Owners likely to give Bisciotti the OK

Tagliabue gives thumbs up, but he also says Baltimore's too cold to host Super Bowl

January 29, 2000|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

ATLANTA -- Stephen Bisciotti's bid to become the Ravens' minority owner is likely to be approved by the NFL owners, but he doesn't figure to get a chance to play host to a Super Bowl in Baltimore.

That seemed to be the message from commissioner Paul Tagliabue at his annual state of the league Super Bowl news conference yesterday.

Tagliabue indicated the league will likely approve Bisciotti's purchase of the team within the next two months, but he indicated the league has no interest in playing a Super Bowl in an outside stadium in a cold-weather site after their experience with chilly weather in Atlanta this week.

Bisciotti reached an agreement with Ravens' owner Art Modell last month to purchase 49 percent of the team for $275 million, then has the option to purchase the rest of the team in four years for another $325 million.

It just needs league approval before it becomes official, and Tagliabue sounded upbeat about Bisciotti's proposal.

"I've met with Mr. Bisciotti, and everything I've seen firsthand and everything I've discussed with him firsthand, everything we know about his success in business and his ties to Maryland and Baltimore, I would say it would bode well for his approval under the split arrangement he and the Modells have been working on," Tagliabue said.

Tagliabue said the chilly weather this week in Atlanta justifies the league policy of not playing the Super Bowl in outdoor stadiums in the north.

"I think what this weekend does show is that it'd be very dicey to think about playing a Super Bowl in an open-air stadium either in what I call a border city such as Atlanta or some of the more northern cities where people have been straining to convince themselves that global warming means that all Sundays in January are warm. This proves that winter is still winter," he said.

John Moag, the former head of the Maryland Stadium Authority, has lobbied the league to play a Super Bowl in Baltimore, and former Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke proposed playing one in the Redskins' new stadium.

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