SBD/8/Franchises

THE DEVILS WENT DOWN TO NASHVILLE?

     Devils Owner John McMullen is "unhappy" with the terms of
his lease at Brendan Byrne Arena and could be preparing to brea
the agreement and move the team out of NJ, according to
Saturday's Bergen RECORD.  Though they would not specify
McMullen's concerns, members of the New Jersey Sports and
Exposition Authority (NSEA) said they were willing to work with
Devils ownership.  NSEA Chair Michael Francis:  "We consider the
franchise valuable to the sports authority and to the people and
the state of New Jersey.  We would be delighted to sit down with
Mr. McMullen or anybody from the Devils and to (try to) resolve
our differences amicably" (Mult., 5/6).  By refusing to deny the
rumors, McMullen and Devils President & GM Lou Lamoriello are
seen by the N.Y. POST's Larry Brooks as "attempting to gain major
concessions" from the NSEA.  But Brooks adds that the NHL "would
not oppose a move that would take one of the three New York-area
teams into a city without a major league franchise."  In
addition, Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen is working on legislation
to be introduced at the state legislature tomorrow that would
authorize the use of public funds to cover the moving costs of a
major league franchise  (N.Y. POST, 5/8).  Also in New York, Dave
Anderson notes that breaking the lease at the Meadowlands would
cost the Devils as much as $26M in penalties (N.Y. TIMES, 5/8).
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