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         Comsat Video Enterprises, owner of the NBA Nuggets, "likely
    will know by mid-May whether it will have a chance to acquire"
    the Nordiques and move them to Denver, according to Saturday's
    ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS.  Last week, Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau
    appointed an attorney to review the team's finances and report
    back on the "feasibility" of financing a new facility for the
    team.  Nords spokesperson Jean Martineau says team President
    Marcel Aubut "has written approval" to sell or move the team if
    the government will not help.  Martineau: "The people who own
    this company won't go bankrupt just because hockey is a big thing
    here."  The Nordiques have suggested the government raise funds
    to cover a new $125M arena and pay off the team's debt until the
    facility can be built through a new lottery or casino.  Aubut met
    with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman last week to discuss the
    negotiations between the team and province.  Bettman "reportedly
    told Aubut he would not assist the Nordiques' bid to secure
    financing unless he was asked to get involved."  The team's lease
    at Quebec's Colisee expires July 15 (Curtis Eichelberger, ROCKY
    MOUNTAIN NEWS, 4/15).
    Paul Dupont speculates that the Islanders may be the next team to
    be sold, and possibly move.  Dupont also mentions a possible
    Devils move to Denver -- the city they abandoned for NJ in '82.
    Dupont writes, "Wouldn't the hockey landscape play better if the
    Isles bolted for, say, Phoenix and the Devils hit the road for
    Denver?  It all would be so much easier if the Board of Governors
    stopped worrying about lost expansion fees and encouraged some of
    these weak sisters to do the right thing and move to better
    buildings in better markets" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/16).

    Print | Tags: Denver Nuggets, Franchises, NBA, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, NHL

         In the wake of the NFL's approval of the Rams' move to St.
    Louis, weekend reports centered on rumors the NFL is considering
    moving as many as three franchises to fill the now-open L.A.
    market.  "Crazy or not ... there is talk of swapping franchises,"
    writes S.A. Paolantonio in Philadelphia.  One unnamed NFL source
    mentioned two possible scenarios:  The Bengals to Baltimore; or
    the Bengals to Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium, with the Eagles
    moving to L.A.  Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie called that report
    "absolute nonsense."  Bengals President & GM Mike Brown: "I have
    not heard that, and I find that fairly strained."  But Oilers
    Owner Bud Adams said there "has been some talk of it."  Adams:
    "It's a helluva market out there.  My lease is up in two years.
    I may want to take a look at L.A. myself."  Another NFC owner
    said the Eagles "always come up in these discussions," but added
    that owners are "not stupid enough" to move the Eagles out of
    Philadelphia's No. 4 media market.  The league wants an NFC team
    in L.A., and Lurie, a movie producer, "would seem a perfect fit."
    But Paolantonio writes that moving the Eagles "seems heretical
    even for the NFL's relentless pursuit of TV revenue"
    (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/15).  Fox Sports Spokesperson Vince
    Wladika called the Eagles rumor "baseless and groundless":  "Why
    would we want a team leaving the No. 4 market?" (Mike Bruton,
    PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/18).  The "message" the Bengals' Brown
    took from the Rams vote was that "if a team wants to move, the
    NFL isn't going to fight it.  Even if the team wants to come to
    Baltimore," according to Vito Stellino in Baltimore.  On the
    Eagles, Stellino speculates if Raiders Owner Al Davis gets a new
    stadium at Hollywood Park, "Lurie could share it in this
    scenario" (Baltimore SUN, 4/16).
         RAIDERS GO HOLLYWOOD:  The L.A. DAILY NEWS reports that the
    league will grant at least two Super Bowls and a "undisclosed sum
    of money" within the next two weeks to help build a Hollywood
    Park facility that would be home to UCLA and the Raiders (SAN
    FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 4/15).  In discussions with NFL owners about
    building a stadium at Hollywood Park, Davis said $60M could be
    raised from the sale of PSL's.  But Davis also would want three
    Super Bowls within a 10-year span, with 10,000 seats for each
    Super Bowl "set aside" for luxury and club seat buyers in
    addition to the 8,000 regularly reserved for the host team.
    Davis reportedly will not let an NFC team share the facility.
    The Raiders stadium situation "will remain in the air" until the
    May league meetings in Jacksonville (Will McDonough, BOSTON
    GLOBE, 4/16).  An L.A. TIMES editorial states "it's hard to argue
    with the logic" of the proposed Hollywood Park deal, citing the
    private financing and the boost to the economy from future Super
    Bowls (L.A. TIMES, 4/16).
         IS FOX A WINNER OR LOSER?  Despite losing L.A., Fox will
    "escape with little or no ratings damage over the remaining three
    years of its contract," according to Jim Thomas in St. Louis.
    Thomas writes the rebate was a "phantom issue" since there was no
    provision in Fox's contract stating they had to have a team in
    L.A. (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/16).  But in New York, Steve
    Zipay sees Fox as a big "loser," as is KTTV, Fox's L.A.
    affiliate.  Zipay's Winners:  NBC, which televises AFC games and
    has the rights to the Raiders; and Logo Athletic, which has
    exclusive rights to St. Louis Rams apparel (NEWSDAY, 4/14).
    Possible "restitution" for Fox will "likely come in subsequent
    seasons, and potentially, on a non-cash basis" (Thomas Tyrer,
    ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 4/17 issue).  Fox Sports' Wladika wouldn't
    respond to reports the NFL "promised" Fox a $12M rebate.  He did
    say talks between the network and league were "ongoing" (Mike

