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ABL executive has option to run team

December 8, 1997

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ An American Basketball League executive has five years to decide whether he wants to buy the rights to run the Portland Power.

The ABL gave the option to Rodger Rickard, senior vice president in charge of financing, marketing and ticket sales. He is a former Bay area real estate magnate. No one can bid for rights to the team during the five-year window.

Operating rights cost about $3.5 million, but ABL chief executive officer Gary Cavalli said Rickard would be offered a discount because he invested several million dollars in the league in September.

Rickard said he will not purchase the rights this year, but he might do so at the end of 1998.

``It all depends on how well the league is progressing along its path,″ Rickard said. ``If, in fact, it is going to do very well, then I will exercise my option sooner than later.″

If Rickard buys the Power, he would control the team’s marketing, local broadcasts, ticket sales, sponsorships and staffing. The ABL would still own the team and pay its players.

Rickard said he was impressed after he visited Portland last month to watch the Power defeat the Philadelphia Rage.

``I like the facility and I think Portland is a very good sports market,″ he said. ``I think what we have to offer is the antithesis of what the Trail Blazers represent. I like the whole package.″

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