SBD/12/Franchises

BETTMAN TO TWIN CITIES: JETS ARE YOURS, IF YOU WANT 'EM

     NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told MN officials Wednesday
they are "in a one horse race," if they so choose, to bring the
Jets to the Target Center.  In this morning's Minneapolis STAR-
TRIBUNE, Jay Weiner reports Bettman, addressing the state's
Advisory Task Force on Professional Sports, "nonchalantly
triggered a collective jaw dropping" among leaders when he
advised them of his "apparent deadline" of December 14 for a plan
to help relocate the club.  Bettman was joined by likely Jets
buyer Richard Burke.  However, Weiner notes they "were probably
talking to the wrong people.  The 20-member task force ... has no
negotiating power."  Burke said he will negotiate with "anyone in
Minnesota who could provide him with the cash" he and partner
Steven Gluckstern need.  Burke was referring to a $20M figure
said to be the amount needed keep a team from financial
difficulty.  State Sen. Dean Johnson noted state help may be hard
to obtain by the deadline, as legislative sessions do not begin
again until January 16.  Johnson also doubted a quorum would show
if Gov. Arne Carlson called a special Jets session.  Bettman:  "I
believed, based on the sentiments I heard after the [Stars] left,
that people here really wanted to have a hockey team.  If I
misread that, then so be it.  Opportunities don't last forever"
(Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 10/12).  Columnist Patrick Reusse
writes that the state "would be idiots to pass up an NHL team,"
and leaders should tax casino operators to obtain financing
(Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 10/12).
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