Regional Rivals May Rise


Tom Hicks isn't the last team owner to be faced with
the choice between selling direct rights and building a team-owned or partnered network.
Other locations where sports owners might build the base for a regional network include:

New York: The combined YankeeNets -- the merger of Major
League Baseball's New York Yankees and the National Basketball Association's New
Jersey Nets -- creates a summer-winter tandem strong enough to anchor a new network.

Madison Square Garden Network's contract with the
Yankees ends in 2000, and Fox Sports New York's deal with the Nets ends in 2001.

YankeeNets is teeing up a junk-bond offering that could
help to finance a new regional network, according to Paul Kagan Associates Inc. analyst
John Mansell.

Minnesota: The city is home to MLB's Minnesota Twins,
the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves and the National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild
expansion team.

An agreement to sell the Twins to Timberwolves owner Glen
Taylor and Wild lead investor Robert Naegele Jr. hinges on a Nov. 2 referendum for a
sales-tax increase to finance a new baseball stadium in St. Paul, Minn.

St. Louis: Wal-Mart Stores Co. heiress Nancy Laurie and
husband Bill went on a buying spree this fall and bought the NHL's St. Louis Blues
and the Kiel Center where they play, then tacked on the NBA's Vancouver Grizzlies for
good measure.

The Grizzlies are locked into Vancouver for another season
by agreement with the NBA, but then they're fair game. Should they move to St. Louis,
the Lauries would be in position to challenge Fox Sports Midwest.

-- Staci D. Kramer