ARE PATRIOTS GETTING COLD FEET OVER RI DEAL DEADLINE?
A "planned negotiating session" between RI Gov. Lincoln
Almond's administration and the Patriots "fizzled yesterday
amid signs of tension, but Almond nonetheless said he is
sticking to his deadline of tomorrow to cut a Providence
stadium deal," according to Christopher Rowland of the
Providence JOURNAL-BULLETIN. Almond did not say what would
happen if the deadline passes with no deal, but the Patriots
said that "they were not going to rush their deliberations."
Sources familiar with the talks said that the Patriots "were
frustrated by Almond's public call" for team Owner Robert
Kraft to sign a "memorandum of understanding" by Friday.
The team "has expressed discomfort" with Almond's request
that they "commit" to RI "and not entertain competing offer"
from MA (Providence JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/18).
IN BOSTON: If Kraft moves the team, "there apparently
will be no hue and cry on Beacon Hill, and certainly far
less than there was when he tried to relocate the team to
South Boston," according to Tina Cassidy of the BOSTON GLOBE
in a front-page analysis of the team's stadium saga. One
individual involved in the talks said a RI deal is "very
realistic, both in terms of deal structure and in terms of
timing." The individual added Foxboro officials "can't get
their act together ... Rhode Island is way ahead of them.
Kraft preferred to stay in [Foxboro], but saw no momentum or
energy being created." The GLOBE's Cassidy adds that Kraft
"is now considering" bringing NASCAR racing to Foxboro to
replace the team (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18). A GLOBE editorial
calls for MA Acting Gov. Paul Cellucci to "get behind a
proposal that combines state aid" with the Foxboro plan
(BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18). GLOBE media writer Howard Manly notes
a move would have the team leaving the sixth-largest media
market, with two million TV households, to the 46th-largest
with about 600,000 TV households (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18).