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Volume 24 No. 156

Franchises

     The Bucks plan to make a bid to host the NBA Draft as early
as '98 (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 6/28)....The NPSL Detroit
Rockers will play all home games this season at Joe Louis Arena.
The had played home games at Cobo Arena (DETROIT NEWS,
6/28)....Wayne Gretzky will become a free agent for the first
time in his career (ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, 6/28)....The Ravens
will have two record books in the publication of its media guide,
including one for the Ravens and another for "Baltimore Pro
Football History."  Excluded will be CFL and USLF teams that
carried the Baltimore nickname (Baltimore SUN, 6/28)....The Palm
Spring Suns have cancelled a clothing optional night at the park
claiming that too many people wanted to participate.  "Nudist
Night" was scheduled for July 8, but the demand exceed the
stadium's 4,400 seat capacity.  Event Sponsor Tom Mulhall: "We
were concerned that we might have a safety and security problem"
(WASHINGTON POST, 6/28).

     WI Gov. Tommy Thompson is pushing to have a stadium
financing plan for a new Brewers ballpark done by Saturday, "but
he wasn't certain that would happen," according to Rinard & Lamke
of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL.  Another private commitment,
this one a $1M low-interest loan by the Evan and Marion Helfaer
Foundation, was offered as officials met in Thompson's Capitol
office to discuss the project.  They agreed the ballpark will not
be completed until 2000, but that it can be built for $250M
without "sacrificing its signature convertible-roof design."
Acting Commissioner Bud Selig was not happy about giving up on
the originally planned completion date and losing the '99 All-
Star Game, which had been committed to the city.  Asked whether
another All-Star Game in Milwaukee was possible, Selig said "I'll
talk to the commissioner on the way home."  Selig said he is "not
actively pursuing" Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist's idea that MLB
contribute $12.5M toward the stadium.  Selig: "It's never been
done before" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 6/28).

     Without public funding for a new arena or "drastic
renovations" to Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders say they will be
forced to move within five years, according to this morning's
NEWSDAY.  Ownership reached that conclusion after losses of $12M
over the past two seasons.  Two prospective ownership groups also
agree the team "cannot remain viable in 24-year-old Nassau
Coliseum for long."  Nassau County Exec Thomas Gulotta has
proposed that private investment convert the Coliseum into a
convention center, with a new arena and hotel complex built, but
the team seeks county and state financing for a package that
would include a team contribution.  Islanders Co-Chair Bob
Rosenthal:  "It's not our style to threaten, and we have never
threatened the county.  We want the team to stay here, but we
have made it clear to [Gulotta] that we need a new facility. ...
Five years is too long for this team to really thrive."  Gulotta
stressed no public money would be needed under his plan.
Rosenthal:  "The existing template for new buildings all around
the country calls for those interested, private and public to
pull their groups together."  The team seeks an 18-20,000 seat
arena with 60-100 luxury boxes.  Rosenthal:  "We've called what
we want 'Madison Square Garden East.'  We're overdue for the
county and the state and us to provide that facility" (Greg
Logan, NEWSDAY, 6/28).
     SUITORS:  NEWSDAY reports The Marquee Group, headed by
former MSG President Bob Gutkoswki, is involved in talks about
purchasing the team.  One source involved in the talks:  "Our
interest would be to keep the team on Long Island, but without
renovations or a new building, the team will go someplace else.
The municipality has to kick in."  Another group of investors
that owns a minor league hockey team is also interested, with a
source from that group saying the team would be worth more
immediately if it were moved to Nashville (Greg Logan, NEWSDAY,
6/28).

     A "disappointing paid attendance" of only 27,782 was
announced at Comiskey Park last night for the opening game of the
Indians-White Sox series.  The White Sox win brought them within
two games of the first place Indians, but over 18,000 empty seats
"suggested fan apathy is still a problem winning alone apparently
can't make disappear" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/28).  Chicago Mayor
Richard Daley, a regular at White Sox games until the players
strike two years ago, "ended his self-imposed exile" and attended
his first game at Comiskey Park in more than a year last night.
The Mayor, who declined an invitation to attend Opening Day at
Comiskey, said he "was upset with the strike like a lot of fans
were, but I decided this year I would come back" (Art Golab,
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/28).