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              The Alberta Treasury Branches (ATB) on Friday confirmed
         that it has "taken a direct role in the sale" of the NHL
         Oilers in an effort to "recoup some of the reported" $125M
         that it loaned Owner Peter Pocklington, according to Allan
         Maki of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL.  ATB has activated the 20-
         day "warning clause" in its '95 location agreement between
         Pocklington, the city of Edmonton and the Northlands
         Coliseum, which means there are now 20 days for local buyers
         "to produce a serious offer;" if there is no local interest,
         outside offers "will be considered."  Maki wrote that with
         ATB's move, "it is believed" that potential buyers "will be
         willing to step forward and open their wallets."  Maki added
         that it "is also believed" that the most local serious
         group, including Bruce Saville, Cal Nichols, Rod Hodgson,
         and others, "has yet to raise the money it needs to meet"
         the US$70M purchase price (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/22).  ATB
         spokesperson Darlene Dickinson said that if a local offer is
         received in 20 days, "they would have an additional 40 days
         to finalize a deal." In addition, if an out-of-town offer is
         received, local buyers will have 30 days to match that offer
         or purchase the team for $70M (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 11/22).
              U.S. INTEREST: In Toronto, Al Strachan wrote that
         Rockets Owner Les Alexander is "still interested" in buying
         the team, however, after "being embarrassed" by Edmonton
         officials, Alexander's offer this time "may not be as
         magnanimous" (TORONTO SUN, 11/22).  Strachan added that
         there is "every indication" that Edmonton politicians "made
         a big mistake when they played hardball" with Alexander. 
         Strachan noted that the "word is" that the ATB plans to sell
         the team to "private enterprise" (TORONTO SUN, 11/23).

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

              Friday's Hurricanes-Rangers crowd drew 19,358, the
         largest home crowd in Hurricanes history (NEWS & OBSERVER,
         11/22).  The crowd included 8,000 game day walk-ups (N.Y.
         POST, 11/22).  Sunday's Hurricanes home game against the
         Flames was played before 5,516 fans, "the smallest crowd to
         see an NHL game this season" (NEWS & RECORD, 11/24).  
              MLB: While Sonics Owner Barry Ackerley "is willing to
         be a major investor" in Don Smiley's venture to purchase the
         Marlins, should Smiley's bid fail, Ackerley "appears ready
         to step in and put together his own group."  Ackerley would
         not move the team because his company has "large business
         interests in Florida" (Frank Hughes, NEWS TRIBUNE, 11/24).

    Print | Tags: Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Miami Marlins, Franchises, MLB, NHL

              Minneapolis lawyer Clark Griffith said Friday that he
         and other investors "are poised" to offer $86M in cash to
         buy the Twins, according to Jay Weiner of the Minneapolis
         STAR TRIBUNE.  Griffith, whose group includes his father,
         former Twins Owner Calvin Griffith, as well as publisher
         Vance Opperman and St. Paul Saints President Mike Veeck,
         among others, characterized his bid as a $134M total offer
         because it would include the assumption of $48M in "certain
         liabilities."  However, Weiner wrote that "it appears" that
         the offer "won't get a serious look" from Twins Owner Carl
         Pohlad and his family.  Pohlad's son, Bob Pohlad: "We've got
         the agreement with [NC business exec Don] Beaver" (STAR
         TRIBUNE, 11/22).  Columnist Sid Hartman: "Pohlad won't sell
         the team to Clark Griffith.  There isn't any love lost
         between Pohlad and the Griffith family" (STAR TRIBUNE,
         11/23).  Twins execs predict "at least" a $3M increase in
         operating losses for the '98 season in MN should the team
         agree to move to NC in '99.  The team estimates it lost an
         estimated $8-10M in '97 (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/24).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Minnesota Twins, New Orleans Saints

