Health care entrepreneur Richard Burke "bought the right" on
Friday to move the Jets to MN, but a new Canadian-based group has
until Thursday to put together a package to keep the team in
Winnipeg, according to the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Burke: "We
don't own the team. ... If the team is moved, they've accepted
our offer." One NHL source put Burke's offer at about $65M.
Burke said he has one partner thus far, Bermuda-based insurance
exec Steven Gluckstern -- but the Naegele family is expected to
be involved in any deal. As for possible public aid, Burke said,
"One step at a time." On Thursday, MN Gov. Arne Carlson capped
any state aid at $15M. But, noting that the MN Legislature is
set to adjourn on May 22, Target Center Exec Dir Dana Warg said
that the time delay "could have an adverse effect" in getting a
deal (Jay Weiner, Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/13).
LAST GASP? The effort by Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow to keep
the team in Winnipeg is described by John Douglas of the WINNIPEG
FREE PRESS as a "reconfiguration of the original plan" of the
Manitoba Entertainment Complex. This time, however, instead of
linking the team and a new arena, the city, provincial and
federal governments will cover the C$110M needed for a new
16,000-seat arena, while a private sector group -- led by CanWest
Global TV head Izzy Asper -- will cover the costs (past, present
and future) of the team (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 5/13). Sources say
that Asper has agreed to purchase naming rights of the new arena
for CanWest for C$20M. Asper's group would purchase the Jets'
privately held shares (with the exception of Shenkarow's) for
C$50M, pay off about C$15M in current debt and establish a pool
of C$45M to cover future losses. Shenkarow would stay on as team
president. The governments would each pay C$37M for the arena,
which would be owned by the public but leased to the team
(Douglas & Samyn, WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 5/13). Asper admitted
Saturday that chances of success are "remote" (WINNIPEG FREE
TWIN CITIES NOTES: Vikings President Roger Headrick
indicated a desire to renegotiate their Metrodome lease with the
Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission should an NHL team get
public aid. Headrick: "First, they had to finish the Target
Center deal. Then Target Center has become the NHL, which then
becomes the Twins. And the Vikings are always next in line."
The Vikings' lease runs through 2012. Under a joint Twins-
Vikings plan, the teams would take over Dome operations and
control virtually all revenues (Jay Weiner, Minneapolis STAR
TRIBUNE, 5/14)....STAR TRIB columnist Dan Barreiro writes, "We
should know this by now: Never count on anything until the
moving vans have arrived, or been recalled" (Minneapolis STAR
TRIBUNE, 5/14).... Carlson said he would call a special
legislative session on the Jets if necessary (Minneapolis STAR
In Denver, Curtis Eichelberger reports that majority owner
Marcel Aubut is "encountering resistance" from two of his four
partners to selling out to Comsat Video and moving to Denver.
Due to "recent public sentiment" in Quebec against the sale of
the team, Metro-Richelieu, a wholesale grocer and supermarket
chain, and Le Fond de Solidarite des Travailleurs de Quebec, a
labor union -- "are wavering" (ROCKY MOUNTIAN NEWS, 5/13).
Nordiques spokesperson Jean Martineau said reports the team's
five major shareholders were split on whether to accept the
government's offer "were off base." Martineau: "Solidarity is
strong among the owners" (CP/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/13).
Nordiques ownership is expected to inform provincial officials
today whether they will move the team (Curtis Eichelberger, ROCKY
MOUNTIAN NEWS, 5/14). In Vancouver, Tony Gallagher writes, "If
Denver doesn't get the Nords, they are slated to become the
second expansion team announced. You don't keep people like
Comsat waiting for long, or they start and televise their own
league" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 5/14).
An undisclosed offer to buy a majority interest in the Kings
was made last week by CO billionaire Philip Anschutz and Southern
CA developer Edward Roski, "but it is far from a done deal,"
according to Dillman & Reich of the L.A. TIMES. The "major
stumbling block" remaining is the 28% controlled by Bruce
McNall's bankruptcy trustee, R. Todd Neilson. According to
Neilson, the 28% is "critical and essential because it includes
an option to repurchase up to 80% of the team." If the sale goes
through, Anschutz reportedly "has no plan" to move the Kings.
Sources say he wants to build a new arena for hockey and
basketball in downtown L.A. near Dodger Stadium, on land near
Chinatown owned by his company, Southern Pacific Railroad Corp.
(L.A. TIMES, 5/13). Sources close to the negotiations say that
the deal is worth $75M (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 5/14). In Boston,
Kevin Paul Dupont notes Anschutz is the developer of Denver's new
Pepsi Center, and writes, "It's unclear right now whether
Anschutz wants to be a team owner or a key player in the building
of a new arena to replace the Great Western Forum in Inglewood"
(BOSTON GLOBE, 5/14).
The NFL's offer to help build the Raiders and Owner Al Davis
a new 68,000-seat stadium in Hollywood Park is one "he is going
to find difficult to refuse," according to Will McDonough in
Sunday's BOSTON GLOBE. McDonough reports that the league has
assured Davis that two Super Bowls would be played at the new
facility shortly after it is completed, with Davis receiving
10,000 additional tickets to each game that he can distribute to
Raiders season ticket holders who purchase the personal seat
licenses that would help fund the facility. In return, McDonough
reports, Davis must play all Raiders home games in L.A. while the
stadium is being built, and must allow an NFC team that could
move or be created with expansion, to occupy the stadium "at the
same rates as the Raiders pay to use the facility." McDonough
writes that the NFL's Finance Committee developed the plan last
Thursday and sent it to Davis on Friday. NFL Commissioner Paul
Tagliabue reportedly told Davis the Committee "unanimously
endorsed this offer, and that if Davis accepted, the committee
and Tagliabue would give it unanimous support" at league meetings
later this month. One NFL owner told McDonough that "if Davis
accepts this proposal, he would go from one of the bottom-end
teams in the NFL in terms of gross revenue to second-highest"
(BOSTON GLOBE, 5/14).
BACKUP PLAN? In this morning's S.F. CHRONICLE, Glenn Dickey
reports that the league "has prepared a backup position" if the
deal with Davis falls through and he moves the Raiders back to
Oakland. Dickey: "The league would immediately look for another
site which would be easily accessible both from Los Angeles and
Anaheim, with the idea of building a stadium which could be used
by two teams, one from each conference." Dickey reports that
"ideally, the teams would be expansion teams, because the
existing teams would share in the expansion fees." But Dickey
also notes that Cincinnati and Seattle are possibilities.
Dickey: "If both AFC teams moved to Los Angeles, the Seahawks
would be moved to the NFC West" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/15).
NOT AN L.A. TYPE? Dickey reports that "it seems almost
inconceivable that Davis would leave the rich Los Angeles market,
but to capitalize on the area's potential, a team must have good
marketing. Davis knows nothing of marketing himself, and he has
nobody in the organization who does either." Dickey also notes
that Davis' "primary goal" is winning, and the crowds in L.A. are
the "least partisan crowds in the league." Dickey also notes
Davis' relationship with other league owners: "Because of the
extraordinary difficulty of dealing with Davis, there is some
sentiment within the league for allowing him to move back to
Oakland and starting fresh with new, more tractable owners in Los
Angeles" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/15).
LOCAL POLITICOS: If the Hollywood Park plan is not
approved, Coliseum officials "expect the Raiders to leave" for
Oakland or Baltimore. L.A. Sports Council President David Simon:
"It's just a continuum. We want the Raiders to stay here, but
what is occurring at the moment is the free market is creating an
environment for the Raiders to decide what to do next. It's part
of the business side of sports" (Mark Katches, L.A. DAILY NEWS,