SBD/9/Franchises

WANT THE JAYS? BE PREPARED TO TAKE ARGOS AND SKYDOME, TOO

     Whoever buys the Blue Jays from Interbrew S.A. must be
prepared to buy the rest of Labatt's sports holdings as well,
according to this morning's FINANCIAL POST.  Jamie Wayne writes
that for franchises to be "economically viable," teams must own
the facilities they play in.  This would dictate that anyone
interested in the Blue Jays would have to buy the SkyDome, as
well as the CFL Argonauts and would likely be a major influence
on any NFL expansion in Toronto.  Wayne notes this will be a
"tough sell" for Interbrew as Labatt had been unsuccessfully
looking to package its sports properties as far back as 18 months
ago.  The effects of the MLB and NHL labor disputes have lessened
interest, as has the price of this "hefty package": an estimated
C$200M for the Blue Jays, US$175M for NFL expansion, and C$168M
for Labatt's 42% stake in SkyDome (FINANCIAL POST, 6/9).  The
GLOBE & MAIL's Marty York reports that Orlando developer Norton
Herrick is planning a pitch for the Argonauts.  Herrick has been
in discussion with CFL Commissioner Larry Smith about expansion
in Orlando, but sees value in the Argonauts because of the terms
of the club's SkyDome lease, which gives the Argonauts right of
first refusal on all football played there.  Herrick:  "I have
interest in both the CFL and the NFL.  They're both good and
potentially profitable investments, unlike the Blue Jays" (GLOBE
& MAIL, 6/9).
     BROADCAST PROPERTIES:  The Winnipeg-based CanWest,
Vancouver-based Alliance Communications, and Toronto-based WIC
Western are all "possible bidders" for Labatt's broadcast
interests.  These interests include The Sports Network (TSN) and
the Discovery Channel.  CanWest has confirmed they have already
begun negotiations for the assets worth an estimated C$600M
(Robert Gibbens, FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/9).  The GLOBE & MAIL's
William Houston reports that a CTV source said the Canadian
network "would probably not" make a offer for TSN (Toronto GLOBE
& MAIL, 6/9).
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