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  • ARISON FAMILY TAKES FULL CONTROL OF THE HEAT

         In a deal that is promised to bring "sweeping changes" to
    the Heat, the Arison family Friday bought out managing partners
    Lewis Schaffel and Billy Cunningham for an estimated $60M.  The
    deal still requires the approval of the NBA, which Micky Arison
    said he expects within two weeks.  Upon approval, Micky Arison
    would become managing general partner.  Although he "may not find
    the right person until after the season is over," Arison wants to
    hire a GM to run the team "as quickly as possible."  Under the
    new deal, Micky's mother, Lin Arison, will hold 100% of Florida
    Basketball Association, "the general partnership that controls
    the team and has rights to 50 percent of its profits and losses."
    Also, she "will hold 88 percent of the limited partnership that
    has rights to the remaining 50 percent of profits and losses."
    Julio Iglesias, Raanan Katz, Robert Sturges and Amancio Suarez
    will remain as limited partners of the team, continuing to hold
    12% of the limited partnership (Ted Reed, KNIGHT-RIDDER, 1/29).
    In Miami, Bob Rubin writes that the "air of uncertainty has hung
    over the franchise since Whit Hudson's failed bid to buy
    operating control has cleared" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/28).
         STAYING IN MIAMI?  Contrary to Schaffel's belief that the
    team could not "survive economically" in Miami, Arison is
    "determined to keep the Heat in Miami, either playing in Miami
    Arena or nearby."  Arison has not ruled out the possibility of
    working with Panthers owner Wayne Huizenga to build a new
    downtown arena (Bob Rubin, MIAMI HERALD, 1/28).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Miami Heat, NBA
  • EXPOS LOSE MINORITY INVESTOR DUE TO CONFLICT OF INTEREST

         The Expos have lost one of their minority shareholders due
    to "conflict of interest guidelines set out by the commissioner's
    office."  Versa Services, a Toronto-based food-concession
    business that holds the food rights at Olympic Stadium, has been
    "advised that it cannot own part of two teams" after its U.S.
    parent, Aramark, recently purchased a portion of the Red Sox
    through its acquisition of Harry M. Stevens.  Versa had put close
    to $5M into the Expos, when it become a minority partner with 13
    other shareholders when the "consortium purchased the franchise"
    in '91.  Versa will retain its Olympic Stadium contract for the
    '95 season.  The Expos lost close to C$22M last season, and
    owners still owe on a C$13M loan from the city of Montreal and a
    C$18M loan from the Province of Quebec.  Despite the financial
    problems and the labor work stoppage, the Expos "consortium
    appears unified" and there is no indication anyone of them wants
    to sell.  But since the group bought the team, no partner has
    "poured additional money" into the team and no new owners have
    "come on board" (Danny Gallagher, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/30).
    

    Print | Tags: Aramark, Boston Red Sox, Franchises
  • HELLCATS IN DOUBT AS SEASON COULD COME TO AN END

         The CBA's Hartford Hellcats' season could end today unless
    the Connecticut Development Authority (CDA) "advances enough
    money to sustain the franchise," according to Roy Hasty in this
    morning's HARTFORD COURANT.  The Hellcats will fold unless a
    group puts up the capital to buy the team from the Hartford
    Sports & Entertainment Group, "or the CDA decides to help" (Roy
    Hasty, HARTFORD COURANT, 1/30).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises
  • PATRIOTS' KRAFT WEIGHS FUTURE AS HE FACES $13M LOSS FROM '94

         Patriots Owner Robert Kraft, who told the BOSTON GLOBE that
    his team lost over $13M in '94, has called on the State of
    Masssachusetts to back up promises made to him when he bought the
    team last year.  In a front page exclusive, Kraft said
    "commitments he thought had been made to him prior to buying the
    team have drowned in a sea of political rhetoric," and has left
    him "pondering the Patriots' future, both short-term and long-
    term."  Kraft said Gov. William Weld and state officials have
    "abandoned promises of $15 million" in state aid for improvements
    to Foxboro Stadium and Route 1, and that a plan to "relieve the
    stadium's financial situation must be worked out within six
    months or he will have to decide to sell or move the team."
    Kraft: "I can last like this maybe two or three more years, but
    if I don't see something happen in the next six months I'll have
    to do some planning."  Kraft originally thought $15M in state aid
    would go to short term stadium improvements, while plans for a
    megaplex in Boston moved forward.  Those plans "appeared to die
    last week" when a summit of legislative leaders announced that
    private sector backers had four months to come up with money to
    finance a domed stadium.  If there is no megaplex, Kraft is
    seeking "roughly $50 million in state backed financing" to allow
    renovation of Foxboro Stadium, including new luxury suites and
    club seating.  Although Kraft states he "cannot go on like this
    indefinitely," he wants to stay in MA:  "I am a local boy.  I
    grew up in Boston" (Ron Borges, BOSTON GLOBE, 1/29).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New England Patriots
  • PIRATES SALE IN LIMBO RIGAS' LATEST BID REJECTED ON DEADLINE

         Reports this morning out of Pittsburgh indicate that Pirate
    owners rejected Adelphia Communications Chair John Rigas' latest
    bid to purchase the team.  Rigas had increased his initial offer
    to close to $90M.  But the Pirates said Rigas proposed no "extra
    cash for the owners" instead offering stock in the team and a
    "pledge to try and find other investors who want to buy their
    stock."  With both sides facing a deadline of Sunday night,
    negotiations increased over the weekend.  Pirates owners said
    they would continue to talk to Rigas, made possible by a clause
    extanding the deadline by two months, but they would also ask
    their investment bank, Wertheim Schroeder of New York, to solicit
    other bids (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/30).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Pittsburgh Pirates
  • REPORT OF LAWSUIT AGAINST VIKINGS COACHES GOES PUBLIC

         On Saturday, ESPN noted a story in the ST. PAUL PIONEER
    PRESS that Vikings coach Dennis Green and assistant coach Richard
    Solomon were named in a 1993 lawsuit "alleging the coaches
    participated in sexually inappropriate behavior toward women."
    The suit was filed by a former employee of the Vikings.  KSTP-TV
    in Minneapolis reported that the team settled out of court and
    that neither Green nor the team admitted guilt in the matter, but
    felt it was in their best interests to settle.  The Vikings
    released a statement: "We have had a formal and comprehensive
    anti-harassment policy, with training, in place since June of
    1993.  There has not been a single complaint under the Vikings
    anti-harassment policy since the adoption of that policy" (ESPN,
    1/29).
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Franchises, Minnesota Vikings, Walt Disney
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