Don't look for Baltimore to line up for WLAF franchise

May 09, 1991|By Ken Murray

The World League of American Football wants to expand into two major markets next spring, but don't look for Baltimore to be one of them.

"I can't see the support here [for a WLAF team]," Herb Belgrad, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, said yesterday.

"Our objective is an NFL team. We're different from any city that has not had a team at all. Once you've had an NFL team, it would seem difficult, if not impossible, to expects fans who've gone through what they have with the Colts to support it."

Belgrad said he is "confident we can sell out a stadium" for an NFL team, however.

In a news conference in East Rutherford, N.J., yesterday, WLAF commissioner Mike Lynn announced his league will expand by at least two teams, and perhaps four, next season. The league currently has 10 teams in North America and Europe.

WLAF spokesman Bob Rose said the league has been contacted by "a dozen" parties interested in owning a franchise. He declined to confirm a report in The Sun last Sunday that one of those inquiries had been made on behalf of Baltimore.

The price of a WLAF franchise was $11 million for charter members last year. There was no indication yesterday if the price would increase for expansion teams.

Belgrad, meanwhile, speculated that if Baltimore does not get an NFL expansion team, Memorial Stadium probably would be demolished by 1995. The Orioles are scheduled to move into a new stadium in 1992. If the city gains an NFL team, it would build a football stadium in Camden Yards adjacent to the baseball facility.

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