SBD/5/Franchises

BUCS COMPLETE ROUND ONE OF NEGOTIATIONS; WHO MADE THE CUT?

     Jack Donlan, one of three members of the trust overseeing
the sale of the Buccaneers, said the board has completed its
first round of discussions with prospective buyers.  Aside from
local bidders, groups from Toronto, St. Louis, Orlando, Fla. and
Baltimore remain in the running.  Donlan, who did not say how
many rounds of meetings there would be, said while the trustees
would like the Bucs to remain in the area, they are speaking with
groups interested in moving the team.  Donlan: "St. Louis has a
state-of-the-art stadium ready to go with great inducements, and
Baltimore has money hanging out there.  The trustees don't want
to sell out of town, but we have a great fiscal responsibility."
He said if the trust sells the team at a lower price to local
ownership, "and after a couple of years, the new owner doesn't
have the support he wants and he sells at a higher price and the
team moves.  Would we have done our job, selling at a lower
price?"  But he did acknowledge the "potential problems,"
including lawsuits, if the team is moved (Tom McEwen, TAMPA
TRIBUNE, 12/3).  Orioles Owner Peter Angelos, who is trying to
bring the Bucs to Baltimore, said he "was pleased but not
surprised" to be among the finalists, adding: "We expect to have
very serious discussions." Tampa bidder/businessman Thomas
Shannon said the franchise isn't worth the $200M price Angelos
has reportedly offered.  Shannon: "It sounds like this sale is
being market-driven rather than driven by the economics of the
team" (Vito Stellino, BALTIMORE SUN, 12/5).
     LOCAL NEWS:  A survey of 546 randomly selected adults in
Hillsborough County showed that 84% want the team to stay in
Tampa, but 70% oppose using public tax dollars to build a new
stadium and keep the team from relocating.  44% favor using tax
funds to renovate Tampa Stadium (John Stebbins, TAMPA TRIBUNE,
12/5).  Hillsborough County Commissioner Joe Chillura, Jr. will
press Gov. Lawton Chiles and the FL legislature to let the county
use sales taxes collected at stadium events to help pay for
stadium renovations (Gilpin & Henderson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/3).
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