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Bucs trust spokesperson Steve Story, the man who negotiated the sale of the team, said new team Owner Malcolm Glazer can expect losses of up to $10-15M per year on his new investment. In comments in this morning's ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, Story says Glazer's agreement to assume the team's long-term liabilities prevented the team from being sold to out-of-town interests. The liabilities included deferred player contracts, signing bonuses, pension, and other business expenses. Story: "We were facing a real problem in that groups we felt were going to relocate the team were offering in the neighborhood of $200-million and agreeing to assume all liabilities. All of a sudden we were looking at a deal of $175-million plus the assumption of liabilities." Story maintains the $25M was a big difference "to try to justify off-setting the risk of litigation from the NFL for relocating the team." Story confirmed the possibility of "substantial losses," adding that "something has to be done with respect to building a new stadium" (Rick Stroud, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 1/26).
New Warriors Owner Christopher Cohan spoke to the SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, and his first interview since taking over the team appears in this morning's editions. Cohan said the official transaction to become owner was "a difficult road," adding that his ex-partners' "failure to deliver" slowed down the process. He reiterated his No. 1 priority was getting a new 20,000-seat arena for the team, mentioning both the San Francisco and Oakland as possible sites. On San Francisco: "An arena makes all the sense in the world, as far as the infrastructure and as far as the hotels, and restaurants, and the city that people love to visit. It could increase their convention business by twofold and bring untold millions to the community." On Oakland: "You have a very proven site and a very willing, very anxious city ... It is an antiquated arena (but) it's a proven site, locale-wise, and they just don't want to lose the Warriors. The dynamics are different." Cohan said he will not get involved in the day-to- day operations of the club. Cohan: "There will be two chiefs, on the basketball side (Don Nelson) and the business side (President Andy Dolich), and those two have to work together ... they answer to me" (SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, 1/26).
FANS, Inc., the civic group in charge of selling Personal Seat Licenses (PSL's) for the Rams, announced yesterday they have received between 13,500 and 15,000 applications. With officials stating that each application yields an average of three sales, FANS "could be closing in on its eventual goal of 46,000 PSL's after just two weeks on the market. The team wants to sell at least 40,000 PSL's by March 10, with the revenue paying for the team's move and other expenses. St. Louis County Exec George "Buzz" Westfall: "So far, we have had an overwhelming response" (Lorriane Kee, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/26). FIGHT THE RAMS: Paul Wollam, a Newport Beach lawyer, filed a class-action lawsuit in Orange County against the Rams, according to this morning's ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. Wollam alleges the team broke an implied contract by not telling season ticket holders they were leaving and by "playing at a very poor level." Wollam filed the suit on behalf of a new group called "Fight the Rams" (Barbara Kingsley, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 1/26). MR. HUNT VOTES YES: Chiefs Owner Lamar Hunt said he will vote to approve the Rams move to St. Louis, even if it means losing a portion of the Chiefs fan base. Hunt: "On having a team in St. Louis, I would be very much for that. ... The gain from having more people talking about professional football and thinking about professional football throughout the state far outweigh any loss of ticket sales we might have from the St. Louis area" (Doug Tucker, AP/ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/26).
"For a bargain basement price of $85 million," the Haas family sold the A's to Bay Area developers Stephen Schott and Kenneth Hofmann -- who, in turn, pledged to keep the team in Oakland for at least 10 years. Schott: "On behalf of Ken Hofmann and myself, we look forward to a long stay in the Bay Area." The Haas family had put the team on the market for $85M, with the provision that the low price apply only if the new owners kept the team in Oakland. The family claims to have lost close to $33M from '91-93 on the team. As part of the deal, the city of Oakland and Alameda County, which owns Oakland Coliseum, have agreed to issue $20M bonds to remodel skyboxes, build new club seats and create a club lounge within the next six years. Schott and Hofmann will also receive 100% of parking, concession, and advertising revenues. To help pay off the bonds, the A's "will levy a 25-cent surcharge on all tickets," pay about $3.5M from a new concession contract, and "earmark 90% of the proceeds" from selling the naming rights to the Oakland Coliseum to a corporate sponsor. When asked about the deal, County Supervisor Mary King said it "was better than an empty stadium. ... The economy is hurt when we lose a team." Schott, 56, who will be the managing partner, said he was "reluctant" to buy the team, but said the Oakland Bay Area "deserves a baseball team. It didn't deserve to lose another franchise" (Frances Dinkelspiel, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/26). Schott: "Baseball is at an all time low. I'm looking forward to it getting better. I'm optimistic the strike won't last forever." Hofmann, 71 and part owner of the Seahawks, was not available for comment (Witt, Slonaker & Akizuki, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/26).