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NFL: SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GETS BACK IN THE GAME

The Players in the Deal

February 03, 1996

KEN and DAVID BEHRING

Owner and President,

Seattle Seahawks

The father-son duo in charge of the Seahawks. Majority owner Ken, who lives in the Bay Area, bought the team from Seattle's Nordstrom family in 1988. In 1993, after several disappointing seasons, Behring installed the 38-year-old David, who had no experience as an executive, as team president. Ken, a successful land developer in California and Florida, is hardly ever seen in Seattle, but David maintains a higher profile there.

The Behrings began asking King County for improvements to the Kingdome two years ago, and last December spelled out a $150-million renovation request--including more bathrooms, elevators and earthquake reinforcements.

PAUL ALLEN

Co-founder Microsoft

The reclusive billionaire, co-founder of Microsoft, is interested in buying the team if Behring wants to sell. His favorite sport is basketball. He already owns the Portland Trail Blazers and built the newly opened Rose Garden arena, where they play.

GARY LOCKE

King County Executive

The King County (Seattle) executive for the last two years, Locke has been involved almost continuously with the county-owned Kingdome and the teams that would play there. When tiles fell from the Kingdome roof just before a Mariner baseball game in 1994, Locke crafted the much-criticized repair project that eventually cost $70 million. He backed a losing voter initiative to subsidize a new Mariner stadium--it was later passed by the state legislature--and has been deeply involved in negotiations with the Behrings to keep the Seahawks in Seattle.

AL MOSES

President, Rose Bowl Operating Co.

For months, Moses has been touting the venerable stadium as a potential temporary home for any franchise the NFL might choose to locate in Los Angeles. A politically active Pasadena lawyer and a former member of the city's planning commission, Moses has been with the RBOC since its inception in 1993.

JOHN FERRARO

President of L.A. Coliseum Commission

He has publicly acknowledged that a new stadium might be preferable to the Coliseum, although he reiterated Friday that he has been in touch with several parties hoping to transfer an NFL team to Los Angeles and use the Coliseum at least temporarily.

FRED LYTE

Coliseum

He is an economic consultant and expediter who tried to put together the deal in the 1980s that would have built a new football stadium for the Raiders in Irwindale. Now he represents a group that is trying to buy an NFL franchise and bring it to the Coliseum. He has used the Coliseum offices for some of his meetings and first approached the Arizona Cardinals and later the Seahawks.

MICHAEL S. OVITZ

President, the Walt Disney Co.

He helped redefine the talent agency business as chairman of Creative Artists Agency, where he was often called the most powerful man in Hollywood and represented such top talent as director Steven Spielberg.

Last August, Ovitz shocked Hollywood by announcing he was leaving CAA to join Walt Disney as president, making him second in command to Chief Executive Michael D. Eisner. In joining Disney, Ovitz received a lucrative cash-and-stock contract some compensation experts value at more than $100 million.

A San Fernando Valley native who graduated from Birmingham High School and UCLA, Ovitz has long been a sports enthusiast, especially a Laker fan. At Disney, he is known to have spent considerable time trying to bring a professional football team to the company and possibly a basketball team as well.

R.D. HUBBARD

CEO, Hollywood Park

He has a building permit in hand, but no team to put in his proposed new stadium. Hubbard had unsuccessful talks with Ken Behring during the Christmas holidays and is now courting Arizona owner Bill Bidwill. Hubbard promised to have a deal with a team as early as the first of the year, but there has been no such announcement.

PETER O'MALLEY

Owner, Dodgers

He is playing it by the book--the NFL's rule book. He has yet to commit to the construction of a football facility but has spent a lot of money and time in studying the issue. If Behring is successful in moving to Los Angeles, the NFL will have let O'Malley down. O'Malley believes he can build a football stadium only if he becomes the owner of an expansion franchise.

PAUL TAGLIABUE

NFL Commissioner

The most powerful man in the mix. And the most powerless.

He can vow to stop the Seahawks' move, but it won't do any good. All legal precedent favors the moving franchise, as witnessed by Al Davis' court victory that accompanied the Raiders' move to Los Angeles in 1982.

Tagliabue could also threaten simply to ban the Seahawks from the league by not scheduling them for next season. But so far in his tenure, he has yet to show such fortitude. After all, the Browns are still headed for Baltimore.

Tagliabue has been anything but the demonstrative figure that the owners need to lead them through this franchise turmoil. His position on the Seahawks' move will likely be his initial position on the Browns' move:

"I don't have a position," he said then. "I am the commissioner."

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