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NFL OWNERS EXPECTED TO APPROVE RAIDERS PLAN TODAY
Published May 24, 1995
NFL owners are "expected to approve" today a reworked proposal for the relocation of the Raiders to a new stadium at Hollywood Park, according to today's L.A. TIMES. The plan still would give L.A. two Super Bowls and another team by '98, while reducing the relocation payment for that team by about 50%. But the league still "steadfastly refuses" to give in to Hollywood Park CEO R.D. Hubbard's demand of $20M in aid to build the stadium. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue: "The league is a league, not a bank." If the plan is approved, it will be up to Davis to pay the $20M himself or persuade Hubbard to "live without it" (Plaschke & Springer, L.A. TIMES, 5/24). ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported discussions became "heated and theatrical" to the point that a vote was put on hold until sometime today. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue: "Instead of talking about revenue assistance to one team, namely the Raiders, we should be talking about revenue assistance to the 15 teams who are below the league average, and I think that is where it got heated" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 5/23). IF THE PLAN IS APPROVED: Terms of the deal say that the Raiders must remain in the L.A. area for at least the next two seasons while the stadium is being built. While they have the option to play either at Anaheim Stadium or at the Coliseum, Tagliabue believes that they would remain at the Coliseum to "maintain the fan base." If construction begins later this year and stays on schedule, the Raiders would move in and begin play in '97. With the current TV deals expiring at the end of '97, the league will promise the networks that anothet team will move to L.A. in '98 and join the NFC after a possible realignment. The Browns "remain the leading candidate." For the two Super Bowls, Raiders Owner Al Davis would receive rights to market 10,000 tickets for each Super Bowl as an incentive for Raiders' fans to purchase premium club seats (L.A. TIMES, 5/24). IF THE PLAN ISN'T APPROVED: In the "unlikely" case that the plan is not approved today, the league is reportedly prepared for Davis to move to Oakland as soon as this year. Tagliabue: "If the Raiders want to leave, we can deal with L.A. without the Raiders" (L.A. TIMES, 5/24). HOW DOES DISNEY FIT? Most reports indicate that the second L.A. team would most likely be a relocated existing NFL franchise. But in Orange County, Michelle Himmelberg writes since a second team "doesn't necessarily have to play" at Hollywood Park," a suitable stadium deal in Anaheim might be an option for Disney. Disney has reportedly had "aggressive talks" with the NFL concerning an expansion team for Anaheim (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 5/24). SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FRANCHISE: An other topic at the owners meetings yesterday was the wearing of bandannas, or "do-rags," by players. The league reaffirmed a rule that players can wear them -- as long as they match the team's colors and do not advocate a cause (WASHINGTON POST, 5/24).