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Volume 24 No. 157

Franchises

          The Oilers "reaffirmed their two-year commitment to
     Memphis on Monday, despite abysmal attendance" at their 
     first two games at the Liberty Bowl, according to John
     Glennon of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL.  Oilers Exec VP
     Don MacLachlan said that the team has "no plans to pull the
     plug on Memphis" despite speculation the team might choose
     to play at Vanderbilt in '98, as it waits for Nashville's
     stadium to be built by '99.  MacLachlan: "We realize that in
     coming (to Tennessee), there were a lot of things we had to
     accomplish in a very short period of time.  We did have some
     snafus, and some problems coming out of the gate.  But we're
     looking to the future."  To help increase attendance,
     MacLachlan said the team is working with NFLP, "though he
     declined to say whether possible changes being discussed
     involve team colors and nickname" (COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 9/23).
          MORE NEWS: ESPN's Chris Mortensen: "The league
     acknowledges that it's embarrassing, it's not a good
     situation, and they're sending their marketing arm in there
     to roll up its sleeve a little bit and get to work and see
     how they can fix this situation. [Oilers Owner] Bud Adams
     ... is taking a bath."  ESPN's Mitch Albom: "[T]his is the
     fault of owner Bud Adams and the rest of the league.  Did
     they really think carpet-bagging the team to a two-year,
     temporary home would be a popular move? ... Pretty amazing 
     -- a league that fines players for not having their shirts
     tucked in, allows a mess like this" ("PrimeMonday," 9/22).

          Pacers President Donnie Walsh, on landing a WNBA team:
     "I am confident we'll be a viable candidate [for expansion]
     when the new arena is complete" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS,
     9/23)....The Nets will hold their '97 training camp in
     Atlantic City (Bergen RECORD, 9/18)....In Toronto, Gary
     Picknell wrote the Bills, who estimate that as much as 10%
     of their fans are from southern Ontario, are "concerned
     about the possibility of a new U.S. law" which would require
     Canadians to fill out visas and exit and entry forms before
     crossing the border.  The law could go into effect next
     September (TORONTO SUN, 9/21). 

          NEWSDAY's Joe Gergen writes today on the NFL football
     scene in New York: "Who owned New York?  There wasn't much
     doubt, even when the Giants were stumbling through the Ray
     Handley hangover or Dan Reeves' lame-duck season a year ago. 
     But from the moment Leon Hess introduced Bill Parcells as
     head coach and chief of football operations officer on Feb.
     11, interest in the Jets has grown to the extent that it now
     threatens to overtake the NFL's flagship franchise. ... The
     [Giants'] erosion of support that began under Reeves appears
     to be continuing under [new head coach Jim] Fassel. ... The
     Giants still have a longer waiting list for season tickets,
     deeper roots in the community and one more Super Bowl trophy
     than the Jets. ... By contrast, the Jets offer a vision of
     progress. ... The image of Parcells is everywhere."  Gergen
     concludes that "obviously the [Jets] fans have gotten the
     message" as evidence by the near capacity crowds that
     attended the team's first two home games (NEWSDAY, 9/23).
          NOTE: In DC, Thomas Heath reports that Sunday's
     Jaguars-Redskins game will be listed as a sellout despite
     club seats remaining.  The Redskins have more than 1,500 of
     the club seats -- which cost between $99 and $199 a game --
     left to be sold (WASHINGTON POST, 9/23).

          Mighty Duck fans who sign up for the "Die-Hard Duck
     Frequent Fan Rewards Program" will receive a "Goal Card,"
     according to Tom Hoffarth of the L.A. DAILY NEWS.  Once
     inside The Pond, fans can swipe their "Goal Card" through a
     kiosk machine to receive two points.  An accumulation of 20
     points is good for a Ducks team poster, 44 points can get
     you into a private practice session, 60 points is good for
     two Disneyland tickets and 80 points equals a brunch with
     the team's coaching staff (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 9/21).
          WHAT'S IN A NAME?: The St. Paul NHL expansion team is
     "giving fans an extra week to offer" suggestions on what to
     name the team.  In addition to Gnats and Frozen Ears, fans
     in the "fishing-crazy" state have suggested the Flying
     Walleye, Ninja Muskies and Fighting Smelt.  Other
     suggestions include the Corn Dogs, Ten Thousand Lakers and
     Puckeroos.  Along with the nickname, the team also has to
     decide on what geographical reference to use, either
     Minnesota or St. Paul (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/23).
          NOTES: The Avalanche have a waiting list "of about"
     3,000 fans (HOCKEY NEWS, 9/26)...In Montreal, Pat Hickey
     writes that the Senators "continue to be a tough sell in the
     suburb," as they are "stalled" at 9,400 season-ticket sales
     and have 47 unsold luxury suites (Montreal GAZETTE, 9/23).