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Volume 24 No. 160

Franchises

     In L.A., Helene Elliott reports the Kings new owners,
Phillip Anschutz and Edward Roski, are keys in "the beginning of
a new era" for the franchise.  For the first time, the club will
be "run like a business" (L.A. TIMES, 10/8)....In a survey of
Falcons ticket-holders by the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, Len
Pasquarelli reports 29 years of "inconsistent play and broken
promises" leave the Falcons as "the league's most unloved 4-1
team" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/8)....The Celtics are paying
former General Partner Alan Cohen $260,000 for the next three
years to be a consultant.  Cohen sold his shares in the club for
anywhere from $14-20M.  Will McDonough notes Cohen's falling-out
with the club, and sees his new role as "a consultant you don't
talk to" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/7)....The Stars' honeymoon in Dallas
is "about to come to an end," writes columnist Randy Galloway.
He notes the team's failure to improve makes selling them "as
difficult as the spelling" of Nikolai Borschevsky, one of the
team's new additions (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/7)....In Milwaukee,
Tom Haudricourt notes that of the eight teams to make it to
baseball's postseason, only the Red Sox had a payroll of less
than $30M (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 10/8).

     A poll of 400 WA state voters released by the SEATTLE TIMES
indicates that most oppose using state funds to help build a new
ballpark for the Mariners.  The poll, conducted last Thursday and
Friday and released Sunday, finds 53% opposed to using state
money, 36% in support and 11% undecided (AP/TACOMA NEWS TRIBUNE,
10/9).  Meanwhile, WA Gov. Mike Lowry continued to work on a plan
to build a new stadium in Seattle, with details emerging in
advance of Thursday's expected special session of the legislature
This morning's SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER reports Lowry's new
plan would support a $320M stadium (up from $250M six months
ago).  King County's share would come from tax increases on the
county's bars and restaurants, rental cars and admissions at the
Kingdome.  The plan would allot money for last year's Kingdome
roof repairs and future renovations (Michael Paulson, SEATTLE
POST-INTELLIGENCER, 10/10).
     CLOSE TO HOME:  Despite signs of voter opposition, many
believe the Mariners' postseason success will keep them in the
Pacific Northwest.  John McGrath writes the team's on-the-field
success has "not only likely saved baseball in Seattle," but also
given the sport "an adrenaline shot for a new generation" (TACOMA
NEWS TRIBUNE, 10/10).  ESPN's Peter Gammons:  "The last two
months I think have pretty much assured the Pacific Northwest
that baseball is going to stay here because this is a great
baseball area" ("SportsCenter," 10/9).  In his BOSTON GLOBE
column, Gammons reports "a chance" that John McCaw, Mariners
minority owner and Grizzlies/Canucks majority owner, will put
together a group to make the Mariners a "regional franchise,"
splitting games between Seattle and Vancouver (BOSTON GLOBE,
10/8).

     Talk of the Panthers' potential move from South FL may be
keeping fans from attending games, according to Dave Sheinin in
this morning's MIAMI HERALD.  Sheinin reports that the club drew
only 12,087 to its home opener Sunday -- the fourth-lowest crowd
in franchise history.  Team officials say competition from the
Dolphins and the MLB playoffs are partly to blame (MIAMI HERALD,
10/10).  In an interview with the TAMPA TRIBUNE, NHL Commissioner
Gary Bettman admitted that the Panthers' situation is a "serious
problem."  Bettman:  "It's too early to tell what we can do" (Tom
Jones, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/7).  A report in Saturday's MIAMI HERALD
notes Heat Owner Micky Arison says he would be willing to "put
money into" a new arena and "would consider" compromising on the
location, if it meant being a partner with Panthers Owner Wayne
Huizinga (Amy Shipley, MIAMI HERALD, 10/7).

