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  • DID O'MALLEY FEEL BURNED BY L.A.'S TREATMENT OF HIS NFL BID?

              Dodgers President Peter O'Malley decision to put the
         Dodgers up for sale was examined in an analysis by Wilgoren
         & Rutten of the L.A. TIMES.  O'Malley "appears to have been
         influenced ... [by] his deep personal disappointment over
         the failure of the city and the community immediately around
         Dodger Stadium to back his bid" for an NFL team, but "the
         relative importance of O'Malley's unhappiness with the
         city's treatment of his football bid is hard to gauge."  A
         source "close to O'Malley" says that O'Malley was "disturbed
         greatly" when L.A.'s City Hall asked him to bid for the
         franchise, then backed the bid to put an NFL team at L.A.'s
         Memorial Coliseum rather than Chavez Ravine.  L.A. Mayor
         Richard Riordan: "Unfortunately, his bid never got a chance
         to play itself out fully."  Steven Soboroff, Riordan's
         Senior Policy Advisor said the Dodgers "never completed a
         thorough economic analysis of their (NFL bid) and they were
         a long way from financially validating its viability."  
              QUESTIONABLE SUPPORT? The TIMES' Wilgoren & Rutten cite
         "knowledgeable sources" inside L.A.'s business and legal
         communities, who say O'Malley's feelings about the NFL
         sequence of events "probably paled in comparison to the
         financial considerations and his well-known distaste for the
         current culture of major league baseball -- particularly its
         player salary structure and revenue-sharing policies."  With
         O'Malley unable to "grow his business" by acquiring an NFL
         team, other investors said that he had to "confront" the
         fact that his extended family was dependent on a single
         asset -- the Dodgers -- "which was not only liquid, but also
         experiencing increasing cash flow problems. ... [T]he
         Dodgers -- though generally profitable -- have had to borrow
         increasing amounts to meet short-term expenses in recent
         years."  Even with the sale, some familiar with NFL
         negotiations believe that O'Malley "may yet get involved in
         pro football" as an owner of a franchise that would play
         either in the Coliseum or elsewhere (L.A. TIMES, 1/12).
              WEEKEND REAX: In Boston, Peter Gammons notes that
         O'Malley "did promise" NL owners that he will continue the
         "fight" for a new MLB commissioner at this week's meetings
         in AZ, because, for one thing, "he believes having a new
         commissioner will enhance the value of his franchise"
         (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/12).  In Houston, Alan Truex notes that
         O'Malley "unwittingly contributed to his demise by joining
         with the radicals to oust commissioner Fay Vincent --
         thereby setting the stage for the devastating three-year
         labor war" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/11).  ESPN's Bob Ryan:
         "Anybody who knows anything about sports must concede that
         both Walter and his boy knew how to run a franchise.  There
         truly was something known as a 'Dodger Touch,' and now it
         will be lost forever" ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN, 1/12). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Franchises, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Walt Disney
  • FRANCHISE NOTES

              The NHL Rangers unveiled their third jersey which
         features a darker shade than the club's usual royal blue and
         features a likeness of the Statue of Liberty above the
         letters NYR.  The Rangers will wear the jersey for the first
         time tonight against the Islanders (NEWSDAY, 1/11). 
         Columnist Joe Lapointe, on the Rangers' new jersey: "Perhaps
         the Rangers should be careful with this jersey business.  In
         hockey, it's a fine line between fashion and passion" (N.Y.
         TIMES, 1/12)....In Indianapolis, former Mariners Owner Jeff
         Smulyan, on talks of the Colts leaving Indianapolis: "The
         city still has a binding, 18-year lease, so even if the team
         goes somewhere else, that city would be liable for damages. 
         And no city can afford that ... no city can live with
         contingent liabilities" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 1/11). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Franchises, Indianapolis Colts, New York Islanders, New York Liberty, New York Rangers, Seattle Mariners
  • IRVIN, WILLIAMS CLEARED; MEDIA'S ETHICS EXAMINED

