Health care entrepreneur Richard Burke "bought the right" on Friday to move the Jets to MN, but a new Canadian-based group has until Thursday to put together a package to keep the team in Winnipeg, according to the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Burke: "We don't own the team. ... If the team is moved, they've accepted our offer." One NHL source put Burke's offer at about $65M. Burke said he has one partner thus far, Bermuda-based insurance exec Steven Gluckstern -- but the Naegele family is expected to be involved in any deal. As for possible public aid, Burke said, "One step at a time." On Thursday, MN Gov. Arne Carlson capped any state aid at $15M. But, noting that the MN Legislature is set to adjourn on May 22, Target Center Exec Dir Dana Warg said that the time delay "could have an adverse effect" in getting a deal (Jay Weiner, Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/13). LAST GASP? The effort by Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow to keep the team in Winnipeg is described by John Douglas of the WINNIPEG FREE PRESS as a "reconfiguration of the original plan" of the Manitoba Entertainment Complex. This time, however, instead of linking the team and a new arena, the city, provincial and federal governments will cover the C$110M needed for a new 16,000-seat arena, while a private sector group -- led by CanWest Global TV head Izzy Asper -- will cover the costs (past, present and future) of the team (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 5/13). Sources say that Asper has agreed to purchase naming rights of the new arena for CanWest for C$20M. Asper's group would purchase the Jets' privately held shares (with the exception of Shenkarow's) for C$50M, pay off about C$15M in current debt and establish a pool of C$45M to cover future losses. Shenkarow would stay on as team president. The governments would each pay C$37M for the arena, which would be owned by the public but leased to the team (Douglas & Samyn, WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 5/13). Asper admitted Saturday that chances of success are "remote" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 5/14). TWIN CITIES NOTES: Vikings President Roger Headrick indicated a desire to renegotiate their Metrodome lease with the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission should an NHL team get public aid. Headrick: "First, they had to finish the Target Center deal. Then Target Center has become the NHL, which then becomes the Twins. And the Vikings are always next in line." The Vikings' lease runs through 2012. Under a joint Twins- Vikings plan, the teams would take over Dome operations and control virtually all revenues (Jay Weiner, Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/14)....STAR TRIB columnist Dan Barreiro writes, "We should know this by now: Never count on anything until the moving vans have arrived, or been recalled" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/14).... Carlson said he would call a special legislative session on the Jets if necessary (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/15).
In Denver, Curtis Eichelberger reports that majority owner Marcel Aubut is "encountering resistance" from two of his four partners to selling out to Comsat Video and moving to Denver. Due to "recent public sentiment" in Quebec against the sale of the team, Metro-Richelieu, a wholesale grocer and supermarket chain, and Le Fond de Solidarite des Travailleurs de Quebec, a labor union -- "are wavering" (ROCKY MOUNTIAN NEWS, 5/13). Nordiques spokesperson Jean Martineau said reports the team's five major shareholders were split on whether to accept the government's offer "were off base." Martineau: "Solidarity is strong among the owners" (CP/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/13). Nordiques ownership is expected to inform provincial officials today whether they will move the team (Curtis Eichelberger, ROCKY MOUNTIAN NEWS, 5/14). In Vancouver, Tony Gallagher writes, "If Denver doesn't get the Nords, they are slated to become the second expansion team announced. You don't keep people like Comsat waiting for long, or they start and televise their own league" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 5/14).
An undisclosed offer to buy a majority interest in the Kings was made last week by CO billionaire Philip Anschutz and Southern CA developer Edward Roski, "but it is far from a done deal," according to Dillman & Reich of the L.A. TIMES. The "major stumbling block" remaining is the 28% controlled by Bruce McNall's bankruptcy trustee, R. Todd Neilson. According to Neilson, the 28% is "critical and essential because it includes an option to repurchase up to 80% of the team." If the sale goes through, Anschutz reportedly "has no plan" to move the Kings. Sources say he wants to build a new arena for hockey and basketball in downtown L.A. near Dodger Stadium, on land near Chinatown owned by his company, Southern Pacific Railroad Corp. (L.A. TIMES, 5/13). Sources close to the negotiations say that the deal is worth $75M (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 5/14). In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont notes Anschutz is the developer of Denver's new Pepsi Center, and writes, "It's unclear right now whether Anschutz wants to be a team owner or a key player in the building of a new arena to replace the Great Western Forum in Inglewood" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/14).
The NFL's offer to help build the Raiders and Owner Al Davis a new 68,000-seat stadium in Hollywood Park is one "he is going to find difficult to refuse," according to Will McDonough in Sunday's BOSTON GLOBE. McDonough reports that the league has assured Davis that two Super Bowls would be played at the new facility shortly after it is completed, with Davis receiving 10,000 additional tickets to each game that he can distribute to Raiders season ticket holders who purchase the personal seat licenses that would help fund the facility. In return, McDonough reports, Davis must play all Raiders home games in L.A. while the stadium is being built, and must allow an NFC team that could move or be created with expansion, to occupy the stadium "at the same rates as the Raiders pay to use the facility." McDonough writes that the NFL's Finance Committee developed the plan last Thursday and sent it to Davis on Friday. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue reportedly told Davis the Committee "unanimously endorsed this offer, and that if Davis accepted, the committee and Tagliabue would give it unanimous support" at league meetings later this month. One NFL owner told McDonough that "if Davis accepts this proposal, he would go from one of the bottom-end teams in the NFL in terms of gross revenue to second-highest" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/14). BACKUP PLAN? In this morning's S.F. CHRONICLE, Glenn Dickey reports that the league "has prepared a backup position" if the deal with Davis falls through and he moves the Raiders back to Oakland. Dickey: "The league would immediately look for another site which would be easily accessible both from Los Angeles and Anaheim, with the idea of building a stadium which could be used by two teams, one from each conference." Dickey reports that "ideally, the teams would be expansion teams, because the existing teams would share in the expansion fees." But Dickey also notes that Cincinnati and Seattle are possibilities. Dickey: "If both AFC teams moved to Los Angeles, the Seahawks would be moved to the NFC West" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/15). NOT AN L.A. TYPE? Dickey reports that "it seems almost inconceivable that Davis would leave the rich Los Angeles market, but to capitalize on the area's potential, a team must have good marketing. Davis knows nothing of marketing himself, and he has nobody in the organization who does either." Dickey also notes that Davis' "primary goal" is winning, and the crowds in L.A. are the "least partisan crowds in the league." Dickey also notes Davis' relationship with other league owners: "Because of the extraordinary difficulty of dealing with Davis, there is some sentiment within the league for allowing him to move back to Oakland and starting fresh with new, more tractable owners in Los Angeles" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/15). LOCAL POLITICOS: If the Hollywood Park plan is not approved, Coliseum officials "expect the Raiders to leave" for Oakland or Baltimore. L.A. Sports Council President David Simon: "It's just a continuum. We want the Raiders to stay here, but what is occurring at the moment is the free market is creating an environment for the Raiders to decide what to do next. It's part of the business side of sports" (Mark Katches, L.A. DAILY NEWS, 5/13).