SBD/21/Franchises

FLORIDA'S UNCIVIL WAR: COUNTIES BATTLE FOR BUCCANEERS

     Osceola County, a largely rural area just south of Orlando,
offered Hillsborough County "an olive branch" Tuesday after Tampa
area officials threatened a $500M lawsuit over attempts to lure
the Bucs from Tampa.  Osceola County Chair Jim Norman said his
government is not trying to "pirate" the team, but "stopped short
of suspending talks with Bucs officials."  The team's lease with
Hillsborough County has them in Tampa Stadium through 2000, but
they have a buyout option.  Hillsborough officials say they will
file a suit against any body involved in trying to lure their
team away -- be it another state or a FL county (Charean Williams
ORLANDO SENTINEL, 2/21).  Meanwhile, in Tampa, Joe Henderson
notes Hillsborough officials say the Bucs may have a response to
local proposals to keep the team moving "by this weekend."  The
Bucs have had only one official meeting with Tampa officials
since January 10 (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 2/21).
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Franchises, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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