SBD/1/Franchises

WATSON ABANDONS EFFORTS TO BRING NFL, NHL TEAMS TO HOUSTON

          IHL Aeros Owner Chuck Watson said Thursday "he will
     withdraw from efforts to bring an NFL and/or NHL team to
     Houston, primarily so he can focus on his company,"
     according to John Williams of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE.  But
     Watson also said that "he has grown frustrated with the
     politics of stadium negotiations" which have slowed to the
     point where Houston's chances of regaining an NFL franchise
     "are threatened."  Watson "has taken a much-lower profile on
     the NFL front in the past two months amid pressure from
     stockholders to devote more attention" to his company, NGC
     Corp., an energy firm.  Watson has a held a 50-50 stake in
     Houston NFL Holdings, which he formed with businessman Bob
     McNair.  The two have spent about $2.5M trying to get a team
     to replace the NFL Oilers and another $2.5M trying to lure
     the NHL.  Houston NFL Holdings head Steve Patterson said
     that Watson's departure would not hamper the group's efforts
     to land a team, and that McNair has the "financial clout and
     fortitude" to continue (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/1).

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Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, NFL, NHL

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