     Nashville's Metro Council is scheduled to vote on its share
of the $292M package to lure the Oilers to TN tonight as a giant
pep rally takes place outside of the meeting.  John Williams
reports in this morning's HOUSTON CHRONICLE that the proposals --
 the first in a series of "milestones" that must be completed by
March 15 to move the club, won support Monday from the council's
finance committee.  The city must still sell enough PSLs by
December to raise $71M.  A NASHVILLE BANNER poll indicates that
only 31% of state residents approve of spending state money for
the deal, 58% oppose and 11% are unaware (HOUSTON CHRONICLE,
10/10).
     A SPORTS PARADISE?  Kevin Paul DuPont reports in Sunday's
BOSTON GLOBE that if an existing NHL team doesn't pledge a move
to Nashville soon, the league may grant an expansion team as
early as '96-97 (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/8).

     Sunday's Raiders victory over Seattle was blacked out in the
Bay Area, as there were more than 6,000 seats unsold for Sunday's
game (Oakland Football Marketing Association).  Columnist C.W.
Nevius blames PSLs and poor advertising for the shortfall at the
box office.  Nevius writes the ad campaign implied "that you must
show a tattoo at the gate to be admitted," and that the OFMA sold
the idea of games at the "warm, fuzzy Oakland Coliseum" as if it
were "a halfway house for psychos" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/10).
Columnist Ann Killian notes the high prices don't help (SAN JOSE
MERCURY NEWS, 10/9).  The Raiders added 5,000 bleacher seats
behind the visitor's bench, which Seahawks QB Rick Mirer called
"a hostile environment" (TACOMA NEWS TRIBUNE, 10/9).

     With Kevin McClatchy's bid for the Pirates "seemingly in
peril," two previous local bidders for the team have joined
forces "to make a last ditch run for the team," according to
Steve Halvonik of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE.  Penguins Owner
Howard Baldwin and cable TV magnate John Rigas "believe they are
an unbeatable combination" to buy the team if McClatchy's bid
fails.  A spokesperson for Rigas said the two have reached an
understanding on a partnership that will make a bid if, and only
if, McClatchy's bid fails.  Baldwin reportedly believes "there
are marketing and business advantages to combining management of
the two small-market teams."  He made an unsolicited bid for the
team in January '94 that was rejected because it did not contain
enough cash.  Rigas failed in his $85.15M bid for the club
earlier this year (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 10/8).  McClatchy's
bid "is at least" $10M short of the cash he needs, and may be as
much as $20M short, sources told the WASHINGTON POST.  Mark Maske
reports that one baseball source said the deal "hasn't collapsed
yet," but is "pretty much hanging by a thread" (WASHINGTON POST,
10/8).  Virginia Baseball Inc. head William Collins "has
intensified his efforts" to buy the Pirates and move them to the
Washington area (WASHINGTON POST, 10/7).  Bart Fisher, a DC
attorney who leads another VA-based baseball group, said Friday
he assumes the bidding "will open up to out of town bidders at
this point."  Fisher has said he would keep the team in
Pittsburgh (Thom Loverro, WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/7).

     The sale of the Jets to MN businessman Richard Burke was
delayed until sometime this week, according to Jay Weiner of the
Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE.  Weiner reports the "complexity" of the
deal is the reason with Burke insisting it is not in jeopardy
(Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 10/7).  Meanwhile, in Sunday's STAR-
TRIBUNE, Weiner examined the troubles Burke faces as he tries to
carve out room in the Twin Cities market for a hockey team.  NHL
Commissioner Gary Bettman is scheduled to address area business
and political leaders tomorrow, but Weiner notes while the Jets
are the area's "best and last chance" to get an NHL team, there
are several problems.  There is "limited economic room alongside
the Wolves in the city-owned Target Center," and the Jets
situation has taken a back seat among many who are "more worried
about saving the Twins."  Burke has told political leaders he
needs around $5M a year to make the Jets viable at the Target
Center.  Weiner rates the chances of the team opening next year
at the Target Center at 50-50 -- the same chance of the team
moving to Nashville or San Diego (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE,
10/8).  This morning, Weiner reports Warlock Whitney, who
attracted the Twins to MN in '61, is leading the charge to obtain
$20M in state funding for the Jets (STAR-TRIBUNE, 10/10).  The
Jets drew a non-sellout 13,914 to their home opener, and only
7,856 in their second game.  L.A. TIMES columnist Mike Penner
notes the irony of one Winnipeg Arena dasherboard ad -- "Winnipeg
Allied Moving and Storage" (L.A. TIMES, 10/10).