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Volume 24 No. 114

Franchises

     Maryland Stadium Authority Chair John Moag says the Bengals
would be "a nice fit" for Baltimore, and that he hopes to speak
with Bengals President & GM Mike Brown soon.  Brown, likewise,
said "he likes Baltimore."  Brown: "(Baltimore) has a small
window of opportunity and I'm aware of it.  This (stadium issue)
is coming into focus quickly.  There are going to be
opportunities."  Moag says he wants a commitment from a team by
this fall, before legislation for stadium funding can be "shut
off" in next year's legislative session (Geoff Hobson, CINCINNATI
ENQUIRER, 4/14).  Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, columnist Paul
Daugherty writes, "Does the business community care enough to
save the Bengals?  Does anyone?  You wonder."  Daugherty notes,
"When Mike Brown stops seeking local solutions to his stadium
problem, everyone will know.  There will be no changing his mind"
(CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 4/14).

     It has been five weeks since Celtics Chair Paul Gaston
threatened to sue the Wall Street Journal for $100M over the
original Reggie Lewis story, and while the suit is yet to be
filed, Celtics Exec VP Jan Volk said that the situation is
"unchanged."  The BOSTON GLOBE's Peter May infers that means the
team's lawyers at Boston's Hale & Dorr "are still studying
whether it's feasible to sue the newspaper."  Volk:  "It is still
being investigated" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/14).

     "Several teams could seek relocation to Orange County now,
though the league has resolved to control such a move," according
to the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER's Michele Himmelberg.  Any move to
the area will involve a league decision as to whether the team is
"healthy enough to thrive" in L.A.  NFL Commissioner Paul
Tagliabue says after a league approval, a team may "win the right
to move" if it pays an "appropriate franchise enhancement fee,"
and "meets other terms."  Tagliabue says "logical candidates"
would be "teams with stadium problems or low revenues."
Himmelberg notes Cincinnati, Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Houston fit
that description (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 4/14).
     MIGHTY BUCKS?  Tagliabue says he has had "several
discussions" with Disney Sports Enterprises officials "about the
Orange County sports market and its demographics," but the
commissioner denied discussions were about franchise ownership
(ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 4/14).

     In St. Louis, the Rams still must decide on where to train
and how to accommodate ticket-holders for their first few games
that will be played at Busch Stadium, a smaller facility than the
dome they will eventually inhabit.  Rams President John Shaw says
the team will most likely train this summer in St. Louis, but
that they might "eventually" choose a permanent training camp
site outside the city.  The WI "Cheese League" could be a
possibility, as "July and August temperatures are more moderate"
there than in MO or IL.  The team is still looking for a site for
its St. Louis HQs.  FANS Inc. Chair Thomas Eagleton says the team
will be "more inclined to look at sites where the land was
available free of charge," after an agreement last week to cap
FANS' obligation to fund the facility at $12.5M.  The team will
now pay the rest of the cost of a new facility, estimated at
$19M-20M (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/14).
     STADIUM PROBLEMS:  The team will need to play two to three
games at Busch Stadium before the new domed stadium is ready in
October.  Busch, which seats 55,000-60,000 for football, will
accommodate "barely" the 46,000 PSL holders, 6,200 club seat
purchasers, 2,000 luxury box-holder seats and 1,700 tickets for
Rams sponsors, the team and visiting team.  Sportscorp's Marc
Ganis, a Rams consultant, says the "immediate priority" will be
to create a stadium manifest.  Ganis:  "That's basically taking
every seat at Busch Stadium that's available for football and
coding them so that we can have our ticket holders in the new
stadium a location at Busch" (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-
DISPATCH, 4/14).
     RADIO DAZE:  KMOX, the rights-holder for the Blues and
Cardinals, is considered "a long shot" in the race to land the
Rams radio broadcasts.  KSD and WIL have emerged as the front
runners, according to Dan Caesar in this morning's ST. LOUIS
POST-DISPATCH.  Sportscorp's Ganis, who is also charged with
negotiating with the stations, will not name the three finalists
but says "several factors" will play a roll in deciding who will
win the rights, including:  The ability to market/promote the
team, a strong signal, a high-quality technical production, and
money.  Sources say the team wants $3M annually (ST. LOUIS-POST
DISPATCH, 4/14).