The February 16 owners meeting in Dallas set up by NFL
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to discuss the Rams move may also be
an opportunity for the league to vote on the sale of the
Buccaneers to Malcolm Glazer. Glazer, who needs approval from 23
of the 30 team owners, was scheduled to go before the owners at
their spring meeting in March, but with NFL approval he could be
running the franchise as early as mid-February. NFL Dir of
Communications Greg Aiello said that as long as the finance
committee, which is headed by Oilers Owner Bud Adams, has
finished their investigation of Glazer's bid, "it's conceivable"
that the owners could vote on the Glazer offer in February (Nick
Pugliese, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 1/19).
STEINBRENNER SPEAKS: Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner,
whose bid to buy the team was rejected, told the ST. PETERSBURG
TIMES that he questions why Glazer needs an escape clause in the
deal after two years if he is committed to keeping the Bucs in
town. Steinbrenner: "If you are going to be here forever and
ever, why do you need an escape clause at all? The answer is you
shouldn't." Steinbrenner also was concerned that the Glazer
family was represented by Hill, Ward & Henderson, the same law
firm that represents the team (Mult., 1/19).
The Chiefs raised ticket prices for '95. Club seats will
increase $2.50 and all other seats will be raised $2.00. The
average price for a ticket will be $31.09. Chiefs officials
noted that season ticket prices remain in the lower one-third of
the league (KANSAS CITY STAR, 1/18).
The Pirates have hired an investment banking firm to sell
the team. According to the AP, the team has grown "impatient
with the lack of a firm offer" from prospective buyer and
Adelphia Communications Owner John Rigas. The firm of Wertheim
Schroeder has been hired to handle the sale (AP/USA TODAY, 1/19).
The firm, which recently negotiated the sale of the Padres, will
conduct all aspects of the sale, including future talks with the
Rigas family. Under terms of a previous agreement, if Rigas does
not complete the sale by January 29, the Pirates ownership group
can sell the team to another buyer, including out of town
interests. Pirates Chair Vincent Sarni: "Despite repeated
request of the Rigas by current ownership, no proposal has been
made to date." Rigas has not yet received approval by MLB to
begin negotiating with the team, although he was authorized to
submit a proposal. Rigas has made an informal offer of $80M,
including $60M in debt assumption. Sarni: "The Rigas family has
suggested some elements of a proposal, but those elements are
quite incomplete" (Pirates).
"In a time when the meek inherit the league, Anaheim
officials are wondering where they fit into this new world of pro
football," writes Barbara Kingsley in this morning's ORANGE
COUNTY REGISTER. If the Rams' move receives NFL approval,
negotiations with other football teams, and even the Angels, are
going to be more difficult. Anaheim City Manager Jim Ruth:
"These people in St. Louis going out and promising the Rams the
world did not help me in my negotiations with (Angels Owner)
Jackie Autry." Robert Baade, an economics professor at Lake
Forest (IL) College who has studied the economic impact of pro
teams on cities, says if the Rams can leave Anaheim, the second-
biggest market in the country, "any team could leave." Baade
believes teams will put more and more financial demands on their
cities in order to stay: "This move is putting the fear of god
into a lot of cities" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 1/19). NFL
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has set up a special meeting of NFL
owners for February 16 in Dallas to discuss the Rams relocation,
and review all aspects of the move (Mult., 1/19).
CLARIFICATION: Yesterday's interview with Michele
Himmelberg of the ORGANGE COUNTY REGISTER should have stated that
it is getting too hard for a city of Anaheim's size to stay in
the professional sports market.
The agreement between the Rams and the city of St. Louis was
released yesterday, and "contrary to popular belief about the 30-
year lease, St. Louis didn't give the Rams everything," according
to Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. TIMES. Under the deal, the city
will retain 25% of stadium advertising revenue, including the
profitable naming rights to the domed facility. The Rams and
Convention Commission are forming a marketing partnership that
will handle advertising for the entire convention center, which
could generate as much as $3M a year. That, "combined with the
$500,000 a year the Rams must pay in rent and game-day expenses"
should net the city about $2M annually. The Rams will also have
to pay existing garages close to $40,000 a year for parking
spaces near the stadium, and have agreed to share a percentage of
revenue for stadium concessions. For more on the lease
arrangement, see yesterday's SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY. The city
will finance and build a Rams merchandise store next to the
stadium and will also begin building additional luxury suites
(Mike DiGiovanna, L.A. TIMES, 1/19). The ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
reports this morning that St. Louis is "legally committed to
paying" for the Rams practice facility, and estimated the cost at
close to $16M (Jo Mannies, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/19).
436-RAMS -- THE HOTLINE: The campaign to sell "Personal Seat
Licenses" (PSL's) is off to a "strong, if somewhat confusing,
start." Phone problems caused delays, but FANS, Inc., the civic
group managing PSL sales, said they issued up to 3,200
applications in the first 24 hours. Ten local banks have
announced "financing programs" for seat licensing, and one
prominent employer is letting employees buy licenses "through
automatic payroll withdrawals" (Andre Mouchard, ORANGE COUNTY
MORE REAX: In Philadelphia, Bill Lyon writes: "This does
not make St. Louis a bad city. Just a sucker, that's all"
(PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/19). Dave Anderson of the N.Y. TIMES
compares of Rams Owner Georgia Frontiere and team President John
Shaw to "Bonnie and Clyde": "Instead of holding up banks, pro
football's Bonnie and Clyde are holding up the taxpayers who
financed the stadium" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/19).
Bruins great Bobby Orr and former U.S. Senator Paul Tsongas
are trying to bring an American Hockey League franchise to
Lowell, MA. The two, "who head a group of local investors," met
with AHL officials before Tuesday's All-Star Game in Providence.
Tsongas, who also hopes to bring minor league baseball to Lowell:
"I think we proved we have our act together." The team would
play in an 8,000 seat downtown arena that is scheduled to be
completed in November '96. AHL President Dave Andrews: "With
their group and the potential of the building, it's a terrific
site for the league" (Todd Arthur, BOSTON GLOBE, 1/19).