SBD/7/Franchises

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). 

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