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  • JETS SUPPORTERS RALLY; LIFE SUPPORT NOT TURNED OFF YET

         An estimated 35,000 Winnipeggers rallied yesterday in a
    fund-raising effort to keep the team from being moved to MN.
    Meanwhile, CanWest Global TV head Izzy Asper, who is
    "spearheading the effort" to keep the team in Winnipeg, told the
    Winnipeg City Council yesterday that he has written commitments
    for C$32M and verbal commitments for C$30M to save the team, and
    that he will make a bid to Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow if he has
    C$60M "in writing" by Thursday (Tim Campbell, WINNIPEG FREE
    PRESS, 5/17).
         BACK ON THE CHAIN GANG:  "Everything from the contents of
    childrens' piggy banks" to a C$10M commitment from a local
    businessman was poured into the campaign to save the team.  Even
    prisoners got involved, as "more than 100" inmates at Rockward
    institution North of the city donated their C$5.28 daily pay to
    the Jets cause.  Local McDonald's and Burger King outlets will
    donate C$1 for every large sandwich sold.  Fans at last night's
    rally donated more than C$100,000 (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 5/17).
         ARENA FINANCING:  The Winnipeg City Council's support to
    fund a third of the cost for a new arena for the Jets "looked
    solid last night, after a last minute flurry of proposals were
    raised that could spare homeowners from property-tax increases,"
    according to this morning's WINNIPEG FREE PRESS.  The Manitoba
    provincial government has already pledged to pay their third --
    C$37M -- but, the federal government "remained non-committal."
    Winnipeg's share of the C$111M arena may be funded through an
    increase in the city's business tax, effective '97.  According to
    a proposal by Winnipeg Chief Commissioner Rick Frost, the tax
    would rise from 9.8% to 10.3%.  Mayor Susan Thompson predicted
    that all three branches of government would approve their
    respective tax plans by 5pm today.  Thompson added that the
    proposed business tax increase "would not be necessary" if the
    Canadian Radio-Television and Telecom Commission approves a plan
    that would allow pay-TV for Jets games (Nick Martin, WINNIPEG
    FREE PRESS, 5/17).
         HELP IN MN?  Richard Burke, who is trying to buy the Jets
    and lure them to Minnesota, has told MN Gov. Arne Carlson that he
    wants state help.  Burke did not specify the amount he is
    seeking.  According to the Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, Burke
    "strongly endorsed" a funding approach that would give the state
    a stake in the team.  The MN Legislature is scheduled to decide
    on a plan before they adjourn Monday (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE,
    5/16).
    

    Print | Tags: Burger King, Franchises, McDonalds, New York Jets
  • NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR DIGS IN TO KEEP DEVILS FROM EXITING 16W

         NJ Gov. Christine Todd Whitman "is maneuvering" to keep the
    Devils from accepting a lucrative deal to move to Nashville,
    according to Richard Sandomir in this morning's N.Y. TIMES.
    Sandomir reports that Whitman plans to meet with the NJ Sports
    and Exposition Authority today, and has assigned her husband, who
    is an investment banker, to "devise a proposal to satisfy the
    Devils, without giving away the store."  In an interview Monday
    night, Whitman said she would consider adding more luxury boxes
    to the Brendan Byrne Arena.  The Nashville Metro Council last
    night approved a resolution giving any team that moves to the
    city's new arena attractive lease incentives, including:  A $20M
    relocation fee plus yearly rent of $750,000 or 5% of ticket
    sales; 100% of game ticket revenue, 100% of radio-TV revenue and
    97.5% of luxury suite revenue; revenues from game-day
    merchandise, parking and concessions, scoreboard, sideboard, and
    50% of all other arena advertising.  In addition, Sandomir
    reports that "privately, the league looks favorably upon the
    possibility of the Nashville Devils.  It would ease the three-
    team overcrowding" in the New York market, "and let the NHL
    establish the first major league sports team in Nashville" (N.Y.
    TIMES, 5/17).
         MUSIC CITY CHIMES IN:  By a 21-12 vote, the Nashville Metro
    Council approved a measure last night allowing the arena to sell
    beer in the new arena after opposition from some conservative
    Christian ministers.  Councilman Ronnie Stein:  "I have been told
    our window of opportunity for the NHL is only three or four
    months wide.  And at that time, it may close for years into the
    future" (Mark Ippolito, Nashville TENNESSEAN, 5/17).  However,
    while local politicos are enthusiastic about attracting a pro
    sports team, Nashville's pursuit of an NHL franchise "continues
    to be greeted with something less than enthusiasm by many sports-
    minded citizens," writes columnist David Climer of the
    TENNESSEAN.  Climer reports that many residents are "shocked" by
    the cost of NHL tickets and are "concerned" about downtown
    parking (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 5/16).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New Jersey Devils, NHL, YankeeNets
  • NORDS REJECT GOVERNMENT'S OFFER -- ALL SIGNS SAYS DENVER

