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Volume 24 No. 112

Franchises

          The Bills have "kicked off a fan-friendly marketing game
     plan" for Rochester, NY, according to Roth & Maiorana of the
     Rochester DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE.  A Rochester ticket and
     corporate sales office, which may include a team merchandise
     shop, could also open by the end of this season.  The Bills'
     plan may also include a "possible" training camp intra-squad
     scrimmage next summer, with Brockport State's 10,000-seat
     Special Olympics Stadium "the leading venue."  Currently, 20%
     of the team's season ticket and luxury-seat owners come from
     the Rochester area (DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 10/30).

          After a "slow start," the Trail Blazers' corporate
     division that sells advertising at Portland Int'l Airport
     (PDX) is turning a profit and selling 96% or more of the PDX
     ad sites during any one month, according to Robert Goldfield
     of the PORTLAND BUSINESS JOURNAL.  Gross revenues from PDX
     sales will exceed $1M this year, officials said.  Moreover,
     the Blazers' ad division has since signed a contract for the
     airport in Burbank, CA, "and is a finalist for the job at the
     San Diego airport."  Steve MacKelvie, Dir of the Blazers'
     Airport Division: "We've proven that a themed concept to
     airport advertising and design works.  We're starting to get
     calls from around the country" (BUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/24).
          ROSE GARDEN DEALS: Goldfield also reports that the
     Blazers "recently scored on corporate sponsorship deals that
     promise to deliver an extra" $2.5M annually.  Coors Brewery
     agreed to use the fourth and final "media totem" on the
     concourses of the Rose Garden and five companies will place
     their names on new rotating signs that will ring the arena's
     seating bowl.  Coors joins Coca-Cola, Panasonic and Visa on
     the media totem.  The totems' original price are $395,000 a
     year over 10 years, with 10% jumps in the fourth and seventh
     years, but Visa and Coors are paying "slightly less" each
     year in five-year deals "largely" because they lack
     exclusivity agreements with the arena.  Thomason Auto Group,
     Airtouch Cellular, Henry Weinhard's, Southwest Airlines and
     Godfather's Pizza appear on the rotating signs.  Blazers VP/
     Sponsor Sales & Client Services Erin Hubert said that the
     sign system will generate $1-1.5M in ad revenue this fiscal
     year and could produce more than $2M in succeeding years
     (Portland BUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/24 issue).

          In a program co-sponsored by Stop & Shop grocery, the
     Celtics will set aside 1,000 seats for each FleetCenter game
     this season and sell them for $10 each, compared with an
     average ticket price of $50, according to Chris Reidy of the
     BOSTON GLOBE.  In other news, Celtics Exec VP/Marketing &
     Sales Stuart Layne said that since Rick Pitino was named
     coach of the team, season-ticket holders "have increased by
     2,400 to 13,400."  Layne: "If we hadn't gotten Pitino, we
     would have lost 2,500 season tickets, so Pitino's impact
     represents a swing of about 5,000 seats.  That works out to
     be about $10 million a year in ticket sales alone" (BOSTON
     GLOBE, 10/31).  Also in Boston, Richard Kindleberger writes
     that a St. Louis developer is negotiating with Polaroid Corp.
     to acquire a Waltham, MA, site on which to build a $20M
     training facility, medical center and fitness club for the
     Celtics.  New England Baptist Hospital, a marketing partner
     of the Celtics, would partner with the team if the facility
     is built (Richard Kindleberger, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/31).

          NFL Oilers Owner Bud Adams said he will change the name
     of his team "if the right name can be found."  He also added
     that the idea to play in Memphis was TN Gov. Don Sundquist's
     (NASHVILLE BANNER, 10/30)....The U.S. Government won't appeal
     a U.S. Tax Court decision "absolving the heirs" of Bengals
     founder Paul Brown of $40M "plus in estate tax deficiency." 
     The decision "effectively ends a 21-year crisis for the
     Browns in which the family's ownership of the Bengals was
     jeopardized" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 10/30)....In MN, Charley
     Walters notes that Twins Owner Carl Pohlad "has been
     considering establishing a nonprofit charitable foundation
     ... as a way to donate the Twins to Minnesota through a
     trust" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 10/31). 

