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              NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will hold a hearing
         this morning to decide if the Vikings' $200M sale agreement
         to Tom Clancy stands, or whether team President Roger
         Headrick has the right to top or match Clancy's bid, as he
         contends, according to Don Banks of the Minneapolis STAR
         TRIBUNE.  A decision "could come by early next week."
         Meanwhile, Headrick "has stopped communicating with his
         fellow owners about the team's business," including re-
         signing OT Todd Steussie and DL John Randle to $22M and
         $32.5M deals, respectively.  Banks writes that there are "no
         indications that Clancy, who at this point has no financial
         power over the team at all, has any problems with the free-
         agent signings" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/19).  But in
         his SportsZone column, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that
         Vikings sources say Clancy and his partner, Marc Ganis,
         "have complained to the Vikings' partnership and the NFL
         that Headrick's recent spending spree ... is incongruent
         with the team's business practices prior to the sale of the
         club."  Several partners "have asked Headrick to curtail his
         free-agent spending until the ownership issue is settled
         because they are concerned that Clancy might have a right to
         modify the purchase terms" (ESPN SportsZone, 2/18).

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Franchises, Minnesota Vikings, NFL, Walt Disney

              Red Wings holdout Sergei Fedorov signed an offer sheet
         with the Hurricanes, and the NEWS & OBSERVER's Steve Politi
         writes that for a team "that's already going to lose more
         than" $25M this year, "the deal," six years, $38M, "is mind-
         boggling."  Politi: "It's a bold -- and very expensive --
         move by a struggling team that's attempting to generate
         excitement in a new market" (NEWS & OBSERVER, 2/19)....In
         Nashville, country music stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
         will co-host Hockey Tonk Jam March 4 for the NHL expansion
         Predators, the "next push" by the team to meet NHL season-
         ticket and suite requirements.  The Predators will invite
         more than 2,000 corporations that have yet to buy season
         tickets (BANNER, 2/18)....49ers co-Owner Edward DeBartolo
         Jr.'s legal troubles are examined in a front-page feature in
         the WALL STREET JOURNAL.  With DeBartolo facing a possible
         indictment over a LA gaming license, lawyers for the
         government "won't say whether they are willing to enter into
         settlement talks, which might open a way for Mr. DeBartolo
         to return to his beloved 49ers" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/19).

    Print | Tags: Carolina Hurricanes, Detroit Red Wings, Franchises, Nashville Predators, NHL, San Francisco 49ers

              The ownership dispute over the NHL expansion Columbus
         Blue Jackets will be tried locally, according to Bruce
         Cadwallader of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH.  Franklin County, OH,
         Judge John Bessey Tuesday "denied a request by attorneys for
         Lamar Hunt to end the case in Columbus" so it can be pursued
         in N.Y.  The judge also granted a request from attorneys for
         current team Owner John McConnell "to continue the Columbus
         lawsuit with an amended complaint."  The amended complaint
         seeks to resolve all the remaining issues between the
         parties and requests financial damages from Hunt.  A trial
         date has been set for April 20 (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 2/18).

    Print | Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets, Franchises, NHL

              The Memphis and Shelby County, TN, Authority has voted
         to give its board the power to negotiate with the NFL Oilers
         if they want to break their Liberty Bowl lease for '98,
         according to David Williams of the Memphis COMMERCIAL
         APPEAL.  Authority Vice Chair Reggie Barnes: "We would like
         to have a very substantial monetary settlement if the Oilers
         leave."  The authority receives a rebate of state sales
         taxes from Oilers games in Memphis.  In '97, that rebate was
         more than $650,000 (COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 2/18).  In Nashville,
         Rob Moritz reported that an end to the Oilers' Memphis lease
         "could be negotiated as soon as next week" (BANNER, 2/18).

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, New York Liberty, NFL

              N.Y. investment banker Michael Largue says that he and
         an unnamed Swiss banker have up to $100M to spend on an NHL
         team "and are eager to take control of the local effort to
         buy the Oilers," according to Bart Johnson of the EDMONTON
         SUN.  Although Largue has not formally submitted any bid, he
         said that he and his partner would want control of the team,
         with input from the local owners (EDMONTON SUN, 2/19).
              NO PROVINCIAL HELP: Alberta Premier Ralph Klein said
         that there are "no provincial moves to help out" the NHL
         Oilers, but a new city-appointed community lottery board
         "may be able to" direct some of its money to try to keep the
         team in town.  Meanwhile, Edmonton Mayor Bill Smith said
         that local businessman Al Owen's contribution has pushed the
         local bid to C$45M, leaving the group C$7M shy of the NHL's
         requirement of having 50% of the Oilers' price tag "in hand
         before financing the rest" (EDMONTON SUN, 2/19)....Almost
         C$18,000 has been donated from 34 people and businesses to
         the Edmonton Oilers Forever Fund (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 2/19).

    Print | Tags: Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, NHL
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