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  • AS CLOCK WINDS DOWN IN MN, POHLAD TRIES FOR A BUZZER BEATER

              Amid a "political show of force," legislators,
         corporate and union leaders and the mayors of both
         Minneapolis and St. Paul "unveiled a plan" to transfer Twins
         ownership from Carl Pohlad to a nonprofit foundation,
         according to Jay Weiner of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. 
         The plan is "tied to" building a new ballpark using Twins
         and Vikings players' income taxes, user fees, and new state
         lottery games.  The "two-pronged proposal" will be
         introduced as a bill when a special session reconvenes next
         week.  As part of the donation plan, Pohlad would give to
         the foundation the $37M in equity he's had since his '84
         purchase of team, and would also transfer to the foundation
         the $86M in "debt and interest costs" he has incurred.  The
         foundation would sell the team "within three to five years
         to citizens via a stock offering or to a local investment
         group" and at that point Pohlad's debt "will be paid off to
         his creditors."  Any sale profits over and above the debt
         "will go to the foundation, not Pohlad," and should the team
         sell for "less than" $86M, Pohlad would have to "reimburse
         the foundation."  Pohlad would "continue" to manage the team
         and would "cover the team's losses" in the Metrodome during
         the four years it would take to build the new park; losses
         during that time period won't be paid back through the
         foundation (STAR TRIBUNE, 11/7).  The deal also calls for an
         "irrevocable" 30-year lease (PIONEER PRESS, 11/7).
              HOW IT PLAYED:  Reaction to the new proposal in the
         Twin Cities was mixed, with "neither solid stadium
         supporters nor the hardened naysayers ... confident" about
         the outcome of next week's special session (Jim Ragsdale,
         ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/7).  A PIONEER PRESS editorial:
         "It might be the sweetest deal ever from a team owner. ...
         Pohlad clearly has gone above and beyond what is expected of
         an owner in this situation" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/7). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Vikings
  • FRANCHISE NOTES

              NBA: In Atlanta, 41,122 tickets were sold as of
         yesterday afternoon for tonight's Bulls-Hawks game at the
         Georgia Dome, making it the largest crowd ever for a
         basketball game in Georgia (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/7).
         ...Amid reports that Chargers Owner Alex Spanos is
         interested in buying the NBA Kings, Kings Owner Jim Thomas
         told the SACRAMENTO BEE's Mark Kriedler that he has "no
         intention of selling the Kings now" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 11/6). 
              MLB: In Baltimore, an editorial on Orioles Owner Peter
         Angelos, following the resignation of Manager Davey Johnson:
         "Peter Angelos is a man whose Horatio Alger story deserves
         to be the foundation of a legacy as rich and warm and grand
         as Baltimore.  He is a man being dragged to earth by his
         cold, petty distractions" (Baltimore SUN, 11/7)....The MLB
         Giants' plan to raise ticket prices for all lower-level
         seats at 3Com Park next season was "unanimously approved" by
         the city's Parks and Rec Commission yesterday.  Prices for
         lower box MVP seats will increase from $21 to $24, while
         lower box seats will increase from $16 to $18.  Also, lower
         reserved goes from $13.50 to $15, senior lower reserved
         seats rise $1 and bleacher seats rise $0.50 (S.F. CHRONICLE,
         11/7)....The Astros said ticket prices will remain the same
         for 65% of their seats in '98, increasing only for Diamond
         Level, Star Deck, Field Level and Loge Level seats (Carlton
         Thompson, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/7)....The MLB Cardinals
         unveiled an "eye-catching" new practice jersey, a new dugout
         jacket, and a new "Sunday Cap." In St. Louis, Dan O'Neill:
         "The red in the redbirds will be a little deeper shade ...
         the lines will be heavier" (ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, 11/5).
              GENERAL: In DC, Thomas Heath examines NFL teams'
         earnings potential at the gate due to new facilities,
         focusing on the Redskins.  Redskins President John Kent
         Cooke: "We are now in a new era" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/7).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Bulls, Franchises, Houston Astros, MLB, NBA, NFL, Sacramento Kings, San Diego Chargers, St. Louis Cardinals, Time Warner, Washington Redskins
  • LOCAL BIDDER PULLS OUT OF OILERS BIDDING

