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Volume 24 No. 112

Franchises

          NHL: In Edmonton, Alberta Treasury Branches will
     announce today whether it will accept a local group's offer
     to buy the NHL Oilers.  Current Owner Peter Pocklington said
     that the bid will be accepted, but the deal does not include
     Coliseum Management Inc., which holds the lease on the
     Coliseum (JOURNAL, 3/18)....The Predators said yesterday
     they are 1,195 season tickets away from meeting the NHL's
     condition of 12,000 season tickets by March 31 (Predators).
          NOTES: NFL VP/Communications Greg Aiello said that
     Commissioner Paul Tagliabue "probably won't" make a decision
     on the Vikings ownership dispute between Tom Clancy and team
     President Roger Headrick "until Thursday" (PIONEER PRESS,
     3/18)....Sonics Owner Barry Ackerley lent the team's plane
     to the Univ. of WA Huskies for their flight to Greensboro,
     NC, for their Sweet 16 appearance (SEATTLE TIMES, 3/17).
          

          While Celtics Chair Paul Gaston "threatened" a little
     over three years ago "to sue the Wall Street Journal after
     the newspaper suggested drug abuse and team negligence may
     have contributed to the death of Reggie Lewis," the statute
     of limitations has expired, according to Peter May of the
     BOSTON GLOBE.  The statute of limitations for libel in MA is
     three years, and the three-year anniversary of the Journal
     article "passed quietly" last week.  Gaston: "[A]s much as I
     hate the fact that some injustices go unpunished, I decided
     that this was one that was going to get away" (GLOBE, 3/18).
          ROCKETS: The Rockets "have been alerted to the
     possibility of legal action" by two former employees and
     three current employees who are charging that members of
     Rocketball Ltd. "engaged in race discrimination, violations
     of the Fair Labor Standards Act and sexual harassment,"
     according to Eddie Sefko of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE.  The team
     received a letter from the attorney representing the five
     complainants.  The letter seeks a $2.5M settlement "to keep
     the group from filing a civil action suit against the
     organization."  Last year, Rocketball Ltd. had 51 minority
     employees out of a total of 160 (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/18).

          The Packers announced yesterday that they raised more
     than $24M from the sale of roughly 120,000 shares of stock
     during a 17-week window, "a considerably smaller haul than
     was originally forecast," according to Tom Silverstein of
     the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL.  The $24M in new revenue
     "doubles the team's coffers" and means the Packers "have
     probably enough money in their savings to keep them afloat
     for at least a quarter century."  However, early estimates
     were that the team could generate $80M from the stock split,
     which the club said was the "high end" of the estimate. 
     Packers President Bob Harlan said that the team "would still
     be able to" renovate Lambeau Field, expand its football
     offices and workout facilities and contribute to a new
     stadium fund, "but the contribution to the stadium fund
     won't be as great" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/18).      

          The Twins have sold about 5,400 season tickets, "down
     from 8,800 last season," according to Jay Weiner of the
     Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  About 25,000 tickets have been
     sold for Opening Night, and the team has budgeted for 1.2
     million tickets to be sold this season, "which would be the
     lowest sales in a non-strike" year since '83.  The Twins
     sold 1.4 million tickets last year.  However, despite coming
     off a last-place finish and "facing perhaps its final season
     in a stadium its owners say is inadequate," the team's
     corporate sponsors and signage buyers "have, generally,
     stayed on board."  Twins Dir of Corporate Marketing Laura
     Day said that she "already" has met about 93% of her sales
     goals, heading toward more than $3M in corporate sales. 
     This year, there are 24 giveaway nights planned and seven
     season-long promotions (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/18).
          WHITE SOX: The White Sox are bringing back Dog Day
     Afternoon and Elvis Night this season, while adding fan-
     friendly concourse attractions at Comiskey Park.  Senior
     VP/Marketing Rob Gallas: "The fans love 'Dogs' so much, and
     it's easy to do.  There will be new ones that we're not
     quite ready to announce" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/18).