The only stumbling block for a move to Milwaukee by the CFL Las Vegas Posse is a "suitable lease agreement" for use of Milwaukee County Stadium. Real estate developer Marvin Fishman received word from Posse officials this week that "Milwaukee was the market it would prefer moving to permanently." Fishman has been leading MIlwaukee's efforts to land a CFL team. Posse Dir of Player Personnel Steve Arnold: "With an urban population of 1.4 million, enthusiastic football and corporate community, and a beautiful stadium, Milwaukee represents the perfect venue for a CFL team." Arnold informed Fishman that the team must know by Tuesday whether a deal can be worked out with the Brewers, who control County Stadium. Although the stadium's current layout is unsuitable for a CFL field, it is the area's best alternative. The team would have get the CFL or Brewers to agree to expand or modify dimension requirements (Bob Wolfley, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL, 1/4).
CBA Commissioner Tom Valdiserri said yesterday he has spoken with "three substantial groups" that may invest in or buy the financially troubled Hartford Hellcats. Hartford Sports & Entertainment Group, which owns the team, defaulted on a $1.25M loan on December 14, and lost $590,368 in '93 --their first year with the team. Valdiserri would not comment on whether the bidders would move the team, but stressed that the league's "sole objective" is to keep the team in Hartford. He also said that the other 15 owners in the league have offered to "help the Hartford group find an investor or assist the group in operating the Hellcats" (Roy Hasty, HARTFORD COURANT, 1/6).
IHL San Diego Gulls President and Managing General Partner Fred Comrie announced he will move his IHL franchise to L.A. at the end of the season. Comrie has signed a three-year lease to play in the L.A. Sports Arena, with an option for five more seasons. Comrie had been saying for months that he "needed a way to stop the Gulls' financial bleeding," noting that the team was on its way to a fifth straight season of operating losses. The Gulls are projected to lose around $1.2M this season, and averaged fewer than 5,000 fans a game -- ranking 16th out of 17 IHL teams. But yesterday, Comrie said his decision was based solely on the San Diego's unwillingness to guarantee "him an opportunity to play in the proposed new arena downtown." IHL Commissioner Bob Ufer announced that there is still a chance that San Diego could field a team next year, and that he will meet with two groups interested in keeping hockey in San Diego (Jim Trotter, SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/6).
It was a wild day of rumors and denials along One Buccaneer Place, as reports ranged from an impending sale to a number of bidders, to an all out suspension of the sale for a year. What is known is that trustee Steve Story met in Baltimore with Orioles Owner Peter Angelos in "an unannounced negotiating session." Angelos, who has been preparing a bid for several weeks, said he is not sure if he will submit one today or wait "until later," but added "We are working on it. We're not sitting here doing nothing" (Jon Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 1/6). Story's meeting with Angelos came on the heels of a rumor that "swept through" Hillsborough County that Angelos had a "handshake agreement" to buy the team for $217M and move it to Baltimore. Angelos denied that rumor. That led to speculation the trust would sell the team to the Tommy Shannon/Outback Steakhouse group. Hugh Culverhouse, Jr. flew to Tampa from Miami also increased speculation that some deal "might be near." Then, ESPN reported that Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner would make an offer of $164M to keep the team in Tampa. Steinbrenner's response: "You're kidding, right?" Late in the afternoon, the trust announced that head coach Sam Wyche would continue as coach for next season, raising speculation that, because no offer was sufficient, the trust intended to take the team off the market. Tommy Shannon, who reiterated that his group's offer to buy the team was only good until Monday, added: "The Wyche announcement would lead me to believe the trust may keep the team." Bruce Frey, a Chicago real-estate developer part of a Tampa group interested in the team, said of the Wyche announcement: "I don't understand it, unless they've determined to keep the team and retain Wyche" (Rick Stroud, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 1/6).