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Volume 24 No. 179

Franchises

          Talks are under way that could bring 49ers Owners Eddie
     DeBartolo and Denise DeBartolo York to New York to meet with
     NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to settle a dispute
     regarding ownership of the 49ers, according to Clark Judge
     of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS.  NFL VP/Communications Greg
     Aiello: "It's under discussion" (S.J. MERCURY NEWS, 1/30).
          THE MONEY PIT? In S.F., Matier & Ross report, "It's not
     just Eddie DeBartolo's legal problems that have driven his
     family up the wall -- it's his free-spending lifestyle and
     money-draining expeditions."  Sources close to the
     DeBartolos said Eddie "has burned up roughly" $75M of the
     "family fortune on gaming, restaurants and other business
     ventures -- with little to show from it except a possible
     indictment" in LA.  A source adds that DeBartolo "personally
     owes" Denise DeBartolo York "more than" $50M, "a sore spot
     that is helping fuel family tensions and casting doubts over
     the fate of the football franchise itself."  Sources add
     that a "big part of Eddie's money woes came when he began
     pursuing his casino and cardroom interests.  DeBartolo has
     put sizable money into campaigns aimed at winning approval
     for his various gaming ventures -- none of which have gotten
     off the ground."  DeBartolo York "appears to be in no mood
     to spend another dime of family money on a new stadium or
     any of her brother's dreams" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/30).

          The Blue Jays "lost an estimated" C$30M in '97, and
     Larry Millson of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL writes that "it
     had more to do with the falling Canadian dollar than their
     losing record and stagnant attendance."  About C$20M of the
     losses "can be attributed to the difference between the U.S.
     and Canadian dollars."  While the Jays do not reveal their
     losses or profits publicly, they "do acknowledge" that the
     "weak" Canadian dollar "hurts their bottom line."  Millson:
     "The problem is that most of the Blue Jays' expenses are
     paid in U.S. money, including a player payroll that is about
     $50 million (U.S.), and most of their revenue is in Canadian
     dollars" (Larry Millson, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/30).