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SEAHAWKS START TO SET UP SHOP IN L.A. AREA
Published February 6, 1996
Seahawks Owner Ken Behring said last night that his L.A.- bound team "will train in Anaheim and hopes to play its home games in Pasadena's Rose Bowl next year," according to this morning's SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER. While King County was threatening to sue any city that signs a deal with Behring, the P-I reports Behring "showed every sign of setting up a bidding war between Los Angeles-area communities that want to provide the team's permanent home." Yesterday, Behring met with L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan, City Council President John Ferraro and Steve Soboroff, co-chair of the mayorally appointed Football LA task force. Also, a news conference with Anaheim officials was cancelled yesterday, although Behring is set to meet with them today (Boren, Penhale & Bruscas, SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 2/6). BIG A, BIG HOPES: While the L.A. TIMES reported that Anaheim had the "inside track" on landing the Seahawks for the long-term, the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER was reporting that Behring "dashed" the hopes of Anaheim official that they would have an exclusive six-month negotiating window with the team (L.A. TIMES, 2/6; ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/6). SOME WELCOME MAT: As for the NFL and the Football LA task force, the TIMES reports that they "continue to go about their business as if Behring never left Seattle." Mayor Riordan: "I never feel comfortable taking something away from another city. ... Obviously, I don't want them to come." Football LA Chair Fred Rosen: "We have allied ourselves with the NFL and we are playing by the rules. We're not sure the Seahawks have the right to move here or to Anaheim." In Anaheim, Disney officials had reservations about the possibility of the team playing interim games at Anaheim Stadium. Disney is currently negotiating with the city over renovations to Anaheim Stadium -- on which hinges the company's deal to purchase a controlling interest in the MLB team. Disney Sports President Tony Tavares: "At some point they won't be able to play football in that stadium because of the renovations that are going on. If it would prevent us from starting our work, I would object." Anaheim City Manager Jim Ruth, on the Disney factor: "It's just another thing in the hopper" (T.J. Simers, L.A. TIMES, 2/6). LOCAL BUYERS? King County officials "continued to cling to fading hopes" that Behring would sell to a local buyer. Added to Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen were the names of former Seahawks Coach Chuck Knox (who issued a denial) and Nike Chair Phil Knight (who was not in Seattle as reported, but at Atlanta's Super Show). AT&T Wireless Senior VP Bob Ratcliffe responded to rumors a group of high-tech execs would combine for an offer by saying that no one "was interested in getting in a bidding war with Mr. Allen" (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 2/6). The SEATTLE TIMES examines past relations with the Behrings (Schaefer & Serrano, SEATTLE TIMES, 2/5). ESPN noted the team had no comment yesterday other than a video release from David Behring. Behring: "The true problem that everybody seems to be sidestepping right now is the Kingdome. The more we examined the Kingdome over the course of the last year and a half, the more problems we found" ("SportsCenter," 2/5). NORTHWEST EXPRESS: B.C. Lions Owner Bill Comrie floated the possibility of putting an NFL team in Vancouver to operate in conjunction with his CFL team. Officials from Orca Bay, owner of the Canucks and Grizzlies, expressed interest in Comrie's idea (Vancouver PROVINCE, 2/6). DOESN'T THE PRESIDENT HAVE ENOUGH PROBLEMS? King County Exec Gary Locke is in DC today to meet with President Clinton on unrelated matters. He said, however, that he would raise the issue of franchise instability and its effect on cities and fans and push for antitrust legislation currently before Congress (L.A. TIMES, 2/6).