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  • ARMAGEDDON: THE BOSS IN CHARGE OF YANKS, KNICKS AND RANGERS

              Cablevision's "new proposal" to buy the Yankees would
         give Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner "a hand in running"
         the Yankees, Knicks and NHL Rangers, "should he sell his
         ball club," according to associates of Steinbrenner as cited
         by Charles Bagli of the N.Y. TIMES.  Cablevision, which
         "revived the negotiations about three weeks ago," would buy
         the team for a combination of stock and cash, while keeping
         Steinbrenner as general partner of the Yankees "with
         responsibility for running all of the company's sports
         teams."  A source said Cablevision "could spin off the
         sports operations as a separate, public company" (N.Y.
         TIMES, 9/17).  Cablevision released a statement last night
         saying it had no discussions to "relinquish either the
         control or management responsibilities" of MSG and its
         teams, nor do they "expect to have any discussions in the
         future" (N.Y. POST, 9/17).  One industry exec said
         Cablevision Chair Charles Dolan offered "way over" $500M for
         the Yankees.  Steinbrenner: "Don't drag up old news.  That's
         old news.  I'm not going to do anything."  Friends of
         Steinbrenner said that they've noticed "signs that he is
         considering selling the team, but declined to get too
         specific" (NEWSDAY, 9/17).  The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Jill
         Goldsmith: "Wall Street wondered if the highly leveraged
         company should swallow another big acquisition." 
         Cablevision's debt to cash flow ratio is "about" 6.5, with
         the industry average being about 5.2.  PaineWebber cable
         analyst Tom Eagan: "They probably have the highest debt (to
         cash flow) level of their group" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 9/17). 
         Sportscorp President Mark Ganis, on Cablevision's leverage
         if it were to acquire the Yankees: "They could offer long-
         term sponsorship deals with the three most visible teams in
         their respective sports" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/17).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Franchises, Madison Square Garden, New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Yankees, YankeeNets
  • FRANCHISE NOTES

              49ERS: According to a source, federal prosecutors
         "outlined a series of bribery and racketeering charges they
         say puts former [LA] Gov. Edwin Edwards at the center of a
         sprawling conspiracy to illegally influence the awarding of
         Louisiana riverboat casino licenses."  The source also said
         that 49ers Owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. is "notably absent
         from the list of people prosecutors said would be indicted,"
         but prosecutors declined requests to reveal DeBartolo's
         status (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 9/15).
              MLB: Minneapolis attorney Clark Griffith's offer to buy
         the Twins is for $110M, but not all in cash.  Sources say
         the offer is about $30M less than what Owner Carl Pohlad is
         asking.  In related news, WCCO-AM has retained the rights to
         Twins broadcasts for the next two years.  Sources say the
         deal is for $3M in cash (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 9/17)....  
         Fans at Sunday's Devil Rays game who donate $1 to the
         Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) will get an envelope to
         see if they've won a Devil Rays game jersey.  MDA volunteers
         will have 100,000 envelopes and will sell them from 10:35am
         through the sixth inning (ST. PETE TIMES, 9/17)....Giants
         Managing General Partner Peter Magowan, asked if he's
         disappointed that the team drew less than 2 million fans in
         '98: "A little bit, but again, we were 15 games (over .500)
         at the All-Star break.  If we had continued to play like
         that we would have hit 2 million" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/16).
               
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Minnesota Twins, MLB, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Rays
  • HAVE THE EXPOS PLAYED THEIR LAST GAME IN MONTREAL?

              Finance Minister Bernard Landry "shot down a new
         proposal" to finance a downtown Montreal ballpark for the
         Expos with government-guaranteed bonds that would be repaid
         out of taxes on players' salaries, according to Clark &
         Gyulai of the Montreal GAZETTE.  The Quebec government has
         said repeatedly that "it will not guarantee debt racked up
         to build a new stadium," and Landry said yesterday that it
         "has no intention of changing that refusal."  Landry: "A
         guarantee is a guarantee.  And if you sign somewhere, it
         means that ultimately you could have to pay.  I think that
         the figures are not there.  Mathematically, I think it's
         nonsense."  The Expos have set September 30 as the deadline
         for coming up with a financing plan for a new stadium.  Team
         President Claude Brochu has warned that the team "may be
         sold if the stadium plan does not come together by the
         deadline" (Clark & Gyulai, Montreal GAZETTE, 9/17).  
              HOME FINALE: The Expos drew 13,540 for last night's
         home finale, bringing the season total to 914,909 -- the
         third-lowest total in team history.  The Expos drew 908,292
         in '75 and 646,704 in '76, the team's last season at Jarry
         Park (AP/ESPN.com, 9/17).  In Montreal, Jack Todd writes
         that at the home final, which was "perhaps the final home
         game in their 30-year history in Montreal -- the sharks were
         already circling" (Montreal GAZETTE, 9/17).
              WAITING FOR BROCHU: Beaver Sports' Don Beaver, who
         "wants to bring big league baseball to Charlotte, will have
         to wait a while" to see what happens with the Expos.  The
         Expos "won't seek permission to talk to potential buyers
         until after" the September 30 deadline.  Expos spokesperson
         Sina Gabrielli: "It all just depends what happens September
         30" (Foon Rhee, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/17).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Franchises, Walt Disney
  • ISLANDERS TAKING A "BIG LEAP" IN TALKING TO NYC ABOUT A MOVE

              Islanders co-Owner Steven Gluckstern said that he
         "likely will refuse to return" to the Nassau Coliseum under
         the current lease even if Spectacor Management Group (SMG)
         fixes safety problems, according to Marc Berman of the N.Y.
         POST.  Gluckstern: "The courts can say things, the league
         can say things.  It's a determination we have to make as
         owners of the team, not some third party."  SMG President
         Wes Westley said that the hoist holding the scoreboard "has
         been replaced" and his company bought an upgraded model for
         $150,000.  Islanders President David Seldin, referring to
         SMG failing to disclose an inspection on the hoist system:
         "We've got a manager whom we firmly believe lied to us and
         withheld information."  An Isles statement said the team has
         spoken with "a number of municipalities in the tri-state
         area, including New York City" about relocating.  Berman
         adds that an NHL source said that the statement implied a
         "permanent move," and talking to municipalities rather than
         arena owners was a "big leap" (N.Y. POST, 9/17).  Nassau
         County Exec Thomas Gulotta will meet with Seldin and Westley
         on Thursday.  The NHL will not send a representative, but
         plans to hire independent engineers to inspect the Coliseum
         (N.Y. TIMES, 9/17).  On L.I., a NEWSDAY editorial: "Did the
         county move too slowly to address safety questions about the
         equipment that secures the scoreboard overhead in the 25-
         year-old Coliseum?  The answer: Yes" (NEWSDAY, 9/17).       
              WHAT ABOUT THE FANS?  The Islanders and the One on One
         Sports Radio Network agreed to a one-year deal to carry
         games on WJWR-AM, according to Steve Zipay of NEWSDAY.  The
         games will also be simulcast on WLUX-AM to reach more of
         Long Island.  WJWR-AM GM Jamie Rush: "We'll be broadcasting
         all 82 regular-season games -- from where, I don't know yet"
         (NEWSDAY, 9/17).  In NY, Anthony McCarron writes under the
         header "Islander Move Has Fans Up In Arms" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS,
         9/17).  Gluckstern, on the fans' patience with the off-ice
         problems: "If you keep hitting someone across the face with
         a two-by-four 50, 60, 70, 80 times, I'm sure they eventually
         stop coming back" (John Valenti, NEWSDAY, 9/17).    
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New York Islanders, NHL
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