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NBA MARKET MOVES: ANAHEIM CLIPPERS?; NORFOLK TO TAKE A SHOT
Published June 3, 1996
The Clippers are reportedly in "serious negotiations" with Ogden Entertainment Services to move the team to The Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, according to Baker & Hernandez of the L.A. TIMES. It is believed the Clippers are negotiating to hire Ogden to "smooth the move to the Pond and to assist in the operation of the franchise." The Clippers' lease at the L.A. Sports Arena includes a clause allowing them to leave at the end of each season (L.A. TIMES, 6/2). The Anaheim City Council will meet Tuesday to discuss proposals to lure the team to the area. They include tax incentives and handing over money which would have been used to retire arena debt. According to The Pond lease agreement, the city must contribute $1.5M a year for five years "toward the building's mortgage beginning this summer if no NBA team is found and certain financial hurdles are not met." Arrival of the Clippers or any other team would "take the city off the hook for that money. However, the city could end up handing it over under the proposals the council will consider" (Barbara Kingsley, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 6/2). NORFOLK GETS BOOST: Norfolk VA's Economic Development Department said the city's chances of obtaining an NBA team received a boost from top NBA officials who feel the city has a "good chance." NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik said, while the NBA has made no commitment, Norfolk "is the kind of market that could support and NBA team on the model of a Charlotte, an Orlando, or a Portland." The league said a final proposal would need an ownership group that could pay more than $125M and a commitment for a 20,000-seat arena. Hampton Roads, VA, is the largest metropolitan area in the U.S. without a major sports franchise (Norolfk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 6/2). The city will turn over the campaign for a team to the Hampton Roads Partnership, a coalition of 53 business and civic leaders (WASHINGTON POST, 6/3).