SBD/6/Franchises

MOVING THE TEAM FROM TAMPA MAY COST BIG BUCS

     Any group wanting to move the Buccaneers out of Tampa could
face "at least" a $15M fee from the NFL.  The league "imposed an
expansion opportunity fee when current franchises move into area
under consideration for expansion."  Browns Owner Art Modell: "To
move to an open market, you'd have to pay something to the
league.  You're pre-empting that city as an expansion site."  The
owners would divide the fee among themselves.  NFL Dir of
Communications Greg Aiello said the payment is determined by the
difference in the two markets as the league "would assess if a
team is going to a more attractive area and if the old area would
become an expansion candidate."  Before the team would move, the
league would have to approve the action, something Modell said
won't be easy:  "You have to establish economic need, a distress
situation" (Joe Henderson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/6).  Bruce Frey, a
Chicago real estate developer who would keep the team in Tampa,
doubts whether his group will be able to match the reported price
tag (Rick Stroud, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/6).
     ST. LOUIS STAYS FOCUSED:  FANS, Inc. spokesperson Tom
Eagleton said the St. Louis-based group is still negotiating with
the Rams, and not ready to make a "strong move on the Bucs."
Eagleton said the Bucs sale presents "more obstacles beyond mere
cost, you've got trustees, you've got family members, you've got
lawsuits ... a lot of externals going on" (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS
POST-DISPATCH, 12/6).
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