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  • BOB JOHNSON INCREASES PRESSURE FOR PRIVATE- OWNED DC ARENA

         BET CEO Robert Johnson vowed to try to build a 23,000-seat
    sports arena in Washington, DC, regardless of whether Bullets
    owner Abe Pollin agrees to move his teams to it.  Johnson said
    Riggs National Bank is willing to lend him up to $172M to build a
    new facility downtown.  If the Bullets and Capitals don't move,
    Johnson said he will "seek to attract" an NBA team from outside
    the area before building the arena.  Johnson's comments, made at
    a lunch with WASHINGTON POST reporters and editors, "are part of
    an effort to increase pressure on District officials to accept
    his offer to privately finance the arena rather than use taxpayer
    funds."  Pollin is now negotiating with business leaders and a DC
    task force to move his teams from the USAir Arena to a downtown
    facility.  Under a preliminary proposal struck before Johnson
    made his offer, "construction of the arena would be financed by a
    special city tax."  City officials are reluctant to go along with
    Johnson's proposal because he cannot ensure the Caps and Bullets
    would move to the arena.  Johnson would prefer to have Pollin's
    teams move there, "but Pollin is unlikely to accept Johnson's
    terms:  that if Pollin later decided to sell the teams, the
    prospective new owner would have to renegotiate the arena lease
    with Johnson" (Farhi & Mills, WASHINGTON POST, 10/1).       TWO-
    TEAM CITY?  Two DC City Council members said the deal between
    Pollin and the Nation Capital Development Corp. (NCDC) is better
    for the city, because Pollin has teams to put in the arena.  But
    Johnson claims he could lure another NBA team if Pollin does not
    play in his arena.  Johnson suggested the following teams:
    Pacers, Timberwolves, Supersonics & Clippers (WASHINGTON POST,
    10/1).
    

    Print | Tags: Facilities, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA, Washington Capitals
  • DEAL BETWEEN CITY OF WINNIPEG AND MEC ALMOST DONE

         Winnipeg Mayor Susan Thompson and the city's executive
    policy committee met privately Friday morning with Manitoba
    Entertainment Complex (MEC) members.  Thompson said in an
    interview later that MEC will control the design and marketing of
    any new arena in Winnipeg, despite a public meeting scheduled at
    city hall this Friday to hear all proposals.  Thompson: "It's the
    [MEC] who have the option (to buy the private held shares of the
    Winnipeg Jets).  They have stuck their neck out.  They have put
    their money out.  They can do the marketing."  The city council
    ordered the public meeting after MEC supporters on the council
    failed to "muster a majority to support a motion to guarantee"
    C$3.7M in funding for the group of 44 business people to design
    and market a new arena.  Thompson said the private meeting with
    MEC was to debate the process for the hearings and to discuss
    MEC's "increasingly tight marketing schedule."  Dissident
    councillors say next week's meeting is a "stalling tactic while
    MEC supporters look for more votes on council" (Stevens Wild,
    WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 10/1).
    

    Print | Tags: Facilities, Minnesota Wild, New York Jets
  • NUGGETS TO TAKE THE PEPSI CHALLENGE?

         The Nuggets and PepsiCo are talking about a deal worth $15-
    20M that would give Pepsi naming rights to a new Denver
    basketball arena and the Nuggets money to help build that arena.
    A PepsiCo spokesperson confirmed that the two are in "preliminary
    stages of a deal."  The Nuggets threw an "elaborate private
    party" at McNichols Sports Arena for PepsiCo execs last Thursday.
    Nuggets officials also met with Denver city officials and then
    "culminated their day by meeting" with Mayor Wellington Webb's
    sports advisory task force.  The meeting produced an
    understanding the Nuggets would commit up to $100,000 to pay for
    consultants the city wants to hire to examine the team's arena
    proposal.  Work by the consultants begins this week and will be
    completed in about 14 weeks.  The fact the Nuggets are "courting
    Pepsi as a major sponsor for a new arena indicates how confident
    the team is that it can work out an agreement with the city."  A
    new deal with the city would release the Nuggets from their
    contract to play at McNichols through the 2007-2008 season.
    Pepsi currently has beverage concessions at McNichols and also is
    involved with four other teams:  Magic, Canucks, Cubs and Indians
    (Christopher Lopez, DENVER POST, 9/30).
    

    Print | Tags: Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, Denver Nuggets, Facilities, Canucks Sports and Entertainment, Orlando Magic, PepsiCo, RDV Sports, Vancouver Canucks
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