SBD/5/Franchises

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  • FRANCHISE NOTES

              NFL: The Colts named Bill Polian team President and
         dismissed Dir of Football Ops Bill Tobin and coach Lindy
         Infante.  Along with investing about $1M a year in Polian,
         Owner Jim Irsay must pay Tobin, Infante and the 13
         assistants.  All were under contract through '98.  All told,
         Irsay's restructuring will cost more than $3M (STAR-NEWS,
         12/23)....Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen, on if Denver voters do
         not pass a sales-tax referendum in '98 to help build a new
         stadium: "I will not be the owner of the Broncos for much
         longer.  Somebody else will buy this team, they will pay me
         the appropriate sum and I will maximize whatever I can get -
         - not on the basis of what they're going to do in Denver but
         what they're gonna do somewhere else, and it will end up in
         Houston, or Toronto or somewhere else" (L.A. TIMES, 12/27).
              OTHER NOTES: Through their "Give the Gift of Soccer"
         holiday campaign, the MLS Revolution generated an additional
         1,300 season-ticket sales (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/26)....Flames
         co-Owner Harley Hotchkiss, on the team's fan base: "One of
         the challenges we face here is we are in transition with our
         longer-term fans who like to focus on just hockey, and now
         we have a group of younger fans who want a total
         entertainment package, other attractions and more noise. 
         It's a challenge to strike the happy balance and not
         alienate our older fans and yet recognize the change we are
         going through" (CALGARY SUN, 1/1). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: Calgary Flames, Denver Broncos, Franchises, Indianapolis Colts, MLS, New England Revolution, NFL
  • HOUSTON BUSINESS EXECS REPORTEDLY SHOW INTEREST IN VIKINGS

              Houston business exec Robert McNair and IHL Aeros Owner
         Chuck Watson, partners trying to return the NFL to Houston,
         "have spoken with the Vikings about purchasing the team,"
         according to Paula Parrish of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. 
         Citing a Houston Chronicle report, Parrish wrote the two
         plan to resume talking to the Vikings after the playoffs,
         and have told people around the league that they are
         interested in any team that is for sale (STAR TRIBUNE, 1/3).
              SALE TALK: In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman reported that
         Vikings President Roger Headrick "is working to get a group
         to buy the team that will keep him in his present position. 
         Rumor is that he has a group in Birmingham, Ala.,
         interested" (STAR TRIBUNE, 1/4).  In St. Paul, Charley
         Walters wrote that "word is" Headrick "has NFL backing in
         trying to acquire financing."  While former Vikings GM Mike
         Lynn has interest, Headrick "contends Lynn, who floundered
         when the NFL put him in charge of its world league several
         years ago, has 'zero' chance" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/4).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Minnesota Vikings, NFL
  • JAC-TUNG, BABY! ST. PAUL NHL TEAM NAMES SPERLING AS CEO

              CO attorney Jac Sperling, who assisted St. Paul's NHL
         expansion bid, has been named the club's CEO.  He  will also
         be a minority investor and member of the board of the team's
         general partner, Naegele Sports.  The St. Paul NHL team also
         named Bill Robertson as Dir of Communications.  He spent the
         last four-plus years as Dir of Communications for Anaheim
         Sports.  Prior to that he was Dir of Media Services for the
         T-Wolves and Target Center (Minnesota Hockey NHL).
              NOTES: In St. Paul, Charley Walters reported that the
         team "is back to its original nickname, 'The Wild,' which is
         expected to be announced within three weeks" (PIONEER PRESS,
         1/4)....St. Paul's City Council and Civic Center Authority
         approved a 25-year arena lease deal with the expansion team.
    
         The debate now moves to the State Legislature, where city
         officials will ask for $65M in state bonds to pay half the
         bill for the new $130M arena (STAR TRIBUNE, 12/28).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Wild, NHL
  • KNOX FAMILY SELLS SABRES TO ADELPHIA COMMUNICATIONS' RIGAS

              Sabres Chair Northrup Knox and Adelphia Communications
         Corp. Chair John Rigas signed a memo of understanding
         calling for the restructuring of the Sabres under which
         Adelphia and Rigas would acquire control of the team and
         make a capital investment.  Existing Sabres partners would
         receive a partial return of their investment while
         continuing to hold subordinate notes.  As part of the
         agreement, Rigas was elected Interim Chair of the Niagara
         Frontier Hockey Management Corp., general partner of the
         Sabres, replacing Knox, who concurrently resigned (Sabres). 
         In Buffalo, Jim Kelley reported that sources said Rigas will
         have "near complete ownership," perhaps as much as 90% 
         (BUFFALO NEWS, 1/1).  In Toronto, Dave Fuller reported that
         Sabres President Larry Quinn "is expected to be replaced" by
         one of Rigas' sons in the next few weeks (TORONTO SUN, 1/5).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Buffalo Sabres, Franchises
  • LOCAL BIDDERS STILL SHORT IN EFFORTS TO SAVE NHL OILERS

              A group of local investors hoping to buy the NHL Oilers
         is $15M short of the US$50M it needs to proceed with its
         bid, according to Ric Dolphin of the EDMONTON JOURNAL.  An
         investor, who asked not to be identified, said that if the
         group can raise $50M the Alberta Treasury Branches "has
         agreed to carry" a US$20M loan on the team.  The group is
         "confident" the $15M will be raised soon.  Meanwhile,
         Rockets Owner Les Alexander, whose earlier offer of US$88.8M
         was unsuccessful, "is putting the finishing touches on a
         second bid that is expected any day" (EDMON. JOURNAL, 1/3).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, Houston Rockets, NHL
  • YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN: NETS EYEING A RETURN TO LONG ISLAND

              The Nets, "reeling from the surprise announcement that
         the Devils want to move to Hoboken, are now seriously
         considering a move of their own -- to Long Island,"
         according to Jon Gelberg of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. 
         Officials of the Nassau County Sports Commission and the
         Palladium Co., a real estate investment company in the
         process of buying the Islanders, "confirmed their interest
         in bringing the Nets back to Long Island," where they played
         20 years ago.  Parties on both sides confirmed recent
         discussions that hinge on a new Uniondale arena.  Nets
         President Michael Rowe "refused to confirm or deny the
         report" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 12/24).  On Long Island, Nassau
         County Exec Thomas Gulotta confirmed that the county has
         "ongoing but very informal discussions" with the Nets.  He
         added the county also has had talks with other pro teams,
         but would not identify any of them (NEWSDAY, 12/26).
              REFUSE TO LOSE: A NJ Superior Court judge "threw out a
         lawsuit" against Nets coach John Calipari by Newark Star-
         Ledger reporter Dan Garcia, who "accused Calipari of causing
         him emotional distress when Calipari cursed at him and
         threatened to punch him" last March, according to Elizabeth
         Moore of the Newark STAR-LEDGER.  Judge Joseph Scancarella
         said that Calipari's "remarks did not intentionally or
         negligently cause 'emotional distress' and that the coach
         did not follow through on his threats" (STAR-LEDGER, 12/25).
    
         Garcia said that "he does not plan to appeal" the suit, in
         which he was seeking $5M in damages (AP/STAR-LEDGER, 12/26).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New Jersey Devils, Brooklyn Nets, New York Islanders, YankeeNets
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