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WHERE WILL THE JETS LAND? MINNESOTA CLEARS THE RUNWAY
Published May 4, 1995
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).