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Volume 24 No. 117

Franchises

     An anonymous group of "concerned East Bay citizens"
threatened yesterday to obstruct the Raiders' return to Oakland
with a ballot measure that could "scare off investors and
collapse an agreement embraced three days ago by elected
officials," according to Stacey Wells of the OAKLAND TRIBUNE.
Organized under the banner "Taxpayers for a Vote on the Raiders
Deal," members "want an independent financial review of taxpayers
costs and risks" involved in a plan to sell $225M in bonds to
relocate the team.  The group has hired S.F.-based p.r. firm
Advocacy Communications to run the campaign and has established a
toll-free phone number "to recruit members" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE,
7/14).  Peter Fimrite reports that former Alameda County
Supervisor Don Perata, a longtime Raiders advocate, said he will
file documents today demanding that the group file papers with
the Fair Political Practices Committee which would reveal their
identities.  Perata: "These guys are hired guns, and they're
representing some big money San Francisco interests.  We're onto
them and we are going to force them out" (SAN FRANCISCO
CHRONICLE, 7/14).  Perata also asked: "Is it [49ers President]
Carmen Policy?  This is not the first time that people in San
Francisco have treated Oakland like a colony" (Sandy Kleffman,
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 7/14).

     The Class A Portland Rockies drew 19,658 for their home
opener, the largest Class A crowd in America this year.  Through
14 home games, the team has averaged 7,202 fans for a total of
100,823, which marks the earliest a team in the Northern League
has passed the 100,000 mark.  This is the team's first year in
Portland, after 14 years in Bend, OR.  Portland became an open
market when Joe Buzas took his Triple A team to Salt Lake City
last year, and Rockies Owner Jack Cain moved the Rockies to Civic
Stadium.
     THE RIGHT MOVES:  Part of the team's success is attributed
to S.R.O. Partners, a Portland-based consulting and training firm
specializing in tickets, sponsorship, and suite sales strategies.
Tom Leip, VP/Marketing for the Rockies, told THE SPORTS BUSINESS
DAILY that they took the "ticketing marketing program by SRO and
ran with it."  Leip said the program was "very aggressive" and
said his staff of 18-20 full and part-time employees spend their
entire day selling tickets.  Leip said the marketing program is
based on ticket sales , "if we sell our tickets, the marketing
will take care of itself."  If the stands are full, advertisers
will want to buy signage and sponsorships.  Doug Piper, President
of S.R.O. Partners, said his company helped the Rockies hire and
train an outside sales team.  S.R.O. then followed up with
training sessions, including helping develop a database. They are
also in discussions on helping with sponsorships next season.
Dwight Jaynes, columnist for the Portland OREGONIAN, told THE
DAILY that the team has been "wildly successful."  Jaynes said
baseball as a whole is not being sold correctly, but "these guys
had lots of salesman on the streets selling tickets."  Jaynes:
"People think that you can open the gates on opening night and
fans either love you or hate you.  But they worked hard. ... The
Cain's have proven that the off-season is when the work gets
done, and tickets are sold."  Rockies Owner Jack Cain, to THE
DAILY: "We are a retail business.  We just have a different
product to sell."
     COULD PORTLAND BE HOME TO EXPANSION?  When asked if Portland
was a solid baseball city, Leip said that was "an
understatement."  Leip: "Portland is as good a baseball market as
any in the country. It has a population with a large disposable
income and they will come if is a good show."  The OREGONAIN's
Jaynes agrees: "[Portland is] a great baseball town, and once it
wakes up, it could be a great potential major league expansion
city" (THE DAILY).

     The Devils agreed yesterday to play at Brendan Byrne Arena
at least through next season, and for 11 more after that if a
renegotiated lease with promises of new revenues from luxury
suites and advertising is approved by September, according to the
N.Y. TIMES.  If the deal is not completed by September 15, the
NJSEA would reactivate its request for a temporary restraining
order to keep the team from terminating its current lease
(Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 7/14).  Devils President & GM Lou
Lamoriello: "The reality is that if the Sports Authority delivers
what has been promised, the Devils have a 12-year lease and
commitment to remain in New Jersey.  There are no escapes if the
Authority keeps its word" (N.Y. POST, 7/14).  In the N.Y. DAILY
NEWS, Colin Stephenson reports that promised improvements to the
arena will include 14 new luxury boxes, 1,600 club seats,
additional advertising space sold inside the arena and the
construction of restaurants and exclusive "club rooms" for club
seat patrons (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/14).  Larry Brooks notes that
the Devils have also moved to prevent another professional
franchise from relocating to the Meadowlands.  Funding for the
renovation work will be generated, in part, by selling the naming
rights to the arena (N.Y. POST, 7/14).       YANKEES LOST IN
YONKERS?: Larry Brooks notes that the Devils "have done their
part to see to it that another New York team -- the Yankees --
cannot now use the Meadowlands to hold this city hostage" (N.Y.
POST, 7/14).  Yankees Exec VP & General Counsel David Sussman,
from a prepared statement:  "It appears that the New Jersey
Sports and Exposition Authority has decided it would prefer to
have a National Hockey League team over a Major League Baseball
team playing in the Meadowlands" (N.Y. NEWSDAY, 7/14).

     Hal Bodley reports in today's USA TODAY, that the Expos are
not for sale and are not moving.  Expos President Claude Brochu:
"I consider myself a lifer in this game" (USA TODAY,
7/14)....Bodley also examined the woes of the Giants.  Giants
President Peter Magowan: "One partner was quoted as saying if the
Giants don't get more fan support they may have to consider
leaving.  We have about 27 investors, maybe one or two feel that
way.  The majority of us are committed to keeping the team here"
(USA TODAY, 7/14)....Michael McIntyre profiles the success of the
Indians this year in the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER.  Indians VP/P.R.
Bob DiBiasio: "This is happening because of the big three: One,
Jacobs Field.  Two, this is the best team in baseball right now.
And three, fans are starved for both one and two" (Cleveland
PLAIN DEALER, 7/13)....According to Nets Treasurer David
Gerstein, the Nets are not for sale, contrary to rumors that
investment firm Morgan Stanley is shopping the club for $90M
(Thomas Hill, N.Y. POST, 7/14)....Gary Picknell reports in the
TORONTO SUN that Boca Raton Developer Norton Herrick has turned
his sights away from the Blue Jays and has focused on purchasing
the Pirates (TORONTO SUN, 7/14).