MODELL MAKES HIS PRESENTATION TO A GROUP OF OWNERS
Accompanied by his attorney, Robert Weber, and "heavy
security," Browns Owner Art Modell arrived in Atlanta to make his
presentation before a panel of NFL owners on his proposed move to
Baltimore. According to the Akron BEACON JOURNAL, Modell's
argument, delivered by Weber in a two-hour presentation to the
Stadium and Finance Committees, "was well-received." Patriots
Owner Robert Kraft called it "pretty compelling." Kraft: "It
was clear tonight that the political people in Cleveland didn't
do what they should have done before it came to this crisis
point." Modell had no comment, but he might speak with the media
after today's owners meeting (Bart Hubbuch, Akron BEACON JOURNAL,
NO VOTE: NFL spokesperson Joe Browne said a vote on the
Browns is "highly unlikely." Giants co-owner Robert Tisch said
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue is likely to make his
recommendation at the March 10-14 annual winter meeting in Palm
Beach, with a vote then. Sources say Tagliabue wants to delay a
vote until after a February 12 trial on the Cleveland lease
(Leonard Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST, 1/17). Browne said Tagliabue
will give "only a general report on franchise relocation"
(Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 1/17).
THE CITY'S TURN: Cleveland officials are expected to tell
NFL owners today of a revenue package that would pay the Browns
$20M a year, in addition to a one-time payment of $18M. That is
in addition to the $175M renovation plan for Cleveland Stadium.
The $20M would include up to $8M from premium seating and loges,
$2-4M from all remaining seats, all stadium ad revenue ($3M), and
all concession revenue (likely to exceed $2M a year). In
addition, the owner would receive revenue from about 2,700
parking spots. The $18M payment includes a $5M naming rights
deal, although that could be worth as much as $9M. The city
notes the deal also would be available to any franchise that made
Cleveland its home (David Adams, Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 1/17).
GROWING ATTENTION: George Will made the issue of franchise
relocation the subject of his weekly NEWSWEEK column (NEWSWEEK,
1/22 issue). FORTUNE's Joseph Spiers also examines the issue of
sports teams and their economic effect on cities. Spiers writes
that, at least as far as Baltimore is concerned, the team's
impact on the local economy is "wildly overstated" (FORTUNE, 1/15
issue). In an examination of the growing franchise free agency
in Sunday's N.Y. TIMES, former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle said
it "may be the biggest problem the league has ever faced"
(Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 1/14).