The Mighty Ducks named Pierre Gauthier as the team's
new President. Gauthier signed a five-year contract.
Gauthier had served as the Ducks' Assistant GM from '93-95,
before becoming GM of the Senators (Mighty Ducks).
Gauthier's "first order of business" will be to hire a
coach. Another task will be "repairing the Ducks' tarnished
image before the season begins." Gauthier: "Once we get a
coach in place, it's going to stabilize the organization.
Then we'll talk about players and the rest of the
organization" (Elliott Teaford, L.A. TIMES, 7/17).
RADIO-GAGA: The Ducks also announced that they have
agreed to a multi-year contract with San Diego-based XTRA-AM
for the team's radio rights. XTRA replaces KRLA as the
team's flagship station. The team will retain rights to
sell most of the radio ad inventory (Mighty Ducks).
The Lightning moved up the start of their home games
next season to 7:05pm ET (ST. PETE TIMES, 7/17)....Atlanta
business execs David Berkman, Bruce Berge and Charles Felix
have signed a letter of intent to purchase the ECHL
Jacksonville Lizard Kings. Reports say the price was close
to the ECHL's expansion fee of $1.5M (FL TIMES-UNION, 7/17).
The WNBA Shock are "guaranteeing satisfaction" for fans
attending their games this weekend, according to Danielle
Rumore of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. The team said that any
fan who does not have a "great time" at either tonight's or
Sunday's game at the Palace "will get a full refund." The
"Guaranteed Good Times" promo was announced last week during
the team's road trip. Since opening the season in front of
15,574 fans, the Shock are averaging 9,007 -- sixth in the
10-team league (Danielle Rumore, DETROIT FREE PRESS, 7/17).
Talks between a Charlotte-based group and the Twins are
"hot," and if the group were to acquire the Twins, it would
"consider moving" the franchise to Salt Lake City for "a
year or two while a stadium," financed by NationsBank, was
being built in NC, according to Charley Walters of the ST.
PAUL PIONEER PRESS. One source said Salt Lake City is "just
a better option." Another option "being discussed is
temporarily moving the Twins to a renovated minor league
stadium in Charlotte" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 7/17).
NO ACTION ON OFFER: The Twins issued a statement saying
they are studying the most recent offer from the
Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission to drop its
lawsuit in exchange for a lease extension in Minnesota. In
Minneapolis, John Millea writes that it "now appears that
the next act surrounding" the club's future will be in court
Monday, when a settlement hearing regarding the lawsuit is
scheduled (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/17). In Minneapolis,
Dan Barreiro writes an open letter to Twins Owner Carl
Pohlad and states, "It's time to cut the cord with the team
you love." Barreiro suggests Pohlad sell the team to T-
Wolves Owner Glen Taylor (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/17).
Agent Joe Cubas met with Huizenga Holdings President
Rick Rochon yesterday to discuss buying the Marlins and
"came away optimistic he can point the team in a new
direction," according to Armando Salguero of the MIAMI
HERALD. While Marlins President Don Smiley is still
"considered the front-runner" to buy the club, lawyers for
Cubas will participate in a conference call with MLB "to
discuss the next step." Cubas "would not name" his
potential investors, which number "fewer than" 10, but
claimed that his group is "complete save for one more entity
that is still negotiating." Cubas: "If Don Smiley really
has the inside track, the Huizenga people would have no need
to speak to us. Our window of opportunity is open." Cubas
added that if his bid were successful, he would "infuse" the
Marlins' $12M payroll, "perhaps by as much as" $20M his
first year (MIAMI HERALD, 7/17). Cubas has yet to make an
official offer for the team (MIAMI HERALD, 7/17).
CRY AND YOU CRY ALONE: Smiley met yesterday with WQAM-
AM station owner George Beasley "in hopes of" getting
Beasley to contribute $15M toward his bid, according to Alan
Snel of the Fort Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL. Chip Gesner, a
financial consultant for the Smiley group, said that if
Beasley joins the bid, "the investor team would be complete"
(SUN-SENTINEL, 7/17). Smiley also spoke with Beasley and
WQAM co-Owner Greg Reed about allowing the station, which
currently has three years remaining on its deal to carry the
Marlins at $3M per season, out of its contract. In
exchange, Beasley and Reed would invest $15M in Smiley's
bid, and the Marlins would buy time on the station for its
games and keep the ad revenue. (MIAMI HERALD, 7/17) A
source close to Smiley's negotiations to bring Barry
Diller's USA Broadcasting into his group said that a "deal
is not final." The source said that USA "is still looking
at it" (Fort Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 7/17).
The Bills "are adding another heavy hitter to their
sales team hawking luxury boxes and club seats" in
billionaire investor Warren Buffett, according to Gene
Warner of the BUFFALO NEWS. Bills Owner Ralph Wilson and
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said Wednesday that Buffett
will attend a September 9 reception in Buffalo as part of
the Bills' push to sell $11M in luxury suites to keep the
team in Buffalo at least six more years. The Bills also
announced that they've sold 95 luxury boxes and $6.3M worth
of boxes and club seats, or about 57% of their goal for the
'99 season. The team also unveiled a new concept for the
sale of premium seats under which regional clubs like the
Rochester Club and the Toronto Club "will allow business
people from the same hometown to sit together and network
with each other in club seats or suites." The September 9
reception will be an event for roughly 500 suite holders and
prospective customers, with Buffett making a short speech
and then answering questions (BUFFALO NEWS, 7/16).
ERIE NEWS: The Erie County legislature OK'd the Bills'
proposed lease at Rich Stadium, a "major hurdle." The team
will receive all revenues from the facility as well as an
exemption from paying operating or game-day expenses. The
team will also get $3M annual grant from NY as "working
capital." County Exec Dennis Gorski "expressed confidence"
the Bills will meet their goal of selling $11M in luxury
seats, but he noted that the lease also allows a "a figure
satisfactory" to the team. Gorski: "The [$11M] threshold is
a figure that is arbitrary" (BUFFALO NEWS, 7/17).