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Volume 24 No. 156
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          Opening new arenas "makes sports franchises giddy," but
     Alan Snel of the Fort Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL wrote that
     moving season-ticket holders into the new arenas "gives them
     headaches."  In FL, the Heat and NHL Panthers face this
     "transition challenge" over the next 20 months.  Last week,
     the Panthers sent seat assignments to 13,000 ticket holders,
     which were based on surveys returned by fans "who indicated
     what seats and price ranges they preferred."  The Heat will
     invite fans to the arena to pick their seats "based on
     priority numbers they received when they opened their
     original accounts."  At the NBA's recent marketing meeting
     in Charlotte, Heat Exec VP/Marketing & Sales Michael
     McCullough "heard tales from the other teams about how fans
     picked seats from seating diagrams only to find the seats
     didn't exist when the arenas opened because of tweaks in
     construction plans."  The Panthers have hired VA-based
     Distributed System Architects, which will be paid out of the
     team's $50,000 relocation budget.  The Heat is negotiating
     with CO-based ticket/relocation consultant Matthew Bortz,
     and has assigned the team's Customer Relations Manager Rod
     Segal "to focus on the fan move" (SUN-SENTINEL, 4/27).