Several NHL owners "are unhappy" with Toronto Maple Leafs
Chairman Steve Stavro, according to David Shoalts of the Toronto
GLOBE & MAIL. Stavro's bid for control of the Maple Leaf Gardens
has been hit by lawsuits from the Office of Public Trustee of
Ontario and minority Gardens shareholders Jim Devellano and Harry
Ornest. The owners in question are "not pleased they were not
informed of any potential problems posed by an investigation by
the Public Trustee before approving Starvo's takeover last April"
(Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/17).
A Memphis group headed by Federal Express is hoping to win a
CFL franchise to begin play in the fall of '95. Pepper Rodgers,
who would be managing general partner of the team said Federal
Express founder Frederick Smith would be the chief owner. The
CFL will discuss the Memphis bid at a news conference today.
Rodgers: "It is not a done deal because our lawyers have not gone
over all the things, but we are confident it will be done"
This morning, Three Canadian papers examine the marketing of
the Grizzlies and their quest to meet the 12,500 season ticket
minimum with an NBA-determined deadline of December 31. "The man
in charge of the unenviable task," Tod Leiweke, is profiled in
the VANCOUVER SUN. "Recruited out of the Warriors organization
almost three weeks ago, Leiweke has become perhaps the single
most important employee of the Northwest Entertainment Group; the
umbrella company that oversees the Grizzlies, Vancouver Canucks,
and General Motors Place" (Dan Stinson, VANCOUVER SUN, 11/17).
But Jim Taylor of the Vancouver PROVINCE takes the team to task
for their hard sell. "Memo to the marketing department of the
Vancouver Grizzlies: Back off. ... The Grizzlies are not a
community operation, and the community is under no obligation to
support them." Taylor writes that if the team fails to sell
enough tickets "it will be because not enough people want to buy
your product. ... Wanting the NBA and needing it are two
different cats" (VANCOUVER SUN, 11/17). A day in the Grizzlies
ticket office is chronicled in the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL (Neil
Campbell, GLOBE & MAIL, 11/17).
Representatives of George Lindemann, 58, the principal owner
of Southern Union Co., a natural gas utility in Austin, TX, have
been in contact with Steve Story, spokesperson for the trust
operating the Buccaneers. Lindemann, a FL resident, has become a
"serious candidate to buy the Bucs and keep the team in Tampa
Bay." Lindemann tried to buy the Dolphins in Janaury , but lost
out to Wayne Huizenga who had the right of first refusal on the
team. Now with the Bucs on the market, he is again a "major
player" in bidding for a team. Forbes lists Lindemann as the
170th wealthiest man in America with a net worth of $590M (Bruce
Lowitt, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 11/17). MO businessman Stan
Kroenke spoke by phone with the three-man trust yesterday and
"expressed interest to move" the Bucs to St. Louis if that city
does not get the Rams (Pat Yasinskas, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/17).
MORE STADIUM NEWS: Tampa Sports Authority Exec Dir Rick
Nafe discussed preliminary plans for a $50-70M stadium
renovation, part of which would be the "installation of revenue
producing club level seating and additional sky boxes." The
retrofitting, however, could reduce the stadium's capacity to
about 65,000 -- 5,000 below the minimum to host the Super Bowl.
Tampa has hosted two Super Bowls and was set to bid for the 2000
game (Don Banks, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 11/17). Pinellas County
officials say they are unable to offer "cold, hard cash" to keep
the team in the Tampa area, but would "lend a hand on advance
season tickets sales" (Stebbins & Walker, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/17).
Rams President John Shaw told Save the Rams that the team
would need a new stadium to stay in the L.A. area. Agent Leigh
Steinberg, spokesperson for Save the Rams, said that "one of the
factors that is really attractive to the Rams in the St. Louis
situation is the presence of an instantly usable football
stadium." Steinberg said he told Shaw that their plan for a
refurbished Anaheim Stadium would "create the same income
opportunities" of a new stadium, but that Shaw "remained
unconvinced." Steinberg stressed the 15,000 ticket pledges for
next season and the help of "the Orange County Register and a
major radio station" with that effort (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS