SBD/17/Franchises

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).
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