SBD/19/Franchises

ANGELOS MEETS WITH BUCS AGAIN -- IS TAMPA LISTENING?

     In the most aggressive talks to date, Orioles Owner Peter
Angelos met with Buccaneer trustee Steve Story for three hours
over dinner Saturday night at a private club in Baltimore.  The
two discussed the possible sale of the team to Angelos, who would
move the Bucs to Baltimore.  Angelos is reportedly offering close
to $200M. Story hoped the meeting would send off an alarm to
other prospective buyers: "It was very promising.  Hopefully,
everyone will get the message it's time to step up to the table.
... I'd like to get the ball rolling" (Gary Shelton, ST.
PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/19).  Story expects more discussions this
week with representatives of Angelos to work on the final points
of a deal, adding, "I think he is prepared to make an offer.  I
think it will be significant."  Angelos agreed: "We're into the
nuts and bolts negotiations.  We're close to making the deal."
Story said he will hold talks this week with other bidders,
primarily groups who want to keep the team in the Tampa area (Jon
Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 12/19).
     FRANCHISE ESTIMATE:  Two financial analysts who spoke to the
Baltimore SUN said that Angelos' offer of $200M is "not only
reasonable, but also could go higher."  The key for Angelos' high
bid is the lucrative stadium deal being offered by the State of
Maryland and the generous terms of the lease.  An estimate by The
SUN shows that a team in Baltimore could generate more than $85M
in revenues and nearly $30M in pre-tax profits each year (Jon
Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 12/19).  The SUN's Vito Stellino asks of
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue's role in relocation: "Is it in
the best interest to have a team losing money in a bad stadium in
Tampa rather than making money in a new stadium in Baltimore?"
(Baltimore SUN, 12/18).  BUSINESS WEEK analyzes the Bucs sale,
writing that "to keep the team in Tampa, local bidders may have
to spend more than the team is worth there" (Bob Andelman,
BUSINESS WEEK, 12/26 issue).
     HONK IF YOU LOVE THE BUCS!  Hillsborough County Commission
Chair Jim Norman said officials will be waving signs at major
intersections Monday urging morning commuters to "pack" Tampa
Stadium for the Bucs' season finale against Green Bay on
Christmas Eve (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/17).
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