              Edmonton city developer Robert Proznik announced
         yesterday that he was "no longer in the running" for the NHL
         Oilers, according to Jac MacDonald of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. 
         Proznik said that he was withdrawing his former offer for
         the team and endorsing efforts by the other Edmonton buying
         group (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 11/7).  In Edmonton, columnist Cam
         Cole, on the Oilers' unsettled ownership situation: "It is
         time for the National Hockey League to come out of the
         woodwork and speak plainly.  Past time, actually, but better
         late than never" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 11/7).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, NHL
  • NEW COLUMBUS NHL TEAM WILL BE INSECTS WITH "ATTITUDE"

              The name of the new Columbus NHL expansion team will
         likely be the Blue Jackets, according to Wright & Merz of
         the COLUMBUS DISPATCH.  A source told the DISPATCH that the
         team is "95 percent sure" of the name and that the primary
         team color "will be blue."  The logo will feature an insect
         with a hat on and the hat "could be a Union Army hat."  The
         source: "It's an insect with an attitude.  That's the best
         way I can say it" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 11/7)
    
    

    Print | Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets, Franchises, NHL
  • NO JOY IN MUDVILLE FOR WORLD CHAMPS AS HUIZENGA TO SELL TEAM

              Eleven days after winning the World Series, Wayne
         Huizenga is "unloading" the Marlins to a group headed by
         team President Don Smiley, according to Larry Lebowitz of
         the Fort Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL.  Huizenga and Smiley said
         on Thursday that they are trying to close a deal in the next
         30 days.  They "refused to name a price, but Smiley is
         thought to be raising" $160M -- $150M to buy the team and
         another $10M for working capital.  Once Smiley closes the
         deal with Huizenga and receives MLB approval, "his next step
         will be trying to win a new stadium financing package and
         tax breaks from local and state legislators."  Smiley: "If
         not, we have to make the next decision.  We should know
         where we are by mid-1998 [when the state Legislature meets]"
         (SUN-SENTINEL, 11/7).  In Miami, Barry Jackson reports that
         the Marlins will cut their $49M payroll, "likely" to the
         $20-25M range.  Smiley said he is about two-thirds of the
         way toward meeting Huizenga's asking price, but his bid
         "does not appear at risk."  Huizenga said that Smiley will
         be given 30 days to secure additional funding, and if it
         helps close the deal, he said he will retain a minority
         interest.  Smiley will also have other options, including
         borrowing from Huizenga or a bank, or promising deferred
         payments in a year or two.  Huizenga: "I'm going to do
         anything to make this work" (MIAMI HERALD, 11/7).
              STADIUM PLAN: If the Marlins don't have a commitment
         for a new ballpark by mid-'98, Smiley said that they would
         "start looking at other options" including selling or moving
         the team (Lebowitz & Lynch, SUN-SENTINEL, 11/7).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Miami Marlins, Franchises, MLB
  • WHALE OF A TALE: REPORT SAYS ORCA BAY DISMISSING GRIFFITHS

              Orca Bay Sports & Entertainment, the parent company to
         the Canucks, has told former Canucks Majority Owner Arthur
         Griffiths to "clear his office" at GM Place and "cut his
         ties" with the team, according to David Shoalts of the
         Toronto GLOBE & MAIL.  Although Griffith is "still listed"
         as the team's Vice Chair and alternate Governor of the
         Canucks, sources told Shoalts that the team told Griffiths
         to be "out of the building by next week."  Kevin Bass,
         VP/Communications & Community Investment for Orca Bay,
         "denied" that Griffiths was told to leave, saying that his
         departure was a "possibility."  Griffith would "neither
         confirm nor deny" the story, but he "made it clear" that the
         "only thing left in his relationship" with Orca Bay is the
         three years left on a consulting contract and that he's "not
         being consulted for anything" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/7).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Canucks Sports and Entertainment, Vancouver Canucks
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