Carnegie Mellon University's current $2M ownership stake in
the Pirates is supported by funds from the Heinz Co. and the
Richard King Mellon Foundation, according to the current issue of
the PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES. According to Heinz spokesperson
Debbie Foster, the company's anonimous role is due to the fact
the corporation "is not interested in establishing a high profile
as a team owner or as a participant in current negotiations to
sell the Pirates." However, both Heinz and Mellon "may want to
retain ownership stakes in the Pirates if the team is sold."
Foster added that Heinz also did not "want to create a perception
that it was straying from its main business." Foster: "We're not
trying to diversify into sports marketing" (Suzanne Elliott,
PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES, 2/26 issue).
RIGAS-MORTIS? Adelphia Communications Chair John Rigas, the
"would-be-owner" of the Pirates, is "still confident" he will
finalize a deal for the team in the face of recent competition.
Rigas, who has said he would be willing to add partners to his
group to increase his offer: "I'd rather have an exclusive. But
the owners are doing what they think best." Rigas says his bid
has climbed to $112.15M for the team, including repayment of a
$20M loan taken out by the owners to Pittsburgh's Urban
Redevelopment Authority and $7M in interest. Rigas: "We're very
close. Each and every week, something positive happens and we're
not discouraged" (PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES, 2/26 issue).
The Brewers are "turning to the future in marketing their
1995 season tickets." The team is making available to TV
stations around Milwaukee a 30-second public service commercial
that "doesn't talk about expectations on the field this season or
the players likely to be stars, the kind of things they promoted
in past years." Instead, the video shows the newest stadiums
around the league -- Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Jacobs Field,
and The Ballpark at Arlington. The next scene is "that familiar
rendering" of the proposed $223.5M stadium the team wants
constructed. Then the message -- "Share the dream of a new
stadium. Support baseball for Wisconsin. Buy your 1995 season
tickets today" (Daniel Hanley, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL, 2/22).
BRAVES ON FILM: Turner Sports President Harvey Schiller and
Braves President Stan Kasten met the media this week to discuss
the team and TBS's plans for '95. Among the different plans
under consideration: Producing a movie in conjunction with TBS
about the "unprecedented upcoming season" (Henry Unger, ATLANTA
In his column in this morning's TORONTO STAR, Bob McKenzie
speculates that a departure from Disney by company chairman
Michael Eisner could mean an ownership-change for the Mighty
Ducks. According to McKenzie, "it is obliquely suggested" in the
March issue of ESQUIRE that "Eisner may be contemplating new
career opportunities." MacKenzie suggests Disney's purchase of
the Ducks was "for no other reason than Eisner's interest in the
game itself and, perhaps to a lesser extent, the business of
hockey. ... If the rumors come to fruition and Eisner ceases to
run Disney, will the impetus be there for the corporation to stay
in the NHL?" Also suggested: Disney could sell or give Eisner
the team as a going-away present (TORONTO STAR, 2/23).
POWER PLAY: Since Disney's stock fell to 39 3/8 in November
following Eisner's heart bypass surgery, the unexpected death of
Disney President Frank Wells and slumping attendance figures at
its parks, the company has "rebounded with a mighty roar."
Disney stock rose to 53 on Wednesday after the company announced
an unspecified "multimedia venture" with Southern Bell, Ameritech
and SBC Communications (REUTERS/MIAMI HERALD, 2/22).
The owners of the Silver Bullets women's professional
baseball team will hold two tryouts for their Mediterranean
Baseball League, a six-team league for women that will start play
this summer in Spain, France, and Italy. The six teams will
consist of 20 players each, and will run from mid-June through
August. Each player will be paid a salary, plus housing and
meals for the season (Silver Bullets).