NFL OWNERS EXPECTED TO APPROVE RAIDERS PLAN TODAY
NFL owners are "expected to approve" today a reworked
proposal for the relocation of the Raiders to a new stadium at
Hollywood Park, according to today's L.A. TIMES. The plan still
would give L.A. two Super Bowls and another team by '98, while
reducing the relocation payment for that team by about 50%. But
the league still "steadfastly refuses" to give in to Hollywood
Park CEO R.D. Hubbard's demand of $20M in aid to build the
stadium. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue: "The league is a
league, not a bank." If the plan is approved, it will be up to
Davis to pay the $20M himself or persuade Hubbard to "live
without it" (Plaschke & Springer, L.A. TIMES, 5/24). ESPN's
Chris Mortensen reported discussions became "heated and
theatrical" to the point that a vote was put on hold until
sometime today. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue: "Instead of
talking about revenue assistance to one team, namely the Raiders,
we should be talking about revenue assistance to the 15 teams who
are below the league average, and I think that is where it got
heated" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 5/23).
IF THE PLAN IS APPROVED: Terms of the deal say that the
Raiders must remain in the L.A. area for at least the next two
seasons while the stadium is being built. While they have the
option to play either at Anaheim Stadium or at the Coliseum,
Tagliabue believes that they would remain at the Coliseum to
"maintain the fan base." If construction begins later this year
and stays on schedule, the Raiders would move in and begin play
in '97. With the current TV deals expiring at the end of '97,
the league will promise the networks that anothet team will move
to L.A. in '98 and join the NFC after a possible realignment.
The Browns "remain the leading candidate." For the two Super
Bowls, Raiders Owner Al Davis would receive rights to market
10,000 tickets for each Super Bowl as an incentive for Raiders'
fans to purchase premium club seats (L.A. TIMES, 5/24).
IF THE PLAN ISN'T APPROVED: In the "unlikely" case that the
plan is not approved today, the league is reportedly prepared for
Davis to move to Oakland as soon as this year. Tagliabue: "If
the Raiders want to leave, we can deal with L.A. without the
Raiders" (L.A. TIMES, 5/24).
HOW DOES DISNEY FIT? Most reports indicate that the second
L.A. team would most likely be a relocated existing NFL
franchise. But in Orange County, Michelle Himmelberg writes
since a second team "doesn't necessarily have to play" at
Hollywood Park," a suitable stadium deal in Anaheim might be an
option for Disney. Disney has reportedly had "aggressive talks"
with the NFL concerning an expansion team for Anaheim (ORANGE
COUNTY REGISTER, 5/24).
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FRANCHISE: An other topic at the owners
meetings yesterday was the wearing of bandannas, or "do-rags," by
players. The league reaffirmed a rule that players can wear them
-- as long as they match the team's colors and do not advocate a
cause (WASHINGTON POST, 5/24).