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Volume 24 No. 157

Franchises

          Lamar Hunt said Sunday that he has expressed interest
     in buying the Royals, according to Joe Posnanski of the K.C.
     STAR.  Hunt: "It's very preliminary.  We've approached the
     Royals so we can see the numbers.  That's all.  We want to
     hear about it.  I'm not at all familiar with the process of
     the sale or with the Royals, so this is just a first look. 
     We'll see what happens" (K.C. STAR, 11/10).  
          GREEN DAY: Prospective local bidder Jerry Green
     "bypassed" a Friday deadline to submit a preliminary
     application to buy the Royals, according to Charles Crumpley
     of the K.C. STAR.  Green said that his unidentified partner
     "questions whether the team is worth the $75M set as the
     "minimum bid."  Green also said that he "has begun talking
     with a different group that had expressed interest" in the
     team, but that he and his original partner "still might
     bid."  The only pre-applicant publicly known is a group led
     by Bobby and George Brett (K.C. STAR, 11/8).  

          The Angels raised ticket prices for the '98 season at
     the newly-renovated Anaheim Stadium by 27%, according to
     Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES.  Angels President Tony
     Tavares: "This is a ticket price increase.  We don't expect
     people to be happy with it."  The new average ticket price
     is $12.25, up from an AL-low average price of $9.68 in '97. 
     The increase is the first since Disney assumed control of
     the team two years ago.  Shaikin wrote that if the Angels
     "can return attendance to 2 million for the first time since
     1993," the club "would generate about" $7.4M in additional
     revenue from the increase.  The Angels drew 1.77 million in
     '97 (L.A. TIMES, 11/8).  Tavares "is baffled by the fan
     apathy, although he suspects it could be due to the ongoing
     renovations" at the ballpark, according to J.A. Adande of
     the TIMES.  The Angels "hope that when the renovations are
     finished and the new ballpark debuts next year it will draw
     people back" (L.A. TIMES, 11/8).  '98 tickets will range
     from $4 to $34.50, not including suites.  Last year's range
     was from $7 to $14.50 (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 11/8).  
          SEATTLE SEAT LICENSES: The Mariners will charge a
     charter seat license of $12,000 to $25,000 to reserve "prime
     seats" in the "first few rows" between the foul poles at
     their new ballpark, set to open in July '99, according to
     Briar Dudley of the Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE.  The 20-year,
     transferable licenses will be required for the purchase of
     966 new ballpark seats.  Ticket prices at the new ballpark
     will range from $13 to $33.  Last season, M's tickets ranged
     from $11 to $22.  For '98, Kingdome tickets will increase $3
     on the 100 level; $2 on the 200 level and the 300 level
     "view box" seats; and $1 on the "view" seats in the 300
     level.  Prices will not change for the 18,000 $9 and $6
     seats elsewhere in the dome (NEWS TRIBUNE, 11/7).  The
     Mariners "figure to take in roughly $1 million per sold-out
     game at the new park, about a third more than they grossed
     at the Kingdome" (Bob Finnigan, SEATTLE TIMES, 11/7).

          A comparison of the Heat and NHL Panthers in the Miami
     market was featured in Sunday's MIAMI HERALD.  The Panthers,
     who won 35 games last season and were eliminated in the
     first round of the playoffs, have sold 13,000 season tickets
     for this season, while the Heat, coming off an appearance in
     the Eastern Conference Finals, have sold "just under
     10,000."  But TV ratings are higher for the Heat, whose
     telecasts on broadcast TV averaged a 5.3 last year, while
     the Panthers averaged a 3.4.  Heat President of Business
     Operations Jay Cross, on the ticket disparity: "The answer
     is primarily one of timing.  (In 1996) they went to the
     Stanley Cup, they didn't sell out every game.  The year
     after, they sold out because they were a hot commodity." 
          COMPARISONS: The average ticket price for the Panthers
     is $38.02 -- $1.05 higher than the Heat's $36.97 average --
     and the Panthers are "expecting a ticket-price increase"
     when their new arena opens next season.  While neither team
     would disclose ad budgets, Cross confirmed the Heat's budget
     has been increased, and they will "will advertise more this
     season on TV, radio and bus stops."  The Panthers say
     they've increased their budget, "even though every game sold
     out last year."  Regarding giveaways, the Heat has scheduled
     25 this year, the same as in '96-97, while the Panthers will
     have 10, also the same as last season (MIAMI HERALD, 11/9).

