SBD/19/Franchises

BENGALS' BROWN GIVES CINCINNATI A YEAR-END DEADLINE

     Bengals President & GM Mike Brown says local officials have
until the end of the year to guarantee a new football stadium.
Meanwhile, Brown says he will let Baltimore officials "woo" him
during that time.  Brown admitted he has met with MD officials
about moving the Bengals, saying he needs to have "alternatives."
Brown:  "If one alternative is a bird-in-the-hand and the other
is a promise to review the issue further, I don't know how long
we can ride with that."  In an interview in this morning's
CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, Brown says he is "not convinced that local
business and political leaders are serious about building a new
stadium," even if some officials have said they will do whatever
is necessary to keep the team.  Brown added he is "confused" by
mixed signals from city and business leaders and that he is "no
longer certain" he would accept a plan to raze Riverfront Stadium
and build a new stadium on that site while the team plays on the
road for two years.  The ENQUIRER also reports that Maryland
Stadium Authority Chair John Moag met with Brown in Cincinnati in
the past two weeks.  A state-funded stadium near Camden Yards
would generate as much as $25M/year for a team, while Riverfront
Stadium "produces a fraction of that."  Any team that moves to
Baltimore would reportedly play rent-free, while in Cincinnati,
the Bengals pay rent based on attendance and other factors.  Moag
says any team planning on moving to Baltimore must commit by the
fall; he expects stadium funding to be channeled to public
education in January if it is not used (Richard Green, CINCINNATI
ENQUIRER, 4/19).
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