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         The Grizzlies must sell 15,000 seats by January 1 or "else
    the NBA won't allow them to start their first season next fall."
    The team has sold about half that figure.  Most of the court-side
    corporate seats have been sold, but now Arthur Griffiths,
    President of Northwest Sports which owns the team and "the
    dreamer who envisioned an NBA team in Vancouver," must convince
    fans that paying between $675 per season-ticket seat in the upper
    sections to $3,555 for good club seats, is a "worthwhile
    investment."  Griffiths is going to "businesses for an indirect
    loan, asking companies to pay for employees' season tickets and
    recoup the loan through payroll deductions."  Griffiths told one
    business group, "Not only is this a fantastic company-provided
    bonus to your workforce, but it comes at an extremely low cost to
    your company" (Gillian Shaw, VANCOUVER SUN, 9/30).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NBA

         The Metropolitan Sports Facility Commission "approved all
    the major points of an agreement to buy the Target Center."  This
    clears the way for Glen Taylor to complete his deal to buy the
    Timberwolves, which has been contingent on public acquisition of
    the arena.  The agreement will keep the NBA team in Minnesota and
    "leaves open the possibility that an NHL team may return to the
    Twin Cities."  Commission Chair Henry Savelkoul said Taylor is
    the most likely buyer of any NHL team, and called the odds of an
    NHL returning to MN in five years "pretty good."  The agreement
    is for 30 years, but it would allow Taylor to break the deal in
    10 years if the team has two successive money-losing seasons.
    Taylor could also opt out if the state legislature fails to
    provide the promised $750,000-a-year subsidy.  "One unique
    feature" gives the commission an option to buy the team at the
    price Taylor is paying today -- $88.5M -- plus a compounded 3%
    increase for each year he has owned the team" (Patrick Sweeney,
         TWO OUT OF THREE AIN'T BAD  The "legal scuffle" between Top
    Rank and "soon-to-be-former" Wolves owners Marv Wolfenson and
    Harvey Ratner continues.  Top Rank, the group wanting to move the
    Wolves to New Orleans, won a "minor" victory as U.S. Magistrate
    Franklin Noel "disagreed with Wolfenson and Ratner's claim that
    their sale contract was properly terminated" when the NBA blocked
    the team's sale to Top Rank. Wolfenson and Ratner must decide by
    next week whether to have a U.S. District Judge review Noel's
    recommendation (Jay Weiner, Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/29).
         TWINS WATCH:  Twins owner Carl Pohlad says he would like to
    talk with Taylor about the possibility of joint ownership of the
    Twins (AP, 9/30).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Twins, NBA, NHL

         Rams President John Shaw "discounted reports yesterday that
    has Baltimore out of the running for the Rams."  Shaw, asked
    whether the Rams had narrowed their choices to St. Louis and
    Anaheim:  "I don't know where those perceptions came from.  We
    really haven't had any conversations with St. Louis for a few
    weeks.  They're trying to come in next week, but I'm not sure
    whether [those meetings] will materialize."  The L.A. TIMES had
    reported that Wednesday's NFL vote to approve the Redskins move
    to MD seemed to "swing the Rams' pendulum toward St. Louis"
    (Baltimore SUN, 9/30).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NFL, LA Rams, Washington Redskins
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