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Volume 24 No. 116

Franchises

          Cablevision's "new proposal" to buy the Yankees would
     give Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner "a hand in running"
     the Yankees, Knicks and NHL Rangers, "should he sell his
     ball club," according to associates of Steinbrenner as cited
     by Charles Bagli of the N.Y. TIMES.  Cablevision, which
     "revived the negotiations about three weeks ago," would buy
     the team for a combination of stock and cash, while keeping
     Steinbrenner as general partner of the Yankees "with
     responsibility for running all of the company's sports
     teams."  A source said Cablevision "could spin off the
     sports operations as a separate, public company" (N.Y.
     TIMES, 9/17).  Cablevision released a statement last night
     saying it had no discussions to "relinquish either the
     control or management responsibilities" of MSG and its
     teams, nor do they "expect to have any discussions in the
     future" (N.Y. POST, 9/17).  One industry exec said
     Cablevision Chair Charles Dolan offered "way over" $500M for
     the Yankees.  Steinbrenner: "Don't drag up old news.  That's
     old news.  I'm not going to do anything."  Friends of
     Steinbrenner said that they've noticed "signs that he is
     considering selling the team, but declined to get too
     specific" (NEWSDAY, 9/17).  The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Jill
     Goldsmith: "Wall Street wondered if the highly leveraged
     company should swallow another big acquisition." 
     Cablevision's debt to cash flow ratio is "about" 6.5, with
     the industry average being about 5.2.  PaineWebber cable
     analyst Tom Eagan: "They probably have the highest debt (to
     cash flow) level of their group" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 9/17). 
     Sportscorp President Mark Ganis, on Cablevision's leverage
     if it were to acquire the Yankees: "They could offer long-
     term sponsorship deals with the three most visible teams in
     their respective sports" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/17).

          49ERS: According to a source, federal prosecutors
     "outlined a series of bribery and racketeering charges they
     say puts former [LA] Gov. Edwin Edwards at the center of a
     sprawling conspiracy to illegally influence the awarding of
     Louisiana riverboat casino licenses."  The source also said
     that 49ers Owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. is "notably absent
     from the list of people prosecutors said would be indicted,"
     but prosecutors declined requests to reveal DeBartolo's
     status (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 9/15).
          MLB: Minneapolis attorney Clark Griffith's offer to buy
     the Twins is for $110M, but not all in cash.  Sources say
     the offer is about $30M less than what Owner Carl Pohlad is
     asking.  In related news, WCCO-AM has retained the rights to
     Twins broadcasts for the next two years.  Sources say the
     deal is for $3M in cash (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 9/17)....  
     Fans at Sunday's Devil Rays game who donate $1 to the
     Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) will get an envelope to
     see if they've won a Devil Rays game jersey.  MDA volunteers
     will have 100,000 envelopes and will sell them from 10:35am
     through the sixth inning (ST. PETE TIMES, 9/17)....Giants
     Managing General Partner Peter Magowan, asked if he's
     disappointed that the team drew less than 2 million fans in
     '98: "A little bit, but again, we were 15 games (over .500)
     at the All-Star break.  If we had continued to play like
     that we would have hit 2 million" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/16).
           

          Finance Minister Bernard Landry "shot down a new
     proposal" to finance a downtown Montreal ballpark for the
     Expos with government-guaranteed bonds that would be repaid
     out of taxes on players' salaries, according to Clark &
     Gyulai of the Montreal GAZETTE.  The Quebec government has
     said repeatedly that "it will not guarantee debt racked up
     to build a new stadium," and Landry said yesterday that it
     "has no intention of changing that refusal."  Landry: "A
     guarantee is a guarantee.  And if you sign somewhere, it
     means that ultimately you could have to pay.  I think that
     the figures are not there.  Mathematically, I think it's
     nonsense."  The Expos have set September 30 as the deadline
     for coming up with a financing plan for a new stadium.  Team
     President Claude Brochu has warned that the team "may be
     sold if the stadium plan does not come together by the
     deadline" (Clark & Gyulai, Montreal GAZETTE, 9/17).  
          HOME FINALE: The Expos drew 13,540 for last night's
     home finale, bringing the season total to 914,909 -- the
     third-lowest total in team history.  The Expos drew 908,292
     in '75 and 646,704 in '76, the team's last season at Jarry
     Park (AP/ESPN.com, 9/17).  In Montreal, Jack Todd writes
     that at the home final, which was "perhaps the final home
     game in their 30-year history in Montreal -- the sharks were
     already circling" (Montreal GAZETTE, 9/17).
          WAITING FOR BROCHU: Beaver Sports' Don Beaver, who
     "wants to bring big league baseball to Charlotte, will have
     to wait a while" to see what happens with the Expos.  The
     Expos "won't seek permission to talk to potential buyers
     until after" the September 30 deadline.  Expos spokesperson
     Sina Gabrielli: "It all just depends what happens September
     30" (Foon Rhee, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/17).

          Islanders co-Owner Steven Gluckstern said that he
     "likely will refuse to return" to the Nassau Coliseum under
     the current lease even if Spectacor Management Group (SMG)
     fixes safety problems, according to Marc Berman of the N.Y.
     POST.  Gluckstern: "The courts can say things, the league
     can say things.  It's a determination we have to make as
     owners of the team, not some third party."  SMG President
     Wes Westley said that the hoist holding the scoreboard "has
     been replaced" and his company bought an upgraded model for
     $150,000.  Islanders President David Seldin, referring to
     SMG failing to disclose an inspection on the hoist system:
     "We've got a manager whom we firmly believe lied to us and
     withheld information."  An Isles statement said the team has
     spoken with "a number of municipalities in the tri-state
     area, including New York City" about relocating.  Berman
     adds that an NHL source said that the statement implied a
     "permanent move," and talking to municipalities rather than
     arena owners was a "big leap" (N.Y. POST, 9/17).  Nassau
     County Exec Thomas Gulotta will meet with Seldin and Westley
     on Thursday.  The NHL will not send a representative, but
     plans to hire independent engineers to inspect the Coliseum
     (N.Y. TIMES, 9/17).  On L.I., a NEWSDAY editorial: "Did the
     county move too slowly to address safety questions about the
     equipment that secures the scoreboard overhead in the 25-
     year-old Coliseum?  The answer: Yes" (NEWSDAY, 9/17).       
          WHAT ABOUT THE FANS?  The Islanders and the One on One
     Sports Radio Network agreed to a one-year deal to carry
     games on WJWR-AM, according to Steve Zipay of NEWSDAY.  The
     games will also be simulcast on WLUX-AM to reach more of
     Long Island.  WJWR-AM GM Jamie Rush: "We'll be broadcasting
     all 82 regular-season games -- from where, I don't know yet"
     (NEWSDAY, 9/17).  In NY, Anthony McCarron writes under the
     header "Islander Move Has Fans Up In Arms" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS,
     9/17).  Gluckstern, on the fans' patience with the off-ice
     problems: "If you keep hitting someone across the face with
     a two-by-four 50, 60, 70, 80 times, I'm sure they eventually
     stop coming back" (John Valenti, NEWSDAY, 9/17).