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Volume 24 No. 157

Franchises

     San Jose Mayor Susan Hammer called off a plan to hold two
hearings and have a city council vote on her $43.5M plan to bring
the Warriors to San Jose Arena by early next week, according to
this morning's SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS.  Hammer also expressed
"displeasure" over the pace of talks between the Warriors and
Sharks on reaching a deal to share the Arena.  The Warriors have
said they needed a decision by October 31, or they could be
required to have exclusive negotiating rights with Oakland (Mary
Anne Ostrom, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/25).  In Oakland, Robert
Salladay reports that San Jose's delay could give Oakland "an
important bargaining tool" in their dealings with the team.
Oakland officials said yesterday they will wait until October 31
before deciding on an extension of the Warriors' lease at the
Oakland Coliseum.  The Warriors would want an extra month or two
to negotiate without having to commit to Oakland for '96-97.
Oakland officials could grant an extension in exchange for an
exclusive negotiating agreement, "which would effectively shut
San Jose out until Oakland has completed its deal" (OAKLAND
TRIBUNE, 10/25).

     In an effort to boost "sluggish" sales of PSLs, the Raiders
will announce two new programs today -- one enlisting companies
to buy blocks of tickets and sell them to their employees through
payroll deductions; the other would allow only PSL owners to buy
extra tickets for the November 19 Cowboys game (SAN JOSE MERCURY
NEWS, 10/25).... The Ontario Court of Appeal has overturned a
lower court decision which restricted access to bank documents by
the Public Trustee in its civil suit against Maple Leaf Gardens
Chair Steve Stavro and his company, MLG Ventures.  The Trustee is
suing Stavro over his acquisition of 60% of MLG from the estate
of former owner Harold Ballard.  The trial starts in February
(Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/25)....USA TODAY profiles the Whalers'
quick start and how it may affect the team's long-term standing
in the small market of Hartford (USA TODAY, 10/25)....The
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS notes that the official closing date for the
sale of the Jets is July '97 -- not '96 as widely believed.
Provincial Finance Minister Eric Stefanson called the date a
"technicality" and assured taxpayers they will not have to cover
the team's losses for an extra year (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 10/25).

     The Greater Houston Partnership launched a drive yesterday
to sell 12,000 additional Astros season tickets in a bid to keep
the team from relocating to Northern VA, but Astros VP Bob
McLaren questioned whether that number would be enough.
According to this morning's HOUSTON CHRONICLE, McLaren said the
team probably needs to sell 14,000 more season tickets annually
"in order to dig itself out of its deep financial hole."  McLaren
also said to anticipate a ticket rate increase for next season,
if they stay, and higher premiums on luxury seating.  Randall
Onstead, the Partnership member who is spearheading the ticket
drive, said the Astros could net $12M off 12,000 additional
season tickets.  McLaren stressed they want to make sure fans
don't feel blackmailed.  McLaren:  "We're afraid this could leave
a bad taste in people's mouths.  Astros Owner Drayton McLane has
scheduled a meeting with Houston Mayor Bob Lanier and Harris
County Judge Robert Eckels.  The three spoke by phone yesterday
(John Williams, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/25).
     READY AND WAITING:  Virginia Baseball, the group trying to
lure the Astros to the Metro DC area, may have a lease at RFK
Stadium in DC within a few days, according to District Sports
Commission Dir Jim Dalrymple.  Dalrymple said there are already
plans in place to reconfigure the stadium for baseball.  The
team, which would be called the Virginia Fury, would play in RFK
while a new stadium is built in Northern VA (Thom Loverro,
WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/25).
     HOUSTON'S OTHER PRODIGAL TEAM:  The Oilers and Astrodome
USA, the company owned by McLane that manages the facility, will
go to an arbitrator over the financial losses from the preseason
game canceled due to the condition of the Astrodome's turf.
Astrodome USA President Carl Marsalis:  "My personal opinion is
that arbitration won't work and the judge will have to settle
this."  Officials claim losses from the game could top $2.5M
(HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/25).

     Getting Paul Allen to purchase the Seahawks would be the
team's "greatest acquisition," writes SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
columnist Art Thiel this morning.  But the "Seattle sports
question of the moment" is whether Ken Behring would sell the
team.  Last week, Allen -- owner of the Blazers, Starwave and 80%
of Ticketmaster, a co-founder of Microsoft and No. 4 on the
Forbes 400 list -- said he "might take a look" at the Seahawks if
they were available.  Seahawks President David Behring has said
the team is not for sale, but Thiel notes two things in response:
"Everything is for sale," and, lately, Behring Sr. and Behring
Jr. have been "at some odds."  While Ken Behring is upset at King
County over the handling of the ceiling tile episode and at the
fact the Kingdome was not included in recent baseball stadium
legislation, David enjoys running the team.  As for moving the
team to the vacant L.A. market, Thiel notes the legal problems in
breaking the Kingdome lease and the fact the NFL likes the
Seattle market.  Thiel writes, "Rather than going up against the
hostiles in Seattle and the hostiles in the NFL, it may occur in
the coming months to the Behrings that the hassles of continuing
ownership simply aren't worth it.  Thus, Paul Allen."  Allen not
only could write a check for the team, but also guarantee
construction loans with his wealth as collateral (SEATTLE POST-
INTELLIGENCER, 10/25).