Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow is still considering offers from two bidders seeking to bring the team to MN. L.A. sports marketing exec Scott Nederlander was reportedly returning to L.A. after a meeting with Shenkarow yesterday afternoon. Health care entrepreneur Richard Burke also confirmed yesterday that he had submitted an offer for the team, and was awaiting a response. Nederlander "seems to have put some crimps in the sale process," as it is "unclear what his resources are" and his ties to the area. However, in an interview with the STAR TRIB, Nederlander said he would definitely bring the team to the Twin Cities (Jay Weiner, Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 5/11).
Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau will give details of his final offer to keep the Nordiques in Quebec today. But it is "quite possible Nordiques shareholders will by then have turned it down," and could accept the standing $75M offer for the team from Comsat Video Enterprises in Denver. In Denver, one unnamed Comsat spokesperson told the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS: "If they flinch, it's ours" (Bill Beacon, CP/OTTAWA CITIZEN, 5/11). Radio Canada reported yesterday that the Quebec government has made an offer of $17M in cash and a promise to absorb $14M of the team's losses over the next two years (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/11). DARK HORSE TO LAND JETS OR NORDIQUES? The operators of Phoenix's America West Arena have signed an "exclusive agreement" with an "outside investment group" that is interested in bringing the NHL to Phoenix, according Bob McManaman in this morning's ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Brian Colangelo, president of Phoenix Area Sports, the operators of America West, said yesterday that arena officials "secured the deal a few months ago" with the NHL group. Colangelo would not identify the group, but he did tell the REPUBLIC that the group "has entertained discussions" with both the Jets and Nordiques and that they are "financially strong" and would represent "solid ownership." Colangelo: "They have the wherewithal to make it run. I know the NHL is very pleased with this group as it relates to them buying a potential franchise." Colangelo said neither Phoenix Area Sports, nor his father, Suns President and Diamondbacks' CEO Jerry Colangelo, want to invest in a hockey team. Colangelo: "We'd prefer to remain on a tenant- landlord relationship" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 5/11).
An NHL source says that Ross Perot Jr. is negotiating with Stars Owner Norm Green to invest more than $30M in the team and become as much as a 50% owner, according to this morning's DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Green reportedly "needs the potential cash infusion to keep the team financially stable" and "aggressive" on free agents. The source also said that a smaller group of limited partners is being sought to buy in -- including former Cowboy Roger Staubach and golfer Fred Couples. Staubach has confirmed that he has been approached about investing, however Couples "denies any involvement." Negotiations continue over how much Perot would own and who would have controlling interest. According to the league source, though, "little would change in the Stars' daily operations," now run by Green and Stars President Jim Lites (Terry Egan, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/11).
In New York, Larry Brooks examines the events contributing to a possible move by the Devils to Nashville. Brooks notes that the Devils have initiated an audit of the NJ Sports & Exposition Authority, a strategy that caught the NJSEA by "surprise." The audit charges that there are "13 areas in which their landlord is in default of the lease." In the past ('86 and '91), the Devils "simply demanded renegotiation of the lease." This time, however, the team has "opened a process under which they have the ability to declare a breach of contract and immediately terminate the lease." Brooks notes that four of the "areas of alleged misconduct concern" are number of parking spaces, drafts in the building, overlap of events, and the safety of a pedestrian bridge. Brooks writes that Devils Owner John McMullen believes "that he has been treated outrageously" since moving to NJ in '82, and that -- "as much as a desire to make more money" is driving his threats to move to Nashville. Despite McMullen's complaints, Brooks concludes that NHL Bylaw 36.5, which lists 24 criteria to be evaluated in determining whether a team should be permitted to move, does not back up the Devils' claims (N.Y. POST, 5/11). NASHVILLE'S READY, JUST IN CASE: Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen presented a $57.5M plan to the city council to bring a team to the new downtown arena, but "he tied the package firmly to approval of beer sales at the facility." The arena is under construction 85 feet from the a Baptist church, and city beer laws require a distance of at least 100 feet between businesses that sell beer and churches. Bredesen wants a vote on the beer exemption before the sports package (Jim East, Nashville TENNESSEAN, 5/10). HERE'S THE DEAL: Bredesen's package breaks down into $27.5M in revenue bonds, $12M in equal contributions by the Metro government, Gaylord Entertainment and the team owner, and $18M in ticket sales, rent and concessions. The $12M would fund a Metro Sports Authority to oversee the arena, with the authority paying Gaylord about $350,000 a year (4.8% of non-NBA/NHL revenues) to manage operations. In addition, the authority would cover $20M in reolcation fees for any pro team. The team's lease would be: 100% of ticket revenue; 100% of radio/TV revenue; 97.5% of team- related suite sales; 50% of non-team suite sales; 35% of game day merchandise; 100% of NBA/NHL-related ad revenue; 40% of gross revenue on game day concessions; 75% of game day parking revenue from an attached 350-car garage; and 2.2% of non-NBA/NHL revenue (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 5/10).