NBA: Last night's Nets-Cavs game drew 12,860 at Gund
Arena, the smallest crowd since the arena opened, and the
smallest at a Cavs game since December '92 at Richfield
Coliseum (BEACON JOURNAL, 11/17)....In N.Y., Peter Vecsey:
"Those fleeing the Warriors maintain the team can't possibly
be resuscitated unless owner Chris Cohan sells or removes
himself from all decision making" (N.Y. POST, 11/16).
NFL: Vikings board member Wheelock Whitney disputed a
report that Red McCombs had increased his offer for the team
to $185M (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/15). McCombs would
not comment on his offer, but said that although his "first
goal" is for San Antonio to have an NFL team, he has "no
intention" of moving the Vikings out of MN should he gain
control of the team (S.A. EXPRESS-NEWS, 11/15).
NOTES: Lamar Hunt's attorneys have appealed a Columbus
judge's ruling that "closed Hunt out as an owner" of the NHL
Blue Jackets (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 11/15)....Anaheim Sports
President Tony Tavares said that Disney would "take a look
at ownership" of an MLS franchise (L.A. TIMES, 11/14).
Cincinnati financier Carl Lindner "is quietly trying to
convince" Marge Schott to sell her shares in the team,
according to Bill Straub of the CINCINNATI POST. If Schott
decides to sell, her 6 1/2 shares of the Reds would be
offered to the Reds' limited partners, including Lindner,
who holds 1 1/2 shares. Sources also said it was Lindner
who advised Schott to announce her support for a renovated
Cinergy Field over a new ballpark (CINCINNATI POST, 11/15).
Owners of the Cowboy's Sports Cafe, including former
Cowboys Tony Dorsett and Everson Walls, "are pleading with"
Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones to lift the ban of Cowboys players
from the restaurant, as business "is down $50,000 a month"
since Jones imposed the ban, according to Tony Hartzel of
the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. As recently as last week, cafe
owners "had hoped to resolve the matter" without filing a
lawsuit, and just before the owners "planned to remove the
Cowboy's sign as part of a tentative agreement, the deal
fell apart." Dorsett says the ban is "unfairly singling"
out the restaurant and hurting business. But Jones said
that the team still uses the Cafe and "maintains a positive
relationship with the former players" (MORNING NEWS, 11/15).
KEEPING UP WITH MR. JONES: Jones said that he will take
a "more active role in a hybrid" coach/GM capacity next
season. Jones: "I won't do any head coaching. I can see me
being more productive and involved on game day being in the
coaches box" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 11/15)....Jones was
profiled by Todd Shapera in the FINANCIAL TIMES under the
header, "The Creaking House That Jerry Built" (11/15).
Lease negotiations between the Nets and the N.J. Sports
& Exposition Authority (NJSEA) "are set to begin" in the
next few weeks, according to Jon Gelberg of the Newark STAR-
LEDGER. The Nets hold the option of opting-out following
the '99-2000 season and Sunday's STAR-LEDGER featured
separate Q&As with NJSEA CEO Robert Mulcahy and Nets
President & COO Michael Rowe. Rowe, on possible renovation:
"The Sports Authority has to prove to us they can
successfully renovate it and (that) the kind of cash flows
that are needed will be there." Rowe said that the Nets
paid $1.5 million in state sales taxes last year and added,
"[Y]ou can buy at least one player with that." Rowe, on the
threat of relocation: "There have been a number of
unsolicited offers to purchase the team in the last few
years. The shorter the lease, the more attractive the
franchise. We've not been on the footsteps of any city hall
in the Sun Belt or the Midwest. The Sports Authority is
smart enough to know what's out there" (STAR-LEDGER, 11/16).
NJSEA VIEW: Mulcahy said that he expects the Nets talks
to be "frank and cordial." Mulcahy, asked if the state
could provide a subsidy or tax break to the team: "There has
to be another stream of revenue to keep the complex as
competitive as it is now. ... That's a significant question
that has to be resolved." Mulcahy, on whether NJ would "be
better off" with a new arena: "You have to take a close look
at the economic realities. I'm not sure what the market is.
You can talk about having a facility with 200 luxury boxes
and hundreds of club seats, but that won't do you much good,
in terms of producing revenues, if those boxes and seats are
empty" (Jon Gelberg, Newark STAR-LEDGER, 11/16).
Walter Payton, Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey each
responded to a Friday report that they were part of a group
trying to buy the Bears, according to Dan Pompei of the
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Payton: "I am not looking in the very
near future to be the owner of a football team. ... I don't
know how this got started." Winfrey's Harpo studio issued a
statement that said, "Oprah is not interested in buying any
sports team at this time" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/15).
Jordan: "I've always said I'd never own a team. I'm going
to hold true to that, because I can't afford to pay that
money to all those athletes" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/15).
The relationship between the Coyotes and Suns is "so
tattered" that Coyotes Owner Richard Burke and Suns
President/CEO Jerry Colangelo "no longer speak," according
to Kent Somers of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The Coyotes are in
the second year of their lease at America West Arena, and
the team says that the number of obstructed-view seats and
current advertising and sponsorship deals prevents them from
"making money" and leads to "higher ticket prices for their
fans." Colangelo, however, "disputes nearly every one" of
the Coyotes' assertions, contending that they have a "very
favorable" lease, and says that their attitude shows a "lack
of gratitude for his efforts" in bringing the team to AZ.
While Coyotes officials are "careful when discussing their
situation at America West," the team says that the revenue
streams they were promised have amounted to "trickles" and
that the situation "has to change or they will move to
another arena." But team officials would prefer to stay
where they are. One of the "main sticking points" between
the two clubs is the fact that the Suns have the right to
sell exclusive corporate sponsorships. The Coyotes say that
since they signed their lease the number of such exclusive
categories has gone from nine to 21, which they say "limits
the scope of packages they can offer advertisers."
Colangelo: "Look, my door is always open. ... I've been in
this business for 32 years. Some people are novices in the
sports business" (Kent Somers, ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/15).