Because Bucs fans opposed permanent seat licenses to help
fund a new stadium, the team may substitute a "ticket deposit"
plan. Ken Koehn reports in the TAMPA TRIBUNE that the ticket
deposits would be an up-front contribution by fans that would be
repaid through lower ticket prices over several years. The team
has hired Max Muhleman of Muhleman Sports Marketing to help
develop the plan. The cost for the deposits is projected to be
less than PSLs -- at around $500/seat or lower. Hillsborough
County Commission Chair Jim Norman supports the idea (TAMPA
TRIBUNE, 8/25). Meanwhile, in Orlando, Bucs Exec VPs Joel and
Bryan Glazer told the Orlando Buccaneers Booster Club that their
first priority is to build a new stadium in Tampa. Tim Turner
writes that the Glazers' appearance and statement "seemingly
ends" speculation involving a move by the Bucs to Orlando's
Citrus Bowl (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 8/25).
Under a court order obtained by the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS,
Alameda County and the city of Oakland released financial
documents detailing plans to pay for the Raiders deal. The
MERCURY NEWS' Witt & Koury report that "even their most
pessimistic projections contain some rosy assumptions about the
deal's potential earning power." The Coliseum Marketing
Association has sold only 31,000 of 45,000 available PSLs for
this season, and is trying to sell 57,000 for next season.
Although the documents reveal that the county must sell only 80%
of PSLs and club seats to avoid a taxpayer bailout, that is based
on "a long list of optimistic assumptions about events in the
next 16 years that extend far beyond football ticket sales."
East Bay officials project the sale of Coliseum naming rights
will bring in $24M -- to be split between the Raiders and
Coliseum. However, while that price is consistent with other
such deals, "there's no guarantee of such interest in Oakland,"
especially with the city of San Francisco attempting to sell the
rights to Candlestick Park at the same time. The MERCURY NEWS
also notes that the deal counts on $1.5M annually from baseball
profits. The A's have the option to leave Oakland in three
years, which could eliminate that income. Officials insist the
Coliseum will make a profit on the deal (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS,
Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen told the TENNESSEAN that if
the Oilers cannot decide on a move by October 20 -- the end of
the two parties' exclusive negotiating period -- all deals are
off. Bredesen: "This is not going to go on forever, we are all
busy people. I would expect an agreement to come out of it that
the Oilers would take to the NFL." Bredesen is reportedly under
fire from critics who say he is being used by the Oilers to get a
better deal from Houston. Meanwhile, in Texas, a District Judge
"gave the Oilers their first victory" by ruling that he has
jurisdiction over a suit filed by the team to prevent local
parties from blocking a relocation. The judge ruled against
Houston, Harris County and Astrodome USA's bid to move the case
to state court -- where they "believe they have a better chance"
(John Williams, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/25).
Orlando developer Norton Herrick is seeking additional money
from city and Orange County officials in his bid to bring
baseball to Central FL. According to Lawrence Lebowitz in this
morning's ORLANDO SENTINEL, Herrick "appears to be on the verge"
of making an offer for the Pirates, and is "trying to firm up
several key financing questions" with local officials. Herrick
currently has an exclusive deal with Orlando and Orange County
that the municipalities will build him a $150M ballpark if he
moves a team to the area. Herrick reportedly wants more,
including: a commitment to spend $15M to renovate the Citrus Bowl
for interim play while the new stadium is under construction; and
a restructuring of the financing package to give Herrick control
over taxes that will pay for long-term stadium and parking
improvements. Orange County Chair Linda Chapin: "We've already
offered Mr. Herrick as much as the traffic will bear. I'm not
interested in sweetening the deal anymore." Herrick has until
March 9, 1997 to land a team before the deal expires. There are
doubts MLB would move a team 90 miles from the Devil Rays
(ORLANDO SENTINEL, 8/25).
Former Knicks coach Pat Riley "was already laying the
groundwork" to become the next Heat coach when he resigned over
"philosophical differences" over control of the Knicks on June
15, according to this morning's N.Y. TIMES. Mike Wise reports
that Riley outlined demands to the Heat in a 14-point memo to the
team. The memo reportedly includes a request by Riley to secure
an immediate 10% stake in the team and another 10% over the
length of the contract. NBA Commissioner David Stern is expected
to rule early next week on whether the Heat violated league
tampering rules if the two teams cannot come to an agreement
(N.Y. TIMES, 8/25).
The Sixers announced that their season-ticket renewal rate
is running at slightly over 90% for next season -- the highest
since '83. New season tickets are up 40% (76ers).