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WHAT'S IN A NAME? HOPEFULLY MONEY: KOSAR LINKS W/MURDOUGH
Published March 25, 1998
Bernie Kosar has teamed with OH entrepreneur Thomas Murdough to try to buy the new Browns franchise, according to Becky Yerak of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Kosar and Murdough are "trying to put together a group of business executives to buy the team." Currently, the group includes only Murdough and Kosar. Murdough, when asked if he could afford the franchise fee: "I'm encouraged by comments from Paul Tagliabue that it will be a fair price. When you start getting over $300 million, I question whether that's a fair price" (Cleveland PLAIN-DEALER, 3/25). ESPN's John Clayton reported on "a heated debate" among owners regarding the Browns' expansion fee. Clayton said some "hardline owners wish to go between $500 million and $1 billion. But others knowledgeable with the process expect it to settle between" $300M to $500M ("SportsCenter," 3/24). Tagliabue said ownership could be in place by this summer: "That would be ideal" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 3/25). In Akron, Terry Pluto puts Al Lerner and Richard Jacobs as the favorites to land the team. He writes NFL owners "know" and "like" Lerner (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 3/25). In N.Y., George Vecsey calls the NFL granting Cleveland an expansion team a "delightful case of swift justice" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/25). L.A. STORY: Going to 31 teams will lead to a new bye week format. Each week will include one team out of action and a team will have a bye in week one and week 17. In L.A., T.J. Simers writes that "club officials are grumbling already and the new schedule is a year away from being released." Chargers Owner Alex Spanos: "We have to go to 32 teams." Bills Owner Ralph Wilson: "Let's face it, L.A. is the prime candidate to become the 32nd team, if it just gets a stadium." Simers: "But if the unbalanced schedule favors Los Angeles' chances to force the expansion issue, Raiders Owner Al Davis has maintained that nothing will get done in Los Angeles without his permission." Davis: "[W]e do own the L.A. opportunity for sure." Wilson: "The hell he does." Simers: "Houston's chances of winning an expansion franchise rest on only one thing: Los Angeles losing that opportunity." But Simers writes that "could happen" since public money is unavailable and an "owner conceivably will have to put out more than" $200M for a stadium and then come up with an expansion fee (L.A. TIMES, 3/25). Davis told USA TODAY's Gordon Forbes that the NFL's Finance Committee "forced the Raiders to abandon" the L.A. market and move to Oakland in '95. Davis said that while he was in talks with Hollywood Park, the league mandated that the Raiders share the facility with a second team. Davis: "They drove me out. They're going to have to adjudicate that and adjudicate that there is an offset." Davis claims the NFL owes him $25M in an "offset" fee to move to Oakland. Asked who would move into the L.A. market, Davis said, "I don't know who it will be. I don't know whether we'll be the team or not" (USA TODAY, 3/25). CNBC's Bill Griffeth reported that Michael Ovitz bought a stake in a "supermall" in Columbus, OH, and will "be in charge of designing the mall's sports and entertainment complex." Griffeth: "Ovitz may also have bigger plans up his sleeve, with a proposal to the NFL to build a football coliseum and shopping mall outside of Los Angeles at Hollywood Park" ("The Edge," CNBC, 3/24).