SBD/23/Franchises

DESPITE ATTENDANCE WOES, OILERS WANT TO STAY IN MEMPHIS

          The Oilers "reaffirmed their two-year commitment to
     Memphis on Monday, despite abysmal attendance" at their 
     first two games at the Liberty Bowl, according to John
     Glennon of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL.  Oilers Exec VP
     Don MacLachlan said that the team has "no plans to pull the
     plug on Memphis" despite speculation the team might choose
     to play at Vanderbilt in '98, as it waits for Nashville's
     stadium to be built by '99.  MacLachlan: "We realize that in
     coming (to Tennessee), there were a lot of things we had to
     accomplish in a very short period of time.  We did have some
     snafus, and some problems coming out of the gate.  But we're
     looking to the future."  To help increase attendance,
     MacLachlan said the team is working with NFLP, "though he
     declined to say whether possible changes being discussed
     involve team colors and nickname" (COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 9/23).
          MORE NEWS: ESPN's Chris Mortensen: "The league
     acknowledges that it's embarrassing, it's not a good
     situation, and they're sending their marketing arm in there
     to roll up its sleeve a little bit and get to work and see
     how they can fix this situation. [Oilers Owner] Bud Adams
     ... is taking a bath."  ESPN's Mitch Albom: "[T]his is the
     fault of owner Bud Adams and the rest of the league.  Did
     they really think carpet-bagging the team to a two-year,
     temporary home would be a popular move? ... Pretty amazing 
     -- a league that fines players for not having their shirts
     tucked in, allows a mess like this" ("PrimeMonday," 9/22).

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