SBD/4/Franchises

WHERE WILL THE JETS LAND? MINNESOTA CLEARS THE RUNWAY

     Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow said if the sale of his team to a
group from MN is going to happen, "it's going to happen in the
next week.  I'm a deal maker."  In the Twin Cities, Jay Weiner
identifies two groups who want to bring the team to the Target
Center:  One led by health care entrepreneur Richard Burke; the
other, a non-MN group led by Yankees limited partners Robert,
Harry and James Nederlander.  Burke "seems to have the inside
track."  Meanwhile, Weiner reports that MN Gov. Arne Carlson
"said, for the first time, he's willing to consider some state
aid to lure the team to Minnesota."  Target Center Exec Dir Dana
Warg said he believed a purchase "could come as soon as Monday."
Burke's group includes former Nuggets exec Tim Leiweke and Robert
Naegele III, of the National In-Line Hockey Association
(Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/4).  Burke is profiled on the front
page of this morning's STAR TRIBUNE.  Tom Kennedy & David Phelps
write, "While it is premature to say whether his group will land
the Jets in Minnesota, area pro hockey fans should take heart in
knowing that Burke often gets what he wants" (Minneapolis STAR
TRIBUNE, 5/4).
     THE BIG QUESTION:  Vikings President Roger Headrick:  "The
basic issue is can this community, given the present state of the
Timberwolves and the Twins and the Vikings, support a fourth
professional sports franchise?  I'm not sure" (Minneapolis STAR
TRIBUNE, 5/4).  Yesterday, that question was examined in two STAR
TRIB pieces.  Jay Weiner notes the return of the NHL to MN "could
affect a half-dozen other issues," including:  $20M from the sale
of the land from the old Met Center site; "the perceived
obsolescence" of the Metrodome, with $40M in improvements "on the
drawing board"; current and future demands of the Vikings and
Twins, including a possible new $300M retractable dome baseball
stadium; and the life expectancy of the Metropolitan Sports
Facilities Commission (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 5/3).  Columnist
Tom Barreiro compares the atmosphere now to two years ago when
Stars owner Norm Green moved to Dallas.  Former North Stars
President Lou Nanne:  "The key question is whether the corporate
community supports the new owners with suite revenue and things
like that.  That's what will make you or break you" (Minneapolis
STAR-TRIBUNE, 5/3).
     CANADA'S SAVIOR?  Hamilton will try to pull together a bid
to keep the Jets in Canada as a tenant of Copps Coliseum,
according to today's HAMILTON SPECTATOR.  The bid is not only
complicated by competitors from U.S. cities, but also by the fact
that both the Maple Leafs and Sabres would "demand huge payments
for territorial indemnification if a team moved to Hamilton."
Hamilton Mayor Bob Morrow:  "We're the only city in Canada with a
ready-made facility in a market of seven million people who love
hockey."  Gabe Macaluso, CEO of Hamilton Entertainment and
Convention Facilities, has been in touch with three prospective
ownership groups and contacted the NHL on the city's interest.
Hamilton lost an NHL expansion bid in '90 (John Kernaghan,
HAMILTON SPECTATOR, 5/4).
     MUSIC CITY TUNES UP:  The STAR TRIBUNE's Weiner reports that
Nashville, backed by Gaylord Entertainment, owners of The
Nashville Network, "is a new entry into the fray."  Weiner calls
Nashville "a likely backup if Minnesota can't pull off the Jets
deal" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/4).
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