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CAN'T HARDLY WAIT: NFL ANXIOUS TO GET BACK TO CITY OF ANGELS
Published November 2, 1998
"Fox NFL Sunday" host James Brown reported yesterday that the NFL "is so desperate to get a team in Los Angeles that they will rip up their own timetable to decide on the franchise and give the two L.A. owner groups every chance. Houston, the previous favorite ... may now have to resort to grabbing an existing team." Brown called the Raiders and Cardinals two "potential targets" ("Fox NFL Sunday," 11/1). ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that despite a "spectacular" presentation from Bob McNair's Houston group, "there's still a strong sentiment to award the 32nd [team] to Los Angeles. The feeling being that L.A. is a luke warm market that might heat up to the excitement of an expansion team, as opposed to relocation." Mortensen said that Bill Bidwell's Cardinals "may be the number one candidate for such a move" to Houston ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/31). L.A. STORY: In L.A., T.J. Simers wrote that Fox joining Ed Roski's New Coliseum Partners "makes too much sense" as Fox "already has its hooks into the Dodgers and the Staples Center, and Fox is going to need political support to redo Dodger Stadium. Hopping aboard the Mark Ridley-Thomas project, which already has wide political appeal in L.A., also keeps Fox in the programming game, something vital to its existence" (L.A. TIMES, 11/1). In Chicago, Don Pierson wrote that fan support in Charlotte, Jacksonville and Nashville "has not been overwhelming," and the league "can hardly wait to get back to" Cleveland (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/1). In Cleveland, Tony Grossi wrote that Commissioner Tagliabue's "goal" is to have the 32nd team playing in 2002, the fifth year of the TV deal. The league has the right to reopen its TV deal after the 2002 season. Grossi: "The worst it can do is maintain the present schedule of TV fees. ... Tagliabue's hope is that TV ratings will rise dramatically in 2002 when the 32nd team debuts in a newly realigned NFL" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/1).