Steve Story, spokesperson for the trust overseeing the estate of late Bucs Owner Hugh Culverhouse, said he will begin meeting this week with groups interested in buying the team. Story would like to "set up face-to-face interviews with all the potential suitors as soon as possible, partially to weed out the contenders from the pretenders." The list includes: Orioles Owner Peter Angelos, former U.S. Senator Tom Eagleton, MO businessman Stan Kroenke, Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner, Palm Beach industrialist Malcolm Glazer, and Gino Pala of Dixon Ticonderoga. Story said he has also spoken with Outback Steakhouse CEO Chris Sullivan, and fellow Tampa businessmen Tommy Shannon and Marty Jacobson about their interest (Nick Pugliese, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/14). Story noted that people in Tampa "might be alarmed" about relocation, but he said "we have no choice but to talk to everybody" (Nick Pugliese, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/14). NEED A TEAM, ANY TEAM: Sources close to the Bucs have said that Angelos has reopened talks and is said to be offering $200M. Angelos acknowledged his interest, but declined to discuss specifics (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 11/12). Angelos met with Rams President John Shaw over the weekend. He said Baltimore remains in the running for that franchise adding that Rams' negotiations with St. Louis are "not a done deal" (Jon Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 11/14). Tom Eagleton, whose St. Louis group, FANS, Inc., is the leading contender for the Rams, said of the Bucs sale: "It does change the environment a bit. You have an NFL team on the market. We're not particular. We'll take the Dallas Cowboys if they are ready to come here" (AP/Mult., 11/12). NORTH-OF-THE-BORDER INTEREST: Labatt Communications President of Development Richard Peddie indicated that the Canadian brewery may also be interested in purchasing the Bucs. Peddie said that he is "monitoring" the Bucs situation and if more information is disclosed he will "look at it." Peddie emphasized that Labatt remains "committed" to its CFL franchise, the Argos: "In a perfect world, we'd like to have both (the Argos and an NFL team) and that's doable" (Gary Picknell, TORONTO SUN, 11/11). Labatt also the Blue Jays and a controlling interest in the SkyDome.
Orioles Owner Peter Angelos announced major ticket-price increases for next year that will add $1 to $5 to the price of more than 85% of the seats at Camden Yards. Angelos said he expects the move to be "unpopular" among ticket buyers, but said an increase was justified to recoup $15 million in strike-related losses: "We simply had no other way to go. Obviously, the financial viability of the club must be maintained for the purpose of giving Orioles fans a No. 1 baseball club." The Orioles joined the Rockies and the Yankees as the only teams to raise ticket prices for next season (Mark Hyman, Baltimore SUN, 11/13). Orioles officials said they believe the team was on course to turn an operating profit of $12M in an uninterrupted '94 season, but instead will suffer an operating loss of approximately $3M (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 11/12). The Orioles announced their plans in full-page ads in the WASHINGTON POST and the Baltimore SUN. The ad compared the O's ticket prices to those of the Redskins, Capitals, Bullets and Baltimore's CFL franchise.
The Panthers begin accepting applications for their 1995 season-tickets today. Applications are available at NationsBank, First Union, Wachovia, and First Citizen bank branches "throughout the Carolinas." The team will hold a random drawing for all applications received before December 1, and fans can reserve tickets with a $25 deposit. This is the first chance for non permanent seat license holders to purchase Panther tickets (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 11/12).