SBD/22/Franchises

SHOULD AL STAY OR SHOULD HE GO? RAIDERS HEADING HOME?

     Several reports yesterday indicated that the Raiders were
close to an announcement that they were moving back to Oakland,
setting off a flurry of "no comments" and denials.  KNBR radio in
San Francisco was the first to report that the Raiders would move
back.  On his KNBR show, former Raiders coach John Madden said
,"It's closer now than it's ever been.  It's going to happen, and
it's going to happen today" (KNBR, 6/21).  Sources said that if
the decision is indeed final, it would be because Raiders Owner
Al Davis "became extremely concerned that construction of a new
L.A. stadium ay Hollywood Park would not be completed by '97,
forcing him to spend three years in the L.A. Coliseum (Plaschke &
Springer, L.A. TIMES, 6/22).  In the East Bay, the OAKLAND
TRIBUNE reports that "throughout the day, East Bay officials
exchanged drafts of a letter of intent with [Davis], tweaking the
language to satisfy the Raiders and themselves" (Li, Staats &
Ronningen, OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 6/22).
          DOES ANYONE KNOW ANYTHING?  NFL spokespersons said "no
     final decision had been made," and Davis told the AP that
     "he could not say for sure what was happening."  One league
     official said Davis "was struggling with a very difficult
     decision and might not know which way he's going from one
     minute to the next" (Timothy Smith, N.Y. TIMES, 6/22).
          WHO'S SAYING WHAT?  In L.A., Plaschke & Springer write,
     "Al Davis has decided to move the Raiders back to Oakland,
     but the deal will not be finalized until legal details are
     worked out" (L.A. TIMES, 6/22).  In Toronto, Gary Picknell
     writes, "Oakland is preparing for a welcome-home
     celebration" (TORONTO SUN, 6/22).  L.A. TIMES column header:
     "Raiders move north is a definite maybe" (L.A. TIMES, 6/22).
     USA TODAY header:  "Oakland, be prepared for more
     disappointment" (USA TODAY, 6/22).  In Baltimore, Vito
     Stellino reports Davis is either close to moving, "or he's
     using his former coach, John Madden, to give him leverage in
     his talks with [L.A.] officials" (Baltimore SUN, 6/22).
     Header over SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS piece:  "Remember:  Davis
     has played this game before" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 6/22).
     John Czarnecki of the "NFL on Fox" called it "a last minute
     ploy":  "My gut tells me Al will stay."  NewSport's Fred
     Edelstein:  "I spoke with the highest echelons of the NFL
     (Wednesday), and Al Davis' spin to them was, 'I have no deal
     with anybody'" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 6/22).  CNN's Nick
     Charles:  "From all reports, it looks like the Raiders are
     going long and deep back to Oakland."  Former Raider/Fox NFL
     analyst Howie Long:  "I don't know whether it's a reality or
     not or a ploy at the last minute to coax along the Hollywood
     Park people.  Who the heck knows?"  CNN's Danny Sheridan:
     "This will give him a home field advantage second to none in
     the NFL, and you certainly don't get that in laid-back L.A.
     Number two is obviously financial incentives.  He'll be
     guaranteed in ticket sales $2.5 million for every home game,
     plus approximately $85 to $90 million in stadium
     renovations.  And lastly, several minority partners have
     told Al, 'If you don't move back to Oakland, I want to be
     bought out.'  That's also a considerable amount of money.
     It's a great move for the NFL and a great move for the
     Raiders" ("Sports Tonight," 6/21).
          NETWORK REAX:  If the Raiders leave L.A., it leaves the
     No. 2 media market without an NFL team.  Both NBC Sports
     President Dick Ebersol and Fox Sports President David Hill
     declined comment, but Fox spokesperson Vince Wladika said
     "it's a league matter."  TNT analyst Pat Haden:  "The upside
     for the networks is they'll get to televise more games in
     Los Angeles, because they were hampered by local blackouts
     from non-sellouts.  But the league still has to have a team
     in Los Angeles" (USA TODAY, 6/22).
          IF THEY DO LEAVE:  If the Raiders do leave, the L.A.
     TIMES' Plaschke & Springer write that the league "intends to
     bring one existing and one expansion team to the area, but
     only after construction begins on a modern stadium that
     would be attractive to potential owners" (L.A. TIMES, 6/22).
     In Seattle, Laura Vecsey writes, "Yesterday, the Seahawks-
     to-L.A. rumor mill was at full-tilt boogie, now that Al
     Davis might be reversing himself and heading back up the
     [CA] coast" (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 6/22).
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