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A copy of an uncompleted draft agreement between Orioles Owner Peter Angelos and the Maryland Stadium Authority for the purchase of the Bucs showed the state's investment could have been up to $20M more than the $200M projected for Baltimore's new NFL team, according to the Baltimore SUN. The agreement was dated January 10, 1995, but Malcolm Glazer bought the team six days later and the deal was never ratified by the MSA. Included in the deal is a $3M payment where the state would have become a limited partner in the team. MSA's contribution would have also included $10M in expenses and the agreement would have allowed Angelos to sell naming rights to the stadium. Art Modell's agreement with MSA prohibits him from selling stadium naming rights. Angelos declined to comment on the agreement but former MSA Chair Herbert Belgrade disputes critics who say Modell's deal is more lucrative to his team than offers made to other teams, adding, "They may get less." Other differences included allowing the Bucs unrestricted use of PSLs, while Modell is limited to $80M, and a state reimbursement to Angelos' investment group of up to $2.5M in legal fees and $10M for paying NFL fees and buying out the lease in Tampa. Modell will pay such fees through PSL sales (Jon Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 2/16). BACK TO THE PRESENT: Officials of the Baltimore NFL team have tentatively made mid-March their target date to begin moving from their training complex in Berea, OH, to their new, but temporary, headquarters in Owings Mills, MD. Today is the deadline for the city and surrounding counties to submit proposals for the team's new headquarters and training complex. Team VP David Modell said no deadline has been set by the club or NFL Properties on a name or color scheme (Mike Preston, Baltimore SUN, 2/16).
The AHL Cornwall Aces have announced that the city of Cornwall, Ontario, has decided to terminate its contract with the team at the end of the season. Mayor Ron Martelle said the city was unable "to continue the financial commitment necessary to operate an AHL franchise." The Aces will address the future of the club soon (ESPNET, 2/15).... The city of Baltimore is among a number of creditors suing CFL owner Jim Speros over debts incurred during the Stallions' stay. The city is seeking $435,782 it claims it is owed on a defaulted loan for Memorial Stadium improvements. Speros says he intends to pay all creditors once a $2.75M loan from Canadian officials is approved (Baltimore SUN, 2/16).... Today was the deadline for prospective Devil Rays season ticket holders to pay a 25% deposit to maintain their priority number. How many of the 4,000 accounts and 15,000 seat reservations were paid for won't be known for a few weeks, according to Devil Rays Dir of Sales and Marketing Mike Seamon (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 2/16).... The Jaguars have decided to opt out of their training camp contract with Univ. of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. They will train instead in Jacksonville. The school is talking with the Rams to take the Jaguars' place (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 2/16). ....T-Wolves Ticket Sales Manager Jeff Munneke, on demand for tonight's sold-out Bulls game: "If we put this game in the Metrodome, we could easily sell 50,000 tickets. No question" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/16)....In Seattle, Angelo Bruscas examines the reception Ken Behring has received in L.A. since announcing his intention to move. L.A. City Councilman Mike Hernandez: "It was a total surprise ... the proper groundwork wasn't there." Behring spokesperson John Eckel, of Hill & Knowlton: "Once this is all settled and the legalities are cleared away, you're going to see a tremendous, tremendous amount of support come out down here" (SEATTLE POST- INTELLIGENCER, 2/15).
Maple Leafs President Cliff Fletcher responded to reports that MLG Ltd. "passed" on as much as C$70M in added TV revenue, thus enabling Owner Steve Stavro to purchase the company more easily. According to yesterday's FINANCIAL POST, Fletcher called the claims "an unadulterated crock." The issue of TV revenue is central to the case of the Ontario Attorney General and Office of the Public Trustee, who have challenged Stavro's control of MLG. According to court documents which surfaced in recent newspaper accounts, the Leafs "did not pursue significant money by reopening a clause in its broadcast contract with Molson Breweries." According to Fletcher, while there were legal opinions that said the contracts could be reopened, there were as many that said they couldn't. Fletcher cited the fact the team hired IMG's Barry Frank to negotiate the deal -- whom Fletcher considers the best in the business -- and said, "For anyone to suggest now that we didn't max out every nickel, I can assure you we did." Fletcher also denied the claim that they kept out competition, namely Labatt. Fletcher: "I can tell you this much, our alternatives were very limited" (Steve Simmons, FINANCIAL POST, 2/15).