              Isiah Thomas left Toronto Friday with "a sharp warning"
         for Raptors management, saying the team should "make peace
         with the Maple Leafs or risk extinction," according to Jim
         Byers of the TORONTO STAR.  Thomas said that the decision to
         build Air Canada Centre without the Leafs as partners "was a
         mistake that hobbled the team financially and will have an
         impact on the club's future."  Thomas: "We should have paid
         the $20 million or $25 million to the NBA (for not starting
         the building on time), played in the SkyDome and put the
         money (saved by building a joint arena) into players." 
         Raptors Majority Owner Allan Slaight, who "took a parting
         shot" when he called Thomas "an interesting piece of work,"
         discussed the arena: "The Air Canada Centre is well-
         financed. ... There will certainly be money available to go
         out and get players" (TORONTO STAR, 11/22).  CNN/SI's Jackie
         MacMullan, on Thomas' resignation: "By keeping that 9%
         [ownership stake], what happened was with the construction
         of this new arena it was costing him almost a million
         dollars a month, and Isiah just doesn't have that kind of
         money" ("This Week in the NBA," CNN, 11/23).
              MORE FROM ISIAH: Thomas: "I definitely should have
         investigated my partners more carefully before I came to
         another country to do business. ... I didn't have enough
         information of ... Allan Slaight or (former president) John
         Bitove.  The picture that was painted to me was very rosy.
         ... But I didn't do the proper due diligence" (Bill Harris,
         TORONTO SUN, 11/22).  Thomas' agent Frank Vuono said that it
         "appeared to us, (the Raptors) were going to fire (Thomas)." 
         Slaight "emphatically" denied that (TORONTO SUN, 11/22).  
              REAX: In Toronto, Chris Young: "Right up till the end,
         the smoothie Thomas pretty much kept his cool. ... Now it's
         Slaight's turn to prove that his way is going to work. 
         We're all waiting" (TORONTO STAR, 11/22).  Also in Toronto,
         Ken Fidlin: "The only nugget of hard truth to cling to in
         all of this is that the Raptors, in their third year of
         operation, have been dealt a serious setback on the court,
         in the minds of the ticket-buying public and in the minds of
         NBA players who might one day have decided to come play
         here" (TORONTO SUN, 11/22).  Also in Toronto, Steve Simmons:
         "The real question of the Thomas-Allan Slaight trouble is
         this: Which of the two could you trust?" (SUN, 11/23).  

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, NBA, Sports Illustrated, Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors

              PACKERS: Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, who has "ruffled
         feathers among other owners" with his efforts to
         decentralize NFLP, wants the Packers to "show the same kind
         of aggressiveness in their marketing scheme that they did in
         developing an $80 million stock plan," according to Tom
         Silverstein of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL.  Jones: "The
         Packers are an example of a team that could take some of the
         things that I'm an advocate of -- marketing, national
         marketing -- and really benefit from that because they have
         a national identity."  Silverstein: "The way the Packers see
         it, they have benefited greatly from revenue-sharing --
         perhaps more than any other team ... and they don't want to
         spit in the face of their benefactor."  Packers President
         Bob Harlan noted the team did hire NY-based National Media
         Group "to explore national possibilities. ... But we did it
         within league specifications" (JOURNAL SENTINEL, 11/21).
              COURT DATES: The new get-tough policy at Philadelphia's
         Veterans Stadium, which included two municipal judges
         handing out fines on the spot, yielded twenty arrests "most 
         for disorderly conduct" and individual fines "ranging from"
         $150-300.  Previous home games "typically ended with 60
         ejections."  One "shackled defendant" yelled, "Howard Stern
         rules!" as he entered the court (DAILY NEWS, 11/24).
              BROWNS: A "source inside the NFL" told Tony Grossi of
         the Cleveland PLAIN-DEALER that there have been "recent
         discussions" between Cleveland business exec Al Lerner and
         former Browns QB Bernie Kosar about "combining forces to
         pursue the Browns expansion team."  Neither man could be
         reached for comment (Cleveland PLAIN-DEALER, 11/23).
              BEARS: The Bears reported 22,989 no-shows for
         yesterday's home game against the Bucs (SUN-TIMES, 11/24).

    Print | Tags: Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Franchises, Green Bay Packers, NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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