Tilger said that the team "will relocate current ticket holders of those seats within the lower bowl." Tilger: "We don't like to raise ticket prices. But with the cost of business going up in operating expenses, travel, etc. we have to in order to remain competitive" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/13).

STUDYING ABROAD: The Penguins will play Finland's SM-Liiga club Jokerit in an exhibition game October 2 at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland. Tickets to the game will go on sale April 1. The Penguins also are scheduled to play the Senators in a two-game series in Stockholm, Sweden, to open the season as part of NHL Premiere 2008 (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 3/13). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser, on the Penguins opening next season in Sweden: "That's the sport that should have the European division. That's where great players come from'' ("PTI,'' ESPN, 3/12).

WHITECAPS: The USL Vancouver Whitecaps ticket sales for a May 13 exhibition game against the MLS Galaxy have "hit the 23,000 mark" and some upper-deck tickets "will now be made available in addition to the remaining seats in the lower bowl." The best-selling tickets have been the most expensive, $65 and $85 seats (EDMONTON SUN, 3/13).

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