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Volume 24 No. 156

Franchises

     NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told MN officials Wednesday
they are "in a one horse race," if they so choose, to bring the
Jets to the Target Center.  In this morning's Minneapolis STAR-
TRIBUNE, Jay Weiner reports Bettman, addressing the state's
Advisory Task Force on Professional Sports, "nonchalantly
triggered a collective jaw dropping" among leaders when he
advised them of his "apparent deadline" of December 14 for a plan
to help relocate the club.  Bettman was joined by likely Jets
buyer Richard Burke.  However, Weiner notes they "were probably
talking to the wrong people.  The 20-member task force ... has no
negotiating power."  Burke said he will negotiate with "anyone in
Minnesota who could provide him with the cash" he and partner
Steven Gluckstern need.  Burke was referring to a $20M figure
said to be the amount needed keep a team from financial
difficulty.  State Sen. Dean Johnson noted state help may be hard
to obtain by the deadline, as legislative sessions do not begin
again until January 16.  Johnson also doubted a quorum would show
if Gov. Arne Carlson called a special Jets session.  Bettman:  "I
believed, based on the sentiments I heard after the [Stars] left,
that people here really wanted to have a hockey team.  If I
misread that, then so be it.  Opportunities don't last forever"
(Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 10/12).  Columnist Patrick Reusse
writes that the state "would be idiots to pass up an NHL team,"
and leaders should tax casino operators to obtain financing
(Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 10/12).

     The IHL announced yesterday it has signed a lease with
Quebec City to bring a team to Le Colisee for at least the next
three years.  The franchise start-up is currently in league
hands, "while the possibility of private ownership is under
evaluation."  The franchise has established an office led by
former Nordiques Marketing Dir Bernard Thiboutot.  Quebec will be
the IHL's 20th team, and first in Canada in more than 30 years
(IHL)....The Bulls became the first sports team to crack
TicketMaster's top ten attractions, coming in at No. 5 of the
most inquired attractions nationwide for the week ended October
4.  The Bulls put tickets on sale September 30.  R.E.M. topped
the list.  Inquiries are measured by Ticketmaster Online.  Web
address: http://www.ticketmaster.com (VARIETY, 10/9-15 issue).

     An Oakland official indicated "for the first time" Wednesday
that the city and Alameda County "now are willing to commit
significant public funds to keep the Warriors from moving to San
Jose," according to this morning's SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS.  Ostrom
& Akizuki report yesterday's assertion by Oakland City Councilman
Ignacio De La Fuente the city and county may be willing to lend
as much as $8M to help finance a new arena is "a sign" the team's
search for a new home "may be turning into a municipal bidding
war."  Warriors officials met with San Jose city leaders
yesterday to iron out details of a $43M publicly financed plan to
lure the team to San Jose Arena next season.  Although San Jose
officials have said "they have no intention of getting into a
bidding war," De La Fuente's statement "may turn up the heat."
De La Fuente said the loan, which would be used for preliminary
design and environmental work for a new facility, would be paid
back from arena revenue.  Oakland may not have to offer a public
subsidy the size of San Jose's because the team would have "a
significant advantage" in terms of controlling revenue in its own
arena.  Also, 45% of the team's season ticket base is in Alameda
and Contra Costa Counties (in and near Oakland), compared with
24% of ticketholders in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties (in
and near San Jose) (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/12).

     "As many as three-quarters" of WA House Republicans "now
oppose" WA Gov. Mike Lowry's plan to finance a new stadium for
the Mariners and Kingdome renovations, according to this
morning's SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER.  Michael Paulson reports
one House Republican leader said Wednesday that only a quarter to
a third of the Republican-controlled body "are prepared to vote"
for the proposal, which would use state money from expanded
lottery games, special license plate sales and existing taxes to
pay its share of the $515M price tag for the facility
construction and improvements.  King County's share would be
financed through tax increases in car rentals, restaurants and
sports tickets.  The plan was made public yesterday by King
County Exec Gary Locke.  While Lowry's plan has the support of
top Republicans, Speaker Clyde Ballard and Senate Minority Leader
Dan McDonald, "the debate clearly has partisan overtones."  Lowry
last night called a special session to discuss the plan and is
"still optimistic" some form of financing will pass.  The
Democrat-controlled Senate is thought to have the votes.  Under
the plan, the Mariners would contribute $45M, with the state and
county splitting the remaining $255M  (SEATTLE POST-
INTELLIGENCER, 10/12).