Orioles Owner Peter Angelos is profiled by Peter
Schmuck of the Baltimore SUN in the first of a three-part
series on the team's front office. Angelos "is a shrewd
negotiator with a knack for getting what he wants and a
stubborn streak when it comes to doing what he thinks is
best for business." He has "steered" the Orioles "into
regular contention and -- it appears -- into a new era of
stability and tranquility." Angelos, on the team's payroll:
"We might end up with the highest payroll in baseball, but
it won't be comprised of players who make $10-$12M per year.
... Baseball cannot support $10 million players unless
baseball reaches the average ticket level of basketball,
football and hockey, which is two to three times the average
ticket price of baseball" (Baltimore SUN, 2/24).
NHL: In Edmonton, local investors' pitch for C$14.2M
from the city council in exchange for 22% of the Oilers was
rejected by Alberta Premier Ralph Klein and the municipal
affairs minister "as against the rules." In addition, a top
NHL official said that the league "won't like" such a move
(EDMONTON SUN, 2/24)....The Sabres are looking into charging
current ticket prices "for a top draw -- and discount
tickets for lesser attractions" (THE SPORTING NEWS, 2/23
issue)....In Ottawa, an estimated 600 fans attended the
Senators' open practice Saturday (OTTAWA SUN, 2/22)....In
Calgary, more than 500 fans attended Skate with the Flames
Saturday, and proceeds from the skate and a C$100-a-plate
brunch totalled about C$15,000 (CALGARY SUN, 2/22).
NOTES: The U.S. national soccer team unveiled its new
World Cup uniforms Friday, and for the first time since the
early '50s, the U.S. will wear red jerseys on a regular
basis (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/21)....In MN, a bill
authorizing a $100M state loan to buy the Twins was approved
Monday by a House Government Operations subcommittee. The
bill faces "one or two" more committee votes before it would
get to the House floor (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/24).
Meanwhile, former West Publishing exec Vance Opperman said
that he thinks Twins Owner Carl Pohlad might end his
negotiations with NC businessman Don Beaver "as soon as the
March 31 deadline passes." Opperman: "I think it is a
distinct possibility that that falls apart" (PIONEER PRESS,
2/23)....In Chicago, Bulls Dir of Marketing Steve Schanwald,
on the demand for season tickets: "We have 25,000 names on
our season-ticket waiting list. ... We have 550,000 names in
a database that we have collected over the years of people
we have identified as potential Bulls ticket purchasers. ...
Once a season ticket-holder gives up the tickets, they are
not likely to ever get them back" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/23).
The T-Wolves announced their '98-99 ticket prices
Monday, with increases in most seat locations ranging from
15-25%, according to Steve Aschburner of the Minneapolis
STAR TRIBUNE. Team President Rob Moor: "Clearly, increasing
ticket prices has to do with increasing expenses. Payroll
-- I don't think we can duck that issue -- is one of the
increasing expenses." The largest increases will be felt by
ticket holders in the lower bowl, where fans will pay from
$4 to $30 more next season. Upper-level seats will go from
$17 to $25, $32 to $33 and $17 to $19, with $10 seats
remaining the same (STAR TRIBUNE, 2/24). Other increases
include: $194 to $225, $77 to $102, $50 to $63 and $32 to
$40. The T-Wolves have 14 ticket categories in all (Ray
Richardson, ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/24).
Penguins co-Owner Roger Marino was interviewed in
Sunday's Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW. Marino has "been making
himself heard lately" as he was "the man behind" the Pens'
signing of Jaromir Jagr and the team's decision to reduce
season ticket prices next season. He also "had a hand in
relieving" Team President Donn Patton. Marino said that a
move to replace Patton won't be made "until after the
season, and he and co-owner Howard Baldwin "will become more
involved" in the team's day-to-day operations. Marino, on
the ticket price reduction: "One of the messages we kept
hearing from the fans was that ticket prices were too high.
We tried to shape that into reality, even though it turns
out we have the 13th-highest ticket prices in the league.
... One thing we have to do next season is market the team
correctly." Marino called the team's arena situation
"livable," and added, "If we keep doing the things we want
to do to upgrade our building, 17,100 or 17,200 seats will
be OK" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 2/22).
The NHL ruled Monday that the Hurricanes' $38M offer
sheet to Sergei Fedorov was invalid, according to Jason La
Canfora of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. The case will be heard
by arbitrator John Sands in a conference call Wednesday.
The league based its ruling on a clause in the deal that
would make a $12M portion of Fedorov's $26M signing bonus
payable in whole should the team that signs him make it to
the conference finals this year (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 2/24).
With the proposed sale of the Islanders in jeopardy,
Nassau County Exec Thomas Gulotta called on PA-based
Spectacor Management Group (SMG) "to drop its demands for a
written statement that it is not in default" of its Coliseum
lease, according to Ken Moritsugu of NEWSDAY. SMG must
approve the Isles sale to Steven Gluckstern's group. SMG
CEO Wes Westley: "We hope to get this worked out." Sources
involved in the negotiations said that "little if any
progress was made yesterday" (NEWSDAY, 2/24). Westley said
that SMG's position has been misrepresented: "We like the
new ownership group and we're excited about them coming in.
All we've asked them for is a letter either stating what
they see as any deficiencies in the building, or that there
are no deficiencies at this point in time" (Ralph Vacchiano,
N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/24). More Westley: "We just want to
protect our rights. I would challenge anyone that says
Nassau Coliseum is not clean and in very good shape for a
25-year-old building" (Tarik El-Bashir, N.Y. TIMES, 2/24).