Attorneys for Rockets Owner Les Alexander "have
finalized" an agreement to buy the NHL Oilers, a source told
Eddie Sefko of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. A formal announcement
will take place in Edmonton, "although probably not until
next week." While the deal is complete, Alexander must now
begin "the potentially deal-killing exercise of waiting to
see if any local investors in Edmonton can step up and pay
$70 million for the team" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/30). The
EDMONTON JOURNAL reports Alexander will be in Edmonton next
Tuesday for a news conference (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 10/30).
The $82.5M in stock Broncos QB John Elway reaped from
the sale of his car dealerships to Republic Industries "is
money that eventually could be put down to purchase a
portion of an NFL team, possibly even the Broncos,"
according to Adam Schefer of the DENVER POST. Elway, on the
possibility: "Maybe it's a natural." However, Elway said
that he "has not, in any way, broached the issue with
Broncos owner Pat Bowlen. Nor does he intend to at any
point in the near future." Bowlen: "I'm a little upset with
(the media) because that's obvious sensationalized
speculation. John's made a business deal, and what he does
on into the future is John's business" (DENVER POST, 10/30).
In Denver, columnist Mark Obmascik: "Turning No. 7 into the
public face of the Broncos ownership is the No. 1 way that
Bowlen can win voter approval for his new taxpayer-financed
football stadium. Coloradans trust John Elway a lot more
than Pat Bowlen. ... Bowlen's arrogance is one of the main
reasons why the new stadium is crashing in the public
opinion polls. He somehow has made it cool for Coloradans
to root for the Broncos on the field while rooting against
them at the ballot box" (DENVER POST, 10/30).
NFL: Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton said that the NFL
Oilers, "using corporate donations, would provide tickets"
for a local high school's roughly 700 students to attend the
November 23 game against the Bills. Herenton: "We're hoping
that by kicking off this promotion and marketing effort with
the Oilers, their players, representatives from the [NFL],
we're saying to all Memphians to join in and let's make the
Oilers a part of Memphis. I agree it's been slow coming.
But it's here now" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 10/29).
BASEBALL: The Devil Rays plan to open an in-stadium
hair salon. Devil Rays VP/PR Rick Vaughn: "There's not a
lot concrete about the idea yet. But we know the hair salon
will be part of our 'Centerfield Street,' where there will
be a brew pub, cigar bar, a climbing wall for kids and other
interactive games" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/30)....The ATLANTA
BUSINESS CHRONICLE's "Insider" column reports that Atlanta-
based Hope-Beckham President Bob Hope, "is desperately
trying to find a corporate sponsor" for the Silver Bullets.
The "Insider" has "heard that Silver Bullets players are
filing for unemployment and that layoff notices are being
circulated" at Hope Beckham (BUSINESS CHRONICLE, 10/27).
NBA: Pacers Coach Larry Bird, told that IN Gov. Frank
O'Bannon said he is expecting 50 wins from the Pacers this
season: "I expect a balanced budget, too, but I probably
won't get that" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 10/29)....In
Philadelphia, columnist Bill Lyon, on 76ers President Pat
Croce: "Because he is still a new owner, he has not fallen
from public grace. Yet. But if the 76ers are putrid again
this season, then his dispensation will elapse, despite his
popularity on the street. And the vilification will
commence" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/30).
Al Davis' "contract as the Raiders' president of the
general partner expires after next season," according to
Randy Harvey of the L.A. TIMES. Harvey: "Speculation
persists that he'll resign before then and sell his 27%
interest in the Raiders, then take over an expansion team
that would begin play in a new stadium at Hollywood Park in
2000 or 2001. That could all be part of a settlement in
Davis' latest lawsuit against the NFL" (L.A. TIMES, 10/30).
Details "began to emerge" yesterday about potential
buyers for the Vikings, but "questions still remain" about
why the team's possible sale was kept secret for months,
according to Don Banks of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.
Banks adds that "discontent" among the team's owners "is
prevalent," as they have voted to sell the team "several
times in the past few months, only to repeatedly postpone
their decision to go public with the news." The league has
asked that the team comply with rules requiring one owner to
control 30%, however, Banks writes they have been "unable to
come up with" a 30% owner among themselves. One source
said, "Three or four guys who can afford to own 30 percent
don't want to ... and the ones that might be interested
don't have the financial backing." Vikings President Roger
Headrick said the Board's "intention and hope is that this
potential sale can be effected locally so that the team
remains" in MN. Although Board Chair John Skoglund said
that "no leading local buyer is known," he "mentioned
rumors" of T-Wolves Owner Glen Taylor's interest, and Banks
adds that former Vikings GM Mike Lynn "repeatedly has made
it known" that he may put an ownership group together.
Meanwhile, three of the four out-of-state prospective buyers
were identified yesterday: Former Spurs/Nuggets Owner Red
McCombs, Toronto's Sun Media CEO Paul Godfrey and Dr. Larry
Lemak of Birmingham. Birmingham's HealthSouth CEO Richard
Scrushy is also "part" of Lemak's group. The fourth group,
from L.A., "has not been identified" (STAR TRIBUNE, 10/30).
NOTE: In St. Paul, Bob Sansevere reports that McCombs,
who owns Twin Cities TV station WFTC, has a "standing offer"
of $150M to buy the team and "keep them" in MN. McCombs
said he would buy the team "as is," without improvements to
the Metrodome lease. He said he made his offer six weeks
ago and was rejected with the understanding that talks could
resume at a later date (PIONEER PRESS, 10/30).