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Cincinnati Bengals, Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, NBC, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, LA Rams

         The "behind-the-scenes jockeying" over John Labatt Ltd.
    intensified Monday as a major Canadian broadcaster, CanWest
    Global Communications Corp., confirmed it has been approached by
    investment bankers about acquiring some Labatt assets if the
    company is sold.  Meanwhile, sources disclosed that South
    American brewer Quilmes Industrial, SA is still considering
    teaming up with leveraged buyout firm Onex Corp. for a multi-
    billion dollar run at Labatt.  CanWest has already started
    preliminary talks with Labatt about its intention to spin off
    some of its broadcast and sports assets (Marina Strauss, Toronto
    GLOBE & MAIL, 4/18).  Labatt's assets include the Blue Jays,
    SkyDome and TSN.  Speculation is that if Onex is successful in
    acquiring Labatt, it will sell off all of its assets with the
    exception of the brewery (FINANCIAL POST, 4/15).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Labatt Brewing, Toronto Blue Jays

         As the May 1 deadline approaches for Manitoba Entertainment
    Complex to purchase Barry Shenkarow's shares of the NHL Jets and
    for the Winnipeg City Council to approve a new arena site
    approaches, the Twin Cities are preparing for a possible return
    of the NHL.  In Sunday's Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, Jay Weiner
    examines the struggle to keep the Jets in Manitoba, and the
    possibility of moving the team South.  MEC Chair John Loewen says
    the chances of a deal being worked out are "65-35," in favor of
    Winnipeg.  In a sidebar, Weiner breaks down the issue.  If the
    Jets are sold to a Canadian buyer rather than American interests,
    "they could lose out" on $21M because of the devalued Canadian
    currency and higher demand for the team in the U.S.  The value of
    the franchise was set at C$50M in '92, which is the basis of what
    Shenkarow will receive for his 64%, should he sell to MEC.  In
    Minneapolis, it is estimated a deal for the Jets could bring a
    total of US$70M (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 4/16).  NHL General
    Counsel Jeff Pash, who was in Winnipeg to meet with the
    interested parties last week:  "We want to keep the Canadian
    teams in Canada."  Pash says U.S. interest in teams "can be
    addressed through expansion at the appropriate time" (Tim
    Campbell, WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 4/15).
         JET WASH:  In Toronto, Greg Reekie writes the chances of a
    Jets move to MN "are in the 80% range. ... The accepted wisdom
    had been that the league wanted to keep franchises where they are
    in order to leave all potential expansion sites open."  But since
    no group in MN seems willing to pay the likely $75M expansion
    fee, it makes sense to move the Jets.  Meanwhile, Atlanta and
    Denver would remain open for $75M expansion franchises, "both of
    which are very likely" (TORONTO SUN, 4/16)....MN officials want
    the $20M or more reaped from the sale of the land that held the
    old Met Center to be applied to the purchase of a new hockey team
    (Sid Hartman, Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 4/15)....Former NBA
    Nuggets President Tim Lieweke, who was heading Denver's Pepsi
    Center project for Comsat before he resigned last month, is
    reportedly interested in being involved in a MN ownership group
    (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 4/15)....Fans in Winnipeg have created
    a drive to save the Jets that features a page on the internet.
    The address: http://www.infoman.mb. ca/infoman/savejets.html
    (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 4/16).

    Print | Tags: Denver Nuggets, Franchises, NBA, New York Jets, NHL, PepsiCo
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