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  • CELTICS CHAIR RETRACTS RACISM CHARGE OVER LEWIS STORY

         Celtics Chair Paul Gaston backed away from a comment made
    during a Thursday press conference that the Wall Street Journal
    article on Reggie Lewis' death was racist.  Gaston told WEEI's
    Dale Arnold:  "It was not necessarily a racist issue.  That part
    was hotheaded."  Gaston also addressed the issue of whether the
    team would have suffered financially if it was found that drugs
    caused Lewis' heart ailment.  Gaston said the team actually would
    have made more money, since the team and the insurer would have
    been freed from fulfilling Lewis' contract (Jack Craig, BOSTON
    GLOBE, 3/11).  In other news, Celtics CFO Joseph DiLorenzo said
    he believes Lewis would have provided blood and urine samples as
    part of the insurance application, and that they would have been
    tested for drugs.  A spokesperson for the state's chief medical
    examiner said none of the eight consultants who assisted in
    Lewis' autopsy raised the possibility of drug use in their
    official reports, although one of the doctors said he raised
    concerns verbally (Stephen Kurkjian, BOSTON GLOBE, 3/11).
         WEEKEND TALK:  BOSTON GLOBE'S Bob Ryan:  "The tragedy of
    this is that no one will ever prove that he did or didn't do it"
    ("Sports Reporters," ESPN, 3/12).  In New York, Mitch Lawrence
    writes, "The Celtics want this story to go away, but that won't
    happen soon.  Not when $15 million is at stake in what is shaping
    up as an insurance fraud case" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/12).  Phil
    Mushnick notes that NBC's "three-hour, seven-reporter" coverage
    of the NBA yesterday ignored the Lewis story (N.Y. POST, 3/13).
    A BOSTON GLOBE editorial states:  "Instead of wasting their money
    on a libel suit, the Celtics would be better advised to help fund
    an independent investigation" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/11).
    

    Print | Tags: Boston Celtics, ESPN, Franchises, NBA, NBC, Walt Disney
  • EXPOS PRESIDENT SAYS TEAM IS NOT FOR SALE, BUT ...

         Expos President Claude Brochu denied a report Friday that
    linked the Expos to one of the losing Northern VA baseball
    groups.  Brochu: "I want to reassure people that the Expos are
    not for sale.  We haven't even received any offers."  Brochu did
    say that Bill Collins, head of Virginia Baseball Inc., does not
    want to wait for MLB's next round of expansion.  But Brochu
    added, "There is no question of him buying the Expos."  Collins,
    meanwhile, said his group would "continue to pursue the
    possibility of purchasing and relocating a current franchise."
    Brochu said talk of a possible sale started after Collins met
    with Brochu last week -- not about selling the team, but about
    expansion.  Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau, noted the rumor came
    from a Toronto newspaper:  "It's a phony.  Mind you, the fact
    that it comes out of Toronto is significant -- a balloon out of
    Toronto about Montreal moving to Washington.  Ho, ho" (TORONTO
    STAR, 3/11).  Columnist/former Expos P.R. man Richard Griffin
    writes, "If the business community responds to what surely is a
    crisis situation in the history of the ballclub, then baseball
    remains in Montreal.  If not, then there is a wealthy suitor at
    the bottom of the ladder waiting to elope with the franchise to
    Northern Virginia" (TORONTO STAR, 3/11).  Peter Gammons notes the
    "distinct possibility" that former Tampa group leader Vince
    Piazza will make a "considerable offer" for the team.  Gammons
    predicts the sale price of the Expos "will be closer than you
    might imagine" to the $173M price for the Orioles (BOSTON GLOBE,
    3/12).  For more on Northern VA, see #11.
    

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Franchises, MLB
  • RAMS MOVE IS AT THE TOP OF THE NFL OWNERS' MEETING AGENDA