         "Barring some unforeseen event, it's all over for the Quebec
    Nordiques as an NHL franchise north of the U.S. border,"
    according to Robert McKenzie in today's TORONTO STAR.  The team
    "bluntly rejected" a C$50M "rescue package" proposed by the
    Quebec provincial government yesterday, and according to Quebec's
    two main TV networks (TVA and Radio Canada), the team could be
    sold to Comsat Video Enterprises and moved to Denver as early as
    Friday (TORONTO STAR, 5/17).  ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH HOPES:  A close
    friend of Nordiques Co-Owner Marcel Aubut told the DENVER POST
    that Aubut believes there is a "99 percent chance the team will
    move to Denver."  According to Aubut's friend, the price of the
    sale to Comsat, reportedly $75M, is said to be more in the $65-
    70M range.  If the sale goes through, Aubut stands to clear about
    $15M in profit (Adrian Dater, DENVER POST, 5/17).  The DENVER
    POST reported yesterday that a source who spoke with NHL
    Commissioner Gary Bettman was told that "Bettman would be
    'shocked' if the team didn't move to Denver" (DENVER POST, 5/16).
    One source close to Aubut told the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS that Aubut
    "might continue to work with the team, as a consultant, once it
    is sold to Comsat" (Curtis Eichelberger, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS,
    5/17).  Aubut:  "The Nordiques' owners don't want what happened
    in Winnipeg to repeat itself in Quebec" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL,
    5/17).
         PENCIL THEM IN?  One NHL GM reports that he received a
    tentative '95-96 NHL schedule with Denver included (DENVER POST,
    5/17).  NHL VP of Public Relations Arthur Pincus denied such a
    schedule exists (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 5/17).
         THE DEAD DEAL:  The Quebec government offered to pay up to
    $7M of the team's debts over each of the next two years, and to
    come up with another $7M for a third year should they decide to
    build a new arena.  In addition, the government has also offered
    to cover 70% of the difference if the team must be sold in two
    years at a price lower that the current offers.  But the offer
    did not come with conditions.  Over the next two years, the team
    would have to show that it can sell 80 corporate boxes, get a
    "rein on rampaging player salaries" and show what measures the
    league would take to help small market teams.  Quebec Premier
    Jacques Parizeau said those conditions seemed to be the sticking
    point  (CP/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/17).  Parizeau:  "These are
    things you have to try, but you can't be taken by the ambition of
    certain people whose eyes become bigger than their appetite.  It
    didn't work.  I deplore it, but the episode is closed" (Adrian
    Dater, DENVER POST, 5/17).
         FAN REAX:  In Montreal, Philip Authier reports that fans are
    planning a demonstration today in front of the National Assembly
    to "press the government."  Yesterday, Urbain Johnson, one of the
    Nordiques founders, said he has a 75,000-name petition "urging
    more government help that he wants to give the Premier" (MONTREAL
    GAZETTE, 5/17).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NHL
  • SOURCES SAY RAIDERS CLOSE TO OAKLAND AGREEMENT

         Officials close to negotiations said yesterday "the Oakland-
    rooted franchise is close -- but just short -- of an agreement to
    return north," according to David Li in today's OAKLAND TRIBUNE.
    Coliseum President George Vukasin and City Council member Ignacio
    De La Fuente said the East Bay offer to the Raiders "is gaining
    serious consideration," but both officials have denied that
    Raiders Owner Al Davis had accepted.  The fate of the Raiders is
    expected to be decided next week at the NFL owners meeting in
    Jacksonville, and although he would not comment on "specific
    stadium issues," a Raiders spokesperson "hinted" yesterday that
    the meetings "could help settle the issue" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE,
    5/17).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NFL, Oakland Raiders
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