SBD/7/Franchises

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).

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Miami Marlins, Franchises, MLB

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