         "The bloodless battle to keep the Rams in Southern
    California will erupt today behind closed doors at the NFL's
    annual meetings," writes Michele Himmelberg in today's ORANGE
    COUNTY REGISTER.  The point of contention is the $70M the Rams
    are due to receive from the sale of PSLs.  NFL Commissioner Paul
    Tagliabue claims that money should be designated as ticket
    revenue, to be shared 60/40.  Tagliabue:  "That's the No. 1 issue
    in the minds of many teams.  The broader issue is whether the
    move is justified."  The NFL's Finance Committee met with Rams
    President John Shaw for two hours Sunday to begin those
    negotiations (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/13).  A source on the
    Finance Committee said the Rams will receive a "list of demands,"
    and if Rams Owner Georgia Frontiere agrees to them, the committee
    will urge team owners to approve the move.  But if the move is
    voted down, the team expects to be back in CA. Shaw: "If we're
    voted down I think the chances of playing in L.A. are very good.
    Where?  We haven't even addressed that issue yet" (Plaschke &
    Simers, L.A. TIMES, 3/13).
         FROM THE OWNERS:  Browns Owner Art Modell said the Finance
    Committee appears divided: "If they do move, we'd be leaving a
    tremendous gaping hole in the Fox television contract.  We want a
    two-team market in Los Angeles.  I don't care what the Rams do,
    but we need either an expansion team or a veteran team to
    relocate to Anaheim if they were to go."  Broncos Owner Pat
    Bowlen notes Fox's objections and is concerned the network will
    ask for compensation:  "When the Cardinals moved, Bill Bidwill
    spent a lot of time and effort trying to stay in St. Louis.  He
    stayed within the rules.  When the time came to vote, it was
    apparent he had tried and failed.  I'm not sure the Rams have put
    forth that effort" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/13).  Oilers Owner
    Bud Adams:  "It's a doable deal.  I think we will work something
    out.  Anything as big as this takes a lot of time" (L.A. TIMES,
    3/13).  Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones: "It would surprise me if this
    is totally resolved at (this week's) meetings" (USA TODAY, 3/13).
    In Boston, Will McDonough writes it "looks like" the Rams' move
    will be defeated.   One owner who will vote against the move:
    "The votes are there to stop them.  And unless some people change
    their minds, it is not going to happen" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/12).
    Several other NFL beat writers predict the league and the Rams
    will work out some arrangement and the move will be approved.
         FINANCIAL SITUATION:  The Rams contend they lost about
    $700,000 in '93 and were projecting a $6M loss for '94 (Michele
    Himmelberg, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/13).  But McDonough reports
    that the NFL has evidence the Rams have not lost money.  One
    "highly placed source":  "Each team has its own method of
    accounting.  But the league office has one they use to conform
    all teams the same way.  The Rams' accounting says they lose
    money.  The league's accounting says they make money.  Big money"
    (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/12).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, News Corp./Fox, NFL, St. Louis Rams
  • SALE OF KNICKS/RANGERS COMPLETE; MSG'S FUTURE CLOUDY?

         The $1B sale of Madison Square Garden, the Knicks and the
    Rangers and MSG Network is complete.  Seven months after reaching
    an agreement with Viacom, the ITT Corp./Cablevision Systems
    partnership "took possession."  While no changes are expected
    with the teams, "cable-junkies could be in for a rude awakening."
    The N.Y. POST reports that ITT CFO Bob Bowman recently addressed
    the fate of MSG Network: "I don't know why MSG considers that
    they've got to have a live event on at 2:00am. ... I don't know
    why MSG has to have live sports for 30 minutes at 11:00pm.  I
    don't know anybody who watches it."  Bowman made the comments to
    a group of Wall Street analysts last year.  "However, there is no
    mention that the network will be scrapped."  ITT's partner,
    Cablevision, runs SportsChannel New York.  The transcript of
    Bowman's remarks "also notes that many of MSG's other operations
    might also go."  Among them is MSG Enterprises, which books
    concerts and events.  Said one ITT insider:  "I didn't even know
    it was there until we bought it" (N.Y. POST, 3/11).  The payment
    to Viacom was about $66M less than agreed to when the plan was
    announced in August 1994 because of closing adjustments (WALL
    STREET JOURNAL, 3/13).
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Franchises, Madison Square Garden, New York Knicks, Viacom
  • UEBERROTH COULD BUY INTO THE ANGELS, ACCORDING TO AUTRY

         According to Angels Exec VP Jackie Autry, former MLB
    Commissioner Peter Ueberroth may buy 25% of the Angels, with an
    option to buy the remaining 75% upon the death of team owner Gene
    Autry.  If the purchase is completed, Ueberroth would immediately
    become managing general partner of the team.  Jackie Autry said a
    price tag has not been set, but it is believed the Angels would
    be valued at $125-135M if a deal to build a new $215M stadium is
    finalized.  How soon a deal could be made will depend on
    Ueberroth's analysis of the franchise, and how long it takes MLB
    to check financial stability of Ueberroth and his investment
    group (Michele Himmelberg, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/10).
    

    Print | Tags: LA Angels, Anaheim Sports, Franchises, MLB, Walt Disney
  • WHAT IN THE DEVILS IS GOING ON?

         "The Devils are not moving to Tennessee," according to Barry
    Meisel of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS.  But he notes that team owner John
    McMullen did meet with Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen on Thursday
    (see THE DAILY, 3/10).  An NHL source adds that Gaylord
    Entertainment Pres & CEO Dick Evans mediated the meeting.
    Gaylord (owner of The Nashville Network) wants to buy the Devils
    and move them to TN.  But one "prominent sports executive" in
    Nashville said Friday he believes McMullen is "simply using the
    town as leverage to improve the Devils' lease" with the NJ Sports
    and Exposition Authority (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/11).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New Jersey Devils, NHL, TNN, YankeeNets
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