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Snider gets better reviews from Flyers fans than Sixers’

ED SNIDER stares in the mirror at the chairman of the Flyers, pleased that 56.6 percent of respondents who identified the hockey team as their favorite in the city in a Daily News fan survey conducted with the Sport Industry Research Center at Temple University are satisfied or very satisfied with his performance.

ED SNIDER stares in the mirror at the chairman of the Flyers, pleased that 56.6 percent of respondents who identified the hockey team as their favorite in the city in a Daily News fan survey conducted with the Sport Industry Research Center at Temple University are satisfied or very satisfied with his performance.

The man in the mirror stares back at the chairman of the 76ers, who accepts that 61.4 percent of respondents who identified the basketball team as their favorite are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

Snider, who brought the Flyers into existence in 1966 and who took control of the Sixers in 1996, understands. He is not totally happy with the numbers surrounding the Flyers, but he is understanding of the numbers involving the Sixers. He is a realist.

"The bottom line is, if the Sixers were in the playoffs and the Flyers were out of the playoffs, the percentages would be opposite," he said. "I'm not happy with the performance of the Sixers [27-55], but my policy has always been to hire basketball executives to run the basketball team and hockey executives to run the hockey team, and allow them to make the necessary decisions. I don't overrule them; I live by their decisions. Sometimes, I regret the moves that have been made; that's when I review the performances of the people making the decisions."

[]Snider dislikes being perceived as "a hockey guy," saying "nothing could be further from the truth."

"I happen to love basketball, but the perception seems to be that the Sixers are the stepchild [of the business]," he said. "To say that is ridiculous. I probably spend more time on the Sixers now, because they have had more issues to deal with than the Flyers. We haven't done a good job with the basketball team. It's embarrassing to me; it's something we're working very hard to correct. Believe me, we're trying like hell."

Added Peter Luukko, the chief operating officer of parent company Comcast-Spectacor: "No matter how much success the Sixers might have, Ed will always be viewed as a Flyers guy. That's understandable, because he's been the only face of the team; he has such a history with them. But, this year, we've both worked much harder on the Sixers."

As for the team executives, the survey showed that 60.5 percent of the Flyers respondents are satisfied or very satisfied with general manager Paul Holmgren.

Meanwhile, 74 percent of Sixers respondents said they are dissatisfied or very dissatisfed with president and general manager Ed Stefanski. Stefanski has 2 years left on his contract, but knows he could be replaced or reassigned if the successor to fired coach Eddie Jordan arrives in a dual front-office capacity.

Since 2000-01, the Flyers have had four coaches and two general managers; the Sixers, who have also had two general managers, are currently searching for their eighth coach in that same time frame.

The survey identifies pro basketball as a fading entity in the area - 4 percent said the Sixers were their favorite pro team in the city and 1 percent said this was a basketball town, given the choice of the four major sports. Only 4 percent favored the Sixers' team apparel. And only 2 percent said they offered the best value for their dollar.

Snider believes the growing lack of interest is more a result of the product being offered. The Sixers have had a total of 10 sellouts in the last four seasons (add one for the nostalgia game last season at the Spectrum).

"This year we took a giant step backward [with the Sixers]," Snider said. "I'm evaluating why, and I'm not through evaluating. We'll work our butts off to turn it around. We feel we have the ingredients [to be better]. We don't feel as if it's hopeless."

That's the chairman of the Sixers and the chairman of the Flyers, one and the same, holding dearly to 34 percent of Comcast-Spectacor. But don't try to separate them. Ed Snider won't let you. *

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