Boosted by a commitment from First Union Bank to buy
250 season tickets, the NHL Predators have now sold 10,124
season tickets for their inaugural '98-'99 season. The team
must sell 12,000 season tickets by March 31 to reach the
NHL's expansion condition deadline (Predators)....In
Nashville, Jeff Legwold reports that the Predators will have
to sell an average of 93.8 season tickets per day to reach
the 12,000 season ticket mark (TENNESSEAN, 3/11).
N.Y. art dealer Jeffrey Loria was the "behind-the-
scenes man who would have bankrolled" K.C. banker Jerry
Green's purchase of the Royals. However, Green said
yesterday that it's "highly unlikely" he'll be able to bid
for the club, as he has "been unable to find another
partner" (K.C. STAR, 3/11)....The Angels will bring back a
live organist for their home games this season. Last year,
the team played recorded rock music during games (O.C.
REGISTER, 3/10)....49ers President Carmen Policy "made it
clear" his team is not interested in an exhibition game
against the Raiders. Policy: "We don't really want to deal
with them. It's always a one-way street when you deal with
them." The Raiders "are willing" to play such a game (S.F.
CHRONICLE, 3/11)....MLS Fusion President Ken Horowitz "has
no doubt" Sunday's home opener will be played in a "finished
facility," following 15 weeks of renovations to Lockhart
Stadium. As of yesterday, "just more than" 10,000 tickets
had been sold to the game. Lockhart's capacity is 20,000
(MIAMI HERALD, 3/11)....The USBL awarded an expansion
franchise to Washington, DC, to begin play this season.
Larry Arnold, President of DC-based International
Associates, will be the team's President & CEO (USBL).
Arnold said he is "in the midst of negotiations to find an
arena for the team," and will meet with Washington Sports &
Entertainment President Abe Pollin today to discuss
possibilities at MCI Center (WASHINGTON POST, 3/11).
CHECK THESE DUDS! THE HOCKEY NEWS' first-ever ranking
of secondary minor league logos featured 41 teams in the
WPHL, West Coast, United and Central Leagues (HOCKEY NEWS,
3/13 issue)...The Tigers changed their road uniforms and
will return to a more "traditional" road cap, featuring an
orange Old English "D." Changes to the road jersey include
the addition of blue piping down the collar and button line,
with similar piping added to pant sides (Tigers).
Raptors President Richard Peddie, who "looked to be
first on the firing line" when the Maple Leafs bought his
team along with Air Canada Centre last month, yesterday was
named interim president and CEO of the Air Canada Centre and
both franchises, according to Lance Hornby of the TORONTO
SUN. The "surprise news release" from Maple Leaf Gardens
Ltd. (MLG) also listed Peddie, who "whacked the Leafs in a
bitter arena war and tried to submarine them at City Hall,"
as "a strong candidate" to take the position full-time.
Leafs Exec Committee member Brian Bellmore said that the
entire board "is in favor" of the move and that they "aren't
holding any grudges" against Peddie. Bellmore: "Who knows
more about the Air Canada Centre?" (TORONTO SUN, 3/11). In
Toronto, Michael Grange writes that Ken Dryden, President of
the Maple Leafs and Exec VP of MLG and "everyone else in the
hockey operation will report to Peddie as will all aspects
of the" Raptors organization. MLG Chair Steve Stavro said
that he was "delighted" Peddie had accepted the role, adding
that Peddie would "work closely" with Dryden, whose "role
will be expanded." The announcement "made it clear" that
Peddie's duties, which include overseeing the final phase of
Air Canada construction, making decisions on premium
seating, and selling corporate-sponsorship and season-ticket
plans, "are expected to be largely completed by August."
Grange: "The question left dangling is how long the
arrangement will last" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 3/11).
MIXED SIGNALS? In Toronto, Chris Young reports that no
Leafs representatives were present at the announcement, and
that the appointment "hardly received a ringing endorsement"
from Bellmore. Bellmore: "This is an interim appointment
and he'll probably be a candidate. We'll hire someone in
the summer" (STAR, 3/11). The STAR's Dave Perkins calls the
move "a clear sign of the continued rise to shot-calling
prominence of [MLG Dir] Larry Tannenbaum." Perkins: "Peddie
is Tannenbaum's guy, no question" (STAR, 3/11). The SUN's
Craig Daniels writes that the hiring "provides stability
during a period of turmoil," but adds that Peddie "knows
less about hockey than he does about basketball ... and has
no natural feel for the game." Daniels: "All of it further
confirms what you already knew: Sport today boils down to
optics, to money, to selling, to a slick marketing man with
little real sense of the game" (TORONTO SUN, 3/11).