Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 112

Franchises

     The economic perks of the NBA playoffs are examined in the
ORLANDO SENTINEL.  Gene Yasuda reports, as opposed to the regular
season where the NBA takes 6% of net gate receipts and the home
team keeps 94%, during the playoffs, the league keeps 45% and the
home team 55%.  With its share, the NBA pays the cost of
overseeing the playoffs and forms a "bonus" pool to reward team
accomplishments during the year.  For example, last year's $7M
bonus pool sent $224,000 to the team with the best record and
$196,000 to the team with the best record in each conference.
Teams that made it through the first round of the playoffs a year
ago were awarded $101,500, while conference finalists earned
$199,500.  The playoffs also boost merchandising.  Magic Media
Relations Dir Alex Martins:  "We're already selling Atlantic
Division Champions T-shirts and we'll be selling specific t-
shirts for each round of the playoffs" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 4/25).

     New L.A. Kings President Tim Leiweke's three-year deal with
the club could be worth as much as $450,000 annually (L.A. TIMES,
4/25)....The MLB Cardinals are considering leaving St.
Petersburg, their spring training home for the last 50 years, for
a complex in Jupiter, FL, that would be shared with the Expos.
Cards President Mark Lamping cited concern for the effect the
Devil Rays will have on the St. Petersburg area, which could move
into the Cards' old facility (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 4/24)....For
the first time since '92-93, Timberwolves season ticket packages
will stay level (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 4/24)....About 6,000
tickets are unsold for the Cavaliers' playoff opener tonight
against the Knicks, and 7,000 remain for Saturday's game.
Tickets are being sold at regular season prices (Cleveland PLAIN
DEALER, 4/24)....Failure to fill the 4,763-seat Centre 200 is
cited as one of the reasons the AHL Cape Breton Oilers' owners
are considering moving the team.  The Oilers, who ranked 13th in
attendance out of 18 teams, have some of the lowest ticket prices
in the AHL -- $8 for children and $10.75 for adults (EDMONTON
JOURNAL, 4/24).

     The Patriots released their rights to fifth-round pick
Christian Peter after details of "the extent of his record as a
sex offender" were published in yesterday's BOSTON GLOBE.
According to Patriots Player Personnel Dir Bobby Grier,
information gathered by NFL security "showed conduct our
organization found to be unacceptable."  Grier said they did not
have "complete information" when they made the pick.  Patriots
spokesperson Don Lowery:  "We discovered our own investigation
was terribly, terribly flawed."  Patriots VP of Business
Operations Andy Wasynczuk said the team would review its system
of collecting information on potential draft choices (Ron Borges,
BOSTON GLOBE, 4/25).  Dan Shaughnessy writes, "Give the Patriots
credit.  They were dumb to draft Peter, but at least they didn't
compound their error by being stubborn" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/25).
     PETERED OUT:  Patriots Owner Robert Kraft said after the
draft that he would not have picked Lawrence Phillips because of
his past.  But the team immediately faced questions about Peter,
another Nebraska Cornhusker involved in assaults against women.
The GLOBE reviewed Peter's record.  He faces sentencing May 21
over a third-degree assault charge of grabbing a woman by the
throat; he was suspended from the spring game for attacking a
former Miss Nebraska; and he is named in a federal sex
discrimination suit against the university over an alleged a rape
cover-up (Jim Greenidge, BOSTON GLOBE, 4/24).  Columnist Ellen
McNamara called both Peter and Phillips "thugs who graduated from
a college football program distinguished by its tolerance of
violence off the field, particularly violence against women"
(BOSTON GLOBE, 4/24).  A March 18 Sports Illustrated article also
noted Peter's record (THE DAILY).

     At the NBA Board of Governors meeting yesterday,
Commissioner David Stern stated even if the Nets ownership
decides not to sell the team, there should be "a restructuring in
ownership and its mode of operations," according to the N.Y.
POST's Fred Kerber.  Stern:  "We're not pressuring them to sell.
We just want them to act decisively because it's in the best
interest of the franchise and the fans."  Stern, who urged Nets
ownership to reach concrete decisions regarding the franchise's
future by the end of this week, expressed concern with the fact
that the team has seven owners who are often moving in different
directions.  Stern:  "To me, this franchise needs to speak with a
single voice, be definitive and move forward.  That's what I'm
urging them to do."  Kerber:  "You might as well ask for a cure
to the common cold" (N.Y. POST, 4/25).
     OTHER NBA BIZ:  Stern also announced before the Board that
the $130M sale of the 76ers from Harold Katz to Comcast Corp. has
been officially approved.  Stern:  "It was swift and unanimous.
It's good to have happy new owners" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER,
4/25).  John Smallwood of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS writes
that, "surprisingly," Katz has "become comfortable" with losing
the Sixers.  Katz, who nearly broke down when announcing the sale
of the team he had owned since '81, will make an $118M profit on
the sale.  Katz:  "What do I do now?  I count the cash.  How long
will it take?  I don't know, I've never had that much money to
count" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 4/25).

     According to numbers released by the Whalers yesterday, the
team's season ticket drive "would need to produce more than 6,600
new sales in its final eight days to reach its goal of 11,000."
Organizers reported 4,222 sales (2,270 renewals and 1,952 new
sales).  Combining total deposits with a projected 2,130 more
renewals, organizers said the drive total stands at 6,352 --
nearly 58% of the goal.  The HARTFORD COURANT's Michael Arace
reports, "Drives such as this historically produce the biggest
numbers in the final week, and organizers are optimistic that a
late surge can get them to their goal."  Also, for the first
time, Whalers Owner Peter Karmanos said he would consider
extending the May 1 deadline.  Karmanos:  "If we get to 8,000 or
9,000, we'd start to consider an extension."  Most of the
necessary 4,600 in new sales would have to be generated by
corporate buyers, "a big x factor" (HARTFORD COURANT, 4/25).