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Volume 24 No. 116

Franchises

     N.Y. Jets Owner Leon Hess was asked after Sunday's loss if
he has thought about selling the team.  Hess:  "Not at all.  This
is one of the few pleasures I get out of life, win or lose" (N.Y.
DAILY NEWS, 11/21).  Last night, the Jets were the butt of a Jay
Leno joke.  Leno was relating Beatles' songs to events or people
of today.  After "I'm a loser," a picture of a Jets helmet was
flashed ("Tonight," NBC, 11/20)....Molson Cos. Ltd., owners of
the Canadiens, the Montreal Forum and Molstar Communications, has
replaced Bruce Pope as brewery president, with John Barnett, the
brewer's top U.S. exec.  The GLOBE & MAIL's Marina Strauss
reports, "The shuffle was seen by some industry observers as a
possible prelude to a larger shakeup at both the brewer and
parent Molson Cos." (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/21)....ESPN reported the
agent for Patriots CB Maurice Hurst would file a grievance
against the team for releasing his client.  Doug Sunseri contends
the team should not be allowed to release Hurst because he was
injured.  He further contends that, at the request of the team,
Hurst had been playing the entire season with a bulging disc in
his neck ("SportsCenter," 11/21)....While Dodgers Owner Peter
O'Malley is willing to build an NFL stadium near Dodger Stadium
and Disney would like to do some "venture" with the NFL, John
Clayton of the Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE writes, "Los Angeles is
nothing like Baltimore and Nashville."  Noting the lack of
stadium construction in L.A., Clayton writes, "If you don't sell
PSLs, you don't get the franchise."  Until such a campaign is in
place, no team, including the Seahawks, will move there (Tacoma
NEWS TRIBUNE, 11/20)....Average attendance for the Blues is down
2,253 from last season (ST. LOUIS POST- DISPATCH, 11/19)....Tom
Enlund writes that the Bucks' payroll is $19.5M this season,
significantly below the NBA's $23M salary cap (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL
SENTINEL, 11/18).....For the fourth time since '91, the Braves
have announced they will raise ticket prices for next season
(ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/18)....The Panthers will edge the
Lightning by just 200 miles as the NHL's most traveled team.
Both teams are in the 51,000-mile range.  The Panthers' travel
budget is about $1M this year (MIAMI HERALD, 11/20)....Last night
was the Blazers' first non-sellout since April '77.  The team has
moved from the 12,800-seat Memorial Coliseum into the 21,300-seat
Rose Garden (L.A. TIMES, 11/21).

     A committee studying the need for new sports venues in
Houston "is not likely to put together a last-ditch effort to
keep the Houston Oilers in town," according to group chairman
Pete Coneway.  This morning's HOUSTON CHRONICLE reports that
Coneway said the group, appointed by Houston Mayor Bob Lanier and
Harris County Judge Robert Eckels, "is looking at longer-term
issues than the Oilers."  Coneway, a managing partner at Goldman
Sachs:  "We were not formed to negotiate with [Oilers Owner] Bud
Adams."  Meanwhile, the Nashville Metro Council should approve
the non-binding contract today (John Williams, HOUSTON CHRONICLE,
11/21).
     ON THE TENNESSEE TRAIL:  The WALL STREET JOURNAL's John
Helyar examines the Oilers' move, writing, it shows "how
differently two cities at different points in their life cycles
can value a sports team."  Agent Leigh Steinberg says the "deck
is stacked against the more mature cities that have long hosted
and supported NFL teams."  Steinberg:  "This process is pitting
major urban areas with overwhelming budget constraints against
smaller entrepreneurial cities willing to pay fabulous sums for
the sake of their economic climate.  The net effect of all this
is to downsize the NFL."  Gaylord Entertainment COO Richard
Evans, head of the Nashville Sports Council, is seen along with
Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen as driving the city's sports cause.
Evans:  "We're out to make the NHL and NBA aware that we're dead
serious about bringing a sports team to Nashville."  In fact,
Oilers Exec VP Mike McClure said it was Nashville's wooing of the
Devils that "caught [his] eye" in seeking a new home for the
Oilers.  Vanderbilt Law's John Costonis:  "Nashville can't be
Atlanta, but it would sure like to be on par with Charlotte"
(WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/21).

     Lawyers for the city of Cleveland argued yesterday that the
Browns are "legally obligated to remain in town through 1998,"
according to this morning's Baltimore SUN.  In opening statements
before Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Kenneth
Callahan, the city displayed "poster-size blowups" of the team's
Cleveland Stadium lease.  But Browns attorney Dennis Kelly argued
the lease was with the Art Modell-owned Cleveland Stadium Corp.,
not the city.  The SUN's Jon Morgan notes the case "could delay
but not stop the Browns' intended move" (Baltimore SUN, 11/21).
Robert Weber, another attorney representing the Browns, said even
if the team is forced to play in Cleveland, they will leave.
Weber:  "What's done is done" (USA TODAY, 11/21).  The judge
extended his order barring the Browns from leaving until the end
of the hearing (WASHINGTON POST, 11/21).
     BALTIMORE'S CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM:  "Thousands" of fans of the
CFL Champion Stallions gathered at Baltimore's Inner Harbor
yesterday to greet the team.  Stallions Owner Jim Speros was
cheered when he said, "We're Baltimore's team, and we want to be
Baltimore's team" (Drake Whitam, Baltimore SUN, 11/21).  But a
SUN editorial previewing today's meeting between Speros and MD
Gov. Parris Glendening, refers to the "gypsy-like" CFL.  The SUN
states:  "The CFL Stallions represented Baltimore well, but given
the business realities of professional sports these days, it may
be time to seek greener pastures" (Baltimore SUN, 11/21).