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Volume 24 No. 156

Franchises

          The ABL Lasers' opening game, and three of their other
     21 home games, will be played at San Jose Arena, according
     to Jody Meacham of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS.  The move
     "reflects both their new owner's ambitions and the WNBA's
     success in filling the bottom half of the large NBA arenas." 
     New Lasers Owner Joe Lacob: "It's a big risk.  If we don't
     put a lot of people in (San Jose Arena), they will be
     comparing us (unfavorably) with the WNBA, which drew a lot
     of people this summer."  The Lasers' primary home court
     remains the Event Center at San Jose State Univ., where last
     season they averaged 3,181 per game.  Five Lasers games will
     be included in the ABL's game of the week on Fox Sports Net,
     and eight will be televised "by a yet-to-be announced local
     station."  All 44 Lasers games will be on the radio, with 12
     Sunday games on KLIV and the rest on a station to be
     announced next week (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/17).

          "An anonymous group of Edmonton investors has put in a
     secret bid to purchase the NHL Oilers," according to Darcy
     Henton of the TORONTO STAR.  Economic Development Edmonton
     head Rick LeLacheur delivered the bid on behalf of the
     unidentified investors and said that no details of the
     US$70M offer have been released nor has a deadline been set
     to complete the deal (TORONTO STAR, 9/18).  In Edmonton,
     Bernard Pilon reports that the "mystery bidders" have formed
     Edmonton Investors Group Ltd.  Lawyer John Butler, who is
     representing the group, would not identify the bidders,
     saying, "This (deal) will not happen overnight and it will
     not happen in the media."  Both Butler and LeLacheur
     "pleaded with reporters not to hound investors -- known to
     include" Vancouver media investor Cathy Roozen and computer
     software entrepreneur Bruce Saville.  Midland Walwyn, which
     is overseeing sale, will now examine the bid, the "first
     solid pitch" since Oilers Owner Peter Pocklington put the
     team up for sale in June (EDMONTON SUN, 9/18).  The STAR's
     Henton writes that the report of Roozen and Saville heading
     the group "has not been confirmed" (TORONTO STAR, 9/18).  

          In SI, Peter King reports that the NFL should rule by
     the end of this month on the Packers' request to sell
     nonvoting shares to the public.  King: "Approval may be
     difficult to get, though, because other teams fear the Pack
     would devote a chunk of the money to signing bonuses, and
     that would be viewed as an unfair advantage" (SI, 9/22).
     ...The Magic will hold its '97 training camp at Walt
     Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando (Magic).

          49ers President Carmen Policy was a guest on ESPN's "Up
     Close" yesterday.  Policy, on the controversy surrounding
     the June vote on a new stadium-retail complex vote: "There
     are reports that nine dead people voted in that election,
     but these were very conscientious dead people, because they
     voted in five other elections prior to this election."  On
     the facility's progression: "We anticipate that the stadium
     structure will be ready for play in the year 2000."  On the
     possibility of the 49ers moving had they not won the
     election: "[T]here were better deals elsewhere ... The worst
     deal financially was to stay, but we feel that in the long
     term ... we're better off remaining right where we are."  On
     competition in the Bay Area with Al Davis and the Raiders:
     "Their failed attempt to successfully market their program
     and their project definitely impacted us during the campaign
     for the stadium and impacted us in a very negative way. ...
     I don't see there being any crossover in terms of those who
     would be interested in purchasing tickets or suites for the
     49ers games as opposed to those who would want to purchase
     tickets and suites for the Raiders" (ESPN, 9/17).

          Moving into a "serious talking stage," Twins Owner Carl
     Pohlad met twice Wednesday with NC businessman Don Beaver,
     who wants to bring the team to the Carolinas, according to
     Jay Weiner of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  Pohlad: "We'll
     see him again this morning.  We're just talking, but we're
     in the serious talking stage."  In Atlanta at the MLB owners
     meetings, Twins President Jerry Bell said that he, Pohlad,
     Beaver and Twins financial consultant Bob Starkey met for
     two hours "to discuss Beaver's interest in buying the team." 
     Beaver confirmed the sessions, but said, "nothing material
     has happened yet."  Beaver "declined to say if he has made
     an offer" for the team, but Bell and Pohlad said none has
     been made (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/18).