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).