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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).
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).
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).
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).