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  • CFL TEAM CHANGES NAME, AVOIDS SERPENT AND SATANIC REFERENCES

         The new San Antonio CFL team has changed its name to the
    Texans.  Formerly the Gold Miners, team officials attributed the
    change to "public pressure" after the team relocation from
    Sacramento.  The team also announced a new logo design to be
    presented in the coming weeks.  The colors (gold, black and teal)
    will be the same, but with a different color scheme (SAN ANTONIO
    EXPRESS NEWS, 3/14).
    

    Print | Tags: CFL, Franchises, Houston Texans
  • CHECKETTS OFFICIALLY TAKES THE REIGNS OF MSG

         Dave Checketts officially became President of Madison Square
    Garden -- which includes the arena, tyhe Knicks and Rangers, and
    MSG Network -- yesterday after almost six months of being the
    corporation's acting president.  The move comes three days after
    the $1B purchase of MSG by ITT and Cablevision Systems was
    formalized.  Checketts said "his main priority is to maintain the
    competitiveness of the Knicks and Rangers," but he also wants to
    "enhance and create 'franchises' to increase profits satisfactory
    to Cablevision and ITT."  Checketts anticipates no changes in MSG
    Network's on-air product, adding that "changes will have more to
    do with sponsors."  Checketts did say:  "At some point, we'll
    explore areas to take advantage of the connection between MSG and
    SportsChannel" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 3/14).  Many of
    Checketts' duties at the Knicks will be delegated to GM Ernie
    Grunfeld (N.Y. POST, 3/14).
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Franchises, Madison Square Garden, New York Knicks
  • HOT TIMES IN PHOENIX AS OWNERS DEBATE RAMS MOVE

         NFL owners met for two hours in Phoenix yesterday to debate
    the Rams move to St. Louis, with NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue
    declaring ownership "hopelessly undecided."  In L.A., Bill
    Plaschke and T.J. Simers writes, "No news was bad news for the
    Rams" (L.A. TIMES, 3/14).  Tagliabue reiterated his opposition to
    the move and league ownership appears "disinclined to grant
    approval" of the Rams move out of Anaheim (Thomas George, N.Y.
    TIMES, 3/14).  "Hanging over the discussions" was a declaration
    from MO Attorney General Jay Nixon that the state will file an
    antitrust suit against the NFL if the move is turned down (Vito
    Stellino, Baltimore SUN, 3/14).  In addition, Rams President John
    Shaw "raised the possibility of a sexual discrimination suit" on
    behalf of Owner Georgia Frontiere if the league forced her to
    sell the team in order to keep the Rams in Southern CA (Bernie
    Miklasz, ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, 3/14).  Tagliabue hopes to have
    a vote by the end of the meetings on Thursday, but he added that
    no vote "would be tantamount to a rejection of the move" (Leonard
    Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST, 3/14).
         FOX FACTOR:  Tagliabue said the move would "jeopardize the
    NFL's relationship with the Fox network" by removing a team from
    the second-largest TV market.  If the Rams stay, Fox would serve
    markets covering 58% of TV households.  With the Rams in St.
    Louis, that number drops to 52.5%, according to Tagliabue.
    Tagliabue: "That's a big swing.  Fox paid a premium to get the
    NFC package."  Shaw said he believes the NFL helped "persuade Fox
    to change its stance" on the move, as the network was unopposed
    as of mid-January (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/14).
    Broadcast Committee Chair/ Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen:  "I am
    concerned. How can we expect Fox to embrace this decision?" (N.Y.
    TIMES, 3/14).       MISMANAGEMENT WITH A PROFIT?  The league is
    arguing that Rams management did not do all it could have to keep
    the team in the L.A. area, and questions their claim of revenue
    losses.  The NFL maintains the Rams averaged $9M in profits
    between '89-93.  Oilers Owner Bud Adams: "For you to move in this
    league ... one of the things is you have to be losing money.
    Heck, the Rams make good money.  They make more money than I do.
    That's not counting what Georgia takes" (Plaschke & Simers, L.A.
    TIMES, 3/14).  But Frontiere counters:  "The last four years, we
    haven't done well, but that is not for lack of trying. A lot of
    teams go through slumps" (ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, 3/14).  The
    "hangup" is the owners bid to get a share of the $70M in PSL
    money from St. Louis, but Shaw argues that money belongs to the
    city (Baltimore SUN, 3/14).  Tagliabue said the PSL money is the
    "number one concern of our owners" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/14).
         SEE YOU IN COURT:  By introducing the threat of a lawsuit,
    Nixon "threw a grenade into the NFL's conference room."  But
    49ers President Carmen Policy said, "If they think that's going
    to scare us, they are dealing with the wrong people."  Raiders
    Owner Al Davis, who won litigation against the league:  "Maybe if
    you would ask them about the result of the lawsuit, maybe they
    would answer a little differently" (Bernie Miklasz, ST. LOUIS
    POST DISPATCH, 3/14).  Browns Owner Art Modell called the lawsuit
    "ill-advised," and other owners didn't seem pleased by the threat
    (Baltimore SUN, 3/14).  Tagliabue said it would be "a positive"
    if the league could "stay out of" the courts (Larry Weisman, USA
    TODAY, 3/14).  A private agreement between the Rams and FANS,
    Inc. was made public yesterday, stating that FANS will pay the
    cost of any "settlement between the Rams and the NFL that brings
    the team to St. Louis" (William Freivogel, ST. LOUIS POST-
    DISPATCH, 3/14).
         TALK, TALK:  ESPN's Chris Mortensen said the NFL wants to
    stay out of the courts and will approve the move with some
    "stipulations that will either attract another team to L.A. or
    help build another stadium for the Raiders and keep them in L.A"
    ("SportsCenter," 3/13).  The move has "degenerated into a
    multimillion dollar game of chicken" (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST
    DISPATCH, 3/14).  In Washington, Leonard Shapiro writes of a few
    owners who are concerned about leaving Southern CA with
    "maverick" Al Davis and the Raiders as the "only team in town"
    (WASHINGTON POST, 3/14).      WE'RE NUMBER ONE!  It's "getting
    ugly now," writes Bernie Miklasz, who reports that Save the Rams
    leader Leigh Steinberg "flipped on obsence gesture" to a St.
    Louis columnist "during a huffy exchange" in a hotel lobby (ST.
    LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/14).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Edmonton Oilers, ESPN, Franchises, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Walt Disney
  • NFL APPROVES BUCS SALE: WELCOME TO THE FAMILY, MALCOLM!

         Malcolm Glazer's purchase of the Bucs for $192M became
    official Monday when the NFL owners unanimously approved the sale
    from the Culverhouse estate.  The NFL's finance committee had
    given the sale unanimous approval on Sunday.  The move was the
    first order of business at this week's NFL owners meetings (Nick
    Pugliese, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/14).
         TURKEY SHOOT?  Chiefs Owner Lamar Hunt said he is proposing
    that the annual Thanksgiving Day games be passed among all 30 NFL
    teams, giving each team the home game once every 15 years.  Hunt
    said the Lions and Cowboys have an "unfair edge by hosting the
    games every year."  Hunt is expected to present his case to the
    owners at the NFL meetings in Phoenix on Wednesday.  Similar
    attempts to end the Thanksgiving Day tradition have failed in the
    past.  Lions Vice Chair Bill Ford Jr. said he would fight the
    proposal "tooth and nail": "It's a 61-year-old tradition.  Most
    of the teams weren't even in existence 61 years ago" (Curt
    Sylvester, DETROIT FREE PRESS, 3/14).
    

    Print | Tags: Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Franchises, Kansas City Chiefs, NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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