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Volume 24 No. 117
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          When Adelphia Chair John Rigas becomes owner of the
     Sabres, he will be "taking over a franchise facing a host of
     serious problems," according to Robinson & Warner of the
     BUFFALO NEWS.  Because the Sabres have lost $15M during each
     of the last three years, the deal "requires" Rigas to pay
     "only" $5M cash to the existing owners.  Rigas "also has
     pledged to pay another" $10.5M, plus interest, over the
     "next few years."  Robinson & Warner wrote that despite the
     opening of Marine Midland Arena, the team has lost about
     $46M in the last three years "largely because of the
     franchise's ballooning debt load" that stands at "nearly"
     $81M.  Another $6M was lost "in the first four months" of
     the current FY.  The team's season-ticket base "shrank" by
     1,600 this season to 8,634, almost 16% less than last year. 
     But the Sabres purchase "gives Rigas a valuable source of
     programming for Adelphia's Empire Sports Network," which
     already pays the team "a minimum" of $1.6M per season to air
     70 games.  A source said that the deal "also gives Rigas and
     Adelphia the chance to use some of the Sabres' losses to
     offset other income and reduce taxes" (BUFFALO NEWS, 3/26).