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Volume 24 No. 117
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          Bullets & Caps President Susan O'Malley is the cover
     story in an extensive feature by Michael Abramowitz in the
     WASHINGTON POST MAGAZINE under the header, "Hard Sell."  The
     sub-head notes at 35, O'Malley "has risen to the top of the
     pro sports business.  She has turned her success into a
     public fable, a motivational speech.  But how much credit
     has she really earned?"  Abramowitz writes O'Malley is
     "arguably the most accomplished woman in her field.  She has
     much praise and criticism heaped upon her by others, but the
     only real claim she makes for herself in public ... is that
     she has helped raise the Bullets from the dregs of the NBA
     to box office success, building a platform for (still
     anticipated) on-court success as well."  Bullets & Caps
     Owner Abe Pollin: "She is very, very tough, but very fair,
     and that's the way I like it."  Abramowitz adds that
     O'Malley's critics "range from those who have clashed with
     her in office struggles or been forced out during
     reorganizations to colleagues in the NBA who have nothing
     personal against her but who question whether O'Malley's
     business achievements are all that they seem. ... Does
     O'Malley threaten some people in the pro basketball and
     hockey worlds because she is a woman in a position of power? 
     Definitely.  Does she deserve either as much credit as she
     gives herself or as much criticism as her enemies hurl at
     her?  Very much debatable -- and very actively debated."    
          FORCED SELLOUTS? Abramowitz notes that O'Malley
     "brought to the Bullets a definite philosophy about
     marketing the team: that the best way to create demand was
     to create the perception that Bullets tickets were scarce." 
     O'Malley says she set about "forcing sellouts," abandoning a
     plan that allowed partial season ticket holders to pick any
     ten games they wanted and, instead, picking the games for
     them.  Abramowitz notes the move "immediately ensured a
     sizable base of fans for at least a quarter of the home
     games."  Bullets attendance rose "impressively ... but soon
     the whispers started that her numbers were inflated, that
     the Bullets were giving tickets away to sponsors -- or at
     least discounting many so heavily that the turnstile numbers
     were meaningless. ... Such criticism is buttressed by
     sources who have seen confidential NBA financial data that
     show the Bullets' gate receipts remained among the lowest in
     the league, even as their reported attendance rose during
     O'Malley's tenure" (WASHINGTON POST MAGAZINE, 1/12).