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  • BUCS MEET ANOTHER SUITOR; CITY APPOINTS REPRESENTATIVES

         Members of the Buccaneers trust met with the financial
    adviser for retired GA life-insurance "magnet" Arthur Williams to
    continue discussions about buying the team.  Adviser James Kelly
    said it was a follow-up meeting to talks he had last week with
    Bucs trustee Steve Story to "firm up some of the issues."  Kelly
    said Williams would have no problem buying the team for "a
    reasonable amount of money," adding that he has no partners at
    this time.  Williams would keep the team in Tampa (John Stebbins,
    TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/7).
         HIRED GUNS:  Hillsborough County Commission Chair Jim Norman
    is "seeking approval" to make County Administrator Dan Kleman and
    County Attorney Emeline Action the commission's representatives
    on the Bucs sale.  Kleman and Acton would join a special task
    force of local business people, politicians and civic leaders who
    are looking at a possible renovation to Tampa Stadium.  County
    Commissioner Phyllis Busansky also met with Pinellas County
    officials to discuss the "possibility of governments on both
    sides of Tampa Bay sharing the cost" of keeping the team in the
    area.  Tampa radio stations are donating $250,000 worth of public
    service air spots "aimed at drumming up support" for the team
    (Walker and Henderson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/7).
         RESPONSE FROM THE COMMISH: NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue
    responded to FL Gov. Lawton Chiles' request to help keep the team
    in Tampa writing he would like a "strong and successful team"
    there, but would give no promises the team would stay (Walker &
    Henderson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/7).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • CAN FINANCIALLY-STRAPPED ORANGE COUNTY SAVE THE RAMS?

         Orange County, CA, became the largest municipality in U.S.
    history to file for federal bankruptcy protection.  This
    announcement came after an "all-day standoff" with Wall Street
    bankers who "insisted" the county repay $1.2M in loans to "its
    troubled investment pool."  The "stunning news" from one of the
    nation's wealthiest (and most politically conservative) counties
    "shook" the financial markets.  It also "raised questions about
    the funding of dozens of major projects in the county," from a
    Disneyland expansion to a possible new stadiums for the Rams and
    Angels (Platte/Lait/Paltrow, L.A. TIMES, 12/7).  The county had
    been in discussions about new facilities for both teams, but
    Orange County Board Member William Steiner told the ORANGE COUNTY
    REGISTER: "Right now, the county's involvement for a new stadium
    has fallen off the priority list."  Wayne Wedin, a financial
    consultant for Save the Rams, the Anaheim group trying to keep
    the team in the area, also told the REGISTER that stadium plans
    are not a "government-dependent effort and will primarily be a
    private-sector effort."  Nonetheless, it is hard to see the
    region extending itself to satisfy the Rams given Orange County's
    financial crisis," writes Jim Thomas in St. Louis (ST. LOUIS
    POST-DISPATCH, 12/7).  CNN's Casey Wian reports that Orange
    County's investment losses might even be "double" the $1.5
    billion that the county claims ("Moneyline," 12/6).
         HAVE THEY MOVED ALREADY?  In a chart profiling "About Orange
    County" in today's USA TODAY, the Rams are not mentioned under
    the subject heading:  "TEAMS."  Only the NHL Ducks and MLB Angels
    are listed (USA TODAY, 12/7).
    

    Print | Tags: LA Angels, Anaheim Sports, Franchises, MLB, NHL, St. Louis Rams, Time Warner, Walt Disney
  • ORLANDO BASEBALL BID PICKS POOR TIMING FOR STADIUM SNAG

         A disagreement with Orange County, FL, over stadium revenue
    has put Norton Herrick's bid for an Orlando expansion baseball
    franchise in jeopardy.  A dispute has arisen over excess resort
    tax revenues and how they should be used.  The Orange County
    Commission postponed a vote on funding a baseball stadium Tuesday
    until next week, just one day before Orlando is to make its
    "twice-postponed" presentation to the MLB expansion committee in
    Chicago. Herrick, who was "obviously displeased" by the
    Commission's decision said he "will weigh his options, which
    include not attending the presentation next week."  Herrick:
    "I'm not going to subject baseball to any problems the city and
    county have."  Herrick wants the extra revenue from a penny tax
    increase to the resort tax be put towards improvements for the
    stadium once it is built and for retiring debt on an adjacent
    garage.  The county "did not want to obligate itself to those
    items."   Orange County Commission Chair Linda Chapin didn't
    think the expansion bid was in trouble over the last hitch,
    "calling it part of the negotiating process" (Bill Fay, TAMPA
    TRIBUNE, 12/7).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, MLB
  • RAPTORS HOLD OPEN HOUSE AT SKYDOME FOR SKEPTICAL FANS

         Close to 4,300 fans passed through the SkyDome yesterday to
    view the facility's configuration for the Raptors.  "Roughly 400
    even bought tickets as the Raptors entered their stretch drive of
    their season-ticket campaign," needing approximately 4,100 to
    reach the NBA-mandated goal of 12,500.  During the day, Raptors
    President John Bitove was candid in his remarks on the franchise
    and the inaugural ticket drive.  Bitove:  "Mistakes were made.
    If we've been surprised about anything, it is that we've had
    trouble selling our lower-end seats."  That trouble has led the
    Raptors to eliminate mandatory licensing fees on many seats, to
    launch $1M multi-media ad campaign featuring GM Isiah Thomas that
    required "special board of directors approval," and to assume a
    "contrite, almost apologetic, tone that contrasted with the
    club's earlier confidence with meeting that quota" (Chris Young,
    TORONTO STAR, 12/7).  "Reaching the NBA quota is going to be like
    pulling teeth," writes Jim Proudfoot in this morning's TORONTO
    STAR.  The "response to basketball (in Toronto) has been
    spectacularly lukewarm.  There's an eager market for NBA
    sweatshirts and NBA shoes, but for NBA tickets?  Nope" (TORONTO
    STAR, 12/7).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, NBA, Toronto Raptors
  • SPORTS ILLUSTRATED COVERS COWBOYS IN "UNPRECEDENTED" FEATURE

         In their December 12 issue, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED portrays a
    week in the life of the Cowboys in an "unprecedented" 40-page
    story by Rick Telander.  In the piece, Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones
    discusses his proposal to renovate Texas Stadium and add an
    adjacent theme park as well as a three- dimensional theater.
    Jones: "I believe that the Cowboys basically transcend sports.
    It won't be easy.  I've got a lot of people to sell.  But it's
    very doable and it's a sounder business proposition than my
    buying the team was back in 1989."  The issue hits newsstands
    today (SI).
    

    Print | Tags: Dallas Cowboys, Franchises, Sports Illustrated, Time Warner
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