Elliot Maisel, an AL-based beer distributor, is reportedly
ready to buy the Ottawa Rough Riders. Maisel could finalize the
deal as early as Wednesday. Team officials indicated the only
item holding back the deal was a potential offer from Chicago
restaurateur Horn Chen. Rider President Phil Kershaw also met
with Florida developer and leader of the Orlando baseball bid,
Norton Herrick. Herrick was "only letting the CFL know he was
interested in a team for Orlando as soon as possible." Maisel
and four partners would buy the club from current Owner Bruce
Firestone and sell it back to local interests after two years and
"purchase an expansion team for Mobile, possibly as early as
1997." The price of the franchise is reportedly close to $3M
(Don Campbell, OTTAWA CITIZEN, 2/14).
SPEROS SAID BALTIMORE IN THE RED: Baltimore CFL Owner Jim
Speros said that although his team led the league in attendance,
he lost $648,000 on the team. Speros said he would have drawn
even if not for the instability around the league (Ken Murray,
Baltimore SUN, 2/12).
The Arison family's $60M purchase of team shares owned by
Billy Cunningham and Lewis Schaffel was approved by the NBA
yesterday. The Arison family now holds 100% of the Florida
Basketball Associates, Inc., with Micky Arison overseeing the
family's interest in the team. Micky Arison met with the press
yesterday where he promised "sweeping, across-the-board" changes:
"I think virtually every area of the franchise has to change and
I intend to do that." Arison's first mission is to "get people
back to the arena." Arison said he would study the situation with
the Miami Arena, a facility which NBA Commissioner David Stern
said yesterday was "inadequate" for an NBA team "in the long
run." Arison announced he would leave the business day-to-day
operations to Heat VP Pauline Winick and make hiring a GM a "top
priority" (Alex Marvez, MIAMI HERALD, 2/14).
OTHER NBA NEWS: Stern "gave a positive" report on the
progress of the Wolves sale, but reissued a warning that the
league would move the franchise if local leaders miss an April 1
deadline on the buyout of the Target Center (Ray Richardson, ST.
PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/14). The Board of Governors also approved
the Knicks' ownership change.
New Buccaneers Owner Malcolm Glazer's deal to sell his 31%
share in Envirodyne Industries, a "troubled" IL company, fell
through after Glazer thought he had struck an agreement. Glazer
and his family dismiss the idea that the stock sale and the
purchase of the Bucs are related, as there was speculation that
Glazer was trying to gain equity for the franchise. Glazer said
that the "failure of the stock deal would not affect the [Bucs]
deal, and repeated his statement when asked if the stock deal was
an attempt to raise cash" (Rex Henderson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 2/14).
Outside of Calgary, a lockout backlash in Western Canada is
"certainly true," according to Mike Beamish of the VANCOUVER SUN.
The difficulties the Jets, Canucks, and Oilers have faced, both
on the ice and at the gate, is "the worst case of bad timing."
Poor attendance could be interpreted as "further evidence of
trouble with a Canadian 'small-market team.'" Beamish: "Out
there in the desert, Suns' President Jerry Colangelo is doing the
relocation dance. ... The owners hoped-for 'footprint' in the
American sunbelt could become a stampede." Beamish claims that
the "notion that a city's image depends on its ability to attract
and support professional sports is very much in vogue in the
United States. Civic pride is not so much about peaceful
neighborhoods ... but whether the local arena has enough skyboxes
and club seats to keep the pro team satisfied" (VANCOUVER SUN,
The Phoenix baseball partnership officially began a name-
the-team contest Monday, asking fans to choose between Arizona
Coyotes, Arizona Scorpions, Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona
Rattlers or Arizona Phoenix (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 2/14).
NBA officials advised the league's Board of Governors
yesterday that the Canadian expansion clubs won't have to pay the
$112.5M expansion fee they owe the league until a CBA is reached
with the players. The league had pushed back the due date for
payment to March 1, but "now another respite has been granted,
although the league may ask that the money be put in escrow."
The league was given an update yesterday on the progress of the
two teams. The Grizzlies do not yet have the "mandated broadcast
agreement in place," but the league is "being patient because its
own national Canadian deal has not yet been completed." The
Raptors have their broadcast deal, but are running "into trouble
on a proposed pay-per-view deal." The team wanted to offer 82
games at $150, with 20 live and the rest on tape-delay. But
Viewers Choice Canada has not agreed to those terms (Neil
Campbell, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 2/14).
Under a replacement player scenario, the Twins' marketing
plan would look to capitalize on "three old faithfuls" -- the
Metrodome, the Twins uniform, and manager Tom Kelly. Kelly will
be the featured star in radio and TV ads. Bill Mahre, Twins VP
of Sales and Marketing: "The biggest focus of ours is that
baseball will be played on April 4 at the Metrodome, whether it's
major leaguers or replacement players" (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE,