Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 156

Franchises

     When Save the Rams meets with Rams President John Shaw
tomorrow, the group will attempt to keep the team in Anaheim by
promising that a local sports authority will be established to
help turn 800 acres of land into a premier sports-entertainment
complex.  The City of Anaheim plans to hire a land-use consultant
by the end of the year and will join forces with Orange County to
create a sports authority, "an agency that could bring county
financing to new or renovated facilities."  Save the Rams wants
to turn the area surrounding Anaheim Stadium into a sports-
oriented retail district, with two stadiums, shops restaurants
and other tourist attractions.  The Rams may find the idea
"appealing because of a new managerial structure and potential
revenue streams for the team."  Agent Leigh Steinberg,
spokesperson for Save the Rams, called the authority a "critical
step in the new relationship between the Rams and Orange County,"
adding "the hope is to wash out the history of bad dealings"
(Himmelberg & Mouchard, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 11/29).

     The Cowboys, accused by the NAACP of not hiring minorities
to help run the team, will hire at least one African-American to
their front office.  The person will most likely serve as a
director of community relations.  The Cowboys and NAACP will hold
a joint news conference today to announce the agreement.  The
NAACP had asked the team to "create a trio of vice president
positions for African-Americans in three areas: community
affairs, player relations, and minority procurement and
diversity" (Price & Fisher, FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 11/29).

     Whit Hudson may have only six weeks to complete his purchase
of 40% of the Heat.  The MIAMI HERALD reports that today that
Hudson's "agreement to acquire managing control of the team from
Lewis Schaffel and Billy Cunningham expires in mid-January if the
sale isn't completed."  With the deal currently held up by
internal conflicts in the Heat organization and "a dispute
between Hudson and majority owner Ted Arison -- the deadline
could pass without the NBA approving the purchase."  Stephen
Roddenberry, Hudson's attorney, called the January deadline "an
open question," adding "the words are susceptible to more than
one interpretation."  The HERALD also reports that the Heat's
limited partners -- Raanan Katz (5%), Julio Iglesias (1%),
Amancio Suarez (5%) and Robert Sturges (1%) -- had been offered a
chance to sell their shares to Blockbuster Entertainment Inc.
before Hudson "entered the picture."  Blockbuster reportedly
offered $10M to purchase the 12% held by these partners.  Hudson
is brother-in-law to Blockbuster Chair Wayne Huizenga (Alex
Marvez, MIAMI HERALD, 11/29).

     The efforts to bring baseball to Orlando is examined in two
parts by the ORLANDO SENTINEL.  Developer Norton Herrick, who
heads the current expansion effort, is profiled in a front-page
layout.  Calling Herrick the "mystery man," the headline states
"Orlando knows little about Norton Herrick except that he had a
$150 million letter of credit."  Herrick was not viewed early on
as the front-runner in the derby to lead an Orlando bid, but a
"key" was a $150M letter of credit "bearing the signature of
Herrick's private Citicorp banker in Miami and a list of
references that included H. Wayne Huizenga" (Dan Tracy, ORLANDO
SENTINEL, 11/27).  The SENTINEL also ran a front-page piece on
how Orlando hopes to duplicate the success of the Colorado
Rockies, noting that Herrick's partner, Paul Jacobs and Steve
Kurtz, were instrumental in making the Rockies such a financial
bonanza.  Jacobs "negotiated a stadium lease considered the most
lucrative in all of baseball."  If Orlando gets a team, the two
will be "key players in determining just how profitable the team
will be, how much it will keep from every hot dog, beer and
program sold at the new ballpark" (Larry Lebowitz, ORLANDO
SENTINEL, 11/28).

     The Tampa Sports Authority (TSA) has hired the HOK
architectural firm to conduct a three-week study on potential
costs and options to renovate Tampa Stadium.  Since the study
will cost less than $10,000, the contract did not have to go
through the normal bid procedures.  But "it is an indication of
how quickly answers are needed" for local investors interested in
pursuing the team.  TSA Exec Dir Rick Nafe said they must find
out "what is realistic" about seating and renovations, saying
that he believed about 2,500 club level seats are needed to
generate extra revenue.  Tampa investor Tommy Shannon, along with
Outback Steakhouse founder Chris Sullivan and Bob Basham, said
they "need more hard information on what type of revenue is
possible from Tampa Stadium" before making an offer for the team.
Shannon: "We don't know what we can do yet because we don't know
the best deal Tampa Stadium can put on the table" (Joe Henderson,
TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/29).  USA TODAY's Gordon Forbes writes, "I
can't shake the feeling that George Steinbrenner will end up
owning the Bucs, triggering another volatile NFL dispute about
cross ownership" (USA TODAY, 11/29).
     ALL IN THE FAMILY: In Houston, John McClain comments on the
turmoil in the Culverhouse family. "Behind-the-scenes squabbling
is getting more attention than the sale, and greed is the root of
the problem" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/27)

     Mark Brinkman, a Stars season-ticket holder who filed a
class-action lawsuit against the team, will "pursue a full refund
and damages against the Stars for season-tickets he paid for in
June."  Brinkman said he will continue with the suit even if the
season is cancelled and the team offers full refunds.  Brinkman:
"I'd just like to take this out to make a point and maybe set a
precedent for all sports leagues.  This just isn't the way to
operate a business.  The fans have no rights."  The Stars have
offered three different options on a refund policy, although they
join 22 NHL teams in not offering cash refunds for the entire
season.  Four teams do offer full refunds for season-tickets,
although the fans give up the right to retain priority seating.
This policy has kept requests for full refunds low.  Stars
President Jim Lites said full refunds are "just not possible" at
this time (Mike Heika, FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 11/28).