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Volume 24 No. 158

Franchises

          The Red Wings matched the Hurricanes' $38M, six-year
     contract offer to Sergei Fedorov yesterday, "just hours
     after arbitrator John Sands deemed the ... offer sheet was
     valid," according to Cynthia Lambert of the DETROIT NEWS. 
     The NHL had contested a bonus clause which could pay Fedorov
     an additional $12M, on top of the $16M he will earn this
     season, if the team he signed with advances to the
     conference finals (DETROIT NEWS, 2/27).
          NEW ECONOMICS? Fedorov's agent, Mike Barnett, said the
     Hurricanes offer could alter future free agent offers: "In
     the big picture, an expansion team can throw a monumental
     signing bonus at somebody over a long term.  They add a
     clause that says if they achieve certain postseason success,
     the bonus is brought to an immediate payment" (USA TODAY,
     2/27).  ESPN's Bob Ley called Fedorov's deal a $38M "poison
     pill that might very well change the way an entire sport
     does business."  ESPN's Al Morganti: "It sets a precedent
     for front-loading for future free agents" (ESPN, 2/26).  In
     Montreal, Red Fisher writes that the Hurricanes and Red
     Wings "effectively have put yet another massive facelift on
     the hockey market. ... How high are payrolls in almost all
     of the NHL cities likely to go?" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 2/27).  

          Steve Schram, the Celtics' Vice Chair for five years,
     "will leave the organization to pursue private business
     interests" with a SC- and GA-based real estate development
     company, according to Peter May of the BOSTON GLOBE.  May
     adds that Schram, who will retain his 4.4% stake in the
     team, will not be replaced (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/27).

          HOCKEY: The HOCKEY NEWS named the IHL Chicago Wolves'
     logo as the No. 1 logo in minor league pro hockey. Rounding
     out the top five: No. 2, AHL Albany River Rats; No. 3, IHL
     Manitoba Moose; No. 4, AHL Rochester Americans; and No. 5,
     ECHL Johnstown Chiefs (HOCKEY NEWS, 2/27 issue). 
          NOTES: After missing two deadlines, Marlins President
     Don Smiley informed Owner Wayne Huizenga that he expects to
     meet the $150M asking price for the team.  Smiley "confirmed
     Huizenga is under the impression the deal will get done"
     (MIAMI HERALD, 2/27)....The Brewers are on pace to surpass a
     club record for season-tickets sales, set in the '93 season
     with 8,994.  Brewers VP/Ticket Sales Bob Voight said that
     the club's move to the NL "has been a much-needed shot in
     the arm" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL, 2/26).

          In Philadelphia, Jayson Stark calls Will Smith and D.J.
     Jazzy Jeff wearing Phillies jerseys at the Grammy's on CBS
     on Wednesday a "dramatic development," adding, "Literally
     millions of people around the world witnessed this Phillies
     fashion show."  Phillies Promotions Manager John Brazer:
     "We've given away a bunch of jerseys over the years ...
     hoping this might happen. ... Now this -- and we had nothing
     to do with it.  It gives me hope, though.  I'll be giving
     away those jerseys to everyone now" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 2/27).
          NEW KID IN TOWN: Phillies President Dave Montgomery is
     profiled by Rich Hofmann in the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. 
     Hofmann, comparing Montgomery to former team President Bill
     Giles: "[H]e parts with newsworthy information about the
     club reluctantly.  He doesn't do timetables, and he doesn't
     do trial balloons.  In that way alone, he is the anti-Giles"
     (Rich Hofmann, PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 2/27).  


          Family Golf Centers, a public company which Avalanche 
     RW Claude Lemieux has a business stake in, is expected to
     announce soon an exclusive deal for the Avalanche's
     permanent practice home, starting next season, according to
     Adrian Dater of the DENVER POST.  The center will have two
     rinks, both available to the Avs, a nine-hole golf course,
     restaurants and other entertainment options.  Lemieux: "We
     have eight such facilities in use right now, and plan to
     have 20 by the end of the year" (DENVER POST, 2/27).  
          WHILE IN DENVER: Ascent Entertainment CEO Charlie Lyons
     said yesterday that the Nuggets are not for sale, but the
     POST's Mike Monroe asks, "Why would Lyons not want to rid
     himself, and Ascent, of a team that has become the NBA's
     worst? ... Somehow, Lyons still believes he can fix things,
     for his team and for his company.  Pro basketball fans in
     Denver appear to have no choice but to hope he is right"
     (DENVER POST, 2/27).  In Philadelphia, Gwen Florio writes
     the Nuggets situation is "[s]o bad that there are empty
     seats at courtside.  So bad that a scalper hawked second-row
     seats for $20 apiece -- and got no takers" (INQUIRER, 2/27).

          New York Sports Ventures (NYSV), headed by Steven
     Gluckstern and Howard Milstein, formally announced its $195M
     purchase of the Islanders yesterday at Nassau Coliseum,
     according to John Valenti of NEWSDAY.  Milstein: "Today we
     make a personal pledge to our fans to create a first-rate
     experience, both on the ice and throughout the Coliseum." 
     With that, the Isles announced the implementation of "Fan
     Forum," forums before six home games in March and April that
     will allow fans to talk directly to the new owners about the
     team.  There are also plans to return to the original blue,
     orange and white jerseys with the original logo full time,
     "perhaps as soon as next season."  The team also announced a
     staff "shake-up," including the dismissal of two "long-time
     members of the communications staff," VP/Communications
     Patrick Calabria and Dir of Special Events Maureen Brady. 
     Team sources said that neither dismissal "was a reflection
     of performance and that the positions have been eliminated." 
     However, NYSV President David Seldin said that his wife,
     Judy, will be responsible for managing future community
     relations programs, a position similar to the one she held
     with the NFL Jaguars (NEWSDAY, 2/27).  Two season-ticket
     sales account execs were also dismissed (N.Y. POST, 2/27).