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SBD/4/Leagues Governing Bodies
HOUSTON LOOKS TO REJOIN NFL; WATSON & MCNAIR FORM NFL BIZ
Published December 4, 1997
IHL Aeros President Steve Patterson announced that he will leave the club to head up the efforts of Houston business exec Bob McNair and Aeros Owner Chuck Watson to bring an NFL team to Houston. McNair and Watson have formed Houston NFL Holdings L.L.C. Former IHL exec Richard Adler will assume Patterson's role as Aeros President (Aeros). WHAT IT MEANS: With a March deadline "looming," McNair, Watson and Patterson are "accelerating planning for a new football stadium," according to John Williams in a front- page story in today's HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Harris County- Houston Sports Authority Chair Jack Rains has also "started his own fact-finding mission on how much money the authority will need to build a stadium." In addition, Enron Corp. Chair Ken Lay, who has raised almost $40M to help pay for a new Astros ballpark, "will resume raising private funds to help subsidize stadium construction." Lay "is expected to seek another" $30M for a football stadium and basketball/ hockey arena. Houston NFL Holdings has hired KC-based HOK and Houston-based Linbeck Construction "to estimate the cost of the three projects." HOK and Linbeck "will consider" renovating the Astrodome; building a new domed stadium; or updating Rice Stadium "with luxury boxes and other amenities to generate enough revenues" for an NFL team. Houston NFL Holdings also hired Arthur Andersen for financial estimates; Leisure Management Int'l to determine operating costs of a facility; and NC-based financial expert Max Muhlman to "determine how many [PSLs], club seats and luxury boxes the Houston market will bear." Williams: "Though McNair and Watson may try to buy an existing team and move it to Houston, they are placing most attention on vying with Los Angeles for one of the two expansion franchises the NFL is expected to award next year" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/4).