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Volume 24 No. 114

Franchises

     NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said the NFL is not looking
at legal action keep the Rams in the L.A. area.  Tagliabue:
"We're not angling for litigation, we're not trying to stoke any
litigation."  These comments come in response to Rams President
John Shaw's comments that the Rams might sign a short-term lease
in Anaheim "if the league tries to block a move to St. Louis."
If a franchise moves, Tagliabue said he would "make an in-depth
review, make a report to the ownership, and then see what their
opinions are based upon whatever report I make."  If the Rams
make a request to move, Tagliabue said, "We will be looking very
carefully at the fan support, the booster support, and all
aspects of that as we approach any application the Rams make.  If
they make one."  He did say that recent legal decisions on
franchise relocation "clarified the approach the league could
take on such matters" (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH,
12/16).  Tagliabue was asked about an NFL-backed, football-only
stadium in L.A. and why the league wouldn't help other teams such
as the Bucs: "The conditions in Los Angeles are unique and those
are the conditions that led us to set forth the concept for
league involvement of a Super Bowl-related stadium in L.A.  At
this juncture, I don't think those conditions exist in any other
coummunity" (Vito Stellino, Baltimore SUN, 12/16).

     NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue held a national conference
call yesterday in which he said the league is optimistic the
Buccaneers will stay in Tampa. Tagliabue responded to statements
by Orioles Owner Peter Angelos, who Wednesday called the Bucs
"eminently moveable."  Tagliabue: "We're more optimistic in terms
of the Tampa community keeping the team than Peter Angelos seems
to be. ... (Angelos) seems to feel the team in Tampa Bay hasn't
been supported. ... Our attitude has been quite different from
that.  We feel the Super Bowl games played in Tampa were
extremely well-supported."  Tagliabue did say the league would
not become involved in financing a new stadium in Tampa or
helping with renovations (Stroud & Testerman, ST. PETERSBURG
TIMES, 12/16).
     CROSS-OWNERSHIP:  NFL policy prohibits cross-ownership of
other major pro sports franchises, and Yankees Owner George
Steinbrenner and Angelos would "need a major change in league
rules if they want to buy the Bucs."  The league has ruled that
Wayne Huizenga (who also owns the Panthers and Marlins) can run
the Dolphins for two years, although technically the team is
owned by a trust until June 1, '96.  Tagliabue will review the
Dolphins ownership at that time and could force the trust to buy
Huizenga's stake.  Browns Owner Art Modell:  "The rules against
cross-ownership are pretty strict.  There's a lot of sentiment
not to change our rules."  Tagliabue said "it would not be
possible for an owner in another sports to purchase" an NFL team,
"unless there was some type of interim adjustment made," but he
added, "We are continuing to reasses it."  Steinbrenner would not
comment on cross ownership, but Angelos "hinted" he would sell
the Orioles if necessary:  "I think we'd be willing to accept the
conditions given to Huizenga, where they'd tell him he might have
to divest himself" (Joe Henderson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/16).
     KING GEORGE SPEAKS:  Steinbrenner on his interest in the
team: "(We) are deadly serious about this, if we can make it have
economic sense. ... We have the finances and the desire, but I
cannot recommend a bad deal to my investors" (Tom McEwen, TAMPA
TRIBUNE, 12/16).

     Season-tickets sales are not the only requirement that the
Raptors and Grizzlies must meet to keep the NBA happy.
Apparently "firm arena plans and broadcasting deals" also have to
be finalized by the end of the year.  One well-informed league-
level source told Neil Campbell of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL that,
"technically, the league could still revoke if all the terms
aren't met.  There's a lot of impatience with the people in
Toronto and their arena situation.  They don't have a TV deal
done yet in Vancouver but that is not as serious as the Toronto
situation."  The Raptors want to have their arena at a downtown
site, but there is no guarantee that the problem would be solved
by December 31.  In Vancouver, local TV rights have not been
sold, but owner Arthur Griffiths' family has "extensive broadcast
holdings throughout B.C. and Alberta," and the team is
"apparently headed" for a radio deal with an FM station owned by
the Griffiths.  One broadcast source reports that the Grizzlies
are asking a C$1 million for the radio rights (Toronto GLOBE &
MAIL, 12/16).