SBD/2/Leagues Governing Bodies

EXPANSION COMMITTEE HEARS PRESENTATIONS FROM FOUR CITIES

     Members of MLB's Expansion Committee heard presentations
from two groups from Northern VA, and one each from Tampa/St.
Petersburg and Phoenix, all vying for a possible expansion
franchise.  The Arizona group "was the first to makes its pitch.
Next was Tampa-St. Pete.  Coincidence or not, these are the two
front-runners for expansion" (Bob Cohn, ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/2)
     PHOENIX:  NBA Suns Owner Jerry Colangelo led the AZ
contingent in making its first formal presentation, which
included a scale model of the proposed stadium, with a working
retractable roof that "reportedly wowed members of the
committee."  Colangelo said the committee was interested in his
investment partnership, which includes Phil Knight of Nike, and
some wanted assurances that it would not be fragmented and that
Colangelo would "be in control of things."  Colangelo: "They
threw a couple of hooks out there, and I didn't bite. ... We will
be one of the most successful franchises in baseball, if given an
equal playing field, because we know how to market" (Bob Cohn,
ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/2).  Colangelo also said construction
requirements on a $273M stadium would make '98 the earliest
possible start time (Joe Henderson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/01).
"Colangelo's group made the most impressive presentation" (Paul
Sullivan, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/2).
     TAMPA BAY:  Tampa Bay Baseball introduced two new investors
in their bid: Florida Progress, a diversified utility holding
company, and P.J. Benton, a minority businesswoman from St.
Petersburg.  Tampa Bay's managing general partner, Vince Naimoli,
said the group was "delighted to have her (Benton), not because
she is a woman or African-American, but because of her business
acumen."  The group delivered a video and oral presentation on
what the area had to offer, "such as market, stadium [Thunder
Dome] and ownership."  Naimoli:  "Everything we were asked we
were 100% prepared for. ... We can be ready in 100 days."  AL
President Gene Budig said the presentation went "very well," and
NL President Len Coleman said, "Tampa was great" (Mark Topkin,
ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 11/2).
     VIRGINIA:  The "competition" between two Northern VA groups
vying for an expansion franchise "took a surprising turn" when
Washington attorney Bart Fisher, head of
Capital Baseball, Inc., said a "syndicate of African-American
investors would be the team's largest shareholder" if they were
awarded a team.  That group is led by venture capitalist Robert
Johnson.  Fisher and William Collins, head of Virginia Baseball
Club, both made presentations.  Sources said, of the two groups,
Collins "received higher marks from the expansion committee."
But Fisher's announcement "may place considerable pressure on
baseball, which often has been criticized for its lack of
minority interest" (Maske & Lipton, WASHINGTON POST, 11/2).
Fisher: "We have laid down a challenge to major league baseball"
(Thom Loverro, WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/2).  Officials "familiar with
the presentations questioned the strength of the Fisher group."
One anonymous official on the Fisher plan: "It was heavy on
demographics but short on specifics.  The difference between the
two groups was like night and day" (Maske & Lipton, WASHINGTON
POST, 11/2).  Phillies owner Bill Giles, without specifying which
group he was referring to:  "The most surprising thing was that
Northern Virginia's proposal was better than most thought it
would be" (Joe Henderson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/2).  In regards to a
stadium, Fairfax, VA, County Chair Tom Davis said "a resident
task force would be created to find a stadium site to showcase
the team."  The team would play at RFK Stadium on a short-term
basis (Michael Scully, FAIRFAX JOURNAL, 11/2).
     WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?  Expansion Committee Chair John
Harrington hopes the committee will make a recommendation to
owners by January about whether to expand and what the franchise
fee should be.  If expansion is approved, committee
recommendations on cities could follow as soon as a month later.
Harrington "hinted" franchise fees could be around $140M per
team.  Harrington also said a decision will be made on two-tiered
expansion, with two teams starting in '96, '97 or '98, and two
teams playing later (Maske & Lipton, WASHINGTON POST, 11/2).
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