          Interbrew SA announced yesterday that the Blue Jays are
     no longer for sale "because lengthy wrangling over a sale was
     causing uncertainty and distracting the team," according to
     Van Alphen & Byers of the TORONTO STAR.  The move comes after
     Interbrew's board "rejected" a bid led by real estate
     developer Murray Frum and "decided not to wait for a pending
     bid" from a consortium led by Toronto lawyer Lawrence Dale. 
     Interbrew Dir Alan Chapin: "We decided that this prolonged
     process of trying to find local partners was no longer in the
     best interests of the team or its fans."  In addition to its
     90% stake in the Jays, Interbrew will retain the CFL
     Argonauts and a 49% stake in the SkyDome.  Van Alphen & Byers
     report that "insiders" say the deal with Frum "collapsed
     because Interbrew could not guarantee its stake in the
     SkyDome would be part of the deal," since the other SkyDome
     partners get the first chance to buy any owner's share "and
     several had indicated they wanted Interbrew's stake."  Frum:
     "I'm very disappointed" (TORONTO STAR, 10/31).  Dale said he
     and his group, which entered the bidding two weeks ago, are
     still interested in the Jays.  But Chapin said, "It's off the
     market, period.  How long, it's not useful to speculate. 
     We're not going to be talking to the Frum group any longer or
     the Dale group" (James Christie, GLOBE & MAIL, 10/31).  
          TRICK OR TREAT? In Toronto, Janet McFarland reports that
     analysts yesterday said Interbrew's decision to keep its
     teams "is not evidence of a long-term commitment" to them. 
     They believe Interbrew "was unhappy with the price it was
     offered for its sports assets and has decided to hold on
     until they recover some of their value" (GLOBE & MAIL,
     10/31).  Columnist Stephen Brunt speculates that the deal
     with Frum "fell apart because in the end, when forced to put
     up or shut up by the appearance of a rival bidder, Frum and
     his partners simply didn't have the money" (GLOBE & MAIL,
     10/31).  Also in Toronto, Mike Rutsey writes that the value
     of the Jays "has plummeted" since Interbrew took over.  But
     Chapin disputed such talk, claiming a sports franchise has an
     "intrinsic value that bears little relationship to its
     performance on the field" (Mike Rutsey, TORONTO SUN, 10/31).
     

          Between negative press and "an unrelenting owner" in
     Peter Karmanos, the city of Greensboro, NC, "is trapped in
     the middle of a marketing maelstrom surrounding" the
     Hurricanes, according to Scott Michaux of the Greensboro NEWS
     & RECORD.  Peter Reichard, Dir of the Greensboro Area Chamber
     of Commerce: "[T]he community ego has taken a bit of a
     bruising here.  It would be very good to have (the
     Hurricanes) acknowledge that and try to fix it."  Team
     officials, however, say "they are unlikely" to discount
     tickets, which average $38, to increase attendance.  The team
     has offered $99 family plans and $15 student seats and is
     planning another cost-cutting program for later in November. 
     As a "show of appreciation" to the 3,089 season-ticket
     holders, the team is also giving each an extra ticket to
     every home game.  Hurricanes Owner Peter Karmanos: "I don't
     care what anybody says.  You don't cut.  I'm never going to
     discount season tickets because I've grown up in a market
     that has never discounted tickets" (NEWS & RECORD, 10/30).


          Wheelock Whitney, one of the Vikings' ten principal
     owners, said yesterday that he "expects local interests to
     step forward and buy the team," according to Don Banks of the
     Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE.  Whitney said that "now that the
     owners' intentions to sell the team have become public," he
     thought "some local buyers would enter the picture." 
     Whitney: "[T]here are a lot of people who either have the
     money or could put a group together locally.  But who they
     are, I really would feel uncomfortable speculating on."
     Currently, former Vikings GM Mike Lynn and former Spurs Owner
     Red McCombs are the only bidders interested in "buying the
     Vikings and keeping them" in MN.  Meanwhile, Timberwolves
     Owner Glen Taylor said Thursday that he has "virtually no
     interest" in the Vikings (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 10/31).
          NO PLACE LIKE DOME: Vikings President Roger Headrick
     said yesterday that the team has "rejected" plans to renovate
     the Metrodome and wants to "share a dual-purpose stadium with
     the Twins or play in a new football stadium," according to
     Seidel & Sweeney of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS.  The remark
     "appears to forcefully interject" the Vikings into the debate
     over building a new Twins stadium (PIONEER PRESS, 10/31).