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Volume 24 No. 157

Franchises

     Attorneys for the city of Cleveland and the Browns "were far
apart as they proposed dates" for the start of a trial before a
Cuyahoga County judge on the disputed lease at Cleveland Stadium,
according to this morning's Akron BEACON JOURNAL.  The city has
proposed March 3, while the team is pushing for next Monday,
December 4.  Judge Kenneth Callahan will now set the date.  In
other news, at a press conference yesterday, Cleveland Mayor
Michael White denied all rumors of possible shifts of other NFL
franchise to the city, saying that Cleveland is being used by NFL
owners seeking better deals in their cities.  White:  "Somebody's
trying to leverage us."  White also said they rejected three
offers from the Browns to settle before last week's lease hearing
(Arnie Rosenberg, Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 11/28).
     NOT A LOT OF HOPE:  BEACON JOURNAL columnist Terry Pluto
writes, "Andre Rison has a better chance of being elected mayor
of Cleveland than the court system does of keeping the Browns
here" (BEACON JOURNAL, 11/28).
     SOLIDARITY:  This Thursday, the IHL Phoenix Roadrunners will
hold "Cleveland Sports Fan Appreciation Night" at Arizona
Veterans Memorial Coliseum when the team meets the Cleveland
Lumberjacks.  Anyone wearing Indians, Browns, Cavaliers or
Lumberjacks merchandise, or anyone holding a sign supporting
Cleveland sports, will be eligible for two tickets ($12 or $10)
for the price of one (IHL).

     Flyers President & GM Bob Clarke said Sunday the team plans
to apply to have a new AHL affiliate play next door at the
CoreStates Spectrum, according to the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS.
The Flyers are currently affiliated with the Hershey Bears, and
while a Bears representative says he has heard nothing from the
Flyers, sources close to the situation say the Bears expect the
Flyers to pull out of their agreement by the mid-December renewal
deadline.  Les Bowen reports, while the AHL still has to grant
the Flyers a team, sources say the AHL is eager to get in the
Philadelphia market and "will not stand in the Flyers' way."  The
team would play in the CoreStates Spectrum while the Flyers play
in the new CoreStates Center.  AHL expansion franchises currently
go for $1.5M and the municipally owned Cornwall (Ontario) Aces
are believed to be for sale for less than $1.5M.  Cornwall is
currently the Avalanche's AHL affiliate.  Clarke said the Flyers
currently spend from $750,000 to $1M a year in their agreement
with Hershey, but feel they could operate a team for less in
Philadelphia (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 11/27).

     The law firm of H.D. Caldwell, Jr. & Associates, LLP, has
declared its support of the Astros by donating four season
tickets to the Texas Children's Hospital and creating an employee
incentive plan that could generate up to 2000 additional fans
during the '96 season (Caldwell & Assoc.). ....In L.A., Helene
Elliott notes Stars Owner Norm Green will not be missed:  "He was
brash and rude and cried over the terms of his lease at Reunion
Arena from the moment he arrived in Dallas.  The NHL needs owners
with deeper pockets -- and stronger credentials -- than Green"
(L.A. TIMES, 11/28)....A FINANCIAL WORLD report examines large
companies owning sports franchises.  Pablo Galarza examines
Viacom's sale of the Knicks and Rangers and Anheuser-Busch's
intention to sell the Cardinals (FW, 12/5 issue)....The IHL Grand
Rapids Griffin announced ticket prices for their inaugural season
in '96-97.  Single game prices range from $5-22.  Season tickets
range from $258-946 (Griffins)....The Orioles and NationsBank
have teamed up to give fans a "Birdwatching Loan" to pay for
season tickets (WASHINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/30 issue).

     Since the Seahawks first approached King County officials
about ways to improve the Kingdome, the Sonics have moved into a
newly remodeled Seattle Center Coliseum, and the Mariners have
been promised a $325M taxpayer-supported ballpark.  Seahawks
Owner Ken Behring:  "It seems like we're bumping our heads
against the walls, like the message is, really, that they (King
County officials), would prefer we just went away."  Tacoma NEWS
TRIBUNE's Bart Wright Behring is upset about misconceptions he
wants a new stadium, not a renovated Kingdome, and the notion
that he is more interested in leaving.  Behring:  "Moving is the
last thing you want to do, the very last thing.  Art Modell is
going to be tied up in lawsuits for years."  Behring added,
"We've been told that the word is out that it is political
suicide to be supportive of the Seahawks and I'm beginning to
think that's the truth" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 11/27).

     While the state of MD has not made any financial promises to
the CFL Stallions, Owner Jim Speros received a "warmer" reception
yesterday from Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, according to the
Baltimore SUN.  Speros said Schmoke promised to see if the
Maryland Stadium Authority would pick up some of the team's
annual $400,000 in operating costs, adding Schmoke wants to make
sure the MSA treats the Stallions the same way as the Browns.
The Stallions will start a season-ticket campaign Friday aimed at
gaining 20,000 season-ticket holders.  Their season-ticket base
was 17,800 last season.  While Speros said, "If we sell 20,000
tickets, I'm not going anyplace," he still plans to "explore"
moving the team.  He is scheduled to meet with an investment
group in Richmond, tour Foreman Field in Norfolk, and meet with
University of Maryland officials about playing at Byrd Stadium
(Baltimore SUN, 11/28).