Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow is still considering offers from
two bidders seeking to bring the team to MN. L.A. sports
marketing exec Scott Nederlander was reportedly returning to L.A.
after a meeting with Shenkarow yesterday afternoon. Health care
entrepreneur Richard Burke also confirmed yesterday that he had
submitted an offer for the team, and was awaiting a response.
Nederlander "seems to have put some crimps in the sale process,"
as it is "unclear what his resources are" and his ties to the
area. However, in an interview with the STAR TRIB, Nederlander
said he would definitely bring the team to the Twin Cities (Jay
Weiner, Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 5/11).
Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau will give details of his
final offer to keep the Nordiques in Quebec today. But it is
"quite possible Nordiques shareholders will by then have turned
it down," and could accept the standing $75M offer for the team
from Comsat Video Enterprises in Denver. In Denver, one unnamed
Comsat spokesperson told the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS: "If they
flinch, it's ours" (Bill Beacon, CP/OTTAWA CITIZEN, 5/11). Radio
Canada reported yesterday that the Quebec government has made an
offer of $17M in cash and a promise to absorb $14M of the team's
losses over the next two years (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/11).
DARK HORSE TO LAND JETS OR NORDIQUES? The operators of
Phoenix's America West Arena have signed an "exclusive agreement"
with an "outside investment group" that is interested in bringing
the NHL to Phoenix, according Bob McManaman in this morning's
ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Brian Colangelo, president of Phoenix Area
Sports, the operators of America West, said yesterday that arena
officials "secured the deal a few months ago" with the NHL group.
Colangelo would not identify the group, but he did tell the
REPUBLIC that the group "has entertained discussions" with both
the Jets and Nordiques and that they are "financially strong" and
would represent "solid ownership." Colangelo: "They have the
wherewithal to make it run. I know the NHL is very pleased with
this group as it relates to them buying a potential franchise."
Colangelo said neither Phoenix Area Sports, nor his father, Suns
President and Diamondbacks' CEO Jerry Colangelo, want to invest
in a hockey team. Colangelo: "We'd prefer to remain on a tenant-
landlord relationship" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 5/11).
An NHL source says that Ross Perot Jr. is negotiating with
Stars Owner Norm Green to invest more than $30M in the team and
become as much as a 50% owner, according to this morning's DALLAS
MORNING NEWS. Green reportedly "needs the potential cash
infusion to keep the team financially stable" and "aggressive" on
free agents. The source also said that a smaller group of
limited partners is being sought to buy in -- including former
Cowboy Roger Staubach and golfer Fred Couples. Staubach has
confirmed that he has been approached about investing, however
Couples "denies any involvement." Negotiations continue over how
much Perot would own and who would have controlling interest.
According to the league source, though, "little would change in
the Stars' daily operations," now run by Green and Stars
President Jim Lites (Terry Egan, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/11).
In New York, Larry Brooks examines the events contributing
to a possible move by the Devils to Nashville. Brooks notes that
the Devils have initiated an audit of the NJ Sports & Exposition
Authority, a strategy that caught the NJSEA by "surprise." The
audit charges that there are "13 areas in which their landlord is
in default of the lease." In the past ('86 and '91), the Devils
"simply demanded renegotiation of the lease." This time,
however, the team has "opened a process under which they have the
ability to declare a breach of contract and immediately terminate
the lease." Brooks notes that four of the "areas of alleged
misconduct concern" are number of parking spaces, drafts in the
building, overlap of events, and the safety of a pedestrian
bridge. Brooks writes that Devils Owner John McMullen believes
"that he has been treated outrageously" since moving to NJ in
'82, and that -- "as much as a desire to make more money" is
driving his threats to move to Nashville. Despite McMullen's
complaints, Brooks concludes that NHL Bylaw 36.5, which lists 24
criteria to be evaluated in determining whether a team should be
permitted to move, does not back up the Devils' claims (N.Y.
NASHVILLE'S READY, JUST IN CASE: Nashville Mayor Phil
Bredesen presented a $57.5M plan to the city council to bring a
team to the new downtown arena, but "he tied the package firmly
to approval of beer sales at the facility." The arena is under
construction 85 feet from the a Baptist church, and city beer
laws require a distance of at least 100 feet between businesses
that sell beer and churches. Bredesen wants a vote on the beer
exemption before the sports package (Jim East, Nashville
HERE'S THE DEAL: Bredesen's package breaks down into $27.5M
in revenue bonds, $12M in equal contributions by the Metro
government, Gaylord Entertainment and the team owner, and $18M in
ticket sales, rent and concessions. The $12M would fund a Metro
Sports Authority to oversee the arena, with the authority paying
Gaylord about $350,000 a year (4.8% of non-NBA/NHL revenues) to
manage operations. In addition, the authority would cover $20M
in reolcation fees for any pro team. The team's lease would be:
100% of ticket revenue; 100% of radio/TV revenue; 97.5% of team-
related suite sales; 50% of non-team suite sales; 35% of game
day merchandise; 100% of NBA/NHL-related ad revenue; 40% of gross
revenue on game day concessions; 75% of game day parking revenue
from an attached 350-car garage; and 2.2% of non-NBA/NHL revenue
(Nashville TENNESSEAN, 5/10).