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Volume 24 No. 159

Franchises

     "Proving a deal with him is never completed until all the
I's are dotted and contracts signed," Raiders Owner Al Davis flew
to Oakland Tuesday and met for "several hours" with members of
the city's negotiating team who are trying to lure the team back
to Oakland, according to Tim Trepany of the L.A. DAILY NEWS.
Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente:  "We're still
talking like mad.  We have a realistic deal that we can deliver.
It's no pie-in-the-sky (proposal) like Hollywood Park put
together" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 6/15).  Sources close to Davis say
that "the thought of playing two years, and perhaps more, in the
L.A. Coliseum may be the biggest single factor keeping Oakland's
hopes alive" (Steve Springer, L.A. TIMES, 6/15).  In S.F., Glenn
Dickey writes, "The parameters of both the proposal to build a
new stadium adjacent to Hollywood Park and the deal to return the
Raiders to Oakland have been set for some time.  No matter how
much posturing Davis does, neither is going to change now.  The
chance that a new stadium could be built for the 1997 season has
always been problematic, and each day of delay makes it more so"
(S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/15).

     Bengals President Mike Brown was reportedly "encouraged"
after Cincinnati-area business leaders and politicians met with
OH Gov. George Voinovich on Tuesday.  The state of OH reportedly
has pledged a "significant influx of money" to build separate
football and baseball stadiums in Cincinnati.  Brown:  "It's been
a long, long time getting to this point.  I feel tremendous
progress has been made" (Gordon Forbes, USA TODAY, 6/15).  In
Baltimore, however, Jon Morgan writes that a Cincinnati city
councilman declared the Bengals situation "critical" and
predicted that the team could become the Baltimore Bengals
"within days."  Brown visited Baltimore last week and is
reportedly "serious about moving [the team] to Baltimore, and
wouldn't have come if he weren't" (Baltimore SUN, 6/15).

     Any bidder planning to buy the Blue Jays from likely
Labatt's buyer Interbrew S.A., "will apparently have to play
football, too," according to Gary Picknell of the TORONTO SUN.
The C$190M price that Interbrew has put on the Blue Jays will
reportedly include the CFL Toronto Argonauts as well.  The
Belgian brewer has reportedly had some interested bidders,
including Orlando developer Norton Herrick.  Larry Tanenbaum, who
lost out to John Bitove in the bidding for a NBA expansion team
in Toronto, "acknowledged" yesterday he may be interested in
buying the Jays as well.  Interbrew's first priority is to sell
Labatt's broadcast holdings, since Canadian law puts restrictions
on foreign broadcast ownership.  Because of that, one source
predicted that Interbrew would not be in "a rush" to sell the
Jays.  The source:  "I would be surprised if [the team] was sold
before the end of the season.  By then, the baseball market
should definitely improve" (TORONTO SUN, 6/15).

     At a news conference in Winnipeg yesterday, Spirit of
Manitoba Chair Mal Anderson said he recognized that getting NHL
approval for the sale of the Jets "may be one of the toughest
challenges the new group faces."  NHL approval is one of the
conditions set for the sale to be finalized (CP/VANCOUVER SUN,
6/15).  According to NHL VP of Public Relations Arthur Pincus,
the league will undertake a "fairly intensive review" of the
proposed ownership restructuring.  The league will be looking for
"financial wherewithal" from any new owners, "a solid commitment
to a new building" and indications of "sound management" of the
club.  Pincus said that he "could not predict" if the league
would or could approve the deal by the August 15 deadline (David
Roberts, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 6/15).  In his "Truth & Rumours"
column, William Houston reports that Mike Largue, a New York
investor who heads a group of Swiss businessmen "keen" on buying
the Jets, has spoken with Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow about
purchasing the team for $70M.  (Largue says that he would keep
the team in Winnipeg for two years).  Shenkarow reportedly told
Largue "if an agreement could not be reached with the Winnipeg
consortium, he would deal only with a Minnesota group" (Toronto
GLOBE & MAIL, 6/15).
     CASUALTIES OF THE DEAL:  If the deal with Spirit goes
through, Barry Shenkarow and his partners will reportedly have
"no further interest" in the franchise (CP/VANCOUVER SUN, 6/15).
In Toronto, Lance Hornby reports that Jets GM John Paddock may
also be a "casualty" if the Spirit group takes over (TORONTO SUN,
6/15).