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Volume 24 No. 155
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          NFL owners are "expected to award" Cleveland an
     expansion franchise as early as this week, leaving Houston
     and L.A. "in a match race to become the NFL's 32nd
     franchise," according to T.J. Simers of the L.A. TIMES.  But
     Simers wrote that L.A.'s New Coliseum Partners (NCP), "who
     have been running in place for the last two years ... could
     be passed by a new prospect just as the competition is
     officially set to begin."  Michael Ovitz "has caught the
     fancy of NFL officials with a San Francisco 49er-like plan
     for a stadium and shopping mall" in Carson, CA.  The Carson
     site "has been advanced successfully in recent weeks" by
     Ovitz, who has been working with an OH-based mall developer. 
     One "high-ranking" NFL source: "It's a little early yet, but
     this project appears to have a lot of potential."  Simers:
     "At no time during its dogged campaign ... have the [NCP]
     received such an NFL endorsement."  The NCP "appear to also
     have fallen behind Hollywood Park, which recently altered
     its strategy to the NFL's satisfaction."  It "proposed
     selling a 30-acre piece of property to the NFL, or any NFL-
     designated owner interested in constructing a stadium on the
     site."  While some NFL owners remain interested in the
     Dodger Stadium site, the NFL has "been advised" by the Fox
     Group that their "attention will be directed solely on
     improving Dodger Stadium" (L.A. TIMES, 3/22). 
          LONGER TIMETABLE? In Houston, John Williams writes that
     league owners "warned" yesterday that it "could be as long
     as two years before a decision" is made on the 32nd team. 
     While "several" owners said Houston is ahead of L.A. in
     getting a new football stadium in place, "league owners will
     give [L.A.] all the time it needs to put together a stadium
     plan."  Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen: "We're talking about a
     couple of years, at least" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/23).