Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 113

Franchises

     Orioles owner Peter Angelos told the WASHINGTON POST
yesterday that he and MD Governor William Schaefer will meet with
Rams owner Georgia Frontiere and other Rams officials this Sunday
to discuss the possibilities of moving the team to Baltimore.  A
spokesperson for Schaefer said that while the governor's schedule
does not presently include a meeting with Rams officials, the
schedule has some "built-in free time" that could be filled by a
visit with Rams officials.  A source close to the negotiations
said that the Rams' interest in moving has "warmed up
considerably," with Baltimore moving to the "forefront"
(Christine Brennan & Richard Tapscott, WASHINGTON POST, 9/14).

     Steve Story, trustee of the late Hugh Culverhouse's estate,
announced that no offers will be solicited and no offers will be
accepted for the Buccaneers, according to a report in this
morning's TAMPA TRIBUNE.  Story said that decision came after he
met with Joy Culverhouse on Friday:  "The Bucs are not on the
block.  This stance is not just for this season, but for the
foreseeable future as well."  Bucs coach Sam Wyche said that he
and the players were "relieved" by the decision: "I told the team
-- there was applause all around."  The TAMPA TRIBUNE's Tom
McEwen writes that the announcement "put to rest" concerns that
the Bucs would be "sold and shipped to Baltimore or St. Louis or
Sacramento or Orlando" (Tom McEwen, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/12).

     In Tampa, Bill Chastain writes, while MLB's players and
owners consider "various rudiments of the strike," Phoenix is
faced with the "prospect of withdrawing from the expansion race
in the even of a prolonged labor stoppage."  Phoenix and
Tampa/St. Pete have been considered the frontrunners for any
baseball expansion.  Chastain notes that Suns owner Jerry
Colangelo's contract with Maricopa County provides up to $153M in
public financing for a $275M stadium to house baseball in
downtown Phoenix.  But the agreement and the 1/4-cent sales tax
to support it contain "sunset" clauses that cancel everything if
no franchise is awarded by April 1.  Colangelo is convinced the
strike will end in plenty of time for owners, "who promised him a
franchise behind closed doors, to follow through with their
promise."  Colangelo told the ARIZONA REPUBLIC last week: "My
information is they will meet the timetable we have.  Our deal
goes away April 1.  Baseball is aware of that.  That's not
pressure.  That's reality" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/18).      TAMPA
WATCH:  In Tampa, Edwin Roberts thinks Orlando will get the nod
over Tampa/St. Pete:  "That city has more than enough tourist-tax
money to build an open-air stadium (the kind preferred by club
owners), and one very rich man has offered to buy a team" (TAMPA
TRIBUNE, 9/18).

     Washington attorney Bart Fisher, who is trying to acquire a
MLB team for DC or the Northern VA area, said he has been given
permission to look at the financial records of the A's, who are
for sale.  A's owner Walter Haas Jr. has set a sale price at $85M
for any buyers who would keep the team in Oakland.  Oakland
Coliseum officials have been given until December to locate a
local purchaser, "after-which out-of-town investors may be
considered."  Fisher and his partners have expressed interest in
several teams, and last year offered $150M for the Padres.
Fisher's group has also applied for expansion.  In Washington,
Mark Maske notes it is unlikely the owners would permit another
AL team to move so close to the Orioles.  In other news, Fisher
said that he has had "no conversations" with anyone interested in
starting a new league (WASHINGTON POST, 9/17).
     OAKLAND OWNERSHIP?  In Boston, Peter Gammons reports that
while four bidders expressed interest for the A's, only two
"actually pursued it, and both dropped out as soon as they looked
further" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18).

     Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris said four potential buyers of the
Athletics "have been cleared by Major League Baseball and
American League officials as able to pay" the $85M asking price.
None of the four potential buyers are from the Bay Area, but all
are committed to keeping the team in Oakland.  Harris said the
process of reviewing the books would take from 30 to 60 days.
"After that the most viable buyer would emerge."  However, Harris
noted that there is a "second tier of buyers," which included
local groups that had joined together as syndicates as potential
buyers.  The team's owners, the Haas family, put the team up for
sale in April '94.  A's CEO Walter Haas set a price of $85M for
anyone who would keep the team in Oakland.  Some experts say the
team would be worth $120M in the open market.  If no buyer who
would keep the team Oakland is found by December 1, the Haas
family said it plans to seek other offers (Gregory Lewis, SAN
FRANCISCO EXAMINER, 9/10).

     The Timberwolves' deal -- "so long in the making, seemingly
completed five weeks ago -- is not done yet."   The Wolves' lease
at the Target Center remains a major "stumbling block."  Wolves
buyer Glen Taylor said his reps. were meeting with officials from
the Target Center and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities
Commission in an effort to resolve key issues in negotiations for
the Wolves' new 30-year arena lease.  Taylor said the arena lease
must be completed within 10 days to satisfy the NBA's Board of
Governors, which is set to vote on his purchase of the Wolves on
October 4.  Taylor made optimistic comments about resolving the
lease problem only 12 hours after he told members of The Dunkers,
a Twin Cities breakfast group: "If we don't get a lease with the
commission, we will not buy the team."  The sale of the Wolves
goes hand-in-hand with the sale of Target Center to the sports
facilities commission; both the team and arena still are owned by
Marv Wolfenson and Harvey Ratner.  The commission will buy the
Target Center for $42M, using bonds issued by the Metropolitan
Council and backed by the city of Minneapolis (Weiner & Hartman,
Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/14).

