Spirit's Stealey has no offers, but says he's open to selling

March 31, 1995|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Sun Staff Writer

Spirit owner Bill Stealey isn't totally dismissing rumors that he might sell or move the team.

"I walked into a bar in Towson not long ago and people congratulated me on selling the team for $3 million," Stealey said by phone from Raleigh, N.C., where he has established a new computers business. "Terrific. Except I haven't seen a check. No one has even offered me any money."

Although he makes light of the rumors, Stealey stops short of denying he might be shopping the team.

"I've had absolutely no discussions," Stealey said. "But I'll talk to anyone if they want to give me $3 million."

As for the report that former Blast owner Ed Hale might be a prospective buyer, Stealey said only that he "chatted with Ed at a game a few weeks ago and we're friends."

As for the report that he might move the team to Charlotte, N.C., Stealey said that he admires the arenas in a lot of cities -- including Charlotte -- most of them superior to the Baltimore Arena.

"Baltimore is letting itself down because the Arena is, shall we say, modest at best," Stealey said. "Nice arenas are available. I always keep

my options open, but it [moving or selling the team] is not high on my list right now with the playoffs starting Monday."

Stealey isn't disturbed particularly that the Spirit's average attendance for 20 home dates dropped by 738 to 5,732, seventh in the 12-team league; that corporate season-ticket sales were 400 short of projections; or that gate receipts were 6 percent below last year.

"We still lost money, but I reduced my losses by 40 percent from last year," Stealey said, declining to give dollar figures. "That was mainly because of good budget control. We have high expectations of increasing revenue next year by selling more corporate season-ticket plans."

PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

SPIRIT vs. HARRISBURG

(First round; best of three)

Date ... ... ... ... Site ... ... ... Time

Monday ... .. .. ... at Balt. ... ... 7:05 p.m.

Tuesday .. .. .. ... at Harris. .. .. 7:05 p.m.

Wednesday ... .. ... at Harris. .. .. 7:05 p.m.

* -- If necessary

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