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Volume 24 No. 112

Franchises

     SAN ANTONIO:  Local businessman Tom Herring "apparently will
have the first chance" at owning a CFL franchise.  Calgary
Stampeders owner Larry Ryckman said yesterday he will allow
Herring to choose whether he wants a team at the Alamodome before
making his decision on where the Stampeders play next season.
Herring plans to meet with league officials in early October
about his possible ownership group.  Herring has not decided
whether to pursue a team for next season or wait for '96.
Ryckman said the league "has heard from other potential owners
should Herring not push to have a team in San Antonio next
season."  Franchises in Las Vegas and Hamilton could be
relocation targets "if an expansion team doesn't materialize."
Cost of a CFL expansion franchise is $6M, with a $6M line of
credit to cover operating costs during the first season.  There
is also a one-time $100,000 application fee (Tim Griffin, SAN
ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 9/22).
     BALTIMORE:  In Washington, Christine Brennan writes that the
city has "thoroughly embraced" the CFL.  Attendance for
Baltimore's five home games:
DATE VISITOR   ATTENDANCE
     July 16             Calgary             39,247
July 23             Shreveport          31,172
August 10           Hamilton            37,231
August 20           Toronto             41,155
September 10        Sacramento          42,116

     One day after Bob Gutkowski's dismissal as the president of
Madison Square Garden, his interim replacement, Dave Checketts,
said his "immediate goal is to break the logjam in contract
negotiations" with Rangers star center Mark Messier.  But in a
break from his predecessor, Checketts said he would let Rangers
President/GM Neil Smith conduct the negotiations.  And "in
another break from Gutkowski," Checketts said he would not
discuss any progress in the talks with the news media.  Checketts
new role "may indeed be temporary."  Viacom will conduct a search
for a permanent MSG president.  Checketts: "I was told I would be
a candidate" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 9/22).
Checketts, on the possible resale of the Knicks and Rangers: "I
have been told by Cablevision/ITT executives that the teams are
not going to be resold" (N.Y. POST, 9/22).

     In New York, Jay Greenberg reports that the Rangers have not
fulfilled promises the team allegedly made following the
departure of former coach Mike Keenan.  Among the issues:  The
Rangers had agreed to drop a lawsuit against Keenan as part of
the settlement that freed their former coach to go to the Blues;
the Rangers have also refused to pay $208,000 the team owes
Keenan; Blues President Jack Quinn alleges that Rangers GM Neil
Smith has not met with Quinn to discuss a trade to supplement the
deal that Petr Nedved to the Rangers.  Quinn said he contacted
Smith last Saturday about the trade: "Neil was a little faint of
memory.  I indicated to him that this was not a figment of my
imagination."  While the promise of a supplemental trade is not
in writing, Quinn said he is considering meeting with NHL
Commissioner Gary Bettman to resolve the matter (N.Y. POST,
9/27).

     The Nashville Metro Council turned back a proposal that
would have allowed the public to vote on a tax to fund a new $48M
baseball stadium.  Following the vote, Nashville Sounds President
Larry Schmittou declared that he will no longer attempt to
attract a MLB franchise to Nashville.  An "embittered" Schmittou
said that the council had "not only scuttled" efforts to bring
MLB to Nashville, but "failed the public as well."  The defeat
also blunted Shmittou's "guarantee" that he would bring a CFL
franchise to the city  (Jeff Wilkinson, Nashville BANNER, 9/21).

     "Still smarting" from the 30% increase in next year's ticket
prices, Rockies fans are beginning to question the club's policy
for transferring reserved seats from Mile High Stadium to Coors
Field.  For many season-ticket holders, "the question is simple:
Can I improve my seats?"  Rockies Dir of Ticket Sales Sue Ann
McClaren: "It all depends on cancellations, and how many people
move into the club seats."  The club hopes to assign seats by
mid-November when season-ticket holders will be billed for a 33%
down payment.  Because of construction, fans will not be allowed
to visit Coors Field to inspect their seats.  "Apparently, the
only sure-fire option for improving seat location is to move into
the pricey and exclusive club section."  At $26 a game, a pair of
season tickets costs $4,160.  About 4,400 club seats will be made
available (Paul Hutchinson, DENVER POST, 9/21).

     Baltimore's CFL owner Jim Speros joined an investment group
trying to bring a baseball franchise to Northern Virginia.  But
organizers still face "uncertainty over when and if baseball will
expand and the possible opposition of the Orioles."  The group,
seeking a team through expansion or relocation, is one of nine
groups that submitted expansion plans to MLB.  William Collins,
Chair of Virginia Baseball Club Inc., believes the current group
has the "market and resources" missing from previous bids in the
DC area.  His group of 25 investors has a net worth of $350M and
has pledged $98M to the effort.  They are currently exploring
five sites in the Northern VA area to build a baseball-only
stadium -- all approximately 60 miles from Baltimore.  Orioles
Owner Peter Angelos would not say if he would fight such a move,
but he expressed confidence in the loyatly of Orioles fans:  "Is
it something that worries me?  The answer is no" (Jon Morgan,
Baltimore SUN, 9/27).

     The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission and the new
ownership of the Timberwolves reached agreement on "everything
that's important" for a Target Center lease, according to
commission chair Henry Savelkoul.  The deal "seems to guarantee
that pro basketball will remain in the Twin Cities for the next
30 years."  The commission votes on the deal tomorrow, which will
likely trigger votes by the Minneapolis City Council and
Metropolitan Council approving the $75M public purchase of the
"debt-ridden" facility.  Under the agreement, the first $5.8M in
ticket-tax revenues will pay off bonds used to finance the
purchase.  The Wolves will pay no rent, but there will be a 10%
tax and at least a $1 surcharge on each ticket sold to a Target
Center event.  About $11.25M -- $750,000 for 15 years -- will
come from the state's general fund, as generated by a tax on
health club memberships.  Savelkoul is confident that the deal
will prevent the imposition of a downtown liquor and hotel tax,
which would become permanent if the arena's revenues don't cover
the annual bond payments.  New Wolves Owner Glen Taylor "has
expressed a desire to bring an NHL team to the arena," and
Savelkoul believes the deal can allow for that (Jay Wiener,
Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/24).