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Volume 24 No. 181

Franchises

     A plan to return the Seahawks to Seattle -- at least on a
temporary basis -- "fell apart yesterday afternoon" as Owner Ken
Behring "apparently backed out."  This morning's SEATTLE P-I
reports that local officials thought they were close to a deal to
return the team to its Kirkland, WA, training facility, but the
deal faltered.  Both NFL Dir of Communications Greg Aiello and
Behring's attorneys were "vague" as to whether any progress had
been made on returning off-season workouts to WA (Boren &
Farnsworth, SEATTLE P-I, 3/21).  In yesterday afternoon's SEATTLE
TIMES, team President David Behring said he didn't expect to
travel to New York to meet with NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue
about the decision to hold off-season workouts in Anaheim.  Local
officials and the media believe that may mean the team is close
to returning to WA to avoid a possible $500,000 fine from the
league (Smith & Almond, SEATTLE TIMES, 3/20).     PARTY-TIME,
CALIFORNIA-STYLE:  Ken and David Behring met with Anaheim and
Orange County political and business officials on Wednesday and
will be the guests of honor at a "grand fete" in Newport Beach,
where about 200 people are expected to attend (ORANGE COUNTY
REGISTER, 3/21).
     THE PAUL ALLEN ANGLE:  Susan Pierson, a spokesperson for
Microsoft co-Founder Paul Allen, denied rumors Allen was losing
interest in purchasing the Seahawks.  Pierson, who said Allen,
also owner of the Blazers, was out of town on business:  "He's
the fourth wealthiest man in the world.  He has 30-odd other
businesses.  He has other things to do than think about this all
day" (SEATTLE P-I, 3/21).  The Kingdome concession contract
"could be a factor in enticing Allen."  Allen owns the concession
company that services Portland's Rose Garden.  Ogden
Entertainment's contract with the Kingdome expires after the '96
season (SEATTLE TIMES, 3/20).
     MORE STICKS IN THE SPOKES:  Seahawks DE Cortez Kennedy
brought the NFLPA into the matter, filing a grievance protesting
the lack of workout facilities in WA.  As part of his contract,
Kennedy is scheduled to earn $200,000 for participating in off-
season conditioning, but he contends the contract stipulates
workouts occur in Kirkland.  The agent for Seahawk Sam Adams says
he may also file a grievance, if the team doesn't cover losses
due to higher CA taxes (Clare Farnsworth, SEATTLE POST-
INTELLIGENCER, 3/21).

     The Astros have introduced two more TV spots to their '96
season-ticket ad campaign.  Houston Mayor Bob Lanier and his wife
Elyse are featured in one and Dr. Red Duke of the Univ. of Texas
Health Science Center stars in the other.  The first depicts Mrs.
Lanier studying the MLB rule book, while the Mayor tells how she
called the NBA league office during the playoffs to complain
about officiating against the Rockets.  Lanier:  "If I were an
umpire, I'd think twice before making a close call against the
Astros in Houston."  In the second spot, Dr. Duke informs people
the best way to protect one's self from the Houston summer sun is
to don an Astros cap and attend a game inside the Astrodome.  The
two spots join past ads starring President and Mrs. Bush, Bum
Phillips and Clyde Drexler.  The campaign was written and
produced by Coudal Partners (Astros)....Randalls Food Markets
will sell 5,000 upper deck tickets for $3 each.  The Astros also
announced Dow Chemical has pledged more than 5,000 ticket coupons
to 1,300 students who attend the '96 Science Engineering Fair.
It appears the Astros will miss their goal of 17,200 season-
tickets sold by opening day by around 4,000 (John Williams,
HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/21).

