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Volume 24 No. 156

Franchises

          The Angels "have received a special dispensation" from
     the Walt Disney Co. to "dump DisneySpeak," according to
     Marla Jo Fisher of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER.  Last year,
     in "becoming part of the Disney empire," managers were
     "pressured to adopt the corporate culture, including the use
     of catchwords and phrases," such as "cast member" for
     employee, "On stage" for public areas, "Backstage" for
     nonpublic areas and "Guests" for fans. Fisher called the
     "dispute over language" a "clash of two distinct
     entertainment cultures" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/23).

          Bucks VP/Business Operations John Steinmiller admitted
     that the team is "at a crossroads," adding that the size of
     the Milwaukee market and the fact that the Bucks don't own
     the Bradley Center "are problematic," according to D.
     Orlando Ledbetter of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. 
     Steinmiller: "You're not going to change the market.  We're
     not going to pump half a million or a million more people
     into the market.  You've got to find ways to make the market
     work for you and minimize your exposure by winning as much
     as you can and by not making mistakes."  Steinmiller added
     the team is also "outmatched by just about every market" in
     its the pursuit of lucrative local cable TV deals that other
     big-market teams in the NBA earn (JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/24).

          The Oakland Coliseum Authority voted to increase the
     price of a Raiders season-ticket package by $10 next season,
     "an increase some officials fear may drive away fans,"
     according to Renee Koury of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS.  The
     extra fees will bring about $310,000 "in badly needed
     revenue" to the Authority.  Though the increase averages
     just $1 per home game, Oakland Football Marketing Assoc. Dir
     Richard Rogers said it may cause fans "to bail out of their
     contracts."  Just 33,000 of 55,000 PSLs and club seats have
     been sold and "about" 7,000 fans have forfeited licenses
     since the Raiders moved back to Oakland in '95.  Rogers:
     "The extra $10 isn't a lot of money, but it may be the straw
     that breaks the camel's back."  But Coliseum Authority Chair
     Mary King said her group has "a responsibility to show good
     faith" to county residents, "whether they have an interest
     in football or not" (MERCURY NEWS, 3/20).  In Oakland, Laura
     Counts wrote that the increase gives fans "another reason to
     feel sour about the whole deal" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 2/20).

          NFL: Tom Clancy plans "to dump" his shares of the
     Orioles "so that cross-ownership won't be an issue" when the
     NFL votes on his bid for the Vikings.  Partner Marc Ganis
     said that Clancy will "divest completely," but that "it will
     take some time" (PIONEER PRESS, 3/24)....The Patriots have
     mandated that players undergo mandatory classroom tutoring
     in conjunction with Northeastern Univ. during minicamp and
     training camp on subjects that include domestic violence,
     drug/alcohol education, postcareer preparation, financial
     planning, and racial issues (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/22).
          NOTES: In Chicago, Jay Mariotti on the White Sox's
     signing of Wil Cordero: "Only one owner was foolish enough
     to bring him in.  That guy is [Jerry] Reinsdorf.  Uncle
     Jerry embraces the belief that if the Sox win, you will
     come, even if certain players are worthy only of your scorn"
     (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/24)....The Hawks have stopped selling
     tickets for their game Friday against the Bulls until they
     get permission from the Georgia Dome to sell an additional
     10,000 obstructed-view seats, for $5-$10 (SUN-TIMES, 3/24).
     ...Mavs coach Don Nelson cancelled practice last Friday to
     devote the team's attention to TeamUp Day, which called for
     players and staff to continue work on a basketball court
     funded by F Samaki Walker (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/21).

          A's Owners Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann "will not move
     the team from the Bay Area," according to columnist Glenn
     Dickey of the S.F. CHRONICLE, who wrote that "if they decide
     to sell to owners in another city, their lease requires that
     they first put the team up for sale to possible local buyers
     for six months."  Dickey wrote that a winning, exciting team
     will bring fans back to the ballpark, "but they won't return
     if there's constant speculation that the owners are so
     unhappy they may move the team" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/23).
          SAY JOSE? In San Jose, Bryant & Kurtzman wrote that a
     "small group of baseball enthusiasts" told Santa Clara, CA,
     City Council members that it "will present a plan within a
     month to build a stadium" for the A's (MERCURY NEWS, 3/19).
     ...In S.F., Bruce Jenkins said an A's-to-San-Jose move "will
     never happen" as the Giants own the territorial rights:
     "Some say that territorial agreement is flimsy, but if the
     Giants go to court, they'll win" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/21).