LIONS FOCUS ON ANOTHER DEN; TELL PONTIAC THEY ARE LEAVING
The Lions have reached an impasse in their negotiations for
a new lease at Pontiac Silverdome and "could vacate the stadium
as early as 1999," according to this morning's OAKLAND PRESS.
Lions COO Chuck Schmidt: "Right now, we have reached the position
that there's no reason to discuss it further. We are
concentrating all our efforts on our other alternatives." The
City of Pontiac has been negotiating with the Lions and the
Silverdome since last September. The team has one of the worst
lease arrangement in the NFL which runs through 2004, but the
Lions could buy out the remaining years. Schmidt said
"preliminary talks are already under way for a new stadium in
Wayne County" (Kowalski & Gray, OAKLAND PRESS, 7/13). OAKLAND
PRESS' Kowalski writes that Lions "have a point" about leaving
the Silverdome, as "the city has done miserably in marketing the
Silverdome" and wants to make "huge profits off the Lions'
innovative ideas and hard work." The Lions "threat" comes "in
the perfect climate for a team looking to relocate" and Lions
President William Clay Ford, Jr. is the "wild card" to this, as
he wants the Lions to be a first class organization and could use
the dispute "as an excuse" to build a state-of-the-art facility"
(OAKLAND PRESS, 7/13).