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Volume 24 No. 156

Franchises

     "A deal to wrest control of the Heat from partners Lewis
Schaffel and Billy Cunningham is on the verge of being
completed," according to this morning's MIAMI HERALD.  The deal,
brought together by Micky Arison, whose family owns the majority
of the team, would allow the five remaining limited partners to
buy out Schaffel and Cunningham.  Arison's attempts to reach an
agreement have been impeded by a lawsuit filed by Whit Hudson,
who tried unsuccessfully to purchase managing control of the team
for $60M.  One source close to Hudson said that "Hudson's
motivation now is to assist Micky Arison to straighten out the
team's confused management structure."  Hudson:  "Our lawsuit is
still in place, but we've been talking to the Arisons to try and
get something settled" (Reed & Marvez, MIAMI HERALD, 1/27).

     The Rams move to St. Louis is the focus of a front page
piece in this morning's WALL STREET JOURNAL by John Helyar.
Helyar writes the "economic underpinning of the league has long
been its generous revenue-sharing arrangements: equal sharing of
network television money and a 60-40 home visitor gate split. ...
This egalitarian approach left NFL teams with basically equal
resources."  But Helyar notes the clubs now are becoming
"economically stratified by their ability to extract -- or extort
-- lucrative stadium deals. ...  Suddenly, a stadium wasn't'
considered just a game venue, but also a financial asset."
Profits from improved facilities led to owners gaining from
unshared income and moving to a different financial plane than
their counterparts.  Now, with the minimum salary in the NFL, the
disparities between clubs has become more apparent.  SportsCorp
Ltd. Marc Ganis comments on the cap's effect: "Some people
thought that would create more league parity.  It has caused
exactly the opposite.  A low-revenue team now has spend very
close to what the high revenue teams do for salaries" (John
Helyar, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/27).
     NO TIME FOR SAVE THE RAMS:  Save the Rams, the civic
committee trying to block the Rams move to St. Louis, will not be
able to address NFL owners at a special meeting on February 16
(ORANGE COUNTRY REGISTER, 1/27).

     Timberwolves Owner Harvey Ratner said he and his partner
Marvin Wolfenson cannot afford to accept less money for their
sale of the team.  Ratner and Wolfenson have agreed to sell the
team to Glen Taylor for $88.5M contingent on the buyout of the
Target Center, which has been held up due to tax problems.
Ratner called the problems "not our fault," adding "they should
have done their homework before they made the proposal. ... We
can't afford to accept (less).  We still owe $76 million on the
(Target Center). ... Somebody will pay it. I just don't know who
or how" (Charley Walters, Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 1/26).