If a Jackson, MS, group fails to buy the CFL Las Vegas Posse
by the weekend, speculation is that a group from Northern VA led
by Bill Collins will "move in" to buy the team. Collins, a
recent finalist for one of the MLB expansion franchises awarded
last month, owns two Single A baseball teams and a semipro hockey
team in FL (Kent Spencer, Vancouver PROVINCE, 3/30).
The Patriots plan to announce by the end of the month that
every ticket for their ten home games next year, including two
exhibitions, will be sold out. This is an "amazing" turnaround
for a team which ranked last in the NFL in season-ticket sales in
'91. Patriots Owner Robert Kraft said they could have sold
everything on a season-ticket basis, but "I didn't want to do
that. I have letters from people saying they can't afford a
season-ticket but they would like to be able to buy seats for a
game or two games." The Pats had 17,634 season-ticket holders in
'91, and jumped to 39,850 when Kraft bought the team in '94.
They now will have 59,000 guaranteeing that every game will be
televised locally, and boosting hopes for a Monday night
appearance on ABC. Kraft: "It would be great for our team, and
our area, to have that kind of exposure. You can't pay for that"
(Will McDonough, BOSTON GLOBE, 3/29).
BEHIND THE TURNAROUND: Patriots Dir of Public and Community
Relations Don Lowery spoke to THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY yesterday
about the team's resurgence. Lowery said one focus was to make
Foxboro Stadium more "fan friendly." The facility has long had a
reputation of rough fan behavior, not ideal for families. Lowery
said the team set up an entertainment and food area outside the
stadium aimed at children, "so families would feel they could
come to the game." Lowery also stressed tougher standards on
crowd control and alcohol rules: "If there are unruly people, we
have a security system now where we can focus a video camera on
any seat in the stadium, and if people are disruptive, we have
the ability now with over 60 security staffers that we've added,
to ask them to leave. So the atmosphere in the stands is a lot
better." Lowery said the team revoked over 100 season-tickets
last year due to disruptive behavior, and that policy will
continue (THE DAILY).
Astros Owner Drayton McLane is considering selling up to 25%
of his team, according to KRIV-TV in Houston. McLane has
reportedly started looking for possible local partners, adding
that has had discussions with a few "key leaders" in Houston for
"their ideas and thoughts." McLane said the partial offering has
"nothing to do" with the strike and that he would wait until
after the strike ends before "acting on seeking new partners"
(HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/29).
The Raptors are in the process of securing an IHL franchise,
according to Craig Daniels in this morning's TORONTO SUN.
Raptors VP/Business Operations Brian Cooper said the deal could
be completed by the summer. An IHL team would not begin playing
for three years, but a source with ties to the Raptors said there
is "pressure on the team to close a deal with the IHL sooner than
later" in order to show investors in the new Air Canada Centre
the building "will be viable." The source said the team "has to
show more than 45 NBA dates." The only sticking point may be the
fluctuation in exchange rates and the "meteoric rise in prices"
of IHL franchises (TORONTO SUN, 3/30). The Raptors will make a
presentation today to Toronto's land use committee to begin the
"maze-like approval process" on the arena (David Israelson,
TORONTO STAR, 3/30).
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has called for a special
meeting of team owners for April 12 in Dallas to re-examine the
Rams proposed move to St. Louis. This comes amid reports that
Tagliabue and Rams President John Shaw are closer to a settlement
that would allow the team to move to St. Louis for the '95 season
THEY CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW THE RAMS ARE GONE: If the league
approves the move, it will clear the "muddied future" of certain
teams, including the Bengals, and put the NFL in "position to
court the Bengals, or any other team dissatisfied with its
stadium, to fill the vacancy in Southern California." Yesterday,
Bengals President & GM Mike Brown wouldn't rule out a move to CA,
"although he maintained his preference is staying." Brown said
if the Rams do move, "there will be teams who'll take a look at
moving there." NFL Dir of Communications Greg Aiello said the
Bengals are not part of the emergency meeting: "That's a story
for a different day. Things are focused purely on the Rams"
(Geoff Hobson, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 3/30). In Cleveland, Browns
Owner Art Modell, also in pursuit of a new facility for his team,
said if the city of Cleveland will not help fund a new stadium in
six months he will pursue other options. If the Rams move,
Modell's "new home could be Anaheim" (Gordon Forbes, USA TODAY,