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SEAHAWKS TO L.A., PART II: HOW'S, WHY'S AND WHERE'S OF IT
Published February 2, 1996
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).