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Volume 24 No. 156

Franchises

          MLB: CNBC's Don Dahler examined News Corp.'s purchase
     of the Dodgers and noted that "a phrase being batted around
     to describe what Murdoch will do with the Dodgers is 'take
     it global.'"  Sports marketing analyst Don Dixon: "They've
     got a great opportunity long-range to get fifty, a hundred
     times their money back over the relatively near haul" 
     (CNBC, 10/16)....Although the city of Baltimore "was
     willing" to throw a parade for the Orioles, the team turned
     down the offer (Baltimore SUN, 10/17).
          GENERAL: The MLS Rapids drew 18,452 for Wednesday
     night's playoff game, which was the third-highest weekday
     crowd of '97 (USA TODAY, 10/17).....ESPN's Gary Thorne was
     the emcee at a rally yesterday in Columbus, OH, which
     launched the sale of PSLs for that city's expansion NHL
     franchise (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 10/16).

          New York City Mayoral candidate Ruth Messinger
     yesterday charged that Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Yankees Owner
     George Steinbrenner have struck a "secret deal" that would
     commit $1.1B in public funds to a new Yankee Stadium on
     Manhattan's West Side, according to Susan Rubinowitz of the
     N.Y. POST.  Messinger "contended the pact is being kept
     quiet until after" next month's election.  Although
     Messinger admitted she had "no proof," she said that "over
     and over again, we have heard there is a secret deal." 
     Steinbrenner's spokesperson Howard Rubenstein "denied"
     Messinger's charge of any pending deal (N.Y. POST, 10/17).

          After a request from Twins Owner Carl Pohlad, T-Wolves
     Owner Glen Taylor "has begun discussions" with MN
     legislators in the hopes of "getting a stadium built and
     keeping" the Twins in MN, according to Weiner & Whereatt of
     the Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE.  Taylor said that he "intends"
     to buy part of the team, and that he has "already discussed"
     a partnership with Minneapolis publisher and lawyer Vance
     Opperman, among others.  Taylor added that as part of any
     role he plays in stadium negotiations, "he would insist"
     that Pohlad "relinquish" operating control of the Twins, and
     that his participation "is dependent" on a new stadium being
     built.  Taylor: "I think I have to be in a position to have
     the authority if I would be doing the negotiations. ... I'll
     only be in on this to help a stadium get built."   Taylor
     met with Pohlad Wednesday, and said that Pohlad "had been
     told ... by 'a very important person'" at the State Capitol
     that the tone of the Twins' stadium negotiations "might
     change" if Pohlad wasn't the principal owner.  Taylor added
     that he "would not consider" buying a majority interest in
     the team himself (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 10/17).
          

          Marlins President Don Smiley and city of Miami execs
     have "quietly been discussing the franchise's future - one
     that could include a move to downtown Miami," according to
     Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD.  Miami Mayor Joe Carollo
     said Thursday that he has had "several conversations" with
     Smiley about "everything from changing the name of the team
     to the 'Miami Marlins' to building a stadium adjacent to the
     Heat's planned bayfront arena."  Carollo said that he would
     be "willing to consider" the use of a tourist hotel tax to
     help finance a new ballpark, and that marked the "first time
     a local official has publicly expressed" possible public
     investment in a facility.  Smiley said he "won't seriously
     pursue" a new stadium until he purchases the team, and that
     he "remains confident" that he will be able to put together
     an investment group (MIAMI HERALD, 10/17).
          FISH BITS: In Miami, Anne Moncreiff Arrarte wrote that,
     "[M]arketers from Manhattan to Miami are rushing to take
     advantage of the momentum" of the Marlins postseason run. 
     The team's official sponsors, including American Airlines,
     NationsBank, Blockbuster and AutoNation, have received
     "first dibs" on all new postseason promotions (MIAMI HERALD,
     10/16)....Pro Player Stadium has sold out for all four World
     Series games, with each expected to draw more than 65,000
     (Marlins)....The Ft. Lauderdale Convention and Visitors
     Bureau estimates that the Marlins participation in the World
     Series will result in a $24M regional economic impact (SUN-
     SENTINEL, 10/16)....The Marlins' popularity, especially
     among Miami's Hispanic population, is examined by USA
     TODAY's Tom Weir in a front-page cover-story: "The Marlins
     multinational roster has tapped the spirit of Miami's
     Spanish speaking community in a way that football,
     basketball and ice hockey can't" (USA TODAY, 10/17).