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  • ARE THOSE RAVENS KNOCKING AT THE NFL'S CHAMBER DOOR?

         Ravens emerged yesterday as the Baltimore NFL team's likely
    name, according to this morning's Baltimore SUN.  Ravens will be
    put up against Americans and Marauders in a public preference
    vote, probably through a phone poll.  Tentative plans called for
    a Friday news conference to announce the name.  While several
    team officials believed that Ravens will be the name, one source
    said there "is some dissent within the team, and officials are
    willing to listen to the fans" (Morgan & Preston, Baltimore SUN,
    3/26).
    

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Franchises, NFL
  • BUCS STADIUM DEAL GAINS STEAM AS TEAM PLEDGES CONTRIBUTIONS

         The plan to keep the Bucs in Tampa gained "a key player"
    when Hillsborough County Commission Chair Jim Norman pledged his
    support, according to this morning's TAMPA TRIBUNE.  Norman had
    previously opposed the deal, but was "converted after a Sunday
    meeting with Bucs' officials where the team agreed to contribute
    up to $100,000 annually to the county's youth sports programs."
    The proposed deal, which will use public funds for much of the
    proposed $168M stadium, still needs approval from the Tampa City
    Council, Tampa Sports Authority, and County Commission.  NFL
    President Neil Austrian will be at today's Authority meeting to
    push for approval.  Norman had backed a controversial guarantee
    linking on-field performance to public funding, but the NFL
    rejected that idea last week.  The team has agreed to contribute
    $7,500 for every regular season victory, or up to $100,000 per
    year, to charity from '98-07.  The team will also set aside 1,500
    seats for a family section which would cost no more than $150 per
    season for Hillsborough residents (Jim Kenyon, TAMPA TRIBUNE,
    3/26).  The ORLANDO SENTINEL notes the team also agreed to
    "freeze" advance season-ticket prices for the new stadium through
    May '98 and relinquish management rights to Legends Field and the
    Ice Palace (Charean Williams, ORLANDO SENTINEL, 3/26).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NFL, Palace Sports & Entertainment, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • FRANCHISE NOTES

         Magic VP/Operations John Gabriel could be leaving to rejoin
    the 76ers.  TAMPA TRIBUNE's Bill Fay writes Gabriel has spoken
    with new 76ers President Pat Croce, but nothing was "officially
    discussed."  Gabriel is in the final year of his Magic deal.  He
    his career with Philadelphia, is a friend of Croce, and has
    family in the city (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/26).....The Eagles agreed to
    move their training camp from West Chester Univ. to Lehigh Univ.
    An NFL source said it is likely the team will save $10,000
    (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/26)....The GLOBE & MAIL examines the
    payrolls of the Expos and Blue Jays.  The Jays currently come in
    just over $31.5M, compared to $43M last year.  The Expos stand at
    $15.5M, compared to $10.5M in '95 (GLOBE & MAIL, 3/26)....The new
    Western Professional Hockey League franchise in El Paso will be
    called the Buzzards (WPHL)....The N.Y. POST's Neal Travis reports
    Mets Co-Owners Nelson Doubleday Jr. and Fred Wilpon "have reached
    the stage where they don't speak to each other."  Speculation is
    that Doubleday may seek a buyer for his stake (N.Y. POST,
    3/26)....MLS hopes for a sellout crowd of 26,000 for their league
    opener April 6 in San Jose.  Sales through Monday were at 24,000
    (USA TODAY, 3/26)....A crowd of 17,603, the largest in NPSL
    history, attended the Spirit-Ambush game Saturday night at Kiel
    Center (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/25)....The Diamondbacks
    announced a two-year working agreement with the Triple-A Mexican
    League Owls (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/26)....Former Browns QB Bernie
    Kosar wants to be part of a new Cleveland team, either as a part
    owner or in a player-personnel role.  Kosar reportedly has
    aligned himself with Cleveland financiers Bob Gries and Alfred
    Lerner (Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 3/26)....Asked about reports the
    Sabres are planning to change team colors and logo, team
    spokesperson Gil Chorbajian noted there will be some changes,
    with an announcement in the "next month or so."  Details are
    still being finalized (THE DAILY)....The Colonial Hockey League's
    Brantford Smoke has been fined $25,000 and Owner Roger Davis
    "could lose the franchise" after a recent forfeit (CHICAGO
    TRIBUNE, 3/26).
    

    Print | Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Buffalo Sabres, Cleveland Browns, Comcast-Spectacor, Franchises, MLS, New York Mets, NFL, NPSL, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Eagles, RDV Sports, Toronto Blue Jays
  • NFL DELEGATION TREADS SOFTLY AROUND KINGDOME FAULT LINES

         NFL representatives, led by NFL VP/Business & Football
    Development Roger Goodell, Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson and
    NFL Dir of Club Relations Joe Ellis, met with King County
    officials regarding the future of the Seahawks.  Goodell said the
    league expects the Seahawks to play the '96 season in Seattle
    unless the courts find the Kingdome to be unsafe.  Citing their
    lease obligation for the next 10 years, Goodell said, "The league
    will do everything to keep the team in the community."  Alan
    Elias, spokesperson for Seahawks Owner Ken Behring, called the
    NFL's statement "posturing" (David Schaefer, SEATTLE TIMES,
    3/25).
         DOME AWAY FROM HOME:  The NFL delegation "spent two days in
    Seattle, dropping ideas for funding new stadiums and soothing
    feathers ruffled by Commissioner Paul Tagliabue's suggestion"
    that a new stadium may be needed to keep the team.  Richardson
    floated the idea of a new, privately funded facility -- a
    proposal that "has sharply divided some business leaders,"
    according to the SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER.  One member of the
    Metro King County Council called it "an absurd notion."  But
    league officials "said they were not wedded to building a new
    stadium."  Goodell said the point is for a competitive facility,
    "but that doesn't necessarily mean it has to be a new stadium"
    (Boren, Farnsworth & Thiel, SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 3/26).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NFL, Seattle Seahawks, Vulcan Ventures
  • STEEL CITY MAYOR GETS NON-VOTING BOARD SEAT WITH PIRATES

         Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy has been given a non-voting seat
    on the Pirates Board, according to the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE.
    New Owner Kevin McClatchy had promised Murphy the spot as part of
    loan and lease concessions which raised the city's total
    investment in the team to $40M.  Murphy said the city sought the
    seat so it could "keep the good lines of communication going"
    with team officials as talks proceed over a new baseball-only
    stadium.  Other nonvoting members on the nine-person board
    include race car owner Chip Ganassi (Steve Halvonik, PITTSBURGH
    POST-GAZETTE, 3/25).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Pittsburgh Pirates
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