SBD/9/Franchises

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  • AFTER SOME ROUGH-RIDING, THE CFL FINDS A SAVIOR IN OTTAWA

         The CFL announced that an agreement to buy the Ottawa Rough
    Riders had been reached with Chicago businessman Horn Chen.  The
    deal is still subject to approval by the league's Board of
    Governors, which will vote within the next two days (Rough
    Riders).  Tentatively, the deal includes a $335,000 payment to
    former owner Bruce Firestone, which will go towards paying off
    Firestone's list of creditors (Campbell & Hill, OTTAWA CITIZEN,
    3/9).  Chen, an owner of several Central Hockey League
    franchises, "specializes in turnaround play, finding investment
    bargains in the dregs" (Wayne Scanlan, OTTAWA CITIZEN, 3/9).
         MORE EXPANSION?  Bruce Frey, the leader of the Miami group
    attempting to bring a CFL team to the Orange Bowl, said his group
    has "decided to seek an expansion franchise" instead of luring
    the defunct Las Vegas Posse.  Frey says he is "confident" his
    group can lure the CFL to Miami for the '96 season (MIAMI HERALD,
    3/8).
    

    Print | Tags: CFL, CHL, Franchises
  • FALLOUT FROM MCCAW PURCHASE OF NORTHWEST ENTERTAINMENT

         The majority purchase of Northwest Entertainment Group (NEG)
    by U.S. billionaire John McCaw, Jr. continues to be big news in
    Vancouver.  "Ego, involvement, or investment, it's not exactly
    clear under which category 44-year old John Elroy McCaw, Jr.
    fits.  But I have a hunch it is not ego," writes Mike Beamish in
    this morning's VANCOUVER SUN.  The U.S. and Canadian Pacific
    Northwest -- "Cascadia" -- as Beamish writes, is "forging ever-
    increasing links in tourism, telecommunications and now sports."
    Beamish mention the Mariners wish to play at B.C. Stadium and the
    Canucks' more aggressive marketing in the U.S.   A regional cable
    or pay per view network with hockey and basketball "seems
    inevitable," and with a new arena, NBA and NHL teams, a golf
    tournament, broadcasting and promotion, and possibly pro tennis,
    NEG "is being regarded as a powerful western equivalent of
    Madison Square Garden" (VANCOUVER SUN, 3/9).  Canucks goalie Kay
    Whitmore on the "reclusive" McCaw:  "Maybe he's like Charlie on
    Charlie's Angels" (Elliot Pap, VANCOUVER SUN, 3/9).
    

    Print | Tags: LA Angels, Anaheim Sports, Cablevision, Franchises, Madison Square Garden, NBA, NHL, Canucks Sports and Entertainment, Seattle Mariners, Vancouver Canucks, Walt Disney
  • FOX BALKS ON RAMS MOVE, DEMANDS REFUND FROM THE LEAGUE

         Just one week before NFL owners will meet in Phoenix to vote
    on the Rams move to St. Louis, the league confirmed yesterday
    that Fox is objecting to the team's move from Anaheim.  Fox's
    move contradicts a "public statement" by News Corp. Chair Rupert
    Murdoch in January, and "could mean millions of dollars to each
    team in the league" (Himmelberg & Mouchard, ORANGE COUNTY
    REGISTER, 3/9).  NFL VP of  Communications Joe Browne said Fox
    officials issued a letter to the league in opposition to the move
    and sources told the L.A. TIMES the "letter demands a monetary
    rebate to compensate for Fox losing its 'home' team in the
    nation's second-ranked TV market in exchange for a team in the
    18th market" (Bill Plaschke, L.A. TIMES, 3/9).  Because of the
    "enormity" of Fox's investment in the NFL ($1.58B for NFC
    rights), their stance "is certain to be weighed."  Fox officials
    told NFL owners of their opposition at the owners meeting in
    February (Jerry Magee, SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE, 3/9).  Fox is
    also a partner in the revised World League.
         MOVE IN TROUBLE? Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said he "will
    give the owners a real good understanding" of how the league
    views the Rams' move when the owners meet from March 12-17.
    Tagliabue:  "I've said that two teams in L.A. is one question.
    One team in L.A. is the minimum" (Gordon Forbes, USA TODAY, 3/9).
    49ers President Carmen Policy said Tagliabue's recommendation
    "will be critical" on how owners will vote (Himmelberg &
    Mouchard, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/9).  Rams Owner Georgia
    Frontiere "could be guilty of the NFL's worst case of premature
    celebration since Leon Lett," writes Bill Plaschke of the L.A.
    TIMES.  Chiefs Owner Lamar Hunt: "You just can't have teams going
    different places willy-nilly" (L.A. TIMES, 3/9).  Some "observers
    doubt the move (to St. Louis) will ever happen.  Others are
    confident it will, though not without strife" (Ed Hinton, SI,
    3/13 issue).  Joe Alioto, the S.F. attorney who succesfully
    represented the Raiders against the NFL, predicts the Rams could
    win $300-400M in damages against the NFL should the league vote
    down a move (Vito Stellino, Baltimore SUN, 3/9).
         HOLLYWOOD PARK:  The NFL's Browne also said that a proposal
    for private interest to construct a stadium near Hollywood Park
    for use by the Raiders "is still alive in the NFL's view" (SAN
    DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE, 3/9).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Kansas City Chiefs, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Sports Illustrated, St. Louis Rams
  • RAPTORS MAKE FRONT OFFICE MOVES

         There is a "senior management shuffle quietly under way in
    the Raptors offices."  Instead of several "independent
    departments run by directors" reporting to team President John
    Bitove, the new changes create "several super-departments, giving
    key executives more internal clout."  Dir of Corporate
    Sponsorships Steve Weber is likely to get a VP title and have Dir
    of Broadcasting Chris McCracken report to him.  Dir of Ticketing
    Mark Lavaway will now report to VP/Finance Dan Durso.  Brian
    Cooper is likely to be named VP in charge of Air Canada Centre,
    and Dir of Licensed Products Dave Strickland will report directly
    to team VP Isiah Thomas (Craig Daniels, TORONTO SUN, 3/8).
         CONSTRUCTION TO START ON TIME:  A binding agreement has been
    signed for the Raptors to purchase the Canada Post property in
    downtown Toronto.   Coupled with the team's recent agreement to
    purchase the lands surrounding the arena site, that deal will
    allow for construction of Air Canada Centre to begin on schedule
    in Fall '95.  The team hopes to begin play there by '97-98
    (TORONTO STAR, 3/9).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Toronto Raptors
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