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Volume 24 No. 155

Franchises

          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).