SBD/11/Franchises

BEARS OWNER MCCASKEY: IF YOU BUILD IT, WE WILL STAY

     Bears Owner Michael McCaskey said Thursday that the
franchise "may leave the state" if its January deadline for
approval of a new stadium is not met, according to the CHICAGO
SUN TIMES.  McCaskey: "Four and a half months is all we have left
to find a realistically doable stadium.  If it's not looking like
it's going to happen in Illinois, ...then we'll consider
something else."  Mike Mulligan and Fran Speilman write Chicago
Mayor Richard Daley doubts McCaskey will give up his "exclusive
franchise" in "the greatest sports town in America."  Daley:
"They'll never give that up.  No one would give that up" (CHICAGO
SUN TIMES, 8/11).  IL Gov Jim Edgar is not as confident as Daley
in the team staying, according to according to Pearson and Kiley
of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE.  Because of McCaskey's "warning" that he
may move the team to "football-hungary cities such as Baltimore
or Los Angeles," Edgar took the "extraordinary step" of traveling
to the Bears' training facility in Platteville, WI and meeting
with McCaskey "for more than a hour." NFL officials confirmed
Thursday that McCaskey has talked to at least one city about
relocating the Bears, and they added that the city was not L.A.
(CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/11).
     I LOVE L.A.?  "Add the Chicago Bears to the growing list of
NFL teams that say they are looking toward Los Angeles," writes
Bill Plaschke in the L.A. TIMES.  He notes that unlike the
Seahawks and Cardinals who have also said they are interested in
the area, McCaskey has admitted he is, at this point, using the
move option as leverage in his stadium negotiations (L.A. TIMES,
8/11).
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