SBD/23/Franchises

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  • HOUSTON, PART II: OWNERS TO RESTRICT ASTROS FLIGHT?

         Reports in Houston and Washington, DC, focus on the
    likelihood MLB owners would reject a sale of the Astros to
    William Collins and the team's subsequent relocation to the
    Northern VA area.  NL President Leonard Coleman:  "There's a
    process in baseball. ... And that process is yet to begin."  In
    Houston, Alan Truex notes, despite Collins' stated wish to have
    the deal done by Thanksgiving, an MLB relocation committee would
    have to consider the proposal and any move would require a 3/4
    vote (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/22).  Acting MLB Commissioner Bud
    Selig echoed Coleman's comments in an interview with the
    WASHINGTON POST.  Selig praised Collins for his aggressiveness,
    but noted the "reasonable" procedural requirements.  Selig:  "One
    of the factors is, is there a local buyer?" (Mark Maske,
    WASHINGTON POST, 10/23).  One MLB "insider":  "This isn't the
    NFL.  These owners are not going to just yawn and let this happen
    in a matter of a few weeks."  One source says owners will try to
    convince Astros Owner Drayton McLane to "hold on for one more
    year" (Terry Blount, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/21).  The POST's Maske
    notes other MLB owners "apparently are upset that McLane is
    talking to Collins without having made an intense effort to sell
    the team to local buyers" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/21).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Franchises, Houston Astros, MLB, NFL
  • HOUSTON, PART III: NASHVILLE SAYS OILERS ARE WORTH IT

         Nashville Metro Finance Dir Joe Huddleston answered
    "absolutely" to the question of whether the Oilers are worth a
    $292.2M investment.  Huddleston released a study by KPMG Peat
    Marwick that shows an NFL team would generate $8M in taxes
    annually, $65.4M in spending and add 1,350 full-time jobs.
    Huddleston:  "People should use their common sense and look at
    those cities that have added pro sports.  I challenge anyone who
    does that to say there was no economic benefit."  But two
    economists were skeptical on the direct economic benefits.  Both
    Vanderbilt's John Siegfried and Smith's Andrew Zimbalist said any
    multiplier effect is less with pro teams than other businesses
    (TENNESSEAN, 10/21).
    

    Print | Tags: Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, NFL
  • HOUSTON, PART IV: ET TU, ROCKETS?

         In London for the McDonald's Championships, NBA Commissioner
    David Stern said he understands the "dilemma" facing the Rockets
    and the city, but he stated the Rockets will need a new arena.
    Stern:  "The Summit is fine for the short-term.  But within the
    next year, there are going to have to be plans for a new arena."
    Rockets Owner Les Alexander's Summit lease lasts until 2003.
    Stern -- who said "I refuse to launch that war from London" when
    asked if Alexander would be within his rights to move to another
    city -- said he was confident the issue would be worked out "at
    the local level" (Eddie Sefko, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/23).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Houston Rockets, McDonalds, NBA
  • HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM ... ACTUALLY, A FEW PROBLEMS

         "How could it happen?  How can the fourth-largest city in
    the nation be on the verge of losing its pro football team and
    major-league baseball team in the same year," asks Terry Blount
    of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE.  As for the Astros, Blount concludes it
    is not Houston fans that have changed, but the economics of
    baseball (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/22).
    Eddie Webster, President of the Greater Houston Convention &
    Visitors Bureau, said the impact of losing the Oilers and Astros
    would be "devastating."  Webster:  "This is a lot more important
    than just the money it generates for Houston.  This is about
    prestige and image."   But the question of overall impact on a
    community is debatable, according to the HOUSTON CHRONICLE's John
    Williams.  Patti Strauss, spokesperson for MONEY magazine, which
    ranks cities on livability, said the loss of two teams would have
    "very little effect."  And John Brock, head of a top Houston
    executive recruiting firm, said sports don't rank as high as
    other "quality-of-life issues" when executives consider a move to
    a city.  Still, Brock and others note the image problems, notably
    whether Houston will be seen as a "city on the decline" if the
    teams vacate (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/21).
    

    Print | Tags: Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, Houston Astros
  • JERSEY TRAFFIC REPORT: THERE'S A TIE-UP NEAR THE TURNPIKE

         Negotiations between the New Jersey Sports & Exposition
    Authority and the Devils have "broken down," according to a
    "well-placed" NJSEA official cited by the N.Y. POST.  That source
    claimed a "gut feeling" that not only would both parties not sign
    a long-term lease agreement by the November 1 deadline, but that
    the two sides "are indeed headed for court on the original June
    breach of contract suit and counter-suits" (Larry Brooks, N.Y.
    POST, 10/21).  Several reports note the Devils were 3,000 short
    of a full-house for their rematch with the Red Wings on Thursday.
    