          Orca Bay Sports & Entertainment Vice Chair Arthur
     Griffiths, "the man who built and once owned GM Place and
     all the that call it home," confirmed Friday that he is
     leaving the company, according to Mark Hume of the VANCOUVER
     SUN.  Griffiths will move on to "cultivate new business
     interests" and "head a bid to bring the 2010 Winter Olympics
     to Vancouver and Whistler."  He said he agreed to move after
     discussions with Orca Bay officials a month ago.  Griffiths:
     "It was mutually agreed. ... This is a delicate situation --
     but it works for me."  Orca Bay VP/ Communications Kevin
     Gass "denied Griffiths was asked to leave."  Gass:
     "Basically, Arthur decided, given a number of factors, that
     he would relocate."  Orca Bay President & CEO Stephen
     Bellringer will move into Griffiths' office (VANCOUVER SUN,
     11/8).  Griffiths: "I didn't think there was any point in
     fighting it."  In Vancouver, columnist Gary Mason:
     "[G]riffiths was not an Orca Bay guy.  Ever.  He was a
     holdover from the mom and pop operation he ran.  When
     Vancouver was a little more innocent.  Griffiths always
     looked out of place among the suave, young Seattle yuppies
     that came in to run the show" (VANCOUVER SUN, 11/8).

          NHL Creative Dir David Haney said that he "is aware
     that central Ohioans are having a hard time accepting the
     name" Blue Jackets for Columbus' new NHL team that will
     start play in 2000, according to Steve Wright of the
     COLUMBUS DISPATCH.  Haney, on the name: "It came down to
     some kind of terrific-looking bug that had all this
     ingenuity, was fast, industrious -- all these great
     attributes. ...[I]t's a near cousin to the famous
     yellowjacket."  Team officials are "well aware of the early
     negative reaction to the name" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 11/8). 
     Sportswear industry sources said the first shipments of Blue
     Jackets merchandise, set to go on sale Tuesday, "will be
     navy blue," with a "smaller quantity of steel gray shirts
     are also on order" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 11/8).
  

          NFL: On "Fox NFL Sunday," James Brown reported, "The
     owners of the Los Angeles Kings hockey team have offered to
     buy the Minnesota Vikings and relocate them right here in
     L.A.  Meanwhile, Philip Maas, one of the Vikings' ten
     owners, is attempting to purchase a majority share in the
     team" ("Fox NFL Sunday," 11/9).  Maas told the Minneapolis
     STAR TRIBUNE the report was not accurate: "This is the first
     I've heard about it" (STAR TRIBUNE, 11/10)....A sign spotted
     at the Oakland Coliseum as the Raiders lost to the Saints
     and fell to 3-7: "PSL -- Please Stop Losing."  The game was
     blacked out on local TV and the "crowd count generously
     landed" at 40,091 was the "fewest people to see at game at
     the Coliseum since November 28, 1968" (S.F. CHRONICLE,
     11/10)....Jets Coach Bill Parcells has a $500,000 annual
     incentive in his $2.4M-a-year contract for taking his Jets
     to the Super Bowl (Gary Myers, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/9).
          NBA: The Bulls-Hawks game drew the "fifth-largest crowd
     in NBA history" Friday, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, with
     an announced attendance of 45,790 (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
     11/8).  Meanwhile, the Bulls debuted their alternative road
     uniforms Friday, which are all black with red lettering. 
     The change from their black pinstriped uniforms of last year
     was made "to accommodate the players, who complained the
     fabric used in the pinstripe uniforms was uncomfortable"
     (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/8)...The NBA's longest sellout streak
     "is history," after the Kings drew 15,858 for Friday's game
     with the Clippers.  The Kings had sold out 497 consecutive
     home games (SACRAMENTO BEE, 11/8)....The Bucks "believe they
     will match or exceed" last season's season ticket base of
     "about" 10,000 (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 11/9). 
          GENERAL: Devil Rays Managing General Partner Vince
     Naimoli said season-ticket sales have reached 23,000.  The
     team will cut off sales at 27,000 (ORLANDO SENTINEL,
     11/8)....Sunday's Senators-Hurricanes game in Greensboro was
     played in front of the smallest crowd in the NHL this
     season, announced at 5,551 (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 11/10).

          While the Nets want a new lease at the Continental
     Airlines Arena to begin in 2000, N.J. Sports & Exposition
     Authority spokesperson John Samerjan said that "it was
     likely that terms of the lease would change" from the
     existing lease that expires in 2020,  according to Richard
     Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES.  There are two windows in which
     the lease can be renegotiated -- 2000 and 2004.  Nets
     President Michael Rowe said while the team won't "head into
     the discussions with moving in mind," it would "be willing
     to listen to any ideas for a new arena or a redesign by the
     sports authority."  The Nets will use the Devils' '95 lease
     as a starting point on talks.  Rowe: "We want more than what
     they got.  They negotiated their lease two years ago, and
     the cost of running business of a hockey team is less than
     the cost of running a basketball team" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/8).