Oilers Owner Bud Adams signed an agreement to move his team
to Tennessee, possibly next season, according this morning's
HOUSTON CHRONICLE. The nonbinding deal was signed after
Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen and negotiators flew to Houston to
"iron out Adams' last-second requests, one of which was
reportedly adding a 10-year option to the Oilers' 30-year stadium
lease, a change Adams sought to protect his heirs." A signing
ceremony is scheduled for today in Nashville and the Metro
Council is scheduled to approve the deal Tuesday. Adams said he
"is comfortable" with the deal, and not concerned by the length
of the contract, which calls for "stiff penalties" should the
team leave earlier. Adams: "We've been in Houston for 36 years.
Thirty years is not a problem." The deal calls for the team to
begin play in TN in '98, but '96 is possible under a buy-out of
the Astrodome lease. Both sides have an out option in March, but
John Williams writes it "seems unlikely anything will happen in
Houston to change Adams' mind" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/16).
Headline in this morning's Nashville TENNESSEAN: "If we build
it, Bud will come" (TENNESSEAN, 11/16).
NEXT! While officials in Houston saw the next step in the
possible relocation of the Oilers, community leaders "continued
effort to keep the Astros from also skipping town." The Greater
Houston Partnership announced that "Step Up To The Plate" will be
the slogan to promote season ticket sales (Bob Tutt, HOUSTON
While the Browns stadium deal continued to gain official
approval in MD, OH Gov. George Voinovich "said he is trying to
find investors to buy the team," according to this morning's
Akron BEACON JOURNAL. Voinovich, who wouldn't identify possible
investors: "If [Browns Owner Art] Modell is not happy with the
financial situation perhaps we can create an environment where he
might be able to get out of all this, make some money, and walk
away" (Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 11/16).
SEND FAX PAPER, NOT MONEY: Bills Dir of Community Relations
Denny Lynch said the team and Owner Ralph Wilson have received
400 faxes from Browns fans, while the Dolphins and Vikings report
receiving over 300 each. The PLAIN DEALER and local radio
stations have made public fax and phone numbers for the NFL and
team owners. Lynch: "You can tell people are sincere in their
emotions. ... But we need more fax paper" (Jarrett Bell, USA
NAME GAME: In Baltimore, John Eisnenberg writes it is time
for Modell to reconsider changing the name of the team.
Eisenberg, who argues to leave the Browns name in Cleveland:
"The heat of the issue would cool considerably, if not entirely,
if everyone knew that Cleveland's next team -- and there will be
one -- would have the old team's name and colors, courtesy of
Modell. ... It's the right thing to do, and Modell knows it"
(Baltimore SUN, 11/16).
St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman met with NHL Commissioner Gary
Bettman in New York yestrday to "explore ways" to bring the Jets
to St. Paul, according to today's Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.
Coleman said later Bettman would consider such a move, but still
called the bid "a long shot." Coleman's staff has been working
with officials from the Civic Center to determine the revenue
available to Jets Owner Richard Burke and how to finance
improvements. The Civic Center has no luxury suites, "a prime
revenue source," and a move "could hinge" on the issue of public
subsidies -- a demand that "sunk efforts" with the Target Center.
Suites and ad revenue "would be expected to figure prominently in
any St. Paul incentive package," and Coleman said the city should
know within two to three weeks whether a deal is possible
(Lonetree & Weiner, Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/16).
Gaylord Entertainment's Dick Evans will meet "sometime this
week" with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman concerning new homes for
the Jets and Panthers (TENNESSEAN, 11/14)....A graphic in NEW
YORK magazine compares the Cowboys, Browns, Giants, Raiders, Rams
and Jets in terms of franchise success under the categories of
team-owned stadium, market monopoly, contented owner, recent
success, burgeoning fan support, strong national identity and
winning tradition. The Jets rank last (NEW YORK, 11/20
issue)....The Brewers have added a second team in the Pioneer
League, the Ogden Raptors (BASEBALL WEEKLY, 11/15-21 issue)....Ed
Tepper, part-owner of the NPSL expansion Philadelphia Kixx, which
begins play next season, expects as many as 13,000 for a Chicago-
Baltimore game Saturday at the CoreStates Spectrum. Tepper cites
14 corporate sponsorships for the rise in ticket sales over last
year's game (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 11/16).
Expos President Claude Brochu said baseball is entering a
new era and he hopes that will translate into better ticket sales
for the team, according to the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL. Brochu: "We
know we're going to play in '96, so it should be favorable from a
season-ticket base and from a group-sales base. With the way the
season ended with a good World Series and good playoffs, and the
fact we have a new television deal, it makes things much more
positive." He also says there is a "new baseball" resulting from
the strike and there will be a much more reasonable approach to
clubs spending money for "years, years and years to come."
Brochu said the Expos are in the process of renegotiating their
lease at Olympic Stadium as the team still does not get any
revenue from parking or corporate suites (Danny Gallagher,
Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/16).
Hundreds of extra tickets to this weekend's Raiders-Cowboys
game in Oakland were set aside for city and county employees,
even though "legions of Raiders fans" were denied tickets
earlier, according to Robert Salladay of the OAKLAND TRIBUNE.
Marketing officials were left with 800-900 extra tickets and
decided for an "internal group sale." Last week, more than 900
season tickets holders waited for tickets to the game, but only
three were successful. Oakland Deputy City Manager Ezra Rapport
said they would have "absolute chaos" if they tried to put
leftover tickets on public sale with just over three days left
(OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 11/16). But the "behind-the-scenes deal
infuriated" PSL holders who waited "in a cold drizzle" outside
the Coliseum last week only to learn of the sell-out. It once
again led Raiders officials to acknowledge a marketing "mistake,"
as they had touted the sales of extra Dallas tickets as a
"gesture of appreciation" to PSL holders who have gone through a
"frustrating series of snafus" this year (Peter Fimrite, S.F.
CHRONICLE, 11/16). The CHRONICLE runs a list of the Raiders'
"Ticket Troubles" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/16).