SBD/2/Franchises

SEAHAWKS TO L.A., PART II: HOW'S, WHY'S AND WHERE'S OF IT

     In an analysis piece, ESPN's Keith Olbermann cited Dodgers
Owner Peter O'Malley's recent announcement that they would
conduct a feasibility study on a football stadium at Chavez
Ravine "may have made the Seahawks itchy" since it likely vaulted
O'Malley to "front-runner" status in the race to get an NFL team
in L.A.  The Hollywood Park group, which had been the perceived
leader, plans to build a "state-of-the-art stadium" adjacent to
the race track and house a team at the Rose Bowl in the interim.
Sources suggest Owner Ken Behring is "trying to stake a
geographical claim to the entire market ... [and], having
established himself in the Rose Bowl, this line of thinking goes,
Behring could either dampen or extinguish O'Malley's enthusiasm
for a fight over the territory and then get either better terms
from the Hollywood Park group or pit them against Anaheim or any
other would-be stadium builders" ("SportsCenter," 2/1).
     THE VIEW FROM L.A.:  T.J. Simers of the L.A. TIMES concurs:
"In effect, Behring will be able to hold Los Angeles hostage
instead of letting the NFL dictate the football future of the
nation's second largest city."  Consultant Marc Ganis, of Sports
Corp Limited:  "It's a brilliant and gutsy move. ... Sure, there
is risk involved if the courts force him to stay in Seattle, but
there are great gains if he can come to Los Angeles and own the
entire marketplace. ... The NFL wants a team in L.A. for the next
TV contract negotiations, so maybe they just go with him."  Steve
Soboroff, Vice Chair of Football LA, a civic group overseeing the
return of the NFL:  "This seems to be a team on a shopping tour
of Los Angeles and Orange County. ... I really don't think they
are coming here" (L.A. TIMES, 2/2).
     DISNEY FACTOR:  A year ago, Ken Behring commissioned then-
CAA President Michael Ovitz to find a new home for his team.  But
there are "no indications" that Behring and Ovitz, now President
at Disney, are working now on the plan to bring the team to L.A.
Simers reports, "Most observers believe Disney would have nothing
to do with the anticipated legal struggle Behring will have to
wage to win his team's freedom" (L.A. TIMES, 2/2).  The NEWS
TRIBUNE notes Disney is an option, but only if the Seahawks
"don't have a lease.  The Disney people don't want the public
relations problem of being perceived as having tried to steal a
franchise" (Foster & Clayton, Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 2/1).
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