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         "The relatively subdued response to the Devils' threat to
    leave New Jersey is fitting since the response to their presence
    for many years was the equivalent of one fan clapping," writes
    Mathew Purdy in this morning's N.Y. TIMES.  He notes that it is
    ironic that while the Devils' winning has created a "surge in
    popularity," their "lure" is peaking as the team is "slouching"
    toward Nashville (Mathew Purdy, N.Y. Times, 6/12).  In an
    interview with John Dellapina in Sunday's N.Y. DAILY NEWS, Devils
    Owner John McMullen says it was a mistake to move the Devils from
    Denver to New Jersey.  McMullen: "Then-Governor (Brendan) Byrne
    came down to training camp with me with the Astros and he said,
    if I could help, he'd be very appreciative if I brought a sports
    franchise here.  But I made a mistake.  I shouldn't have done it"
    (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/11).  In Sunday's N.Y. TIMES, Joe Lapointe
    compares the Devils' situation to the movie "Slap Shot" (N.Y.
    TIMES, 6/11).  Kevin Paul Dupont reports in Sunday's BOSTON GLOBE
    that McMullen, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello and NHL Commissioner Gary
    Bettman met recently in New York to discuss the move.  Dupont
    writes the offer is so good in Nashville, the Devils "have to
    take it" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/11).  Dave Anderson writes in Sunday's
    N.Y. TIMES that McMullen has said a deal is not done yet and that
    NJ can still keep the Devils.  McMullen, to the NJSEA: "You know
    what Nashville is offering.  Give us a proposal."  McMullen also
    notes he won't make any moves until after the Devils' season is
    completed (Dave Anderson, N.Y. TIMES, 6/11).  Saturday's
    Nashville TENNESSEAN reports that NJ Gov. Christie Whitman asked
    the Devils' owners to "put a counteroffer on the table" if they
    are serious about wanting to negotiate a new lease with the NJSEA
    (TENNESSEAN, 6/10).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Houston Astros, New Jersey Devils, NHL

         Raiders Owner Al Davis and Hollywood Park officials "are
    finally 'on the verge of a final agreement' that would result in
    the construction of a new stadium in Inglewood and a permanent
    home [in L.A.] for the Raiders," according to Bill Plaschke of
    the L.A. TIMES.  Davis was given a final proposal by Hollywood
    Park officials on Friday, a proposal that they "expect him to
    accept" (L.A. TIMES, 6/10).  The deal, however, is reportedly
    being "held up" while Davis "seeks assurances from the architect
    and contractor that the facility will be completed on time" (Tim
    Trepany, L.A. DAILY NEWS, 6/11).  Hollywood Park Chair R.D.
    Hubbard said that Davis "has to have confidence" that the stadium
    will be built by 1997.  Hubbard:  "Basically, the ball is now in
    the Raiders' court and we will see what their decision is in the
    next few days" (S.F. EXAMINER, 6/11).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Oakland Raiders

         In an extensive interview in Sunday's MIAMI HERALD, Wayne
    Huizenga, owner of the Marlins, Dolphins, Panthers and Joe Robbie
    Stadium, said he would like to have the Marlins play in a new
    park and that the Panthers are a money-losing proposition without
    a publicly-financed arena.
         ON THE MARLINS:  Huizenga said there are worse baseball
    parks than Joe Robbie Stadium, "but it isn't as good as the new
    ones in Denver and Texas and Baltimore. ... JRS limits our
    revenue.  I'm not whining.  I'm a big boy.  I knew what the rules
    were when I got in, and you take it or get out, but we shouldn't
    get blamed for some of the things we do.  The Marlins are trying
    to keep ticket prices down, but our hands are tied with a stadium
    that should be owned by taxpayers, a stadium not getting the
    revenue it should from skyboxes and club seats [that revenue goes
    toward bank loans]. ... Maybe I'm stupid, but I think we could
    pay down the debt on the stadium, which is $90 million, so a few
    years out, the Dolphins could carry that lesser debt."
         ON THE PANTHERS:  "As far as hockey goes, it happened so
    fast, sort of like most things in my life that weren't calculated
    or planned out, I was just in the right place at the right time.
    Or, in the case of hockey, the wrong place.  ... With the
    Panthers I just wanted to help, maybe lend somebody a little
    money or take a little piece of the club. ... Before I knew it, I
    was all the way in.  It happened that way, and I wish it hadn't
    happened because we are losing our butt."  Noting the lack of NHL
    TV revenues and the Miami Arena's lack of skyboxes, Huizenga
    said, "When I see and read about this cheapskate Huizenga ought
    to step up to the plate and build part of the damn [arena]
    himself, say spend $50 million, well, at the end of the next
    three years, I will have $100 million in hockey, and people want
    me to make it $150 million and still [be] losing money?  There is
    no way.  That's suicide."  While Huizenga gave a firm "no" when
    asked if he would ever sell the Marlins or Dolphins, he said only
    "I don't know" when posed with the same question about the
    Panthers (MIAMI HERALD, 6/11).

    Print | Tags: Miami Marlins, Franchises, Miami Dolphins, NHL

         A group of Winnipeg businessmen calling themselves Spirit of
    Manitoba Inc. made a formal offer to buy the Jets Friday.  The
    offer reportedly "hinges" on a few points:  The signature of the
    current owners, the approval of the NHL, about $20M more in
    private-sector contributions, and a Revenue Canada ruling that
    would make some contributions tax deductible.  Jets Owner Barry
    Shenkarow is reportedly "disappointed the offer did not appear to
    correspond to the terms of negotiation agreed to earlier."  Terms
    of the deal include the Spirit group paying Shenkarow and his
    partners more than $32M in cash and granting them another $22M in
    equity in the new ownership group.  The current owners would
    receive two seats on a new 10-member board, and the board would
    decide whether Shenkarow "gets his wish to stay on as president."
    Spirit, formerly know as Manitoba Entertainment Complex, is led
    by Izzy Asper of CanWest Global Communications (CP/Toronto GLOBE
    & MAIL, 6/10).  In Winnipeg, Nick Martin reports the city will
    "refuse to pay" any further Jets' losses if Shenkarow turns down
    the latest offer.  A "closed-door council session" has been
    called by Winnipeg Mayor Susan Thompson for today to hear from
    the Spirit group, Winnipeg Enterprises, the city's auditors and
    senior administrators (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 6/10).  But Scott
    Taylor writes that the Spirit deal is "not an offer to purchase.
    It is only an option to purchase as long as certain criteria are
    met and that criteria is completely out of the hands of the
    vendor ... As it stands, this is a horrible deal for the seller"

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New York Jets, NHL
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