SBD/26/Franchises

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).
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