SBD/28/Franchises

TENNESSEE STEPS CLOSER TO STRIKING TEXAS TEA

     TN Gov. Don Sundquist yesterday increased the state's
initial offer to lure the Oilers to Nashville from $10M to $67M,
according to today's HOUSTON CHRONICLE.  Sundquist, joined at a
news conference by Oilers VP Mike McClure and Nashville Mayor
Phil Bredesen, guaranteed the state will issue $55M in bonds to
help finance construction of a new stadium and kick in $12M in
related road improvements.  The CHRONICLE's John Williams reports
Bredesen has not yet decided how to raise the $75M the city aims
to contribute toward the $250-275M it will cost to lure the
Oilers.  The sale of PSLs and private contributions are expected
to generate $100M.  Nashville's Metro Council is expected to vote
on stadium financing on October 10 -- ten days before the city's
exclusive negotiating agreement with the team expires.  The
state's contribution must still be approved by the TN General
Assembly, but it has support from both the Lt. Governor and House
Speaker.  Sundquist had originally opposed a state contribution,
but changed his mind after Nashville officials said the state
could take additional sales tax revenues generated from the team
(HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/28).  Bredesen, on the negotiations:  "I
personally believe that by the deadline we will be able to come
together with a project agreement that meets everyone's needs"
("Sports View," CNBC, 9/27).
     HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM:  It now appears that Houston
isn't even a second option for the Oilers if the deal with
Nashville falls through, according to the CHRONICLE's Williams.
OIlers officials said they will begin looking at Baltimore if
things do not work out in Nashville.  One NFL exec told the
CHRONICLE that Baltimore is "a one-phone-call deal."  Williams
notes that "virtually nothing is being done" in Houston to keep
the team except to hold owner Bud Adams to his Astrodome contract
through '97.  TX Gov. George Bush reiterated Wednesday that no
state money would go toward keeping the Oilers (HOUSTON
CHRONICLE, 9/28).
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