"Ending weeks of nail-biting anticipation," Raiders Owner Al
Davis and Oakland Coliseum President George Vukasin signed an
agreement to "bring the team back to Oakland after 13 years of
exile," according to the S.F. CHRONICLE. The deal will not be
final until the Oakland City Council and the Alameda County Board
of Supervisors hold three public meetings -- one each for three
weeks beginning tomorrow. Coliseum directors want both governing
bodies to consent by July 11 so they can close the deal by August
15 (Fagan, DelVecchio, & Fimrite, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 6/24).
HIGHLIGHTS: The deal would be for 16 years, beginning
in '96, with the '95 season as a transition year. The
Coliseum will undergo $85M in improvements, including
expansion to 65,000 with 175 luxury suites and new locker
rooms -- all to be completed by '96 exhibition games and
financed by public bonds. The Raiders receive 100% of
ticket and luxury suite revenue, but will share concessions
and parking with the Coliseum (L.A. TIMES, 6/24).
WILL IT BE APPROVED? Several NFL sources said Friday
the league will not prevent the Raiders from moving to
Oakland and that the 49ers have "no argument for
compensation, since there is nonspecific league policy
regarding territorial rights." Sources also said that NFL
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has decided to "urge the
ownership to allow the switch rather than fight it" (Nancy
Gay, KNIGHT RIDDER/TACOMA NEWS TRIBUNE, 6/23). In L.A.,
Steve Springer writes, "This time, the Raiders are expected
to get the league's blessing." An owners' meeting has been
tentatively scheduled for July 14 (L.A. TIMES, 6/25).
L.A. LOOKS FOR A NEW TEAM: With the No. 2 media market
without an NFL team, several teams were reportedly
interested, including the Cardinals, Bengals, Browns,
Seahawks. The Hollywood Park site that Davis spurned is
"expected to become merely one of many prospective homes"
for a new L.A. stadium to replace the Coliseum. Other
possible stadium sites include Orange County and one in L.A.
-- backed by CAA's Michael Ovitz (Steve Springer, L.A.
TIMES, 6/24). In Anaheim, Disney Chair Michael Eisner has
contacted owners about building a football-only stadium next
to Anaheim Stadium. He is also proposing to build a
"football fantasy world" (John Cherwa, L.A. TIMES, 6/24).
L.A. Coliseum Commissioner Sheldon Sloan: "I've been
contacted by three separate groups, one a major company
capable of buying five franchises, and two other groups led
by prominent local businessmen, who want to either purchases
an existing team or form an expansion team to play in the
Coliseum" (Kenneth Reich, L.A. TIMES, 6/24).
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING: In L.A., Michael Ventre writes on
the possible move of the Cardinals to L.A., "[Cards Owner
Bill Bidwill's] team is coached by Buddy Ryan, who belongs
in L.A. the way the Ebola virus belongs inside a crowded
arena" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 6/25). In New York, Timothy Smith
writes, "In this stage in his life ... a winning legacy
might have a stronger allure to Davis than more dollars"
(N.Y. TIMES, 6/25). In Boston, Ron Borges writes, "As Davis
will learn if he really does abandon the nation's second-
largest TV market for the bad side of the bay ... things are
not the same just because you move back home" (BOSTON GLOBE,
6/25). L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky: "Good
riddance as far as I'm concerned" ("World News Tonight,"
ABC, 6/23). CNN's Paul Craine: "It is never too late to
come home again, as long as you have a good luxury suite
package" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 6/23).
NEXT ONES TO GO? Bengals President Mike Brown said
this weekend that he has set a deadline for Cincinnati and
Hamilton County officials of Thursday to finalize an
agreement for a new stadium. If an agreement can not be
signed, Brown said that he will "terminate discussions" with
local officials and begin negotiating with a group trying to
lure an NFL team to Baltimore (Baltimore SUN, 6/25).