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Volume 24 No. 117

Franchises

          The Ackerley Group "will not invest in the Marlins
     because the Seattle-based company cannot have the control it
     wants," according to Antonio Fins of the Ft. Lauderdale SUN-
     SENTINEL.  The end of the negotiations with Ackerley "raises
     questions about how, or whether," Marlins President Don
     Smiley will be able to buy the team.  Ackerley CEO & Sonics
     Owner Barry Ackerley said in a statement that he ended
     negotiations because the "proposed deal was not consistent
     with the Ackerley Group's investment criteria of having a
     leading ownership position in all its investments and
     acquisitions."  Smiley had no comment (SUN-SENTINEL, 12/18).
          POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY: In FL, David O'Brien writes that
     Marlins Manager Jim Leyland has become "a more conspicuous
     proponent of a publicly supported baseball stadium than he
     was during the season."  Leyland: "For some reason, people
     act like [Marlins Owner] Wayne Huizenga should take South
     Florida out to dinner every night. ... People have this
     perception you're building [a stadium] for some $8 million
     or $10 million ballplayer.  That's absolutely not true. 
     You're building it for the area" (SUN-SENTINEL, 12/18).  

          Flyers C Eric Lindros signed a contract extension
     Wednesday, "further setting $8.5 million and shorter-term
     contracts as benchmarks for elite NHL players," according to
     USA TODAY's Mike Brehm.  Lindros' pay will rise from $3.75M
     to $7.5M this season, and he'll make $8.5M next season, the
     figure the Mighty Ducks' Paul Kariya agreed to last week for
     '98-99.  Agent Tom Laidlaw: "Not only were the numbers
     pretty high, but the short term shocked a lot of people"
     (USA TODAY, 12/18).  In Philadelphia, columnist Bill Lyon:
     "This is the sad and pathetic state of sports at the moment:
     Almost $13 million changed hands in Philadelphia yesterday
     and neither side is happy.  The Flyers signed the player
     they believe to be the very best in his sport for another
     season, and yet his team's owner confessed to emotional
     emptiness."  Flyers Chair Ed Snider: "There is no
     exhilaration" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/18).