SBD/9/Franchises

GET ON THE BUSS? LAKERS BOSS INTERESTED IN BUYING DODGERS

          Lakers Owner Jerry Buss is the latest to express
     interest in buying the Dodgers, according to Hiltzik, Bates
     & Cooper of the L.A. TIMES, who note, Buss "has never hid
     his interests in expanding his horizons to football or
     baseball."  Buss said, through a spokesperson, "I'm the
     biggest Dodgers fan in Los Angeles.  I'd like to be part of
     a group that buys them."  Buss also owns the Forum and owned
     the NHL Kings from '79-88.  Despite interested parties, L.A.
     Mayor Richard Riordan said such talk is "premature because
     [Dodgers President] Peter O'Malley hasn't even set up a
     process yet" for accepting bids.  Riordan said he briefly
     considered bidding for at least a part ownership in the
     team, but "quickly abandoned the idea because it might
     conflict with his role as mayor" (L.A. TIMES, 1/9).
          THE USUAL SUSPECTS: News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch is
     taking a "wait-and-see" approach amid speculation he may buy
     the team, according to Tom Hoffarth of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. 
     Fox Sports spokesperson Vince Wladika: "Ever since our high-
     profile entrance into the world of sports, Mr. Murdoch and
     Fox seem to have a perpetual place on the 'usual suspects'
     list" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 1/9).  Responses from other
     companies rumored to be interested:  Peter Wilkes, Sony
     Corp. of America VP/Exec Communications: "There is no
     interest at this point."  Nike spokesperson Jim Small:
     "There's always speculation about us buying a sports
     franchise, but we choose not to comment" (USA TODAY, 1/9). 
     Peter Ueberroth, another potential buyer, was interviewed on
     CNBC's "Business Insiders."  Ueberroth stated "chances are"
     his group would make a bid, "and the chances are it won't be
     successful."  Ueberroth: "[T]his is a very, very premier
     sports franchise, maybe the best in the whole world.  And I
     think that it will go for a very high price, and my group is
     economic buyers, and we have to do it to make it make sense
     financially ... somebody else can approach it with a
     different kind of look" (CNBC, 1/8).   
          MORE SUSPECTS: People Magazine's Mitchell Fink listed
     some rumored potential buyers for the Dodgers, which include
     Magic Johnson, Tommy Lasorda, Marvin Davis, Planet Hollywood
     and Michael Ovitz, among others.  Fink:  "Ovitz's name is
     especially intriguing because he could really stick it to
     Disney, owner of the rival Anaheim Angels, by using the
     severance pay he just received from Disney as a down payment
     for the Dodgers.  O'Malley said on Monday he didn't want the
     sale of the team to become a circus.  I say, 'fat chance'"
     ("Showbiz Today," CNN, 1/8).  
          ONE GLOVE: Jay Leno, on lawyer Robert Shapiro's
     interest: "Imagine if he bought the team?  Suddenly none of
     the gloves would fit" ("Tonight Show," NBC, 1/8).  ESPN's
     Keith Olbermann, on Shapiro: "Well, he's always had success
     with guys who had one glove" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/8).

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