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The first detailed preview of the new baseball stadium being built for the Olympics shows seats beyond the dugouts, "which traditionally have been the worst because they face the outfield, will be angled 10 degrees. Fans in these areas won't have to crane their necks to focus on infield action." The overhang from each level of seating is minimized, "so fans have unobstructed views of fly balls." And fans accustomed to Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium "are in for a big surpise." Those who sit at field level -- which is where most of the 49,800 seats are -- "will have to pay closer attention to the games or risk getting popped by a foul ball." The stadium is scheduled to open in '97, after reconstruction from an 85,000-seat track-and-field stadium for the Olympics. The new stadium will have 52 skyboxes, each with 12-16 seats. A stadium club in left field will have 400 seats and 200 more in an adjoining bar. There will also be 6,000 club level seats (Michelle Hiskey, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/29).
WASHINGTON, DC: A WASHINGTON POST editorial notes that another deadline arrives Thursday in the timetable for building a downtown arena. The Redevelopment Land Agency is scheduled to act on a recommendation to turn over city land to a non-profit coalition of business and civic leaders, known as the National Capital Development Corp. (NCDC). This group would build the arena through the sale of bonds, about half of which would be publicly issued and backed by the city. A second proposal by BET President Robert Johnson is tied to his "insistence" that he be allowed to buy a piece of the Bullets and have first right-of- refusal to buy the team outright from Abe Pollin. The editorial notes that Johnson's campaign "has included one disturbing swipe at home rule" for the District, in that he has said he would not hesitate to take his proposal to Congress, rather than work with the DC City Council (WASHINGTON POST, 11/29). NO MORE STADIUMS? Paul Daugherty, a columnist in Cincinnati, examines the trend of naming baseball parks, either parks, fields or yards, but not stadiums: "This is the Camden Yard-ing of America, the notion that if you make everything feel old-fashioned, nobody will mind the high-prices. Which are, shall we say, state of the art." Citing the new Coors Field in Denver, Daugherty notes that Cincinnati will soon have a similar facility: "Reds Park at Bus Station Yard, or something. These are the new cookie-cutter ballyards, just as the concrete voids were 25 years ago" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 11/29).
The Raptors "are so hungry for a prime downtown site" for their planned arena "that they have upped their offer substantially, making a deal possible as early as this week, sources say." The team, facing a deadline to start construction, has "apparently added millions to their bid" for the downtown site. Raptors Chair David Peterson notes that the property is "extraordinarily attractive for a lot of obvious reasons." The new proposal, like the original offer, would likely be a mixture of some cash up front, more payments by regular installments and some sort of "marketing rights" for present owner Canada Post. "Marketing rights" could range from inside or outside arena signage to full naming rights. Raptors Owner John Bitove has said he hopes naming rights of the new arena gain the team C$30M. The site, now occupied by an empty warehouse, was worth as much as C$200M in '90, before the crash of the "then-booming real estate market." The Raptors' original offer for the site was estimated to be about C$14M. The property is reportedly on Canada Post's books at about C$65M. Canada Post "is still queasy about any deal because it's worried about giving the taxpayer- owned site away for too little." If groundbreaking on an arena is not done before October 1, the Raptors must pay the Ontario government C$1M. The team will play its first two seasons at SkyDome (David Israelson, TORONTO STAR, 11/29).
The Colts have now been in Indianapolis for ten years since leaving Baltimore in 1984. Their home is the RCA Dome, formerly known as the Hoosier Dome before the naming rights were sold by the Capital Improvement Board. The Board was established by the state legislature with appointees representing both the state and city. The Colts receive no revenue from parking, concessions, advertising --and only 25% from luxury seating. But, they pay one of the lowest rents in the league and share little in the way of game-day expenses. Today, we profile the home of the Indianapolis Colts.
STADIUM: RCA Dome, Indianapolis, IN AGE: Completed in 1984. CAPACITY: 60,500 OWNERSHIP: Owned & operated by the Capital Improvement Board. LUXURY BOXES: 99 luxury suites -- team receives 25% of revenue, Improvement Board 75%. ADVERTISING: Capital Improvement Board holds advertising rights. SPONSORSHIP: RCA paid $10M over 10 years for naming rights have renewal clause every five years. Total package $23M over $20 years. COST: Cost was $75M -- paid for by bonds and corporate donations. PARKING: 2,000 spaces at $7. Leased to private management company, who pays a fee to handle all parking. Team gets no parking revenue. CONCESSIONS: Service America -- on a management fee. Team gets no percentage of concessions revenue. LEASE: Expires 2004 with two 5-year options. RENT: Estimated at $250,000 -- 5th lowest in NFL.