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Volume 24 No. 117

Franchises

     The MLB Cardinals, "one of only a few professional sports
franchise" that did not have a no-smoking policy last season,
announced that smoking will no longer be allowed in Busch
Stadium.  Fans will no longer be allowed to smoke in the seating
sections, but will have 27 designated areas in the upper
concourse level equipped with video monitors, play-by-play audio,
counter tops and ashtrays, where they can smoke (Dan O'Neill, ST.
LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 11/26).

      Joe Alioto, attorney for Raiders Owner Al Davis, responded
to a report last week that Davis could potentially lose control
of the team.  The report said minority partners were upset with
Davis and threatened to vote and strip him of him ownership
powers.  Alioto:  "Nothing could be further from the truth. Al is
the general partner of the Raiders and he is the only one.  He
owns the team. He has some limited partners but in this type of
partnership, the general partner has control" (Will McDonough,
BOSTON GLOBE, 11/27).

     The Devils have "been offered a chance to move to Orlando,
FL -- an opportunity they apparently will pass up."  Devils Owner
John McMullen told the N.Y. POST that "someone" called him and
asked if the Devils would be interested in moving, but that he
"hadn't had any further discussions with them."  Orlando
officials have been looking for a tenant to share the arena with
the Magic and "have been approached" from both the IHL and the
NHL, according to Howard Tipton, chief administrative officer for
the city.  But Tipton "would not reveal which NHL team had been
involved in the plans."  Tipton:  "It would involve moving a
team.  The ownership group represented that they have the
approval of the league" (Mark Everson, N.Y. POST, 11/24).

     The Grizzlies announced they've sold 304 season-tickets over
the past week to bring their total to 8,414.  They still need to
sell 4,086 to reach the NBA mandated minimum of 12,500 by the
December 31st deadline.  Grizzlies GM Stu Jackson said he was
"more confident today" than he was two weeks ago about the team
reaching the minimum.  They still must average a thousand sales a
week to reach 12,500, but Jackson said the team is involved in
negotiations with members of the corporate community to help
reach that goal. The team will bring Magic Johnson to Vancouver
next Wednesday to put the "hard sell" on potential corporate
ticket buyers (Elliott Pap, VANCOUVER SUN, 11/25).  But,
according to Howard Tsumura of the Vancouver PROVINCE, a "check
of some of Vancouver's biggest money players indicated that
interest towards large block sales was lukewarm" (Vancouver
PROVINCE, 11/25).

     On NBC's "NFL Live," Will McDonough reported that Toronto
investors, led by John LaBatt Ltd., will make a "strong bid" to
buy the Buccaneers and move them to Canada (NBC, 11/24).  Paul
Godfrey, President and CEO of the Toronto Sun, who is also
"spearheading" the bid, said that while the they we're interested
in the team, they recognized that the NFL wants to keep the team
in Tampa.  Godfrey: "We will continue to monitor Tampa, but there
are other possibilities that we know of and we will monitor those
as well" (Gary Picknell, TORONTO SUN, 11/25).  In Tampa, trustees
of the team will meet this week with Dixon Ticonderoga President
Gino Pala.  Pala is one of many potential local buyers who have
meetings with team officials (Nick Pugliese, TAMPA TRIBUNE,
11/28).

     Penguins Owner Howard Baldwin sold the team's broadcasting
and merchandising rights to Liberty Sports cable channel KBL for
the next 12 years.  The deal extends the four-year $20M TV/radio
contract signed last year through the 2006-2007 season, and gives
KBL the rights to Penguins merchandise not sold in Civic Arena.
Baldwin reports the deal could be worth up to $65M, and even
higher depending on how the team fares in the playoffs.  The
team's entire marketing operation, including 20 to 30 employees,
four retail stores and a warehouse containing $1M worth of
merchandise will be transferred to KBL Merchandise Inc.  KBL GM
Bill Craig hopes to sell Penguins merchandise on a home-shopping
show, reconfiguring the team's four stores, and opening outlets
in different locations, including Pittsburgh International
Airport (Penguins/KBL).

     Rams President John Shaw denied a report that a deal has
been made to sell 40% of the Rams to MO businessman Stan Kroenke
and to move the team to St. Louis.  Shaw: "No deal has been
reached, nothing is imminent, we continue to negotiate" (Jon
Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 11/25).  Kroenke's lawyer, Alan Bornstein,
reiterated Shaw's comments, adding the report was "premature."
Bornstein: "We are not at the point where it can be said that an
agreement has been reached."  The deal reportedly would give
Kroenke 40% of the team for $60M, with the first right to buy the
team if Rams Owner Georgia Frontiere decides to sell.  Bornstein
said an announcement on the team could come in "days, weeks, or
perhaps never, depending on how several matters unfold" (Mike
Reilly, L.A. TIMES, 1/24).  Will McDonough reports an
announcement to move to St. Louis "will be made within the next
two weeks, and when the Rams do make the announcement they will
go to the NFL and ask for a vote of approval" ("NFL Live," NBC,
11/24).  In Baltimore, Vito Stellino writes the Rams may wait
until after the season, as Shaw has a "reputation for dragging
things out as he takes care of the financial details" (Baltimore
SUN, 11/27).
     ONE LAST CHANCE:  Save the Rams, the civic group trying to
keep the team in Anaheim, will meet with Shaw on Tuesday to
review the group's latest offer.  Save the Rams spokesperson
Leigh Steinberg said the group is "seriously pursuing private
funding for a new football-only stadium" if the Rams will commit
to stay in the Orange County area.  Shaw said the team "would
consider a short term lease" at their current home in Anaheim if
"it included the promise of a new stadium and other
considerations" (Himmelberg & Mouchard, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER,
11/26).
     MUHLEMAN PROFILED: Seat-licensing guru Max Muhleman is
profiled in Saturday's ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.  Muhleman talks
of selling the idea to the Hornets, Panthers, and now to FANS,
Inc. in St. Louis.  One NFL observer said Muhleman "could sell
Sand in the Sahara" (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 11/26).

     The Reds will "maintain their status as having the major
leagues' lowest admission costs" as they announced their ticket
prices will remain unchanged for the '95 season.  Reds CEO Marge
Schott admitted big financial losses but said, "How can you raise
ticket prices after what the fans have been through?  I just
couldn't do it" (Chris Haft, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 11/24).