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ANGELS: After Jackie Autry signed the owners' resolution cancelling the season, she announced that she and her husband Gene Autry, have decided to sell the Angels. She added, however, that they will not sell the club until there have been a resolution of baseball's labor dispute. The Autrys have told four prospective buyers that they are asking $130M, although only 23% of the club will be sold while Gene Autry remains alive. Terms of the sale "stipulate an immediate" $30M fee for 23% of the club; the minority owner will be required to pay Autry $3M each year to maintain the option to purchase the rest of the club within six months of Autry's death. Jackie Autry would not identify the four buyers, but it is believed she has had preliminary talks with Walt Disney Corp. and billionaire Marvin Davis (Bob Nightengale, L.A. TIMES, 9/15). ATHLETICS: The A's are still for sale and "it is difficult to determine" what effect the early end of the season will have on the sale. Alameda County Supervisor Don Perata said interest in buying the team is "sure to wane." But Oakland Coliseum president George Vukasin "did not agree with Perata." The Haas family put the team up for sale May 1994 with a price tag of $95M and gave the city of Oakland seven months to find an ownership group that would keep the team in Oakland. The deadline is December 7 and the city is considering four buyers (Robert Kuwada, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/15). "The slim silver lining for A's fans is that -- unless the people of St. Petersburg are so desperate they're willing to buy a baseball team that isn't playing baseball -- the Haas family probably will start next season is Oakland" (Ann Killion, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/15).
The Jaguars yesterday announced the creation of the Jaguars Foundation, which will be aimed at helping Jacksonville's disadvantaged children. Jaguars majority owner Wayne Weaver said that the team will donate $3M over 5 years to the foundation, an amount that is being touted as the "highest" team donation in the league. NFL public service coordinator Beth Colleton said that the highest previous amount given by a team was by the Lions, which donates $300,000 annually to charities (Bob Phelps, FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 9/14).
"In an odd bit of kismet," a group of Northern VA investors yesterday announced a bid to bring a major league baseball team to VA just hours before Acting Commissioner Bud Selig canceled the baseball season. The group, Virginia Baseball Inc., claimed that the bid represents the "strongest area coalition yet" to bring a team to Northern VA (David Nakamura, WASHINGTON POST, 9/15). Though officials have made no formal announcement, MLB is believed to be adding two teams for the '97 season. The approximate cost for expansion is expected to be between $120- 170M, not including a stadium or operating costs (Basham & Alexander, FAIRFAX JOURNAL, 9/15). The coalition reportedly includes more than two dozen investors that have pledged more than $98M in equity capital, as well as securing $100M in debt financing to underwrite the bid (WASHINGTON POST, 9/15).
The county commission in Orange County, FL, passed a resolution on Tuesday that approves of the ownership group seeking an expansion MLB franchise for Orlando and establishes an understanding for the lease of a proposed baseball stadium in the area, according to documents released to THE SPORTS BUISNESS DAILY. FL developer Norton Herrick is the majority partner, with CO accountant Stephen Kurtz and Rockies General Counsel Paul Jacobs also in the management group. Highlights from the resolution: -- The term of the lease will be 30 years (or such period that matches the bond issue) with the Owner having the option to renew for five 5-year periods. The Owner will have the option to purchase the Ballpark, parking and related facilities at the end of the term. Neither the Owner nor any successor may relocate during the term. -- Nominal rent ($100/year) will be paid to localities. -- Commencing in the 3rd season, an amount will be paid equal to the lesser of 5% of face value or $1 of each baseball ticket sold; $1 for each non-baseball ticket sold. -- The Owners receives ALL REVENUE from broadcast rights; rent from private suites; novelties/merchandise; concession/catering; Stadium Club memberships; non-baseball events; advertising and naming rights revenue, including scoreboard signage; all parking revenue; right of first refusal to purchase or lease land for development within Sports Development District; and approval rights over design and construction of Ballpark and related facilities. -- The Owner retains responsibilities for all facility operations, parking and maintanence; guarantees payment of principal and interest on parking revenue bonds (estimated at $3.5M annually); maintains liability and property insurance; provides security; and pays utilities. -- The Local Gov't has responsibility for costs of design and construction to be financed through a bond issue. The bond issue will be supported by a one cent resort tax increase. The localities will also receive $2M/year for up to 30 years from the State of Florida for debt service. -- The Ballpark will be an open-air stadium with a natural grass surface and seat between 45,000 and 52,000, with a minumum of 9,500 controlled parking spaces. -- There are no real estate taxes (THE DAILY, 9/15).