SBD/16/Franchises

PITTSBURGH WILL DEAL WITH RIGAS OVER SALE OF PIRATES

     Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy announced that city reached an
agreement with Adelphia Cable TV President John Rigas "on terms
relative to the purchase" of the Pirates.  Murphy said he would
ask the city to formally submit Rigas' name to the team.  Murphy:
"We are excited about this because it means major league baseball
will be in Pittsburgh for a long time to come."  The city faced a
deadline of January 29 to find a buyer to keep the team in
Pittsburgh.  Rigas will now have to negotiate the purchase of the
team with the "10-member consortium of companies and individuals
who own the Pirates," and then get it approved by MLB (Mark
Hyman, Baltimore SUN, 11/16).  Baseball owners "have frowned on
additional television based companies from owning teams, twice
rejecting the sale of the Rangers to broadcast interest."   The
price tag for the Pirates is estimated at $95-100M, with most
going to pay off the team's current debt.  The deal with the city
includes a new stadium lease, and a promise of "good faith" by
the city to build a "Forbes Field-like baseball-only stadium"
(AP, 11/16).  Former Orioles President Larry Lucchino, an "early
favorite" to buy the Pirates, "put his bid on hold" and turned
his full attention toward a deal for the Padres (Baltimore SUN,
11/16).  Lucchino and Houston businessman John Moores are
reportedly in the final stages to buy the Padres.  Lucchino:
"Because the exceptional San Diego baseball opportunity I have
been offered is now nearing consummation, it's unreasonable, if
not impossible for me to continue to participate in the Pirates
process" (City of Pittsburgh).
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