Bucs trust spokesperson Steve Story, the man who negotiated
the sale of the team, said new team Owner Malcolm Glazer can
expect losses of up to $10-15M per year on his new investment.
In comments in this morning's ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, Story says
Glazer's agreement to assume the team's long-term liabilities
prevented the team from being sold to out-of-town interests. The
liabilities included deferred player contracts, signing bonuses,
pension, and other business expenses. Story: "We were facing a
real problem in that groups we felt were going to relocate the
team were offering in the neighborhood of $200-million and
agreeing to assume all liabilities. All of a sudden we were
looking at a deal of $175-million plus the assumption of
liabilities." Story maintains the $25M was a big difference "to
try to justify off-setting the risk of litigation from the NFL
for relocating the team." Story confirmed the possibility of
"substantial losses," adding that "something has to be done with
respect to building a new stadium" (Rick Stroud, ST. PETERSBURG
New Warriors Owner Christopher Cohan spoke to the SAN
FRANCISCO EXAMINER, and his first interview since taking over the
team appears in this morning's editions. Cohan said the official
transaction to become owner was "a difficult road," adding that
his ex-partners' "failure to deliver" slowed down the process.
He reiterated his No. 1 priority was getting a new 20,000-seat
arena for the team, mentioning both the San Francisco and Oakland
as possible sites. On San Francisco: "An arena makes all the
sense in the world, as far as the infrastructure and as far as
the hotels, and restaurants, and the city that people love to
visit. It could increase their convention business by twofold
and bring untold millions to the community." On Oakland: "You
have a very proven site and a very willing, very anxious city ...
It is an antiquated arena (but) it's a proven site, locale-wise,
and they just don't want to lose the Warriors. The dynamics are
different." Cohan said he will not get involved in the day-to-
day operations of the club. Cohan: "There will be two chiefs, on
the basketball side (Don Nelson) and the business side (President
Andy Dolich), and those two have to work together ... they answer
to me" (SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, 1/26).
FANS, Inc., the civic group in charge of selling Personal
Seat Licenses (PSL's) for the Rams, announced yesterday they have
received between 13,500 and 15,000 applications. With officials
stating that each application yields an average of three sales,
FANS "could be closing in on its eventual goal of 46,000 PSL's
after just two weeks on the market. The team wants to sell at
least 40,000 PSL's by March 10, with the revenue paying for the
team's move and other expenses. St. Louis County Exec George
"Buzz" Westfall: "So far, we have had an overwhelming response"
(Lorriane Kee, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/26).
FIGHT THE RAMS: Paul Wollam, a Newport Beach lawyer, filed a
class-action lawsuit in Orange County against the Rams, according
to this morning's ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. Wollam alleges the
team broke an implied contract by not telling season ticket
holders they were leaving and by "playing at a very poor level."
Wollam filed the suit on behalf of a new group called "Fight the
Rams" (Barbara Kingsley, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 1/26).
MR. HUNT VOTES YES: Chiefs Owner Lamar Hunt said he will
vote to approve the Rams move to St. Louis, even if it means
losing a portion of the Chiefs fan base. Hunt: "On having a team
in St. Louis, I would be very much for that. ... The gain from
having more people talking about professional football and
thinking about professional football throughout the state far
outweigh any loss of ticket sales we might have from the St.
Louis area" (Doug Tucker, AP/ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/26).
"For a bargain basement price of $85 million," the Haas
family sold the A's to Bay Area developers Stephen Schott and
Kenneth Hofmann -- who, in turn, pledged to keep the team in
Oakland for at least 10 years. Schott: "On behalf of Ken Hofmann
and myself, we look forward to a long stay in the Bay Area." The
Haas family had put the team on the market for $85M, with the
provision that the low price apply only if the new owners kept
the team in Oakland. The family claims to have lost close to
$33M from '91-93 on the team. As part of the deal, the city of
Oakland and Alameda County, which owns Oakland Coliseum, have
agreed to issue $20M bonds to remodel skyboxes, build new club
seats and create a club lounge within the next six years. Schott
and Hofmann will also receive 100% of parking, concession, and
advertising revenues. To help pay off the bonds, the A's "will
levy a 25-cent surcharge on all tickets," pay about $3.5M from a
new concession contract, and "earmark 90% of the proceeds" from
selling the naming rights to the Oakland Coliseum to a corporate
sponsor. When asked about the deal, County Supervisor Mary King
said it "was better than an empty stadium. ... The economy is
hurt when we lose a team." Schott, 56, who will be the managing
partner, said he was "reluctant" to buy the team, but said the
Oakland Bay Area "deserves a baseball team. It didn't deserve to
lose another franchise" (Frances Dinkelspiel, SAN JOSE MERCURY
NEWS, 1/26). Schott: "Baseball is at an all time low. I'm
looking forward to it getting better. I'm optimistic the strike
won't last forever." Hofmann, 71 and part owner of the Seahawks,
was not available for comment (Witt, Slonaker & Akizuki, SAN JOSE
MERCURY NEWS, 1/26).