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The trust in charge of selling the Buccaneers rejected a $163.3M offer from Tampa developer Tommy Shannon and Outback Steakhouse Execs Bob Basham and Chris Sullivan. Steve Story, spokesperson for the trust, said in a statement released late yesterday: "We have carefully analyzed their proposal and have elected not to accept it. We have received several offers in excess of their proposal and we are currently perusing those bids. ... We expect to have a resolution in the very near future" (Bucs). Shannon expressed his disappointment: "Obviously this NFL franchise is worth a lot more than we thought. If it had only been a $5 or $10-millon (difference), we probably would have stayed in the hunt" (Larry Dougherty, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 1/10). WHO'S IN, WHO'S OUT? Reportedly three other bids on the table, "but only one definitely would keep the team in Tampa." Orioles Owner Peter Angelos has offered $205M, which includes provisions for a transfer fee to Baltimore, estimated at $15M, as well as a $9M buyout of the Bucs' lease at Tampa Stadium. The "net to trustees would be an estimated $186M." Palm Beach financier Malcolm Glazer has offered at least $180M for the team, and would keep the team in Tampa with a promise for a new stadium. There is speculation that an "undetermined" offer has been made by a group headed by Jacksonville attorney Terry Moore and Baltimore attorney Robert Schulman, according to this morning's TAMPA TRIBUNE. Moore would not comment on whether his group would keep the team in Tampa or relocate to Baltimore, where Schulman has tried to obtain previous franchises. There also could be other offers pending, including one from Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner who spoke briefly with Shannon yesterday about possibly joining together on a bid (Henderson & Pugliese, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 1/10). Shannon said the trust told him the Bucs will likely stay in Tampa, while Palm Beach millionaire George Lindemann, who offered $137M for the team, was working on a second bid when a team representative told his attorney that the team "already had an offer that no one would believe." Lindemann said it was his understanding that "we were wasting our time" putting together a second bid (Stroud and Topkin, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 1/10).
One of the Ottawa Rough Riders' three largest sponsors, Corel Corp., has denied a request by the team to buy the team or increase its investment. The refusal comes five months after Corel agreed to advance the team $220,000 for the remaining two years on a $320,000 sponsorship deal. Riders President Phil Kershaw said that Corel President Michael Cowpland feels he has done his thing, that he stepped up to the plate when we needed him. I do not think that he is a candidate at this time to purchase the team" (Don Campbell, OTTAWA CITIZEN, 1/10).
ESPN's Keith Olbermann reported that KMOX Radio in St. Louis is reporting that the Rams will announce the move to St. Louis officially this Sunday. KMOX reports Steve Ortmayer will take over as Rams Dir of Football Operations and his first choice for head coach would be Cowboys offensive coordinator Ernie Zampese ("SportsCenter," 1/9).