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"Proving a deal with him is never completed until all the I's are dotted and contracts signed," Raiders Owner Al Davis flew to Oakland Tuesday and met for "several hours" with members of the city's negotiating team who are trying to lure the team back to Oakland, according to Tim Trepany of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente: "We're still talking like mad. We have a realistic deal that we can deliver. It's no pie-in-the-sky (proposal) like Hollywood Park put together" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 6/15). Sources close to Davis say that "the thought of playing two years, and perhaps more, in the L.A. Coliseum may be the biggest single factor keeping Oakland's hopes alive" (Steve Springer, L.A. TIMES, 6/15). In S.F., Glenn Dickey writes, "The parameters of both the proposal to build a new stadium adjacent to Hollywood Park and the deal to return the Raiders to Oakland have been set for some time. No matter how much posturing Davis does, neither is going to change now. The chance that a new stadium could be built for the 1997 season has always been problematic, and each day of delay makes it more so" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/15).
Bengals President Mike Brown was reportedly "encouraged" after Cincinnati-area business leaders and politicians met with OH Gov. George Voinovich on Tuesday. The state of OH reportedly has pledged a "significant influx of money" to build separate football and baseball stadiums in Cincinnati. Brown: "It's been a long, long time getting to this point. I feel tremendous progress has been made" (Gordon Forbes, USA TODAY, 6/15). In Baltimore, however, Jon Morgan writes that a Cincinnati city councilman declared the Bengals situation "critical" and predicted that the team could become the Baltimore Bengals "within days." Brown visited Baltimore last week and is reportedly "serious about moving [the team] to Baltimore, and wouldn't have come if he weren't" (Baltimore SUN, 6/15).
Any bidder planning to buy the Blue Jays from likely Labatt's buyer Interbrew S.A., "will apparently have to play football, too," according to Gary Picknell of the TORONTO SUN. The C$190M price that Interbrew has put on the Blue Jays will reportedly include the CFL Toronto Argonauts as well. The Belgian brewer has reportedly had some interested bidders, including Orlando developer Norton Herrick. Larry Tanenbaum, who lost out to John Bitove in the bidding for a NBA expansion team in Toronto, "acknowledged" yesterday he may be interested in buying the Jays as well. Interbrew's first priority is to sell Labatt's broadcast holdings, since Canadian law puts restrictions on foreign broadcast ownership. Because of that, one source predicted that Interbrew would not be in "a rush" to sell the Jays. The source: "I would be surprised if [the team] was sold before the end of the season. By then, the baseball market should definitely improve" (TORONTO SUN, 6/15).
At a news conference in Winnipeg yesterday, Spirit of Manitoba Chair Mal Anderson said he recognized that getting NHL approval for the sale of the Jets "may be one of the toughest challenges the new group faces." NHL approval is one of the conditions set for the sale to be finalized (CP/VANCOUVER SUN, 6/15). According to NHL VP of Public Relations Arthur Pincus, the league will undertake a "fairly intensive review" of the proposed ownership restructuring. The league will be looking for "financial wherewithal" from any new owners, "a solid commitment to a new building" and indications of "sound management" of the club. Pincus said that he "could not predict" if the league would or could approve the deal by the August 15 deadline (David Roberts, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 6/15). In his "Truth & Rumours" column, William Houston reports that Mike Largue, a New York investor who heads a group of Swiss businessmen "keen" on buying the Jets, has spoken with Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow about purchasing the team for $70M. (Largue says that he would keep the team in Winnipeg for two years). Shenkarow reportedly told Largue "if an agreement could not be reached with the Winnipeg consortium, he would deal only with a Minnesota group" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 6/15). CASUALTIES OF THE DEAL: If the deal with Spirit goes through, Barry Shenkarow and his partners will reportedly have "no further interest" in the franchise (CP/VANCOUVER SUN, 6/15). In Toronto, Lance Hornby reports that Jets GM John Paddock may also be a "casualty" if the Spirit group takes over (TORONTO SUN, 6/15).