     Tampa officials have reportedly agreed to give the Bucs
control over operation and maintenance of a planned $168M new
stadium, according to today's TAMPA TRIBUNE.  The Tampa Stadium
Authority's role in a new stadium "may be substantially reduced"
pending further approval from the Tampa City Council and the
Hillsborough County Commission.  This issue was seen as the "last
major hang-up" to a new stadium deal.  Tampa Mayor Dick Greco
said "no major issues remain unresolved between city and county
officials and the Bucs."  Some officials fear Bucs control of a
new stadium "could hurt" efforts to attract other tenants.  The
Bucs also have asked for all revenue from advertising at the
stadium for all events (Joe Henderson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/21).

     In a move necessitated by ongoing renovations of the
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the final game of the '96 Bay
Bridge Series will be played at 3Com Park on March 30
(Giants)....The Blazers have promoted Erin Hubert to VP of
Sponsor Sales and Services and Sharon Higdon to VP of  Marketing.
The Blazers are also looking for someone to handle ticket sales
(Portland OREGONIAN, 3/20).
     YOU, SIR, ARE A CAD:  Angus Charles Drogo Montagu, 12th Duke
of Manchester, was pronounced guilty of trying to defraud the
Lightning and two area banks out of more than $12M.  He will be
sentenced on June 6 (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/21).

     While officials from Disney continue to insist that their
deal to buy controlling interest of the Angels is dead, Anaheim
city officials voted Tuesday to refuse to comment on the deal.
Teri Sforza reports the team has delayed any sale negotiations
with other parties "until Disney's star falls completely out of
the sky."  Meanwhile, it is believed that if negotiations with
other possible buyers should begin, Peter Ueberroth will get the
"first crack" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/21).  Ueberroth
commented Tuesday that negotiations are "ongoing" between Anaheim
and Disney, but Angels President Richard Brown said he was
unaware of such talks.  Brown: "I assume he knows something I
don't know, but I've been several steps removed from the
negotiations" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 3/21).

     Devils Owner John McMullen has presented an offer to buy the
Nets for $90M, according to this morning's N.Y. POST.  Should
Nets ownership accept, one plan would be to lure Kentucky coach
Rick Pitino.  Devils President & GM Lou Lamoriello was AD at
Providence when Pitino coached there.  Under one scenario,
Lamoriello would become President of both teams.  But it is also
thought McMullen could move the team to Nashville.  According to
one Devils source, the offer was presented Friday, with another
source saying Nets ownership is "enthusiastic" -- more so than at
any other offer received in 15 years.  Nets Majority Owner David
Gerstein would neither confirm nor deny an offer.  Gerstein, Alan
Aufzein and Jerry Cohen control 66% of the team.  Aufzein and
Cohen are said to be "pro-sale," while Gerstein was "initially
opposed" (Kerber & Brooks, N.Y. POST, 3/21).

     A sampling of reaction in Philadelphia on Comcast's purchase
of the 76ers, Flyers, and the two arenas:
     An editorial in today's PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS:  "There
probably should be some concerns about the nation's teams
controlled by fewer and fewer (and richer and more powerful)
owners ... But what is is, and what was wasn't always so rosy as
we recall" (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 3/21).  An INQURIER editorial bids
a not-so-fond-farewell to 76ers Owner Harold Katz, and says,
"It's nice to see Philadelphia sports catching the rising wave
for once."  Despite the risks that "corporations of media power
always creates losers and risks for consumers ... this new show
will be more intriguing than the tired acts that have bombed at
the Spectrum of late" (PHILADELPHIA INQURIER, 3/21).

     The Spurs have cut ties with Tucson-based charter company
Viscount Inc., which had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
protection, according to the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS.  Gregg
Popovich, Spurs VP/Basketball Ops, said he hoped to have another
permanent charter by April 1.  There has been speculation the
team's monetary problems caused the end of the deal, Popovich
denied that, adding, "We've had no problems making our payments
on time ... We've had problems with the charter company's service
(Glenn Rogers, SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 3/21).  Sources say
Viscount wanted the Spurs to pay $300,000 more for the remainder
of the year, on top of the $500,000 they had already paid (Kevin
O'Keefe, SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 3/21).