The Avalanche yesterday announced ticket increases for
the '98-99 season, according to Rick Sadowski of the ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS. The average ticket price will be $53.44, up
about 8% over last season's average of $49.24. Prices will
range from $17 to $140 a ticket, which the Avalanche said
will put them between 6th and 13th place in terms of ticket
revenue. Tickets for one-third of the seats will cost $28
or less per game; tickets for half the seats will cost $41
or less per game (Rick Sadowski, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 5/22).
CONGLOMERATES: SI's Tom Verducci examines the Marlins-
Dodgers trade and notes that talks began when Fox TV CEO
Chase Carey called Marlins President Don Smiley about Wayne
Huizenga's SportsChannel FL. The Marlins "are one of only
six" MLB teams for which Fox doesn't have local broadcasting
rights. Asked if there was a possible connection between
the trade and Fox's interest in Huizenga's RSN, Fox Sports
Senior VP/Media Relations Vince Wladika said, "If anyone is
looking for some smoking gun, they will be looking for 500
years. It just doesn't exist. There's no connection
whatsoever." MLB Acting Commissioner Bud Selig: "The long
tentacles of media conglomerates are something that we have
to watch very carefully. We watched this (trade) very
closely, and there's no evidence of any link" (SI, 5/25).
...In Ft. Worth, T.R. Sullivan examines Disney's ownership
of the Angels: "So far, Disney has run the Angels like the
corporate giant it is, seemingly more concerned about the
financial ledger and corporate image than the division
standings. Disney seems to lack the reckless passion for
winning associated with George Steinbrenner, Peter Angelos
or Ted Turner" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/22).
NOTES: In N.Y., Gerald Eskenazi reports that sales of
equipment with the Jets' new retro logo "have taken off."
Last year, the Jets were in the bottom third of leaguewide
sales, "but now they are among the top dozen in the league"
(N.Y. TIMES, 5/22)....Top of the Third Inc., a company
comprised of former Dodgers Owner Peter O'Malley's three
children and the 10 children of his sister, Terry Seidler,
has purchased the Stockton Ports, the Brewers' affil in the
single-A California League. The Stockton Record put the
purchase price at $1.75M (AP/ESPN SportsZone, 5/21)....The
Eagles have exercised their option with Lehigh Univ., the
site of the team's '96, '97 and '98 training camps, to
return to the school during the summer of '99 (Eagles).
....The A's and the League of Women Voters will host a
mayoral candidate forum prior to the A's game vs. the O's
tomorrow (A's)....Former Knicks & Spurs F Charles Smith has
become a part owner of the USBL CT Skyhawks (USBL).
In light of the defeat of the NC Triad's MLB referendum
earlier this month, a dozen local investors "say they are
withdrawing or are considering bowing out" from NC Major
League Baseball LLC, the ownership group led by Don Beaver,
according to John Nagy of the Greensboro NEWS & RECORD.
Nagy: "That isn't expected to hurt the ownership group,
which likely will open itself to Charlotte-area investors in
the next several months." The "handful" of current major
investors "say they remain behind Beaver," but many of the
smaller investors "are reconsidering." Some, though, say
"they're staying in -- for now, at least." When announced
last year, NCMLB had more than 50 investors and pledges
totaling $75M. The group was split into those holding Class
A membership and having pledged at least $5M, and those
holding Class B membership who had pooled investments
totaling at least $1M (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 5/21).
IN CHARLOTTE: Speaking out for the "first time" since
an MLB feasibility study came out this week, NationsBank CEO
Hugh McColl Jr. called in to a radio show Wednesday "to say
that, contrary to some reports, he does believe Charlotte is
ready" for an MLB franchise (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/22).
After completing the "most successful hockey season of
their short life," the Senators say they "are facing
insolvency and are seeking a complicated tax ruling from
Revenue Canada to reduce their debt burden," according to
Shawn Mccarthy of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL. In an interview
yesterday, Senators Chair Rod Bryden confirmed that the team
"has been unable to pay interest costs on its mountainous
debt and is hoping for a favourable ruling from the federal
government to ease the burden." Bryden would not disclose
the amount of debt that the team and its related Corel
Centre is carrying. However, sources close to the team say
the ownership group, which includes U.S.-based Ogden Corp.,
"owes more than [C$200M] on the building alone, and millions
more on the Senators." Bryden said the team's finances "are
improving," but that it won't be enough to pay all its
interest charges (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/22).
Hamilton County Treasurer Robert Goering "is talking to
Reds owner Marge Schott about selling her general
partnership shares in the baseball team to Hamilton County,"
according to Kimball Perry of the CINCINNATI POST. Goering
said that Schott is "investigating" if MLB will allow a
government to own general partnership shares of a team.
Buying the Reds "would ensure Hamilton County -- both as a
government and owner of the team -- would determine" where
their new ballpark would be built (CINCINNATI POST, 5/21).