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  • KEY ISSUES STILL UP IN THE AIR IN RAMS-ST. LOUIS DEAL

         FANS, Inc. spokesperson Tom Eagleton confirmed yesterday
    that the same three issues that separated the Rams and the St.
    Louis group before Christmas remain unresolved.  The issues,
    guarantees on permanent seat licenses (PSLs), guarantees on club-
    seat and luxury box sales, and practice and office facility
    sites, continue to prevent a Rams move to St. Louis.  Eagleton
    said he remains optimistic that a deal will be reached, but he
    was concerned that the "prime selling time for PSLs is all but
    gone."  Eagleton:  "We've already passed up the best sales season
    of the year.  Pre-Christmas, and then this time that we're in
    right now -- the playoffs, the Super Bowl.  These are football-
    intense times ... and that would have been a good time to sell
    stuff."  FANS hopes to raise $60-$70M through sales of PSLs (Jim
    Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/4).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, St. Louis Rams
  • MINOR LEAGUE HOCKEY UPDATE

         HOW'S IT PLAYING IN PEORIA?  The Blues' minor league
    affiliation with the IHL Peoria Rivermen is in question,
    according to a report in the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.  At the
    "urging" of new coach & GM Mike Keenan, the Blues have explored
    options with the AHL.  Last week, the team sent a letter to
    Labatt Breweries, which is seeking to purchase a new AHL
    franchise for Moncton, New Brunswick.  Rivermen Owner Bruce
    Saurs:  "Nothing would surprise me.  But I have to admit this is
    a shock."  But Blues President Jack Quinn maintains that no move
    is planned.  Still, several NHL teams have growing concerns that
    the IHL "has become a veteran-dominated operation unfit for
    player development" (Jeff Gordon, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/4).
         IS LOCKOUT CHILLING CHL ATTENDANCE IN TEXAS?  Despite hopes
    to capitalize on the NHL work stoppage, two CHL teams in TX have
    seen their attendance decrease.  The Dallas Freeze and the Fort
    Worth Fire "are playing to the smallest home crowds in their
    three-year history."  The Freeze is averaging only 2,638 fans per
    game, last in the seven-team CHL, and the Fire is drawing 3,491,
    down from 4,017 of last year.  Sean Heilbron, Dir of Media
    Relations for the Freeze: "We thought the NHL lockout would help
    us. ... It may have hurt us.  The Stars created such a hockey
    fever in Dallas, and that fever has kind of waned."  CHL
    spokesperson Jason Rothwell believed league attendance would
    improve in TX, but added:  "It lost some recognition when the NHL
    went out" (Terry Egan, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/1).
    

    Print | Tags: AHL, CHL, Dallas Stars, Franchises, Labatt Brewing, NHL, Southwest Sports Group, St. Louis Blues
  • PENCIL KING PALA NEEDS TIME TO SHARPEN OFFER FOR BUCS

         Orlando pencil manufacturer Gino Pala will not be able to
    submit a bid for the Buccaneers until after January 9, the "day
    team trustees are to accept or reject a reported $150-million bid
    from Tampa developer Tom Shannon and two Outback Steakhouse
    executives."  Bucs officials had hoped Pala would make an offer
    sometime this week, but Pala said he needed more time to
    "consult" members of his limited partnership.  Pala: "We can't
    get it done by Monday.  We still plan to make an offer, but it
    will be the later part of next week" (Rick Stroud, ST. PETERSBURG
    TIMES, 1/4).
         OTHER BUYERS, PLEASE STEP UP:  Two other bidders willing to
    keep the team in Tampa may be ready to make a formal bid for the
    team this week.  Palm Beach financier Malcolm Glazer's son,
    Bryan, said his father's group hopes to have a bid in by Monday,
    but that "the existing situation with the stadium does not make
    it an easy deal" (Rick Stroud, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 1/4).  MA-
    based businessman Socrates Babacas arrived in Tampa on Monday,
    and "does not plan on leaving until he owns the team."  He said
    he is prepared to make an offer in the $175M range to buy the
    team and is planning on building a $250M stadium with help of
    local government.  There are questions concerning Babacas'
    "credibility," as he had previously expressed an interest in
    buying the Cowboys and the Patriots, but "never came close to a
    deal" (Pugliese & Henderson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 1/4).
    

    Print | Tags: Dallas Cowboys, Franchises, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • WARRIORS SALE ON HOLD AS NBA CONDUCTS BACKGROUND CHECKS

         The sale of the Warriors will be delayed at least two weeks
    to "allow the NBA to complete its investigation" into prospective
    owner Christopher Cohan's financial background.  Cohan, a cable
    TV "magnate," had been scheduled to take over the team today from
    the current group, led by Jim Fitzgerald and team President Dan
    Finnane.  Finnane said the delay "should not be construed as a
    indication that Cohan does not have the financial backing to pay
    the $138M price tag."  Cohan reportedly "structured the financing
    of the purchase so that it involves a variety of business
    interests," and the NBA, not "wanting its teams connected to
    anyone of ill repute," must check on everyone associated with
    those business interests.  Finnane: "I'd bet heavily on the deal
    being approved.  It is just a matter of finishing up the
    investigation" (Ric Bucher, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/4).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Golden State Warriors, NBA
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