SBD/23/Franchises

CONCRETE STADIUM PLAN COULD LAND HOUSTON A NEW NFL TEAM

     According to NFL Dir of Communications Greg Aiello, Houston
is not in line to get a replacement NFL franchise any time soon,
but if the city can devise a concrete plan to renovate the
Astrodome or build a new arena, it likely will get another team
in several years.  John Williams of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE reports
this announcement comes after NFL President Neil Austrian and VP
Roger Goodell met with Harris County Judge Robert Eckels and
Padres Owner John Jay Moores, who is pushing to land an expansion
franchise in Houston.  Aiello said that Houston will not receive
a team-before-'99 guarantee like Cleveland's because that city
already had voters' approval for $175M to be spent on a new
stadium.  According to Eckels, both renovation of the Astrodome
and building a new facility would cost roughly $200M.  Also, if
the Astrodome is renovated for football, a new stadium will have
to be built for the Astros (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 4/22).
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