Osceola County Commission Chair Charles Owen remains
"optimistic" a deal can be struck to bring the Bucs to Orlando.
Owen met yesterday for 90 minutes with Bucs GM Rich McKay and VPs
Bryan and Joel Glazer to discuss potential revenue sources for
stadium and training facilities (Millican & Lebowitz, ORLANDO
SENTINEL, 2/15). Meanwhile, the Bucs have hired attorney Mark
Levinstein of DC-based Williams & Connolly to consult the team on
relocation issues. Levinstein represented former Patriots Owner
Victor Kiam in a federal lawsuit against the NFL over charges the
league conspired to prevent Kiam from moving (Jeff Testerman, ST.
PETERSBURG TIMES, 2/15).
Cleveland Mayor Michael White "intensified" his quest for a
domed stadium yesterday, saying he would consider delaying the
arrival of the new "Browns" until as late as 2001 to "accommodate
construction." White: "If it took a few extra months to get this
done, [a dome] is far more important to this community in the
long run than whether the Browns are going to be here." White
revealed the city's deal with the NFL allows Cleveland to "push
back" the arrival of the "new Browns" as late as 2001, but that a
delay is unlikely unless he locates the extra money needed for a
dome. The city has agreed to notify the NFL by March 24 if it
plans to build a dome instead of a 72,000-seat open stadium (Bart
Hubbuch, Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 2/15).
While Orioles Owner Peter Angelos claims he is eligible for
a deal "as sweet" as the one proposed for Art Modell because of a
parity clause in the club's lease with the Maryland Stadium
Authority, legal experts consulted by the Baltimore SUN do not
fully agree. Martin Greenberg, Dir of Marquette's National
Sports Law Center, points out while the Orioles may be entitled
to "some enhancements," the team's lease guarantees the club only
"fairly comparable" terms with any football franchise and that
the difference between the two team's deals is "not necessarily
vast." In order for the Orioles to prevail, there must be
inequality of the entire package. Univ. of Maryland Law Prof.
David Bogen adds it will be difficult for an arbitrator to
differentiate between the deals because financial aspects of the
two sports are "apples and oranges." In letters to Stadium
Authority Chair John Moag and MD Gov. Parris Glendening, Angelos
noted "alleged inequalities" in three areas: Rent vs. operating
costs; stadium sky boxes; and control of non-stadium events
(Snyder & Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 2/14).
NO LOVE LOST? The SUN's Snyder notes the "growing
bickering" between Moag and Angelos, writing that "behind-the-
scenes tension" between the two began almost as soon as Moag took
over the Authority post and "supplanted" Angelos as the head of
Baltimore's NFL effort (Baltimore SUN, 2/14).
MORNING BRIEFING: MD Gov. Parris Glendening, legislative
leaders and other "key players" met at length yesterday, but
failed to find a suitable way to win approval for the plan to
spend $273M on stadiums for Baltimore and the Redskins.
Discussion included: Extending the life of bonds used to pay for
the Baltimore facility, and determining how much Prince George's
County is "obliged" to contribute toward infrastructure costs for
the Redskins' project (Smith & Waldron, Baltimore SUN,
2/15)....Despite Art Modell's comments that he is "over-extended"
and cannot contribute anything toward a $200M Baltimore stadium,
MD Speaker Casper Taylor said, "We're making progress. Mr.
Modell is a very pragmatic person" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/15).
Following a "closed-door huddle" with 49ers President Carmen
Policy, S.F. Mayor Willie Brown said he will "commit whatever it
takes" to find $26M to help the team build a new stadium,
according to the S.F. CHRONICLE. The mayor's comments come one
week after he declared the city was "too broke" to foot the bill
for improvements to 3Com Park to keep the '99 Super Bowl. Policy
offered to make the city a "partner" in any new stadium deal
(Matier & Ross, S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/14). Meanwhile, proponents of
the privately financed Giants' China Basin Ballpark are
"troubled" by Brown's comments and "fear" the two projects will
compete with each other (George Raine, S.F. EXAMINER, 2/15).
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN: The chances 3Com Park will again be
known as Candlestick Park have been "significantly increased," as
the 49ers have agreed to give the City Board of Supervisors final
approval over the name. The 49ers have a tentative deal with
3Com Corp. to keep the company's name on the facility for the
next three years, but the board must still approve the deal (S.F.
The Devil Rays have ended discussions with Altamonte
Springs, FL, over a potential $20M spring training complex. The
club will explore nine other sites in FL and AZ (TAMPA TRIBUNE,
2/15)....Phoenix's Bank One Ballpark will cost $20M more than
expected, according to the Maricopa County Stadium District.
Diamondbacks Owner Jerry Colangelo said the team, not taxpayers,
will cover added costs (USA TODAY, 2/15).... Rumors that the
March 16 opening of the $130M Molson Centre would be delayed
because of the use of unauthorized building materials were
unfounded (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 2/15).