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Volume 24 No. 156

Franchises

     The Bucs' plan to change uniforms, colors and logo for the
'96 season has been "put on hold" while the team's future in
Tampa remains uncertain, according to the TAMPA TRIBUNE.
Meanwhile, the Tampa stadium situation has yet to be discussed
formally by owners at the Palm Beach, FL, meetings.  Bucs VP Joel
Glazer said he "was not sure" if the Bucs will have the
opportunity to address owners.  He added the team has no talks
scheduled with negotiators from Tampa (Pat Yasinskas, TAMPA
TRIBUNE, 3/13).

     The IHL Board of Governors approved the transfer of
ownership of the Kansas City Blades from Russell and Diana Parker
to DP Fox Sports and Entertainment Ltd, headed by Daniel and
Pamella DeVos.  DP Fox Sports also own the IHL's Grand Rapids
Griffins and is the first group to own and manage two IHL
franchises (IHL).  IHL Commissioner Bob Ufer said provisions were
in place to will safeguard against possible conflicts.  Ufer:
"We have taken appropriate measures to assure autonomy of the
hockey operations, and the league will closely monitor player
transactions.  Any player transactions must be approved by the
league office" (Bob Luder, KANSAS CITY STAR, 3/13).

     Oilers Owner Bud Adams is optimistic that the team would
generate a "good turnout" at the Astrodome if it is forced to
stay in Houston for another year.  According to this morning's
HOUSTON CHRONICLE, with Adams' move to Nashville currently in
limbo because of a May referendum in TN and Houston Mayor Bob
Lanier's request that the NFL guarantee another the city team
before allowing the Oilers to leave, the chances of a lame-duck
Oiler season are growing.  John Williams reports club officials
are banking on the popularity of second-year QB Steve McNair, an
attractive schedule and the possibility of a playoff berth to
attract fans (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/13).

     South FL sports mogul Wayne Huizenga expects the Panthers to
stay in the area and is weighing three different offers from
investors who will not move the club, according to the MIAMI
HERALD.  Local businessmen Bruce Frey and Bud Paxson, Dallas
businessman John Spano and an undisclosed group are all
interested in the team.  The Frey/Paxson group has made an offer
that the HERALD reports is "an all-cash" deal with "no unusual
restrictions" -- but Huizenga "did not speak well" of their bid.
Broward County officials trying to negotiate an arena lease with
the team cannot begin until the Panthers' ownership situation is
settled.  Also, there could be potential problems with Broward's
offers to the Heat and Panthers.  The county's preliminary
agreement with the NBA club is different than the one negotiated
with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.  The Heat's letter of intent
calls for equal arena revenue sharing, while Bettman negotiated
an additional $2M for the Panthers based on a state tax break
(Jackson & Rafinski, MIAMI HERALD, 3/12).

     While several NFL owners continued to "snicker" over the
Seahawks' claim they must move out of the Kingdome due to seismic
concerns, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said yesterday "the
league has concerns" about other questions regarding the adequacy
of the Kingdome.  Clare Farnsworth reports Tagliabue noted the
falling ceiling tiles that forced the Seahawks and Mariners out
in '95.  Tagliabue denied that any members of the Finance
Committee were skeptical of Behring's contention of danger.  A
King County group makes its pitch to keep the Seahawks in front
of the committee tonight (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 3/13).
     NO SKEPTICISM HERE: In L.A., Plaschke & Simers report, in
addition to 49ers President Carmen Policy and Steelers Owner Dan
Rooney, Denver Owner Patrick Bowlen scoffed at the Seahawks'
earthquake presentation.  Bowlen: "This is like me saying that my
East stands are falling down, so I'm leaving."  An unidentified
exec told the L.A. TIMES:  "The whole thing is a sham."  The
TIMES described reactions as "a mixture of laughter and
disbelief," and noted that such reactions "may indicate the
league's willingness to throw up roadblocks if the Seahawks are
not restrained" by a WA state court in May.  Behring responded to
the cynicism, "There's a lot of jealousy about me moving" (L.A.
TIMES, 3/12).  In Tacoma, John Clayton reports "some owners
appeared angry after the meeting," with one owner calling the
presentation "contentious."   Bowlen, on the contention that the
Kingdome would collapse during a "once-in-a-500-year earthquake":
"Come on!"  Pats Owner Bob Kraft, who noted the team plays only
about 60 hours total in the Kingdome:  "Life is about taking
risks" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 3/12).  More from Policy, whose
stadium took a direct earthquake hit during the '89 World Series:
"I think it's a lame excuse.  I don't know what Ken is trying to
do" (L.A. TIMES, 3/13).
     OWNERS ENTERTAIN O'MALLEY:  The NFL brought Dodgers Owner
Peter O'Malley in to meet with several owners about the
possibility of bringing an expansion team to the L.A. area,
according to the L.A. TIMES.  T.J. Simers reports that O'Malley
is still studying stadium sites and has not been discouraged by
Behring's attempt to move (L.A. TIMES, 3/13).