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The July 1 deadline for the A's to exercise a year-to- year lease option at the Oakland Coliseum "may be delayed while team owners try to work out a host of issues with Oakland and Alameda County officials," according to Hickey & Counts of the OAKLAND TRIBUNE. A's Owners Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann "want to negotiate a way to avoid offering the team up for sale at a discounted price -- as required in their lease -- and still take the short-term lease option." Giving notice on July 1 will allow the team to play year-to- year through 2000, but it also "involves a gamble," for if they give notice, the Coliseum Authority "will have four months to find a buyer" that would keep the team in Oakland for a sale price of 90% of the team's market value. Schott said that he and Hofmann have talked about putting the team up for sale "a lot lately, but no decision has been made yet." City and county officials have met with the A's once to "resolve" the $48M claim the team has filed against both entities. Oakland Vice Mayor Ignacio De La Fuente said that pushing back the deadline "could buy time to reach a resolution" to the dispute (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 6/17).
MLB Rangers President Tom Schieffer said yesterday that TX Gov. George W. Bush turned his $600,000 investment in the team into at least $15M, according to Slater & Oppel of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Bush was among a group of investors who bought the Rangers for $86M nine years ago. For Bush, "whose name has been floated as a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2000," the Rangers deal "is by far the most lucrative investment" in his business career. Bush paid $606,000 for about 1.8% of the team, but because he served as Managing General Partner, his stake rose to 12%. Schieffer said that Bush received $14.9M from the sale and he could collect another $1-2M in final accounting. Bush's profits are two-fold: he received $2.7M strictly for his partnership interest, and the agreement also called for Bush, as Managing General Partner, "to receive added compensation if the team were sold for anything above a modest profit" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/18).
VIKINGS: San Antonio business exec Red McCombs, on his interest in the Vikings: "Why I am I interested in Minnesota? Because that's where the team is. There aren't many teams, and this is one that's for sale, and this is one that I believe has great potential. But I have absolutely no thought that the Vikings should be anywhere but Minnesota. Do I see that they have some problems, some obstacles? Yes. Somehow, they are going to have to enter the era of new facilities" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 6/18). ...Former Vikings QB Tommy Kramer "would like to play a role in the Vikings organization" if his friend McCombs successfully bids for the team 1 (STAR TRIBUNE, 6/18)....In Minneapolis, Jerry Zgoda reports that members of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission "endorsed" T- Wolves Owner Glen Taylor as their pick to become the Vikings' next owner (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 6/18). NOTES: In Baltimore, last night's crowd of 48,269 was the largest for a regular-season game in Camden Yards history, and the 144,318 total for the Yankees-O's series was the best ever for a three-game series (SUN, 6/18). ...Pat Croce yesterday said he had reached a handshake deal with 76ers Chair Ed Snider to return as team president (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/18)....The NHL Kings will unveil new uniforms Saturday. One of the models is Patrick Warburton -- Puddy on NBC's "Seinfeld" (L.A. TIMES, 6/18).