SBD/19/Franchises

COULD LABOR STRIFE LEAVE PHOENIX HIGH AND EVEN DRIER?

     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).
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Franchises, MLB, Phoenix Suns

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