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  • FRANCHISE DEATH WATCH I: BREWERS ON BELTWAY OR TOBACCO ROAD?

         If the WI legislature fails to approve a plan for a new
    stadium for the Brewers, the team will leave town, possibly to DC
    or Charlotte, according to the the AP's Dan Hanley. Without
    approval of the stadium, the Brewers could be playing next season
    at RFK Stadium or Charlotte's Knight's Castle (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL
    SENTINEL, 9/26).  Mike Scanlon, Exec VP of Virginia Baseball,
    said the group led by William Collins has had talks with the
    Brewers ownership (WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/26).  Meanwhile, WI State
    Assembly Speaker David Prosser has yet to line up the 50 votes
    necessary for a financing plan to build a new $250M ballpark for
    the team.  Prosser said he would not bring the issue to the floor
    until he had support, but he insisted the vote will take place
    tomorrow.  Prosser said he gained support yesterday by expanding
    the taxing districts responsible for funding the stadium to
    include Racine County, just south of Milwaukee (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL
    SENTINEL, 9/26).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Milwaukee Brewers
  • FRANCHISE DEATH WATCH II: WHEN DOES A "NO" MEAN YES?

         The latest ballot count in Seattle, released yesterday,
    dropped the total "Yes" votes in the King County Stadium Tax
    measure behind "No" by a margin of 245,092 to 243,557.  In this
    morning's SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, Rebecca Boren writes the
    new margin, while "virtually sealing the failure" of last
    Tuesday's vote, places the heat on state politicians "to come up
    with a way to build a new home for Seattle's suddenly wildly
    popular baseball team."  While it is still mathematically
    possible for the margin of 1,535 votes to be overcome by about
    3,000 special ballots that have yet to be counted, "it's highly
    unlikely."  However, Boren notes, although the vote will likely
    fail, even its opponents "said the campaign won the larger point
    of convincing the state's political leadership that voters care
    about keeping the Mariners here."  WA Gov. Mike Lowry said
    yesterday he supports using state money to help keep the
    Mariners.  U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton said the state could cut costs
    by eliminating the $170M that was on the ballot measure to pay
    for Kingdome roof repairs and renovations.  Boren notes the
    Seahawks lobbied the King County Council to get the Kingdome
    improvements added to the ballot, and then they "sat out the
    election, which may have been enough to kill the proposal"
    (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 9/26).
         OPINIONS, REAX:  Columnist Art Thiel: "A new baseball
    stadium will be built.  Book it."  Thiel writes that just as the
    Seattle City Council helped Sonics Owner Barry Ackerley fund a
    renovation of the Seattle Center Coliseum as the Sonics made a
    playoff run in '93, fan support for the playoff contending
    Mariners will push politicians to act.  Thiel:  "This emotional
    momentum, which should be irrelevant to sober considerations of
    taxation, construction and design, nevertheless will be the
    crucial factor in buckling political resistance" (SEATTLE POST-
    INTELLIGENCER, 9/26).  Columnist Bart Wright, quoting a local
    sports talk show host: "Name me another county anywhere in the
    country where the baseball team invalidated the democratic
    process of a ballot measure" (TACOMA NEWS TRIBUNE, 9/25).  ESPN's
    Peter Gammons on the Mariners franchise in light of the Seattle
    stadium situation:  "Two possibilities:  Move it, or, maybe sell
    it and have a regional franchise with Vancouver and Portland"
    ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 9/25).
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Franchises, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, Vulcan Ventures, Walt Disney
  • FRANCHISE DEATH WATCH III: THE BARTMAN BACK IN PITTSBURGH?

         Pirates bidder Kevin McClatchy spent most of yesterday in
    discussion with team officials in an effort to complete the deal
    to purchase the club.  But sources told the WASHINGTON POST that
    McClatchy has asked for an extension to "prove that he has the
    cash" to buy the club.  Mark Maske reports that McClatchy was
    told that to get an extension of four weeks he would have to put
    down a $3M nonrefundable deposit.  McClathcy reportedly will
    decide today whether to pay the deposit and proceed.  Maske also
    reports that the Pirates may consider a new offer today from DC
    attorney Bart Fisher, who said he would keep the club in
    Pittsburgh "at least temporarily."  Fisher apparently sent a
    letter to the Pirates' investment bankers yesterday and renewed
    his offer to buy the team, with several new investors.  Fisher
    said his new offer expires at the end of business today.  William
    Collins, head of Virginia Baseball, who wants to move the club to
    the DC-area, has said he will wait until the franchise makes it
    known it is accepting offers from would-be relocators (WASHINGTON
    POST, 9/26).  Fisher's new group reportedly has $50M in equity
    (WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/26).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Pittsburgh Pirates
  • FRANCHISE NOTES

         Oilers Owner Bud Adams and his struggle with Houston
    officials is profiled in the October 9 issue of FORBES.  Adams,
    on his lease: "They called the Astrodome the eighth wonder of the
    world.  Then my lease is the ninth wonder" (FORBES, 10/9
    issue)....Meanwhile, the Astrodome's other tenants -- the Astros
    -- drew only 11,142 to last night's game with the Pirates as they
    remain only one game back in the wildcard hunt
    (SportsTicker)....The Marlins had their smallest home crowd in
    their history last night, drawing 16,230 in a loss to Montreal
    (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/26). ....More crowd apathy:  In
    Atlanta, the Falcons "are unloved, uninspiring and have plenty of
    tickets unsold at the Georgia Dome," writes Len Pasquarelli in
    the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION.  The team has 20,000 tickets remaining
    for this Sunday's game against the Patriots even though they have
    a 3-1 record.  Last week's game against the Jets drew the lowest
    total to the Georgia Dome (40,778) since the facility opened in
    '92 (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/26).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Atlanta Falcons, Edmonton Oilers, Miami Marlins, Franchises, Houston Astros, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Pirates
  • KINGS EXPLAIN THEIR FINANCIAL POSITION

         The L.A. Kings have sent a letter to suppliers informing
    them that with the team's sale comes a "conconcurrent voluntary
    filing of a Chapter 11 petition."  The letter calls the filing
    "strategic" and says it is in order to "protect the franchise and
    its new owners from possible legal entanglements resulting from
    Bruce McNall's ownership of the team."  The letter, signed by CFO
    Michael Handelman, says the team anticipates "no impact on the
    team's day-to-day operations," but due to legal restrictions they
    will be prohibited "from paying anyone, including suppliers, for
    past due amounts" (THE DAILY).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises
  • VIKINGS, UNDER LEASE UNTIL 2012, WANT CHANGES AT DOME

         NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue joined Vikings President
    Roger Headrick in a meeting of the Advisory Task Force in the
    Twin Cities to explain the team's requirements for financial
    health at the Metrodome.  Headrick told the panel he wants more
    revenue from the facility, including ad income, concessions and
    ticket sales.  However, "some of that new cash can come only if
    the Twins don't share the stadium with the football team," writes
    Jay Weiner in the Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE.  Tagliabue and
    Headrick presented figures showing the Vikings ranking 21st out
    of the NFL's 28 teams last season in net revenue.  The Vikings
    kept $58.2M compared to the league-leading Cowboys' $92.9M.  Just
    as the Twins did in a presentation to the Task Force last month,
    the Vikings laid out a wish list.  Wiener reports that while both
    teams want control of the facility, both also seek the same new
    revenue sources from the dome.  They also differ on areas for new
    seats (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 9/26).
    

    Print | Tags: Dallas Cowboys, Franchises, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Vikings, NFL
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