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Maryland Stadium Authority Chair John Moag says the Bengals would be "a nice fit" for Baltimore, and that he hopes to speak with Bengals President & GM Mike Brown soon. Brown, likewise, said "he likes Baltimore." Brown: "(Baltimore) has a small window of opportunity and I'm aware of it. This (stadium issue) is coming into focus quickly. There are going to be opportunities." Moag says he wants a commitment from a team by this fall, before legislation for stadium funding can be "shut off" in next year's legislative session (Geoff Hobson, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 4/14). Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, columnist Paul Daugherty writes, "Does the business community care enough to save the Bengals? Does anyone? You wonder." Daugherty notes, "When Mike Brown stops seeking local solutions to his stadium problem, everyone will know. There will be no changing his mind" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 4/14).
It has been five weeks since Celtics Chair Paul Gaston threatened to sue the Wall Street Journal for $100M over the original Reggie Lewis story, and while the suit is yet to be filed, Celtics Exec VP Jan Volk said that the situation is "unchanged." The BOSTON GLOBE's Peter May infers that means the team's lawyers at Boston's Hale & Dorr "are still studying whether it's feasible to sue the newspaper." Volk: "It is still being investigated" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/14).
"Several teams could seek relocation to Orange County now, though the league has resolved to control such a move," according to the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER's Michele Himmelberg. Any move to the area will involve a league decision as to whether the team is "healthy enough to thrive" in L.A. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue says after a league approval, a team may "win the right to move" if it pays an "appropriate franchise enhancement fee," and "meets other terms." Tagliabue says "logical candidates" would be "teams with stadium problems or low revenues." Himmelberg notes Cincinnati, Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Houston fit that description (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 4/14). MIGHTY BUCKS? Tagliabue says he has had "several discussions" with Disney Sports Enterprises officials "about the Orange County sports market and its demographics," but the commissioner denied discussions were about franchise ownership (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 4/14).
In St. Louis, the Rams still must decide on where to train and how to accommodate ticket-holders for their first few games that will be played at Busch Stadium, a smaller facility than the dome they will eventually inhabit. Rams President John Shaw says the team will most likely train this summer in St. Louis, but that they might "eventually" choose a permanent training camp site outside the city. The WI "Cheese League" could be a possibility, as "July and August temperatures are more moderate" there than in MO or IL. The team is still looking for a site for its St. Louis HQs. FANS Inc. Chair Thomas Eagleton says the team will be "more inclined to look at sites where the land was available free of charge," after an agreement last week to cap FANS' obligation to fund the facility at $12.5M. The team will now pay the rest of the cost of a new facility, estimated at $19M-20M (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/14). STADIUM PROBLEMS: The team will need to play two to three games at Busch Stadium before the new domed stadium is ready in October. Busch, which seats 55,000-60,000 for football, will accommodate "barely" the 46,000 PSL holders, 6,200 club seat purchasers, 2,000 luxury box-holder seats and 1,700 tickets for Rams sponsors, the team and visiting team. Sportscorp's Marc Ganis, a Rams consultant, says the "immediate priority" will be to create a stadium manifest. Ganis: "That's basically taking every seat at Busch Stadium that's available for football and coding them so that we can have our ticket holders in the new stadium a location at Busch" (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST- DISPATCH, 4/14). RADIO DAZE: KMOX, the rights-holder for the Blues and Cardinals, is considered "a long shot" in the race to land the Rams radio broadcasts. KSD and WIL have emerged as the front runners, according to Dan Caesar in this morning's ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Sportscorp's Ganis, who is also charged with negotiating with the stations, will not name the three finalists but says "several factors" will play a roll in deciding who will win the rights, including: The ability to market/promote the team, a strong signal, a high-quality technical production, and money. Sources say the team wants $3M annually (ST. LOUIS-POST DISPATCH, 4/14).