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Volume 24 No. 156

Franchises

          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).