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              While two Houston groups, one led by Rockets Owner Les
         Alexander and the other by Aeros Owner Chuck Watson, "are in
         the process of putting together proposals" for the NHL
         Oilers, "in both cases, the team would be bought outright --
          but with a promise to keep the team in Edmonton as long as
         it maintains a positive cash-flow situation," according to
         Al Strachan of the TORONTO SUN.  Strachan writes that
         "reliable sources" say that the NHL "is heavily involved in
         the negotiations and is working to make sure the Oilers stay
         in Edmonton."  Strachan adds that the NHL "is willing to
         modify its long-range plan and allow a further expansion in
         the early part of the next century if doing so guarantees
         the stability of the Oilers."  For that to happen, the
         "successful purchaser" would have to "guarantee the league"
         that the Oilers will stay in Edmonton for "a certain period,
         probably three years."  If the team continues to have a
         positive cash-flow, then the owner would be allowed to sell
         the Oilers, and "in return," be "sold the rights to an NHL
         expansion team in Houston" (TORONTO SUN, 10/23).

    Print | Tags: Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, Houston Rockets, NHL

              As the Ravens play their second season in Baltimore,
         its "flock is neither as large or as zealous as many NFL
         watchers had expected and Ravens officials had hoped,"
         according to Ken Denlinger of the WASHINGTON POST.  He adds
         that MD fans are "reluctant to totally embrace the Ravens"
         for "three reasons," one of which is "guilt" over the way
         the team came to Baltimore.  Another "is that the Ravens
         aren't the Colts," but "probably the major blame" is team's
         performance.  One "prominent" team exec said, "At some
         point, product matters."  The team has recently launched a
         campaign to sell the remaining 12,000 PSLs with the theme,
         "The Best Is Yet to Come."  But MD Stadium Authority Chair
         John Moag said the "only objective measure of fan interest
         is ticket sales" and that's been "extremely positive" for
         the Ravens.  Moag notes the team has sold 87 of 100 luxury
         boxes and all 7,900 club seats for its new stadium, set to
         open next season (WASHINGTON POST, 10/23).  

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Franchises, Indianapolis Colts, NFL

              Greg Sorbara, a former Ontario cabinet member, and
         Lawrence Dale, who was VP/Business Development & General
         Counsel for SkyDome from '91 until he left last month,
         confirmed "that they are part of a consortium attempting to
         buy" the Blue Jays, according to Tony Van Alphen of the
         TORONTO STAR.  Dale said that he "initiated and is leading"
         the group, which has "at least" six investors, "including
         two former owners" of "major" U.S. sports franchises, one of
         whom "previously owned" an MLB team.  Sorbara, a real estate
         developer, said that he would be a minority shareholder, and
         would be "putting up his own money" if the group's bid is
         successful.  Dale: "All I can say is that we have the
         financial ability to complete a deal for the Jays and the
         expertise to operate a franchise of this stature.  That's
         critical to the team and the fans" (TORONTO STAR, 10/23). 
         In Toronto, Stephen Brunt writes that the "sands seem to be
         shifting" in terms of the Jays deal, and that "despite the
         continuing optimistic talk from [Murray] Frum, there remain
         indications that ... the proposition is a whole lot more
         complicated than it first appeared" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/23).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, MLB, Toronto Blue Jays

              In N.Y., Op-Ed columnist Sidney Zion writes in response
         to a column by Harvey Araton of the N.Y. Times on Yankees
         Owner George Steinbrenner's relationship with the Hispanic
         community.  Zion writes the facts show that the Yankees have
         the third most Hispanic players in MLB.  Zion: "How could
         Araton miss this? ... Say what you will about George
         Steinbrenner, you simply can't label him a racist" (N.Y.
         DAILY NEWS, 10/23)....Hoping to "refocus fans on the ...
         Hornets -- and away from owner George Shinn's troubles," a
         group of Charlotte businesses are putting on an open-to-the-
         public "pep rally" where fans can lunch with the team and
         hear coach Dave Cowens speak at the Charlotte Coliseum. 
         Charlotte Chamber President Caroll Gray: "[W]e want to make
         sure the team doesn't get confused with the other P.R.
         problem they have" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/23)....Only 1,009
         attended the ABL Xplosion-StingRays game in Long Beach, CA
         last night (Earl Gustkey, L.A. TIMES, 10/23).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, MLB, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Yankees

              The Chargers are teaming up with Qualcomm to buy enough
         tickets to lift a local TV blackout on three of six
         remaining home games, according to Ray Huard of the SAN
         DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE.  Qualcomm and the team will give their
         tickets to county schools, to be used as rewards to
         students.  Mayor Susan Golding: "This solves a lot of
         potential problems for this year."  But the UNION-TRIBUNE's
         Huard notes, however, that the ticket-buying deal "still
         leaves the city on the hook for the controversial ticket
         guarantee that is at the heart of the stadium deal."  Under
         the guarantee, the city must give the Chargers a rent credit
         when fewer than 60,000 general admission tickets are sold
         for home games.  Golding's Press Secretary Todd Harris said
         that the guarantee "already has cost the city $705,900 in
         rent credits" through the Chargers first two home games. 
         With the new ticket deal, officials "estimate" that the city
         will wind up deducting $1.2M by the end of the season from
         the estimated $5.7M the Chargers will pay in rent (Ray
         Huard, SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 10/23).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, San Diego Chargers
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