The IHL Board of Governors announced Wednesday they have approved the sale of the Ice Dogs to TV Producer Barry Kemp (IHL)....A federal judge Wednesday approved the settlement of a lawsuit against the Cubs filed by longstanding Cubs fans who use wheelchairs. The Cubs have agreed to take several steps to improve accessibility for the handicapped to Wrigley Field (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/4).
Panthers Owner Wayne Huizenga rejected a $75M offer for the team by an investment group led by personal injury attorney James Shapiro, according to this morning's FT. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL. Huizenga, who said the bid was $10M too low: "We're always looking to talk with anyone who makes a serious offer. This was not a serious offer." Huizenga said the group did not have the cash available and that they wanted 60 days to raise the bulk of it. Shapiro is the nephew of Bucs Owner Malcolm Glazer. Bucs spokesperson Chip Namias said the Glazers had no role in the bid for the Panthers. The only other name released from Shapiro's group was Hollywood attorney Fred Chikovsky, who defended their finances but said Huizenga's decision not to make a counter-offer ended their pursuit of the team. Huizenga is seeking $85-90M from a South FL buyer. Huizenga has offered to make a $25M donation to the construction of a local arena provided that Broward County officials meet several conditions by February 1. After that date, Huizenga is expected to entertain offers from out-of-state buyers (David Nitkin, Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 1/4).
While media heir Kevin McClatchy has received tentative approval from MLB's ownership committee and the Pirates board of directors to buy the team, NL President Len Coleman said yesterday the sale "is no slam dunk." Coleman told USA TODAY that "financial stability" is the key and that he hopes to move the sale forward, but he saw the Three Rivers Stadium lease with the city and an unpaid $6M loan are two key issues holding up the deal. MLB would like to see more stadium lease concessions from the city. In addition, the team is saddled with a $6M unpaid loan which originated with the Galbreath family, previous owners of the team. McClatchy said he is working on the loan, but "the real question is how much of it has to be paid back." Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig was unsure if the sale would be voted on at the next owners meetings (Hal Bodley, USA TODAY, 1/4).
Stallions Owner Jim Speros will in Houston tomorrow for a meeting with Astrodome management, city officials and local businessmen about a deal to bring the team there next season, according to the Baltimore SUN. Speros said a decision is near, adding, "Houston has shown quite a bit of interest." The Stallions' season-ticket drive in Baltimore, which aimed for 20,000 season-tickets to be sold, has sold only 12,000 as of Tuesday. The drive was scheduled to end tomorrow, but Speros has extended it until Monday. Speros, who also expects offers from Richmond and PA's Lehigh Valley, said a final decision will not be made until next week. Speros noted there is still a chance the team will stay in Baltimore, but he added Houston has an advantage over Richmond and PA in that it has a 59,969-seat facility ready for play (Kevin Eck, Baltimore SUN, 1/4). In other CFL news, VA Gov. George Allen said the state may use economic development funds to assist the Pirates' move from Shreveport to Norfolk (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 1/3).