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Volume 24 No. 156

Franchises

          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).