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  • GIANTS TRIPLE-A TEAM COULD BE ON THE WAY TO AUSTIN

         The Phoenix Firebrands are in negotiations to relocate to
    Austin, TX, for the '97 season, according to today's ARIZONA
    REPUBLIC.  The Firebrands and Austin city officials have worked
    out a plan which "provides for an unusual public-private venture
    to build" an $18M, 12,000 seat stadium on city parkland.  A study
    concluded the team could draw up to 450,000 fans and bring about
    $9M to the city's economy (Bob Eger, ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/24).
    

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  • LEGAL FIGHT WITH RAMS COULD BE LONG AND BLOODY FOR NFL

         The potential for a "lengthy" and "nasty" court fight
    between the NFL and the Rams is examined by Thomas George in this
    morning's N.Y. TIMES.  "You know the league doesn't want it,"
    writes George.  But by voting down the Rams move to St. Louis,
    their feeling "must be a strong one to opt for the courts rather
    than allowing the move."  Rams President John Shaw said he saw a
    group of owners forming to block the move because they "see the
    opportunity we have and wish they had it.  Pure jealously."
    Before the vote, the league reportedly played a tape of Rams
    Owner Georgia Frontiere "passionately giving reasons why the
    league had to right to prevent" the Raiders from moving in the
    early '80s.  George writes the "crux of the matter" is whether
    the league is treating Frontiere unfairly because she is a woman.
    Shaw calls their chances for legal success "excellent" -- but
    George adds, "So, too, are the chances for an ugly spectacle
    during the NFL's most fruitful times.  And for plenty of blood"
    (N.Y. TIMES, 3/24).  SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's "Scorecard" reports the
    NFL "stands little chance of winning in the courtroom with the
    argument it is currently making," but that keeping a team in the
    L.A. market during a period of legal action is their "top
    priority" (SI, 3/27 issue).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Sports Illustrated, St. Louis Rams, Time Warner
  • WELCOME TO "EAGLE WORLD" -- HOME OF MR. KOTITE'S WILD RIDE

         Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie presented Philadelphia Mayor Ed
    Rendell with his idea of "Eagle World," a "miniature city
    revolving around the Eagles football team."  The plan includes a
    state-of-the-art practice facility, a museum, a movie theatre and
    an interactive theme park, plus shops, restaurants, and a hotel.
    Rendell said he liked the idea, but could not help with financing
    the project.  To which Lurie responded that municipalities in PA
    and NJ "would love to lure such a project out of the city."
    Those familiar with the plans say Lurie "does not want to spend a
    dime on his facility," as the team wants to sell a developer and
    a municipality on the "idea of using the Eagles' name to attract
    businesses to the site."  Lurie: "We think a project like this
    would lend great excitement and value to our fans and the
    surrounding community."  Rendell's office has sent Lurie's plans
    to the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., a city agency
    that facilitates development deals (S.A. Paolantonio,
    PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/24).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Philadelphia Eagles
  • WITH SALE FINALLY SEALED, T-WOLVES LOOK TO THE FUTURE

         Minneapolis officials finalized the buyout of the Target
    Center Wednesday, also completing the T-Wolves sale to Glen
    Taylor for $88.5M.  In keeping with Taylor's plans to make the
    franchise profitable, the team is reportedly looking into using
    "virtual billboards" to increase revenue.  Virtual billboards
    allow for ads that are seen on TV, but which aren't displayed in
    the arena.  Wolves President Rob Moor:  "The revenues just
    quadrupled in terms of our corporate signage."  Sam McCleery,
    Marketing VP for Princeton Electronic Billboards, says his
    virtual billboard product has passed tests and they are "close to
    contracting" with an National League team to use the system this
    year.  The "new" Wolves organization is also looking at other
    ways to increase revenue, including acquiring an NHL team,
    developing the area around the Target Center, changing the team
    logo.  One possibility for redevelopment includes "perhaps
    incorporating a Niketown or Sony superstore" and other
    attractions around the arena.  Also, team officials speculated
    that in-arena attractions, sponsored by business interests, could
    draw more fans games.  Moor:  "Sports traditionally has been such
    a stick-in-the-mud industry" (Bruce Orwall, ST. PAUL PIONEER-
    PRESS, 3/23).
         LACE 'EM UP?  As part of the buyout, Taylor has first chance
    at owning any NHL team that might move to the Twin Cities.
    Taylor is responsible for paying the building's property taxes,
    and another revenue-maker in the facility would lessen that
    burden.  Taylor:  "My first goal is to get [a team] here.  I
    don't have to own it all."  Target Center Exec Dir Dana Warg
    meets with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman today.  Warg claims two
    MN-based groups are interested in the Jets (Jay Weiner,
    Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 3/23).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Jets, NHL, NikeTown
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