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A front-page article in Sunday's Baltimore SUN chronicles the city's continuing struggle to attract an NFL team. The SUN's Jon Morgan writes, "Baltimore has become a virtual Washington suburb in the minds of some league demographers" (Baltimore SUN, 1/29). Baltimore's ABC affiliate, WMAR, ran a promotion for the station's Super Bowl pregame with the lead-in: "Maybe they can stop us from having an NFL team, but they can't stop us from bringing you 'Midday Over Miami,' Newschannel 2's Super Bowl Special" (WMAR-TV, 1/28). Baltimore-area state legislators are hopeful to maintain money appropriated for a downtown football stadium (Jon Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 1/30). MEANHILE, THE REDSKINS ARE GETTING CLOSER: The Redskins asked the Anne Arundel, MD, county board for a two month delay in zoning hearings on their proposed stadium in Laurel, MD. According to team lawyer Harry Blumenthal, the Redskins are acquiring additional property around the site to accommodate 3,000 additional parking spots. In October, a county official denied a request by the team for a special zoning exemption for the site. The Redskins appealed the decision; the board will consider the extension request tomorrow night (Matt Neufeld, WASHINGTON TIMES, 1/29).
A "preliminary agreement" has been reached by Hollywood Park for financing its proposed $200M stadium where the Raiders and UCLA would play, according to today's L.A. TIMES. Hollywood Park CEO R.D. Hubbard: "We do have a proposed term sheet from the bank for financing. We're pretty close, there are just a few little items to be worked out." The "stumbling block" remains the "unpredictablility" of Raiders owner Al Davis. Sources say that he has had a proposed agreement "on his desk for almost three months." Although more than $100M has been spent on renovations to the Coliseum, Davis reportedly "no longer wants to play in the Coliseum" and has "privately made Hollywood Park his top option" (John Cherwa, L.A. TIMES, 1/30).
Negotiations for a compromise that calls for $7M worth of renovations to the Charlotte Coliseum between the city and the Hornets have begun, according to Saturday's CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The compromise would bring "new luxury suites, a club/restaurant and other amenities to the Coliseum," but not the new skyboxes that the Hornets want. If an agreement is reached, it "would help ensure that the Hornets get the $5 million in additional revenues," and could keep the team from leaving the Coliseum (Chapman & Mehrtens, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/28).
Manitoba Entertainment Complex (MEC), the business group trying to build a new arena in Winnipeg for the Jets, must convince the Winnipeg City Council to approve a proposal in principle to donate the land for such a facility before a vote tomorrow. According to Friday's WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, the MEC has only four of the nine yes votes needed, six council members oppose the idea, and six were undecided. The MEC has promised $110M in private funding (Stevens Wild, WINNIPEG FREE-PRESS, 1/27). Winnipeg Deputy Mayor George Fraser says opposition to a new arena could leave renovation of Winnipeg Arena as the city's only option (Nick Martin, WINNIPEG FREE-PRESS, 1/27). MEC board member Bob Silver says major league sports is "interwoven into the fabric" of Winnipeg: "What we are talking about is not the future of sport but future of our city" (Glen Dawkins, WINNIPEG SUN, 1/27). Sink, Combs and Delthlefs, the same firm that designed the San Jose Arena, is in charge of designs for the prospective arena in Winnipeg (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/29).