The sons of Twins Owner Carl Pohlad are, in fact, interested
in owning the team, diminishing speculation that the Twins would
be sold, according to this morning's Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.
Jim Souhan reports that, contrary to public opinion, Pohlad's
sons -- Bob, Jim and "to a lesser extent," Bill -- have recently
taken a more active role with the team. According to some Twins
execs, Bob Pohlad, in particular, has become a "key figure,"
taking on increasing responsibility especially in the Twins'
pursuit of a new stadium. Though Carl Pohlad denies rumors of a
possible sale, maintaining, "We're not even thinking about
anything than a new stadium," Souhan notes other owners have made
similar claims before selling (STAR-TRIBUNE, 3/19).
The deal between Bucs Owner Malcolm Glazer and negotiators
for Tampa and Hillsborough County remains incomplete, but in the
words of Glazer's son, Bucs VP Joel Glazer, "Things are cool."
According to this morning's TAMPA TRIBUNE, negotiators have
reached "tentative agreement" on a new $168M stadium, with
lawyers for both sides working on the details. The Tampa Sports
Authority has scheduled a meeting for Monday to consider and vote
on the deal, although that could be postponed if there is no
agreement by Friday (Joe Henderson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/20). Two
major "hang-ups" are facility control and advertising rights
(Charean Williams, ORLANDO SENTINEL, 3/20).
Flyers Owner Ed Snider, fitness entrepreneur Pat Croce and
the Comcast Corp. announced yesterday the formation of a Comcast-
Spectacor venture to create a "super-regional sports partnership"
to own and operate the Flyers, 76ers, the new CoreStates Center
and the CoreStates Spectrum. Comcast will hold a 66% ownership
DETAILS: To gain 66% of the teams and arenas, Comcast
contributed $250M in cash and stocks, and also assumed 66% of
their combined $180M in debt. Croce, who is credited with
getting the deal "in motion," is said to have contributed less
than $5M to be a part owner in Comcast-Spectacor. Croce will
become 76ers President. Comcast Chair Ralph Roberts and
President Brian Roberts said they would have nothing to do with
the day-to-day operations of the teams or arenas. Outgoing 76ers
Owner Harold Katz said he received "significantly more" than the
reported price of $125M for the team. However, he described his
decision to sell as a reluctant one (Sokolove, Rozansky & Stark,
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/20). Snider retains 34% of the Flyers
and each arena, also adding a 34% stake in the 76ers. Snider
said he will have "operational control" of all entities, noting
that Comcast "wouldn't do the deal unless I stayed in" (Gary
Miles, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/20).
PHILLIES NEXT? There are "strong indications that the
Phillies were edging close to involvement with the Comcast-
Spectacor venture." There was no indication the team would be
sold, but it was possible that Comcast-Spectacor could help with
the building of a new stadium. One Comcast exec said, "It's only
in the context of creating a [sports] channel, cooperative stuff
with regards to sports rights" (Sokolove, Rozansky & Stark,
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/20).
REAL DEAL: In the DAILY NEWS, Joseph Daughen reports the
reality is that it was Snider, not Croce, who drove the deal.
Snider, described as wanting to "virtually corner the sports and
entertainment market in the metropolitan Philadelphia area," knew
he needed the 76ers to do so. According to sources, because his
relationship with Katz was "so poor," Snider found Croce's
interest in the team an "attractive alternative" (PHILADELPHIA
DAILY NEWS, 3/20).
Former MLB Commissioner and Angels suitor Peter Ueberroth
told the L.A. TIMES the Walt Disney Co. is still in discussions
about buying the Angels despite the fact the company's exclusive
rights to buy the team have ended. Ueberroth, who heads a group
interested in buying the team, said they have been "made aware
that (the Angels, Disney, and Anaheim) are continuing
discussions, and we're choosing not to step forward until these
discussion have concluded." But Disney Sports Enterprises
spokesperson Bill Robertson was "adamant" that talks between
Disney and the city had ended. Anaheim City Manager James Ruth
said city officials met for over three hours yesterday, and,
while they were "not negotiating with anybody," he did not "rule
out the possibility that talks with Disney might be revived"
(Hernandez & DiGiovanna, L.A. TIMES, 3/20). Tony Tavares, Disney
Sports Enterprises President, said talks on the Angels were
"over" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/19).
Northwest Sports Enterprises Ltd. -- the Canucks publicly-
traded owner -- has been relieved of its obligation of a C$98M
construction loan by the Orca Bay Arena Ltd. Partnership.
However, Northwest is finalizing a C$10M agreement from the
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce to cover salaries and
operating expenses (FINANCIAL POST, 3/20)....The Marlins still
have 14,000 tickets remaining for their opening day matchup
against the Pirates. Team officials are "surprised" at the low
sales numbers (MIAMI HERALD, 3/20)....The agent for Bullets star
Chris Webber is upset that the team charges players for getting
their own hotel rooms on the road. The Bullets and Sixers are
the only NBA teams that pass the extra charge of individual rooms
along to the players (WASHINGTON TIMES, 3/20)....The Devil Rays
have made an offer to take over the White Sox spring training
camp in Sarasota if Chicago moves to another location, as
expected (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 3/20)....Eaton Corp. has pledged
up to $1M to support Cleveland's efforts to land an NFL team
(Eaton Corp.)....The Alouettes' new logo will be a "vicious-
looking" bird that appears "mean, fast and rugged," according to
Owner Jim Speros. Colors will be red, white, blue, silver and
black (GLOBE & MAIL, 3/19).
Thirty of Seattle's top business leaders met yesterday to
"rally round the Seahawks" and convince the NFL that "locals
would support remodeling the Kingdome as part of a deal to bring
the football team home," according to Boren & Farnsworth of the
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER. Former co-Owner John Nordstrom, who
called the meeting, said he did not ask anyone to commit to
anything, but "as we move through the next week to 10 days,
things are going to change." NFL VP Communications Joe Browne
said the league is interested in seeing support for a $125M
remodeling of the Kingdome (SEATTLE P-I, 3/20). USA TODAY's
Gordon Forbes writes the NFL's case to keep the Seahawks in
Seattle seems "hopeless." The league's negotiating team
"concedes" if Seahawks Owner Ken Behring's claim of an unsafe
Kingdome stands in court, "the Seahawks are gone" (USA TODAY,
3/20). ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports Behring is "clearly
daring" NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to impose the maximum
$500,000 fine on him for continuing to practice in Southern CA.
Behring's attorney, Ron Olson, told NFL committees last week at
the owner's meetings that the team "intends to leave Seattle,"
even if the court holds them in contempt for breaking their
Kingdome lease ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/19).