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TEXAS TEA NO LONGER: HOUSTON LOSES THE OILERS
Published November 17, 1995
Oilers Owner Bud Adams "made it official" yesterday, signing a nonbinding deal to move to Nashville for the '98 season. But Adams is "anxious" move after this season, if he can make a deal to break his lease with Astrodome USA, according to T.J. Milling in today's HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Oilers GM Floyd Reece was in Memphis yesterday negotiating with the CFL Mad Dogs to share the Liberty Bowl until Nashville's new stadium -- the key to the $292M deal -- is ready in '98 (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/17). Adams: "We were satisfied with our fans in Houston but we couldn't play under the existing playing conditions. It wouldn't allow us to compete with the Joneses" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 11/16). DETAILS: The deal as signed was "a little different and a lot more detailed" than original documents discussed since August, Milling reports, with some of the "so-called milestones" pushed back. The January 20 deadline for the city to sell 82 of the new stadium's 100 luxury boxes has already been met, with commitments for all 100 at $50-125,000 each. In addition, a 10- year option for the club was added to the 30-year lease. The deal will be non-binding until March, when the state's $79M contribution must be approved by the legislature and NFL owners are scheduled to vote on the move. Adams will reportedly receive $350M in stadium revenues over the first ten years of the deal. If Memphis shares the Liberty Bowl, the deal includes $28M for relocation costs, "which could go a long way toward" an Astrodome lease buyout (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/17). IT'S ALL IN A NAME: Adams kicked off a statewide contest to rename the club, citing the lack of a derrick in the area -- with Fiddlers and Pioneers both mentioned as possibilities. Adams: "This is going to be Tennessee's team" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/17). Other names mentioned include Tornados and Tennesseans (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/17). EYES OF TEXAS COULD CARE LESS: In Houston, Ed Fowler writes, "Whenever talk turns to Oiler-retention, most people yawn as though they'd just heard about the budget crisis in Washington or some such boring stuff." Fowler notes most fans wish "Houston could have a pro football team under different ownership" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/17). Adams: "Frankly, I don't think there is that much feeling towards keeping the Oilers there" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 11/16). CORPSE IS STILL WARM: In Ft. Worth, Gil Lebreton notes that Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones reacted with "polite and compassionate" words at the news of the Oilers move. But he is on record as saying "once Adams leaves, it's open season on the Houston 'market.'" Lebreton notes, "Just a hunch, but Houston is in no mood to be 'marketed'" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 11/17). Gary Myers writes "Another day, another NFL franchise is moving" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/17).