The sale of the Washington Federals and transfer of the U.S. Football League team to Orlando, Fla., became virtually assured last night with Commissioner Chet Simmons' announcement in New York of the "enthusiastic support" of the USFL's five-member executive committee.
"It recommended approval of the full ownership," Simmons said, and that is expected to come by telephone conference Monday or Tuesday.
The purchase by Donald Dizney, who runs a chain of hospitals based in Orlando, was closed late Wednesday night.
The sale price is being reported at $5 million, but only $1 million cash is being paid up front. Payments will be spread over a year and will cover the remainder of the team's $4.5 million in debts incurred here.
The sale involves only the assets of a team that lost 29 of 36 games in two seasons here. That essentially means the franchise certificate itself, front-office equipment and such gear as weights, pads and uniforms.
The rest of the deal is contingent on the success of the team and the league, which has announced it will compete head to head against the NFL starting in 1986. Those terms include assignment of $2 million in future revenue from network television, if there still is a league, and a minimum of 20 percent of the new team (seven of 35 expected limited partnership shares) to the selling group headed by Berl Bernhard.
"I'm gratified the team will carry on," said Bernhard, Federals' board chairman who saw previous sales to Sherwood (Woody) Weiser of Miami and then Dizney fall through.
Weiser, who said he backed out of acquiring the team for Miami because of the USFL decision to play a fall schedule, will be one of three general partners in Orlando. The other is Jim English, a partner of Dizney in United Medical Corp.
Dizney said at a press conference in Orlando yesterday one of the first people he plans to talk with is former Louisiana State coach Charlie McClendon, a resident of Orlando now executive director of the American Football Coaches Association.