SBD/30/Franchises

METROPOLITAN SPORTS FACILITY COMMISSION ON TARGET

     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,
ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 9/30).
     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).
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