The Ravens are scheduled tomorrow to finalize a
"complex financial restructuring" in which the team will
take on $185M in debt and shift majority ownership -- "but
not control" -- from Art Modell to his wife, Pat, according
to Jon Morgan of the Baltimore SUN. Modell, "working to pay
off debts" from Cleveland, buy out two OH-based minority
partners and pay the "considerable bills" from his
relocation to Baltimore last year, transferred ownership of
70% of the team to his wife of 28 years. He will retain 30%
of the team's stock, "the minimum that the league requires
for a general partner." As General Partner, he will "retain
the ability to make all decisions affecting the franchise
and vote on its behalf at league meetings." Boston-based
Fleet Financial Group will raise $90M in capital through
partner banks and will arrange for the sale of $95M in notes
similar to corporate bonds (Baltimore SUN, 9/17).
Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner has confirmed that
Joe Molloy, his son-in-law and the team's General Partner,
"has given up his day-to-day responsibilities -- a move
several Yankees insiders anticipate will become a permanent
withdrawal," according to Dan Wasserman of the Newark STAR-
LEDGER. After nine years with the Yankees, Molloy has taken
a "sabbatical" to return to teaching at a Tampa high school.
Wasserman wrote that observers "agree that Molloy's days
[as] a full-time force in the front office are history,
especially as long as Steinbrenner is around." On Monday,
Steinbrenner "admitted that the latest defection makes his
youngest son, Hal, a clear-cut heir apparent" as Managing
General Partner when he retires (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 9/16).
In Memphis, just over 13,000 tickets have been sold as
of Tuesday for Sunday's Oilers game (Memphis COMMERCIAL
APPEAL, 9/17)....At the MLB owners meeting in Atlanta, the
Executive Council, of which Twins Owner Carl Pohlad is a
member, "is expected to further discuss" the possibility of
allowing individual team owners to sell stock in their teams
-- a policy Pohlad has endorsed (STAR TRIBUNE, 9/16)....In
Chicago, Sam Smith writes about Dennis Rodman and the Bulls
under the header, "Memo To Bulls: Whatever You Do Don't Sign
Rodman." Smith: "It's time to dump Rodman's behind, not
risk seeing it. ... Just say no" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/17).
ECHL NEWS: The ECHL approved the expansion application
KTB Sports for the territory of Southwest FL. The
principles in the expansion franchise are Hurricanes/
Compuware Chair Peter Karmanos, Compuware Vice Chair Thomas
Thewes, and Craig Brush, president of KTB Sports (ECHL).
...Minority partners Matt Strelo and Shawn Hegan have
assumed management control of the ECHL's Jacksonville Lizard
Kings, owned by Horn Chen. Strelo is now the team's new
president and Hegan is the Exec VP & GM (Lizard Kings)
An Edmonton group "is expected" to announce sometime
today its intentions to buy the NHL Oilers, according to Ric
Dolphin of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. The group is led by Cathy
Allard Roozen, who is part owner of Vancouver-based WIC TV;
and Bruce Saville, a computer entrepreneur. The JOURNAL's
Dolphin reports that the two are worth "in excess" of C$300M
between them (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 9/17).
SALES UPDATE: Senators President & CEO Roy Mlakar said
that the team is "approaching" the 9,400 mark for season-
ticket sales, 1,300 more than the team sold last year. He
said the goal is to have 10,000 season-ticket holders by the
start of the season and 12,000 by the start of the '98-99
season (OTTAWA SUN, 9/17)....Canadiens GM Rejean Houle:
"We've sold about 15,000 season tickets, which is where we
were last season. We're working on our group sales and
various packages now" (Montreal GAZETTE, 9/17).
Anaheim Sports President Tony Tavares said that the
Walt Disney Co. "expects to lose at least" $25M in its first
two seasons operating the Angels and "could spend" another
$90M to renovate Anaheim Stadium, according to Shaikin &
Weyler of the L.A. TIMES. Tavares said the Angels lost $12M
in '96, and he "anticipates a larger loss this season,
primarily because of lower attendance." The Angels are on
pace to draw 1.8 million, their "lowest figure for a
nonstrike season" since '78. Tavares added that the $100M
stadium renovation project is also over budget by about 10%.
Disney is responsible for cost overruns on the renovation.
Noting the team's financial situation, Tavares said that he
was "disappointed to receive letters from fans critical of
Disney" for selling naming rights to Edison Int'l. Tavares:
"How does it harm you as a fan? It doesn't. We've got to
try to tap every source of revenue we can to keep these
seats affordable" (L.A. TIMES, 9/16).