Today's the day for city's NFL expansion pitch Presentations to committees may decide ownership issue

September 21, 1993|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Staff Writer Staff writer John Frece contributed to this article.

CHICAGO -- Baltimore's presentation to football owners today may decide not only whether the city gets back into the NFL, but also who would own the franchise if it were awarded.

Baltimore's delegation -- including Gov. William Donald Schaefer makes its presentation from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Because it is the only city with two ownership groups vying for the team, $l Baltimore will get an additional 30 minutes for the investors to make their separate pitches.

Baltimore -- which is competing with Charlotte, N.C., St. Louis, Memphis, Tenn., and Jacksonville, Fla., for one of two franchises that would begin play in 1995 -- will have another shot next month, when it makes a presentation before the full NFL ownership on the eve of its vote.

But one of the two prospective owners of a Baltimore team said these meetings before the two ownership committees will settle the twin-applicant issue.

"This is going to be a decisive factor between me and the Glazers," said Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass, founder and chairman of Joppa-based Merry-Go-Round Enterprises.

He says the league will formulate a recommendation on the two in advance of the October vote. Roger Goodell, the NFL official in charge of expansion, says the issue will be settled formally at the same time the city is selected, in a vote of the full ownership.

Weinglass touts his local roots -- he was born and raised in Baltimore -- as an important tonic for a city that has suffered from years of out-of-town team owners. The NFL Colts were moved to Indianapolis in 1984 by Chicago-based owner Robert Irsay, and New York financier Eli S. Jacobs had to sell the Orioles when he landed in bankruptcy court.

"I'm just going to put my best foot forward and tell them why I'd be a good owner," said Weinglass, who spends most of his time at a ranch in Aspen, Colo., but owns a home in Baltimore. He will be accompanied to the presentation by Michael Sullivan, president of Merry-Go-Round.

But the other Baltimore applicant says he offers something else to the league: a single owner. Weinglass' group is made up of a number of investors, but Malcolm Glazer says he will be the only owner of the team. He is a Florida-based corporate investor.

"In our group, there is one person," said Bryan Glazer, one of Malcolm's sons. That reduces in-fighting within groups and streamlines decision-making, he said. And family ownership, though growing rarer with escalating franchise prices, still is revered within the league, he said.

Bryan Glazer says he and several family members will move to town if they win a team here. One of them, Joel, already lives in Bethesda.

Bryan Glazer declined to discuss their presentation, but said, "We're going to let the city do what they do best, discuss the city, and we're going to focus on us."

Malcolm Glazer is expected to attend today's session, along with sons Bryan and Joel.

Each ownership group will have 15 minutes alone with the committees. It was not known yesterday whether the city's delegations would attend the 15-minute presentations, but Weinglass and Glazer concur that they will not attend each other's sessions.

Schaefer also will make a personal pitch to the committees, flying to Chicago in midmorning from Richmond, Va., where he is attending the Southern Governors' Conference, according to Joseph Harrison, a spokesman for the governor.

Schaefer's participation had been kept secret by the city's NFL planners, who feared competing expansion candidates would bring their political heavyweights, according to a source in the governor's office.

The city's presentation will kick off with a $50,000 film designed to "take Baltimore to them."

Herbert J. Belgrad, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority and coordinator of the city's NFL bid, will emcee the event. Mathias J. DeVito, chairman of Rouse Co., a national real-estate developer based in Columbia, will speak on behalf of the local corporate community.

Bruce Hoffman, stadium authority executive director and a father of Camden Yards, will discuss stadium plans.

Belgrad, the attorney who has shepherded the NFL-acquisition effort almost since the Colts left a decade ago, then will deliver the "closing argument."

THE PLAYERS

Who will represent Baltimore's NFL bid and the members of the two NFL committees they will appear before today in a joint meeting:

REPRESENTING BALTIMORE

* Herbert J. Belgrad, Maryland Stadium Authority chairman

* Mathias J. DeVito, chairman of Rouse Co.

* Malcolm Glazer, potential owner, and sons Bryan and Joel

* Bruce Hoffman, stadium authority executive director

* Gov. William Donald Schaefer

* Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass, potential owner, and Michael Sullivan, president of Weinglass' company, Merry-Go-Round Enterprises

NFL COMMITTEES

* Expansion: Paul Tagliabue, chairman and NFL commissioner; Norman Braman, Philadelphia Eagles owner; Hugh Culverhouse Sr., Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner; Edward DeBartolo Jr., San Francisco 49ers owner; Art Modell, Cleveland Browns owner; Rankin Smith, Atlanta Falcons owner; Alex Spanos, San Diego Chargers owner

* Finance: Tom Benson, chairman and New Orleans Saints owner; Bud Adams, Houston Oilers owner; Ken Hofmann, Seattle Seahawks part-owner; Lamar Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs owner; Mike McCaskey, Chicago Bears president; Carmen Policy, San Francisco 49ers president; Bob Tisch, New York Giants co-owner

PRESENTATION SCHEDULE

Today

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. St. Louis

1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Baltimore

3:45 p.m.-5:15 p.m. Jacksonville

Tomorrow

8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. Memphis

10:30 a.m.-noon Charlotte

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