SBD/15/Franchises

LOCAL LEADERS RALLY TO SAVE THE BUCS

     Printing company exec Leonard Levy and insurance businessman
Walter Baldwin, two who were instrumental in acquiring the
franchise and bringing the Super Bowl to Tampa, are "heading up a
ad-hoc task force that will harness business support" to keep the
team in the area.  Don Barber, President of the Greater Tampa
Chamber of Commerce, expects to officially announce the group on
Friday.  It will likely be made up of 15 members and "many more"
volunteers.  Barber: "There's a very, very strong feeling that we
don't want to lose this team.  Regardless of the team's record,
we still get Tampa and the Tampa Bay name spread around the
country each and every weekend.  That gives you an image boost."
The committee's agenda will be:  to work with the Tampa Sports
Authority on getting funding to renovate Tampa Stadium; contact
NFL owners and staff on the value of the Tampa area to the
league; and work with the media to get out their message.  Former
Tampa Super Bowl Task Force member Jim Urbanski: "There's nothing
worse than having a team and then losing it. ... A bad NFL team
is better than no NFL team" (Dave Szymanski, TAMPA TRIBUNE,
11/15).  Members of the Tampa City Council said no one has
approached them with any proposals to renovate or replace Tampa
Stadium, but added public assistance with such a request is a
possibility (Danielson & Dougherty, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 11/15).
     TAMPA TEAM NEEDS QB: Local columnist are calling on the
Tampa community to come together in their effort to keep the
team.  Joe Henderson of the TAMPA TRIBUNE writes that
"competition among local folk is the last thing we need ... We
need a statesman.  We need a hero" (Joe Henderson, TAMPA TRIBUNE,
11/15).  Hubert Mizell of the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES writes a
"unified" effort of "Tampa Bay Bucs Investment All-Stars" could
be "happening."  Mizell: "It would be a dynamic coalition if our
All-Stars got together.  It could save the Bucs.  It could make
the Bucs" (ST. PETE TIMES, 11/15).
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