              Police over the weekend cleared Cowboys Erik Williams
         and Michael Irvin of a sexual assault charge after
         determining that the accusation was false.  Williams is
         considering legal action "against the police department and
         others," and Irvin and his lawyer "have not discussed their
         next step" (Kelly Carter, USA TODAY, 1/13).  
              MEDIA ETHICS EXAMINED: In the wake of Irvin's and
         Williams' clearance, the ethics of sports media was examined
         by ESPN's Jeremy Schaap on "SportsWeekly."  Dallas Morning
         News Exec VP & Editor Ralph Langer: "The story was forced by
         what the police department did.  They had a choice to not do
         that and they did it, and once they went public and read
         these people's names into the record, then it couldn't not
         be reported"  Bob Lichter, head of Center for Media & Public
         Affairs: "It was just too juicy.  Violence against women,
         celebrity athletes out of control, the Dallas Cowboys riding
         for a fall" ("SportsWeekly," ESPN, 1/12).         
              REAX: Header in the DALLAS MORNING NEWS: "Image Still
         Tarnished, Pundits Say. Some Call Backlash Unavoidable
         Despite Vindication Of Players" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/12).
         Header in the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM: "Cowboys Need To
         Tackle PR Crisis" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/12).  Mike
         Lupica: "Sometimes we all go too far, and they were innocent
         this time, and you know what?  It is about time" ("The
         Sports Reporters," ESPN, 1/12).  NBC's Cris Collinsworth
         said Irvin and Williams "deserve the same kind of treatment
         on national television once this story went away that it got
         when this whole thing started to break" (NBC, 1/12).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: Dallas Cowboys, ESPN, Franchises, NBC, Walt Disney
  • MINNESOTA FANS HUNGRY FOR THEIR WOLVES

              The T-Wolves have become a "hot ticket," according Sid
         Hartman of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  Including sales
         for upcoming games, they have sold more tickets this season
         than all of '95-96.  T-Wolves VP/Sales & Marketing Chris
         Wright: "We used to sell [Michael] Jordan and other NBA
         stars, but now we can sell Kevin Garnett, Tom Gugliotta and
         Stephon Marbury, our own stars.  The commercials are sold
         out on our Channel 11 TV and MSC broadcasts, and 90 percent
         of our radio (ad time) is sold."  Wright added the T-Wolves 
         corporate sponsors have increased from 40 last year to 68;
         they have only two unsold suites, which they rent out on a
         game-by-game basis; season-ticket sales are up 2,000 to
         9,400; and they are selling 2,000-3,000 tickets at the box
         office each game night (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/11).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA
  • PRESTO: JUDGE'S RULING CLEARS WAY FOR BULLETS TO SEE WIZARD

              The Bullets won a trademark infringement case Friday,
         clearing the way for the team to change its name to the
         Wizards next season, according to Heath & Adande of the
         WASHINGTON POST.  The ruling allows the Bullets and the NBA
         to move ahead with developing Wizards merchandise in time
         for the team's move into the MCI Center this fall.  The
         trademark case was brought by the Harlem Wizards, a
         traveling comedy basketball team, and they said they plan to
         appeal the decision.  U.S. District Judge William Walls said
         the Harlem Wizards "would not be affected because fans will
         know the obvious differences between them and the NBA team." 
         The N.Y. firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
         represented the NBA and the Bullets. Harlem Wizards players
         testified that some people who saw them wearing "Wizards"
         shirts asked them if they played for the Bullets, but Walls
         wrote that "these examples are too weak and few to establish
         actual confusion" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/11).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NBA
  • ROWLAND SAYS HE WON'T TRY TO STOP WHALERS MOVE

              In a TV interview taped Friday, CT Gov. John Rowland
         said that he would not oppose a move by the Whalers this
         year if the proposal for a new facility "does not make
         sense," according to Jeff Jacobs in the HARTFORD COURANT. 
         Rowland: "Let's make a decision.  The Whalers want to know
         if we're going to build this facility.  If we're not, they
         want to leave early.  And I think that's fair.  They don't
         want to have a lame-duck (season).  That doesn't serve
         anybody's purposes."  Rowland did not say if he would make
         the Whalers pay an exit fee.  When lease negotiations broke
         down last spring, Rowland said it would cost the Whalers
         $30M to break their Civic Center lease.  Rowland said the
         team staying in Hartford is "a 50-50 shot" (HARTFORD
         COURANT, 1/11).  Whalers Owner Peter Karmanos "sounded
         appreciative," after Rowland's remarks, but said his "No. 1
         concern ... is to come up with the best solution to keep the
         Whalers in Hartford" (Jeff Jacobs, HARTFORD COURANT, 1/12).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises
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