A "confidential" report obtained by Al Strachan of the
TORONTO SUN shows that while NHL ticket prices "were up an
average of 6.6% throughout the league this season, after-tax
gate receipts increased by only 3.3%." One of the "main
reasons" was the relocation of the Whalers to NC, "where the
average after-tax gate was only $198,705." But "even if the
Carolina figures had matched those from Hartford, league-
wide gate receipts would not have increased at the same rate
as ticket prices." All figures are in U.S. dollars. Other
numbers showed that the Canadiens "were the only Canadian
team" in the upper half of the league's receipts, with the
fifth-highest total at $31.17M. That represented a drop of
2.1% from last season, despite a 1.8% increase in the team's
average ticket prices. Vancouver and Toronto rank 15th and
16th in the league and have "similar totals," a little more
than $21M. Strachan writes that the Flames rank 24th in
receipts and are "in danger of having the league's lowest
gate receipts within two years." Among the Stanley Cup
participants, the Red Wings had the third-highest gate
receipt in the league, while the Capitals are second-to-
last, ahead of only Carolina (TORONTO SUN, 6/16).
BONUS BABIES: With final figures yet to be determined,
the total amount of monetary awards provided by the NHL for
playoff and regular season bonuses will be $11M, an increase
of $1M from last season. Of the $10M awarded last year,
nearly $7M went to playoff bonuses (WASHINGTON POST, 6/16).
MLB: In Denver, local ticket agents say that the
"marked-up resales" of All-Star Game tickets are "flat."
Rock & Jock Tickets Owner Bruce Brown: "It is looking like
tickets will be readily available" (DENVER POST, 6/15).
...In Philadelphia, Jayson Stark wrote the "latest buzz" is
that agent Scott Boras "may take some of his high-profile
clients," such as J.D. Drew, and seek citizenship in some
draft-exempt country such as Costa Rica. Then they could
become free agents "and could start up a hot bidding war,"
similar to Cuban players (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/14).
TURNER/NBC FOOTBALL: In Boston, Will McDonough reported
on the NBC/Turner football league and said that Ted Turner
and "his aids in Atlanta are carrying the ball and doing all
the research and development, with NBC waiting to see the
final product" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/13). BLOOMBERG'S Rick
Westhead wrote under the header, "Players In Europe Pinning
Hopes On Proposed NBC/Turner League" (SAN DIEGO UNION-
TRIBUNE, 6/14). Brian Ransom, agent for Rams CB Ryan McNeil
is "threatening" to take his client to the new league in
'99. Ransom: "I'd like to find out how soon their plans are
finalized" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 6/14).
OTHER NOTES: On Friday, 73 people watched the USBL Long
Island Surf-Atlanta Trojans game at Stony Brook Indoor sport
complex. Surf CEO Steve Shillet: "I don't understand why
Long Island doesn't support a Long Island team" (NEWSDAY,
6/15)....The Nuveen Tour's BTI Championships in Raleigh, NC,
"easily cleared their total attendance goal of 20,000" for
the week. BTI Tournament Director Karen Happer said that
attendance could hit 22,000-23,000 (NEWS & OBSERVER, 6/15).