THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Tuesday, November 7, 1995 TAG: 9511070400 SECTION: SPORTS PAGE: C4 EDITION: FINAL SERIES: WHAT'S IN IT FOR HAMPTON ROADS? SOURCE: BY ED MILLER, STAFF WRITER LENGTH: Medium: 70 lines
The Shreveport Pirates suddenly are not the only Canadian Football League team looking for a new home.
The Pirates, who are considering a move to Hampton Roads, were joined on the homeless list Monday by the Birmingham Barracudas, who announced plans to leave Alabama after just one season.
In addition, the future of the Baltimore's CFL franchise, the Stallions, was thrown into question with the announcement that the Cleveland Browns are moving to Baltimore next year.
If the Stallions move, just two of the CFL's five American teams - Memphis and San Antonio - would be staying in their current homes. The CFL has eight teams in Canada.
Beset by thousands of empty seats and $10 million in losses, Birmingham owner Art Williams said Monday he is considering selling the Barracudas. Montreal is among three cities that could be the team's new home, he said.
``The only thing that's certain is we won't be back in Birmingham in the CFL in the fall,'' Williams said.
The franchise could fold unless it is sold or Canadian owners agree to sweeping changes that Williams claims would help save the CFL's U.S. teams. CFL owners meet Nov. 29 in Toronto. One possibility is forming a spring league with the American teams.
``My first preference is to get a contract with CBS, sign a few marquee players and play in the spring at Legion Field,'' said Williams.
A spokeswoman at CBS Sports confirmed Monday there had been discussions about a possible deal involving some of the CFL teams, but she said the network would listen to most any proposal.
``It's our business,'' said Robin Brendle, denying any contract was imminent. ``There's been nothing more.''
Birmingham began the season with three crowds in the 30,000 range, but attendance plummeted when college football began. The team failed to draw a crowd of more than 10,000 in its last four home games.
In Baltimore, the CFL was more successful. The Stallions have averaged nearly 30,000 per game this year, and are one win away from advancing to their second straight Grey Cup Game.
Baltimore owner Jim Speros said Monday that his first priority is to keep the team in the city. He is planning to meet with city and state officials to talk about the possibility of co-existing with the Browns, he said.
But the possibility of the Stallions staying in Baltimore seems remote. Speros admitted as much on Saturday when he told a local TV station: ``Let's be honest. We'd be overwhelmed'' by the NFL.
Speros told the Baltimore Sun in Sunday's editions that he was considering Miami, Portland, Ore., and Los Angeles as new homes for the Stallions. At a press conference Monday, he said that as a member of the CFL's expansion committee, he had also talked with officials in Hampton Roads; Columbus, Ohio; Miami; and Orlando.
Norfolk's Foreman Field could be the new home of the Shreveport franchise, if team president Lonie Glieberman has his way. Glieberman has announced plans to conduct a ticket drive in Hampton Roads starting some time this month. If he sells 15,000 season tickets, Glieberman says he will move the team to Norfolk.
The Shreveport franchise, like Birmingham, was beset by red ink and poor attendance. The Pirates averaged just 12,627 fans and lost nearly $4 million this season. MEMO: The Associated Press Contributed to this story.