SBD/9/Franchises

POHLAD OFFERS 49% STAKE OF TWINS TO STATE FOR STADIUM HELP

          The Twins yesterday unveiled a proposed ballpark
     partnership in which Owner Carl Pohlad would contribute 49%
     of the team's stock to the state in return for assistance on
     stadium financing and a 30-year lease commitment by the team
     to remain in MN.  In total, the Twins would contribute
     $157.5M toward the new stadium, including $82.5M in cash,
     $25M in up-front project revenues, and the 49% ownership
     interest, which is valued in excess of $50M.  The proposal
     would require approval by MLB, but with public ownership of
     the team's stock, the state would be able to prevent the
     Twins from leaving MN.  The Pohlad family would own 51%,
     retain sole rights to field and manage the team and be
     responsible for all operating losses (Twins).  
          REAX: In Minneapolis, Whereatt & Weiner write the Twins
     and stadium backers "hope" the contribution is "enough to
     persuade legislators to approve the deal and come up with
     the difference in public money," nearly $200M.  A
     retractable-roof stadium is estimated at $354M.  Pohlad:
     "It's a fair plan; in fact, more than fair."  MN Gov. Arne
     Carlson: "This sounds like a very reasonable offer.  I think
     it's the best package of it's type put forward in the U.S.
     in the past 15 years."  The public's 49% stake could be held
     by the state or sold.  But, Whereatt & Weiner note, the
     proposal got a "cool" reception from state legislators. 
     State Rep. Loren Solberg, chair of a top House budget
     committee: "I want to see where the rest of the dollars come
     from.  I'm not won over so far" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE,
     1/9).  Sen. John Marty: "It's not going to fool the public. 
     I don't think it's going to fool most legislators"
     (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/9).  Weiner notes MLB has "long
     frowned" on public ownership.  But Carl Pohlad's son Bob
     said, "We expect no objections.  The operating control of
     the club rests with my dad" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/9).
          A 'GIFT': Under the header, "A Gift From The Pohlads,"
     columnist Patrick Reusse writes that the Pohlads "could have
     followed the pattern set by baseball proprietors in Chicago,
     Cleveland, Seattle and Cincinnati, and by football owners in
     Cleveland, Houston, and Los Angeles. ... Instead, a
     remarkable thing happened" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/9).

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