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         In Tampa, Bill Chastain writes, while MLB's players and
    owners consider "various rudiments of the strike," Phoenix is
    faced with the "prospect of withdrawing from the expansion race
    in the even of a prolonged labor stoppage."  Phoenix and
    Tampa/St. Pete have been considered the frontrunners for any
    baseball expansion.  Chastain notes that Suns owner Jerry
    Colangelo's contract with Maricopa County provides up to $153M in
    public financing for a $275M stadium to house baseball in
    downtown Phoenix.  But the agreement and the 1/4-cent sales tax
    to support it contain "sunset" clauses that cancel everything if
    no franchise is awarded by April 1.  Colangelo is convinced the
    strike will end in plenty of time for owners, "who promised him a
    franchise behind closed doors, to follow through with their
    promise."  Colangelo told the ARIZONA REPUBLIC last week: "My
    information is they will meet the timetable we have.  Our deal
    goes away April 1.  Baseball is aware of that.  That's not
    pressure.  That's reality" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/18).      TAMPA
    WATCH:  In Tampa, Edwin Roberts thinks Orlando will get the nod
    over Tampa/St. Pete:  "That city has more than enough tourist-tax
    money to build an open-air stadium (the kind preferred by club
    owners), and one very rich man has offered to buy a team" (TAMPA
    TRIBUNE, 9/18).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, MLB, Phoenix Suns

         Washington attorney Bart Fisher, who is trying to acquire a
    MLB team for DC or the Northern VA area, said he has been given
    permission to look at the financial records of the A's, who are
    for sale.  A's owner Walter Haas Jr. has set a sale price at $85M
    for any buyers who would keep the team in Oakland.  Oakland
    Coliseum officials have been given until December to locate a
    local purchaser, "after-which out-of-town investors may be
    considered."  Fisher and his partners have expressed interest in
    several teams, and last year offered $150M for the Padres.
    Fisher's group has also applied for expansion.  In Washington,
    Mark Maske notes it is unlikely the owners would permit another
    AL team to move so close to the Orioles.  In other news, Fisher
    said that he has had "no conversations" with anyone interested in
    starting a new league (WASHINGTON POST, 9/17).
         OAKLAND OWNERSHIP?  In Boston, Peter Gammons reports that
    while four bidders expressed interest for the A's, only two
    "actually pursued it, and both dropped out as soon as they looked
    further" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18).

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Franchises, MLB, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres

         On Friday, Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy reduced the list of
    potential Pirate suitors to 10, with the two or three finalists
    to be determined within weeks after preliminary bids are made.
    The city wants about $85M for the Pirates.  According to city
    government sources, the Rooney Familys -- the Steelers owner --
    clearly would be the frontrunner if they made a serious bid.
    Besides the Rooneys, Penguins co-owner Howard Baldwin was the
    only other potential suitor mentioned by name by Murphy during
    his news conference.  Other bidders:  Adelphia Communications
    Chair John Rigas, the KBL Sports Network and Pittsburgh
    businessman Jim Roddey.  The city has until January 29, to find a
    buyer or the Pirates can sell to the highest bidder.  Larry
    Lucchino, the former Orioles CEO, is also said to be interested
    in the Pirates, but is now involved in a bid to buy the Padres
    (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/17).  In Boston, Will McDonough
    reports Dan Rooney says his family is not interested in the
    Pirates.  Rooney: "We have some stadium problems here with the
    city, and we have to get those rectified.  I do not want to get
    involved in the baseball rules.  I am dead set against cross-
    ownership" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18).

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Franchises, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Padres

         Rams Exec VP John Shaw met with "Save the Rams," a group
    trying to keep the Rams in Anaheim.  He and Rams owner Georgia
    Frontiere was also expected to dine with MD Gov. William Donald
    Schaefer and Orioles owner Peter Angelos last night.  And in St.
    Louis, Rams representatives have been on the phone with FANS
    point man, former Sen. Tom Eagleton.  "Save the Rams" was
    expected to present Shaw with an offer to buy the team, "although
    the Rams have indicated that they are not interested in an
    outright purchase."  The group was also expected to present more
    details on guarantees of ticket sales and premium seat sales.
    FANS Inc. just purchased the 30% share of the stadium lease in
    St. Louis from beer distributor Jerry Clinton.  Shaw, in a
    statement: "Our lawyers have been advised by Sen. Eagleton that
    the St. Louis stadium lease issues have been resolved.  If that
    is the case the Rams are prepared to commence discussions" (Jim
    Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/17).
         ANAHEIM:  "Save the Rams" presented a package assuring
    revenues between $15-20M.  The new plan also includes "all-
    important season ticket and luxury box guarantees similar to ones
    being offered by other cities wooing the team."  They promised
    the Rams sales of 45,000 season tickets and income from "roughly"
    100 luxury boxes --mostly from the Orange County business
    community.  The group also boosted the renovation package for
    Anaheim Stadium from the $40M offered last month to $60-70M.  The
    package more than doubles the budget for a proposed "state-of-
    the-art training facility" and corporate HQs in Orange County
    (L.A. TIMES, 9/17).
         ST. LOUIS:  Now that the stadium lease has been finalized,
    look for a task force of area political, civic and business
    leaders to be named within a week, as FANS tries to "broaden the
    input it gets in formulating the Rams proposal" (Thomas, ST.
    LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/17).  The St. Louis group is considering
    selling the naming rights to the stadium and requiring fans to
    buy seat licenses before they can buy season tickets (Jon Morgan,
    Baltimore SUN, 9/17).

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Franchises, LA Rams

         Ontario's Public Trustee charged that Maple Leaf Gardens
    Ltd. (MLG) failed to take any steps to "maximize value for
    shareholders before the company's takeover by MLG Ventures."  In
    a new set of allegations specifically against Gardens management,
    the trustee and ministry of the attorney-general contend company
    officials didn't "make any or adequate attempts" to find out what
    potential buyers would pay.  The two government agencies have
    already alleged the executors of the estate of late Gardens owner
    Harold Ballard "breached their fiduciary duties to a group of
    designated charities by selling his estate's stake in the hockey
    franchise privately to MLG Ventures, and not on the open market."
    The two agencies want to the courts to unwind the deal and return
    the shares to the estate.  MLG Ventures and the Gardens "have
    denied all the allegations which must still be proven in court."
    The estate's three executors are all members of the Gardens
    board.  Stave Stavro is Chair and CEO of the Gardens and Donald
    Crump is the company's treasurer (Tony Van Alphen, TORONTO STAR,
    9/16).  The trial to decide the future ownership of Maple Leaf
    Gardens will likely start next spring (Van Alphen, TORONTO STAR,

    Print | Tags: Franchises

         Glen Taylor, who is lining up the deal to purchase the
    Timberwolves, said that he would like to make the team a public
    corporation similar to ownership of the Celtics.  Taylor is
    lining up backers for a limited partnership to put up the $45M in
    equity needed for the $88M deal.  Taylor told MN Public Radio
    that one option he and his group is interested in "is taking on
    additional citizens."  Taking the team public "is becoming a key
    component in Taylor's efforts to lure individual investors into
    the money pool he needs to purchase the team" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE,

    Print | Tags: Boston Celtics, Franchises, Minnesota Timberwolves
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