Now they're lining up for the Blast

July 23, 1992|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

The Blast has never been so popular, but in name only.

Baltimore's new National Professional Soccer League team wants it.

Baltimore's new Arena Soccer League team wants it.

And Ed Hale, the man who owned the Blast when it was part of the Major Soccer League and thus retains ownership of the team name, says he just might want to keep it.

"I keep reading and hearing about those people wanting the Blast's name, but no one has talked to me about it," Hale said. "I would consider selling it, but I like to keep my options open. There are other strong soccer owners out there [from the old MSL], and if we could find a few more, I'd consider reforming a league."

Ben Neil, a lawyer who represents the ASL ownership group, said his owners want to talk to Hale about acquiring the Blast's name.

"The name has some value of good will and identity in terms of players and rules," Neil said. "It would allow someone to come in with a recognizable name."

Neil said he has had preliminary discussions with a half-dozen former Blast players and anticipates signing at least three of them to letters of intent soon.

The ASL team, like the NPSL team, wants to obtain the Blast's season ticket list. Yesterday, NPSL franchise vice president Drew Forrester said that the new team has sold more than 300 season tickets.

Hale, meanwhile, said he did not consider joining the NPSL, because labor lawyers advised him that taking his franchise into a non-labor league after the folding of a unionized league could produce lawsuits.

NPSL commissioner Steve Paxos said yesterday that former MSL teams Cleveland, San Diego and Wichita, which is trying to put together a new ownership group, have expressed interest in joining the league. Paxos said the deadline for entry is Aug. 1 and he anticipated hearing from those teams last night or today.

Kicking back the prices

A comparison of ticket prices between the Blast, which folded earlier this month, and Baltimore's new team in the National Professional Soccer League:

Blast: .. $14 $12 $11 $10 $7

New team: $13 $12 $10 $8 .$4

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