CFL gives city extra 30 days

January 18, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Staff Writer

Jim Speros said yesterday that the Canadian Football League has agreed to a 30-day extension on his application to put an expansion team in Baltimore in 1994.

Speros, a native of Potomac, Md., and a Virginia businessman, had hoped to negotiate a lease for Memorial Stadium by the end of January. But Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, in a Friday meeting with CFL commissioner Larry Smith, asked for more time to explore the city's chances of luring an existing NFL team to Baltimore.

The CFL board of governors is expected to award an expansion franchise to Orlando, Fla., today after hearing a presentation in that city. Orlando would become the third U.S. team in the CFL, joining Sacramento and Las Vegas.

Smith was traveling yesterday and unavailable for comment. He is expected to update the governors on the status of the Baltimore application today.

Meanwhile, Speros said he has received assurances from Schmoke that there will be no further delay on a lease after the Feb. 15 deadline, assuming no NFL team has agreed to relocate here. Speros also said Schmoke told him there would be state funding for renovations at Memorial Stadium, and that Gov. William Donald Schaefer would endorse the CFL team if Baltimore is unable to attract an NFL team.

Schmoke, who served jury duty yesterday, was unavailable for comment. But his press secretary, Clint Coleman, said there "are no agreements with the state or the governor regarding the CFL."

"The mayor made clear his enthusiasm for the CFL," Coleman said. "He is making real clear his intention to go back to the state to discuss support in the event we don't get an NFL team."

Speros said he planned to bring in electricians, plumbers and architects to the stadium in the next two weeks to study possible renovations. "We'll be doing a first-class deal," he said.

"The CFL is willing to work with me, willing to work with Baltimore to get this thing done. I feel better now about what's happening than I have since I started this campaign. I never thought I'd get everybody on the same page."

For now, Speros said he would continue taking seat-ticket reservations on a priority basis. He said he has received more than 15,000 reservations, and that those fans would be contacted within 10 days after the team is formally approved.

Phone lines for fans wanting to reserve tickets are (410) 321-1983 and (410) 324-8000.

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