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Volume 24 No. 155

Franchises

          The Clippers and KXTA-AM are business partners, with
     the team buying the time for the station to carry its games
     at a cost of $4,000 per game, according to Larry Stewart of
     the L.A. TIMES.  But the team wasn't "too pleased" with the
     station's "latest publicity stunt" of having a station
     employee living atop a billboard, "vowing to stay there
     until the team won."  One Clippers exec: "The whole thing
     has been fraught with bad taste.  And handled very badly
     from a partnership standpoint."  But the Clippers took care
     of the situation with last night's win (L.A. TIMES, 3/12).

          NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman met with prospective and
     current owners of the Penguins yesterday in N.Y.  The
     meetings will continue today.  Bettman met with team co-
     Owners Roger Marino and Howard Baldwin, Mario Lemieux and a
     potential new investor Harvey Gainey, who owns MI-based
     Gainey Transportation Services and lives in Grand Rapids
     (POST-GAZETTE, 3/12)....In Montreal, Jack Todd writes, "It
     is all but inevitable now: the Expos will be sold and moved. 
     This will be their final season in Montreal."  Todd adds
     that Expos President & General Partner Claude Brochu "has
     taken the final steps" to end baseball in Montreal "by being
     his intractable, niggling, difficult, suspicious,
     mendacious, evasive self" (GAZETTE, 3/12)....Red Sox CEO
     John Harrington, on a possible Expos move to the AL and a
     relocation to the DC/VA area: "It's definitely a problem
     putting another AL team in the Washington area. ...  The
     preferable thing may be to have Montreal move to Charlotte,
     ... and not impair Baltimore" (USA TODAY, 3/12)....The ECHL
     Charlotte Checkers will wear tie-dyed uniforms on "Retro
     Jersey Night" for Saturday's game against the Pee Dee Pride. 
     The jerseys will also have peace symbols and happy faces on
     the shoulders (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/7).    

          On the eve of the NFL finance committee's meeting in
     Phoenix to decide whether to recommend Howard Milstein's
     $800M bid for the Redskins, Heath, Shapiro & Clarke write in
     a WASHINGTON POST front-page report that Milstein "has yet
     to be embraced by the league's inner circle."  By asking
     Milstein to restructure his bid twice already and "raising
     the threshold" that he must meet to buy the team, league
     officials "are increasingly giving the impression that they
     simply don't want him in their club."  The league's actions
     have caused observers to wonder "whether NFL officials are
     dealing in good faith" with the Milstein group, "or
     deliberately complicating the transaction in hopes of
     driving them away."  NFL VP/Communications Greg Aiello said
     yesterday that "no new demands or requirements have been
     presented to the Milstein group this week."  Aiello: "That
     notion is false.  We are working with the Milstein group."
     Milstein's bid "still faces question" because "some owners
     worry Milstein is too litigious," while others "fear he
     might become too much of a maverick and would challenge the
     NFL's long-held business practice of sharing most of its
     revenue."  Steelers President Dan Rooney said he still has
     concerns about financing and the "kind of partner [Milstein]
     would be."  Rooney: "I'd like some assurances that he
     believes in the operation of the league, the way we do
     business."  Another owner called Milstein "confrontational,"
     and said "you want to be able to respect your partner and
     trust him."  Williams & Connolly attorney Mark Levinstein,
     who has represented owners in disputes with the league:
     "They [the NFL] anticipate litigation.  They want to bounce
     this proposed owner, and they want to create a record on
     which they can base the refusal" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/12).
          DELAY OF GAME? In DC, Snider & Fisher report that the
     owners' vote on the sale of the Redskins "might be delayed"
     if Milstein can't reorganize his bid in time for Saturday's
     finance committee meeting.  Also, attorneys for the estate
     of Jack Kent Cooke have told Redskins President John Kent
     Cooke not to attend the meetings (WASHINGTON TIMES, 3/12).