Cablevision "immediately moved" yesterday to "quash the
buzz" that it is in talks with Yankees Owner George
Steinbrenner about his team, and a role for him as top exec
of the Knicks and NHL Rangers, according to Steve Zipay of
NEWSDAY. In a statement, Cablevision said: "We have had no
discussions to relinquish either the control or the
management responsibilities of Madison Square Garden and its
teams and do not expect to have any such discussions in the
future." MSG President Dave Checketts "declined" to talk
about his reaction, but an MSG exec "said Checketts feels
secure in his job." Zipay adds that MSG's revenue will
reach $100M this year, up from the $12M a year before
Checketts was named head in '95, and "those are the stats"
that Cablevision Chair Charles Dolan "holds most dear."
Rangers President Neil Smith called the speculation "too
bizarre for words." One Steinbrenner associate said "that
anything more than a figurehead position" for Steinbrenner
"was a ridiculous notion" (NEWSDAY, 9/18).
NOW CHILDREN: In NJ, Bob Klapisch reports that the
possibility of Steinbrenner selling the Yankees "hinges on
two key factors, according to people familiar with the Boss'
thinking." First, Steinbrenner is "deciding whether he
wants to leave" the team to his children, including his 29-
year-old son Harold, and 43-year-old son-in-law, Steve
Swindal. Second, Steinbrenner is "deeply committed to
moving the Yankees to Manhattan's West Side, and, according
to an official close to the team, Steinbrenner would like to
continue his association with the team if a move occurs."
But if N.Y. City Council Speaker Peter Vallone is successful
in putting the future of Yankee Stadium to a referendum,
sources say Steinbrenner "could well throw in the towel and
sell to Cablevision" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 9/18).
SCHUNDLER'S LIST: The N.Y. OBSERVER's Greg Sargent
reports that Jersey City (NJ) Mayor Bret Schundler "is
exploring ways to build - and aggressively market" a new
ballpark on the border of Jersey City and Secaucus for "the
Yankees or any other team" looking for a new home.
Schundler: "We have the best location in the metropolitan
area - bar none." He said a site proposal will be presented
to Steinbrenner in several weeks (N.Y. OBSERVER, 9/21).
The MLS Fusion has reduced ticket prices, cutting their
$600 sideline season-ticket package to $288 for adults and
$180 for children under 12. The Fusion had the third-
highest prices in the league and the third-lowest attendance
at 10,446 (MIAMI HERALD, 9/18)....Cablevision's The Wiz will
sponsor field trips to Shea Stadium on September 18 and
September 22, when it will donate 5,000 tickets to area
charities and not-for-profit groups (The Wiz)....IHL Long
Beach Ice Dogs Owner Barry Kemp is interviewed in the LONG
BEACH BUSINESS JOURNAL. Kemp, on his target demo for hockey
in CA: "I think we have to secure our core audience first.
It would be foolish to spend too much time specializing all
of our marketing" (LONG BEACH BUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/15).
Nassau County Exec Thomas Gulotta called the owners of
the Islanders "pigs at the trough," before NY State Supreme
Court Justice Joseph Burton issued a "temporary restraining
order barring the Islanders from playing home games outside
the [Nassau] Coliseum," according to Thomas Frank of
NEWSDAY. Following a 6 1/2 hour meeting with team officials
yesterday, Gulotta called the Islanders lawsuit "nothing
more than a ruse" aimed at forcing the county and arena to
give the franchise more revenue from its lease. Gulotta:
"They're pointing a gun at the head of the taxpayers of this
county for their own financial benefit and gain." Isles
attorney John Zuccotti said that the team would "obey any
court order," adding: "We don't believe any judge would make
us play in an unsafe arena" (NEWSDAY, 9/18).
DISPUTE GROWING UGLY: Gulotta said that "99%" of
yesterday's discussions with the Isles dealt with ways they
could "obtain a bigger share of the financial pie," and not
safety conditions at the arena. Judge Burton scheduled a
hearing on the matter for next Wednesday, two days before
the Isles pre-season opener (N.Y. TIMES, 9/18). But Isles
President David Seldin said yesterday's meeting was not
solely about money: "That just wasn't the case. Safety was
a significant issue in the discussion" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/18).
Flyers Chair Ed Snider, who divested himself from SMG last
December, "declined to comment specifically" on the
Islanders situation, but said that the Islanders playing
home games in the Spectrum while the Flyers played at the
First Union Center would be "a little odd." First Union
Comlex President & CEO Peter Luukko, who called the
situation "bizarre," said that "if the league calls on us,
we'll cooperate" (Rob Parent, ESPN.COM, 9/18).
Penguins co-Owners Howard Baldwin and Roger Marino met
with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman yesterday at NHL
headquarters regarding several issues, "but came away
without any answers," according to Dejan Kovacevic of the
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. The NHL did not announce a date
for the next meeting (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/18).
Lakers Exec VP Jerry West "has agreed" to join Michael
Ovitz's ownership group that is trying to bring an NFL team
to L.A., according to T.J. Simers of the L.A. TIMES. West,
who has been "given permission" by Lakers Owner Jerry Buss
to "moonlight as an advisor for the football project," will
travel to K.C. with Ovitz for an October 27 presentation to
all 31 NFL owners. Ovitz gave plans to NFL Commissioner
Paul Tagliabue this week for a privately financed 78,000-
seat stadium on a 158-acre site in Carson, CA, calling it
"'the Hacienda,' which will be surrounded by an
entertainment-geared mall." Ovitz: "I think this Hacienda
concept, where it's located ... linked as it is to this mall
concept with fan [amenities] -- I think a lot of that has
people very excited." Tagliabue, asked whether the plan put
the Ovitz group ahead of the New Coliseum Partners: "I think
it does in terms of the attractiveness of the facility.
Whether it does in terms of the viability of making it
happen, I'd say it's a tossup and one of the reasons we're
having a meeting in October." Tagliabue also said that
after the October meeting, he expects Houston to be "100%
there with signed documents" for a publicly-funded stadium
as well as ownership in business exec Bob McNair, which is
more than either L.A. group would offer (L.A. TIMES, 9/18).
WHO IS ANSCHUTZ? NHL Kings co-Owner & MLS Rapids/Fire
investor Philip Anschutz, who is behind the New Coliseum
Partners, is profiled by Lewis MacAdams of LOS ANGELES.
When people were asked, "Who is Philip Anschutz?" in L.A.,
"nobody had an answer." Requests for interviews for the
piece "were ignored," and nearly everyone who knows Anschutz
"personally refused to talk," including his L.A. partner, Ed
Roski. But MacAdams adds that anyone who did talk about
Anschutz "had only praise" for him, and about the worst
thing they said was "that he's cheap." But MacAdams writes
that Anschutz may have to have a higher profile to win the
city's trust to land an NFL team. When the L.A. Times' T.J.
Simers urged him to be more open with the public, saying
that "the last thing the NFL wants or L.A. needs ... is a
team with a faceless absentee owner," Anschutz said that
"just wasn't his style" (LOS ANGELES, 10/98 issue).
Two "disgruntled Raiders fans have filed a lawsuit
claiming they were 'lulled' by fraudulent statements into
buying and keeping overpriced" PSLs, according to Laura
Counts of the OAKLAND TRIBUNE. Robert de Crooy and Paul
Krysko have sued the Raiders, the Oakland Football Marketing
Association and Arthur Andersen -- the firm which kept track
of seat applications in '95 -- in Alameda County Superior
Court. The two "seek to have the suit certified as class-
action" on behalf of more than 32,000 PSL holders who, they
claim, "were similarly defrauded" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 9/17).