NFL OWNERS HEAR L.A. COLISEUM BID; DISCUSS OTHER ISSUES
A group attempting to get an NFL franchise for L.A.
"presented a financial plan" for a new Coliseum to members
of the league's stadium committee yesterday in Washington,
DC, according to Leonard Shapiro of the WASHINGTON POST. It
included a return to pro football to L.A. by 2001. NHL
Kings Owner and NFL group leader Ed Roski made the
presentation along with L.A. City Councilmember Mark Ridley-
Thomas. Roski's plan calls for a Coliseum that would seat
68,000 "for most football games," but could expand to 80,000
for other events. Roski also asked for a March '98 deadline
from the league so "we can both have a direction of where
we're going" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/15). In L.A., T.J. Simers
reports the group "left feeling pretty good. ... But behind
closed doors, the NFL talked about dissolving the 13-month
exclusive arrangement" with the L.A. group. Such a move
"would appear to open the door" for Hollywood Park, South
Park and Rupert Murdoch. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue
said that the "matter of exclusivity was only being
discussed at this time." But Simers reports that "since the
subject came up only minutes after the new Coliseum group's
attempt to dazzle league executives, it was a clear
indication that the NFL is not ready to break ground in
Exposition Park" (T.J. Simers, L.A. TIMES, 10/15).
A COMBO MEAL PLEASE: CNN/SI's Peter King reported last
night that NFL owners received word "from the league that
they would really like to get a combination deal going here
-- a deal to extend the collective bargaining agreement
through at least the year 2007 and also a deal to extend the
television contract, which is being negotiated right now for
the next four years, for as long as eight years [through
2005]." King added the NFL wants to "put themselves in
position to have labor peace and television rights peace for
the next eight years" which would put them "far above every
other league" and give "them the strength ... to plan for
the long-term NFL future" ("CNN/SI," CNN, 10/14).
BIG GATE BY THE LAKE: In Akron, David Adams reports
that Browns Trust President William Futterer made a "brief"
presentation to the owners. He reported the team has
secured applications for more than 52,000 season tickets.
Of the stadium's 116 suites, 85 have been sold, including
all of the $125,000-a-year suites. NFL Dir of Club
Administration Joe Ellis said that a new team in Cleveland
would immediately be "among the top third of the league's
most lucrative teams." The league will likely decide if
Cleveland will receive an expansion or existing team in
March "or later" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 10/15). Cowboys
Owner Jerry Jones said yesterday "the prudent thing to do is
to have teams that are not economically viable be allowed to
move. ... Do we want to water down the league with more
teams? ... I don't think so" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/15).
COLD RAIN AND SNOW: Tagliabue said that the NFL will
"put together guidelines to determine whether it's feasible
to play a Super Bowl in an open-air, northern stadium."
Tagliabue said DC, Baltimore and Seattle have expressed
interest in holding the game. In Baltimore, Vito Stellino
writes Tagliabue "was noncommittal on his opinion of playing
the Super Bowl at a cold-weather site," and Stellino adds
that it's "possible ... coming up with guidelines is simply
a polite way to kill the idea" (Baltimore SUN, 10/15).
FOR EVERY SEASON, TURN, TURN, TURN: Owners also
discussed starting the '98 regular season a week later to
avoid Labor Day weekend and reducing the preseason from four
to three games, according to Nick Pugliese of the TAMPA
TRIBUNE. Starting the season a week later would eliminate
the off-week during the Super Bowl (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/15).