    Print | Tags: Detroit Red Wings, Franchises, New Jersey Devils, YankeeNets
  • KING COUNTY COUNCIL LIKELY TO APPROVE M'S STADIUM TODAY

         The "final wrangling" within the Metro King County Council
    on the funding plan for a new Mariners stadium is over an attempt
    by Budget Committee Chair Pete von Reichbauer to create a "fiscal
    oversight committee" that would report to the council on the new
    Public Facilities District overseeing the project.  According to
    this morning's SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, that debate is not
    expected to keep the council from voting to put the stadium plan
    "into motion."  Under the Legislature's plan, the state would
    contribute $107M of the $320M project, the Mariners $45M, and the
    county would be granted taxing authority to cover the rest.
    County officials have questioned whether the funding is adequate
    for the project, and are concerned that tax revenues may not
    cover the entire cost (Ed Penhale, SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER,
    10/23).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Seattle Mariners
  • MINNESOTA GOVERNOR FLOATS HIS FOUR-FRANCHISE PLAN

         MN Gov. Arne Carlson proposed a '97 referendum on a new
    baseball stadium that, if approved, "could be the basis" for
    tying the state's three existing pro teams and the Jets "to long-
    term stays," according to Jay Weiner of the Minneapolis STAR
    TRIBUNE.  Carlson also proposed a two-year public subsidy for the
    Jets if new owner Richard Burke pays an equal amount -- about $2M
    per year.  In addition, Carlson's plan calls for the potential
    for partial public ownership of at least one of the area's teams.
    Carlson said any Jets subsidy would be, in effect, "bridge
    financing" supported by higher income taxes generated by the
    team.  Eventually, a new metro or state sports authority would
    take over and "rearrange finances" for the Jets.  Asked how the
    Jets could make it without public funds, Carlson proposed the
    sale of shares in the team (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/21).
         MORE TALK ON IMPACT:  Weiner also examines the debate over
    economic impact of sports teams, writing, "Pro sports in the '90s
    is not a matter of economic benefit.  It is, rather, a matter of
    collective self-esteem and civic differentiation.  It is a
    signature of what a community is and wants to be."  Lake Forest
    College's Robert Baade:  "There's something psychological taking
    place.  It's about the quality of life" (Minneapolis STAR
    TRIBUNE, 10/22).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New York Jets
  • PANTHERS ON THE PROWL: TEAM LOOKS BEYOND SOUTH FLORIDA

         "Skeptical that Dade County can find a way to build a new
    arena," Panthers Owner Wayne Huizenga said he would begin seeking
    a new home for the team outside South Florida, according to a
    front-page piece in Saturday's MIAMI HERALD.  Huizenga Holdings
    Exec VP James Blosser wrote to the Metro Dade Commissioners that
    the county and team have failed to develop a "concrete, viable
    and timely plan" to raise funds for a new arena.  Blosser warned
    the Panthers could be in a new city as soon as next season.  The
    decision "appears to put an abrupt end" to proposals floated by
    some Metro officials for a combination of taxes to pay for a new
    arena.  That plan, which would have required additional state
    support, was considered "shaky" by Huizenga.  Asst. County
    Manager David Morris:  "It looks like they've decided that's it.
    What can be said?  I thought we had until October 31, but they
    seem to have decided it's not worth the extra time.  But that's
    their choice."  Four cities are mentioned as possible new homes
    for the Panthers:  Nashville (considered the frontrunner),
    Atlanta, Charlotte and Portland.  Blosser noted they are still
    open to any proposals from local governments.  Fort Lauderdale
    may make a "last-gasp attempt" to get the team (Hartman &
    Rafinski, MIAMI HERALD, 10/21).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises
  • WARRIORS PLACE HALLOWEEN DEADLINE ON SAN JOSE'S PROPOSAL

         Warriors officials said Sunday that they need a commitment -
    - approved by the San Jose city council -- by October 31.  With
    that new deadline, city officials spent the day trying to resolve
    the "key stumbling block":  agreement from the Sharks.  Sources
    say the Sharks want new contract language that in 10 years would
    automatically guarantee the NHL team "whatever concessions the
    city might have to offer to keep the basketball team when its
    lease expires."  As the plan reads now, a Warriors' 10-year lease
    with San Jose Arena would run out two years before the Sharks.
    Sharks officials worry the Warriors "would get first crack at
    eliciting valuable concessions from the city to renew the
    contract.  Because the concessions are unknown, it would be risky
    for the city to make such a promise to the Sharks" (Mary Anne
    Ostrom, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/23).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Golden State Warriors, NHL, San Jose Sharks
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