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"Talks to keep the Jets in Winnipeg have turned into a battle over day-to-day control" over the team, writes John Douglas in this morning's WINNIPEG FREE PRESS. Douglas reports that former majority owner and President Barry Shenkarow, who is selling 42% of his share, wants to remain as president and governor for at least two years. Shenkarow will remain as the largest investor in the team -- at 11% --however, the new ownership has only offered him a seat on the Board. Shenkarow reportedly wants both titles, and "if he can't do both, he doesn't want to do either." Sources say that Shenkarow "told his partners yesterday that if he is seen as the obstacle to a deal keeping the Jets in Winnipeg, he would leave his shares in the hockey club but refuse any leadership role." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has already said he would not favor a sale without Shenkarow (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 6/2). Meanwhile, columnist Scott Taylor writes that fan interest is waning each day a deal is delayed (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 6/2).
Bengals President Mike Brown "probably will visit Baltimore to see what's available," because he's "worried more now than ever" about his chances of keeping his team in Cincinnati, according to Jon Morgan in this morning's Baltimore SUN. Morgan reports that Brown will be "following in the footsteps" of Raiders Owner Al Davis, who secretly visited the city in early May. Davis reportedly met with Orioles Owner Peter Angelos and had discussions about a local group led by Angelos buying a 40% share in the Raiders (Baltimore SUN, 6/2).
The Bergen RECORD and NEWARK STAR-LEDGER are suing the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority in State Superior Court over the NJSEA's failure to disclose lease terms for the teams occupying state facilities, according to Richard Sandomir in today's N.Y. TIMES. The papers allege the failure to disclose "violates public records laws that require disclosure of documents like the lease." The NJSEA claims that "allowing the leases to be viewed by the public would ... dull its competitive edge." Sandomir writes, "The 'loss of competitiveness' argument may be logical when applied to squeezing more profit from the concessions at a monster truck show than at a circus. But those are one-day or multi-day events, not long-term leases. There is no daily marketplace competition for sports teams with 20-year leases, except when a team threatens to move, and that does not happen every day." Sandomir argues that the most compelling argument for full disclosure is to show the public the Devils' demands and the financial losses the NJSEA may have to suffer to keep them (N.Y. TIMES, 6/2). HELL-OOO? In his column on ESPN's SportsZone, Keith Olbermann notes that "virtually daring" Devils' fans to call last week after he suggested the team has no fan base, ESPN received only four calls viewers (ESPN SportsZone). DOES SPORTSCHANNEL KNOW SOMETHING?: SportsChannel New York, which holds rights for both the Devils and Islanders, is not pursuing contract negotiations with Islanders announcer Jiggs McDonald until the Devils situation is resolved. Steve Cavendish of the NASHVILLE BANNER reports that the sports cable channel may be waiting to move Devils Broadcaster Mike Emrick to the Islanders should the Devils make the move to Nashville (NASHVILLE BANNER, 6/2).