     On Friday, Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy reduced the list of
potential Pirate suitors to 10, with the two or three finalists
to be determined within weeks after preliminary bids are made.
The city wants about $85M for the Pirates.  According to city
government sources, the Rooney Familys -- the Steelers owner --
clearly would be the frontrunner if they made a serious bid.
Besides the Rooneys, Penguins co-owner Howard Baldwin was the
only other potential suitor mentioned by name by Murphy during
his news conference.  Other bidders:  Adelphia Communications
Chair John Rigas, the KBL Sports Network and Pittsburgh
businessman Jim Roddey.  The city has until January 29, to find a
buyer or the Pirates can sell to the highest bidder.  Larry
Lucchino, the former Orioles CEO, is also said to be interested
in the Pirates, but is now involved in a bid to buy the Padres
(PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/17).  In Boston, Will McDonough
reports Dan Rooney says his family is not interested in the
Pirates.  Rooney: "We have some stadium problems here with the
city, and we have to get those rectified.  I do not want to get
involved in the baseball rules.  I am dead set against cross-
ownership" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18).

     Capitals holdout Kevin Hatcher is "threatening" to play the
'94-95 season for the IHL's Detroit Vipers.  Detroit TV reports
say the Vipers have offered Hatcher a contract that would pay him
in excess of $1M a year plus incentive bonuses.  Hatcher began
practicing with the Vipers squad on 9/9, but a deal has yet to be
signed.  But a source close to the Vipers ownership called the
salary reports "ridiculous": "I can't see us paying NHL-type
money" (Dave Fay, WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/11).  Hatcher:  "I don't
know if I want to jump the gun right now and sign a contract
tomorrow or anything.  But I think it's in the back of my head."
Another source close to the Vipers stressed, the contract would
include an out-clause so Hatcher could immediately join the Caps
if he were to re-sign with them (Len Hochberg, WASHINGTON POST,
9/11).

     Rams Exec VP John Shaw met with "Save the Rams," a group
trying to keep the Rams in Anaheim.  He and Rams owner Georgia
Frontiere was also expected to dine with MD Gov. William Donald
Schaefer and Orioles owner Peter Angelos last night.  And in St.
Louis, Rams representatives have been on the phone with FANS
point man, former Sen. Tom Eagleton.  "Save the Rams" was
expected to present Shaw with an offer to buy the team, "although
the Rams have indicated that they are not interested in an
outright purchase."  The group was also expected to present more
details on guarantees of ticket sales and premium seat sales.
FANS Inc. just purchased the 30% share of the stadium lease in
St. Louis from beer distributor Jerry Clinton.  Shaw, in a
statement: "Our lawyers have been advised by Sen. Eagleton that
the St. Louis stadium lease issues have been resolved.  If that
is the case the Rams are prepared to commence discussions" (Jim
Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/17).
     ANAHEIM:  "Save the Rams" presented a package assuring
revenues between $15-20M.  The new plan also includes "all-
important season ticket and luxury box guarantees similar to ones
being offered by other cities wooing the team."  They promised
the Rams sales of 45,000 season tickets and income from "roughly"
100 luxury boxes --mostly from the Orange County business
community.  The group also boosted the renovation package for
Anaheim Stadium from the $40M offered last month to $60-70M.  The
package more than doubles the budget for a proposed "state-of-
the-art training facility" and corporate HQs in Orange County
(L.A. TIMES, 9/17).
     ST. LOUIS:  Now that the stadium lease has been finalized,
look for a task force of area political, civic and business
leaders to be named within a week, as FANS tries to "broaden the
input it gets in formulating the Rams proposal" (Thomas, ST.
LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/17).  The St. Louis group is considering
selling the naming rights to the stadium and requiring fans to
buy seat licenses before they can buy season tickets (Jon Morgan,
Baltimore SUN, 9/17).

     In Baltimore, Tom Keegan reports that former Orioles
president Larry Lucchino, organizing a group to purchase the San
Diego Padres, is close to closing the deal.  Lucchino will not
have to invest any money, but in return for brokering the deal,
he will become the Padres president and be granted a small equity
in the team (Baltimore SUN, 9/11). Sources in San Diego dispute
the report saying that no movement is expected by the three
potential buyers as long as the strike continues (DAILY sources,
9/11).

     Ontario's Public Trustee charged that Maple Leaf Gardens
Ltd. (MLG) failed to take any steps to "maximize value for
shareholders before the company's takeover by MLG Ventures."  In
a new set of allegations specifically against Gardens management,
the trustee and ministry of the attorney-general contend company
officials didn't "make any or adequate attempts" to find out what
potential buyers would pay.  The two government agencies have
already alleged the executors of the estate of late Gardens owner
Harold Ballard "breached their fiduciary duties to a group of
designated charities by selling his estate's stake in the hockey
franchise privately to MLG Ventures, and not on the open market."
The two agencies want to the courts to unwind the deal and return
the shares to the estate.  MLG Ventures and the Gardens "have
denied all the allegations which must still be proven in court."
The estate's three executors are all members of the Gardens
board.  Stave Stavro is Chair and CEO of the Gardens and Donald
Crump is the company's treasurer (Tony Van Alphen, TORONTO STAR,
9/16).  The trial to decide the future ownership of Maple Leaf
Gardens will likely start next spring (Van Alphen, TORONTO STAR,
9/19).

     Glen Taylor, who is lining up the deal to purchase the
Timberwolves, said that he would like to make the team a public
corporation similar to ownership of the Celtics.  Taylor is
lining up backers for a limited partnership to put up the $45M in
equity needed for the $88M deal.  Taylor told MN Public Radio
that one option he and his group is interested in "is taking on
additional citizens."  Taking the team public "is becoming a key
component in Taylor's efforts to lure individual investors into
the money pool he needs to purchase the team" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
9/18).