Orioles Owner Peter Angelos meets with the officials from
the Buccaneers today and "might offer up to $200 million to buy
the team and move it." The high price of Angelos' offer would be
made up through lucrative stadium arrangements, which could force
the hand of Tampa officials "in the battle for dollars to keep
the Bucs from leaving town." As reported yesterday, the Tampa
Sports Authority is proposing a multi-million dollar renovation
project for Tampa Stadium, but elected officials are split on how
it should be paid for (Joe Henderson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/18).
OUTSIDE FORCES? Former Patriots Owner Victor Kiam's lawsuit
against the NFL could have a bearing on franchise relocations.
Kiam claims the NFL and several of its owners "conspired to
interfere with every effort to sell the team to a purchaser who
would relocate the team" (Jon Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 11/18). "If
successful, the lawsuit could force the league to ease its
restrictions on location" Pat Yasinskas, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/18).
The CFL "went for a strong football background yesterday
when in accepted Memphis as its 13th member." The announcement
that Federal Express founder Fred Smith was joining the league
gave credibility to the CFL's American expansion effort (Ken
Murray, Baltimore SUN, 11/18). The team will play at the 62,512
seat Liberty Bowl when it takes the field next season, but still
must work out a lease agreement with the city and renovations. A
possible name: the Memphis Cobras (Mike Ganter, TORONTO SUN,
BIG MOVE: Because the CFL has experienced difficulty this
year, yesterday's announcement was seen as significant. Stephen
Brunt of the GLOBE & MAIL writes that "a great big corner has
been turned on the road to make it a viable, continental league."
With FedEx, the CFL "acquired a new veneer of corporate
credibility," made it likely that "more high-quality ownership
will come on board," and "greatly enhanced" chances of attracting
U.S. TV dollars -- maybe even CBS. "The sponsorship
opportunities [Fred Smith] brings to the table are enormously
significant" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/18). In addition, CFL
Commissioner Larry Smith may have saved his job. Larry Smith:
"We think this gives us exactly the same profile that Blockbuster
Video and Disney gave to the NHL" (Rick Matsumoto, TORONTO STAR,
11/18). CFL's Baltimore Owner Jim Speros also noted the
potential sponsorships Smith and FedEx bring: "He'll help us get
to the next level" (Baltimore SUN, 11/18).
NEXT MOVE? Sunday's Western Division final between the
Calgary and British Columbia has sold an "astonishingly low total
of 12,000 tickets." Stampeders Owner Larry Ryckman has
threatened to move the team to San Antonio, and "people are now
beginning to take him seriously." Calgary kicker Mark
McLoughlin: "You look at Baltimore and now Memphis, if those
teams do well and they get a TV contract I'll honestly forecast
that there will be no teams in Canada in the near future" (Neil
Campbell, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/18).
The Bullets pulled the trigger on one of the biggest deals
in recent NBA history, and are hoping it pays off at the box
office. Yesterday's trade for 1993 Rookie of the Year Chris
Webber, and the signing of fellow Fab-Fiver Juwan Howard, created
"hysteria" in the Nation's Capital. The team "didn't have enough
people answering the phones or take the requests," writes Michael
Wilbon of the WASHINGTON POST. Wilbon: "More than 500 season-
ticket plans had been sold by 9:30 last night. ... The Bullets
have a superstar. ... someone to put on posters and billboards"
(WASHINGTON POST, 11/18). The SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY recently
completed a survey of the top marketable young players in the
NBA. Webber finished second, behind Detroit rookie Grant Hill.
Wayne Holm, co-CEO of Spectra Group, a Vancouver based
restaurant and food distribution group has purchased 300 season
tickets for the Grizzlies inaugural season. The sale is a "big
boost" to the Grizzlies' goal of selling 12,500 season tickets by
December 31. Grizzlies VP/GM Stu Jackson announced the team's
"magic number" is now 4,390 tickets to be sold by the end of the
year. The 300 tickets would be available to Spectra's employees.
Holm said Spectra would not be awarded a catering contract at
General Motors place, but did hope that there "will be promotions
involving us, such as news conference and players at our
restaurant for luncheons" (Dan Stinson, VANCOUVER SUN, 11/18).
Raiders President Al Davis could be "stripped of his duties"
with the Raiders if the club is not moved to Oakland, according
to a report in the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Davis has a 10-year
contract to operate the team which expires in January, and his
minority partners, who control 52% of the team, want to move back
to Oakland. They could leave Davis with an interest in the club,
but he would not be allowed to run the team. With the Rams
likely to head to St. Louis, a Raiders move would leave the
league without a franchise in L.A., the nation's second-largest
market, "a situation the NFL would probably like to avoid" (SAN
DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE/TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/18).
THE CROWN JEWEL? Until now, all proposals had called for a
renovation of Anaheim Stadium, but with local officials on the
"verge of an agreement with the Angels on a new baseball
stadium," Save the Rams is now exploring options with the NFL
about a new football stadium and a "part-time home for the Super
Bowl." Rams President John Shaw has said a new facility is key
to the CA's hope of keeping the team. L.A. city officials
presented the Angels with details of a plan yesterday, and they
will meet again next week. The cost of building two stadiums
would be more than $300M, but Save the Rams said money could be
found without "hitting up the taxpayer," including possible "help
from the NFL in the form of future Super Bowl revenue"
(Himmelberg & Mouchard, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 11/18).