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After the strike ends, talk of a new downtown baseball stadium in Detroit will "be renewed, only this time there figures to be more than debate," according to the DETROIT NEWS' Lynn Henning. Henning writes there is likely "to be action" on the proposed $270M Foxtown ballpark, as Tigers Owner Mike Ilitch plans to back a 30-year, $200M-plus bond sale. In addition, Henning says stadium plans will move forward because of broad bipartisan support and leadership from the State House, something that "had been lacking" in earlier talks. Although some state assistance will be needed -- including gaming revenue from a proposed casino --the "bulk of a new Foxtown stadium will be Ilitch's responsibility." Ilitch will have to finance close to $8M a year to satisfy the bond -- money which would be raised by a ticket surcharge, luxury seating, and advertising. And he would lease, not own, the stadium. Henning predicts "no participation on the part" of the Lions, which is "just the way the Tigers want it" (DETROIT NEWS, 3/29).
Residents of Rolling Oaks, a northern Dade County neighborhood "in the shadows" of Joe Robbie Stadium, say that the Panthers "are not welcome" in the area. The stadium area is one of six places where Panthers Owner Wayne Huizenga might build a civic center/arena. Attorneys for residents are threatening a "legal fight" if Huizenga tries to build on the vacant lands he owns near the stadium (Eric Conrad, Ft. Lauderdale SUN SENTINEL, 3/28).
Patriots Owner Robert Kraft said he will pay for a new stadium for his team if the public supplies the land and other support. His comments "stunned" the MA Megaplex Commission by raising the idea of a privately financed facility, but Kraft's aides later called the idea "completely theoretical" and said it "was not under serious consideration" (Richard Kindleberger, BOSTON GLOBE, 3/30). Still, his comments "added a new twist to an already complicated" Megaplex debate. Kraft did not rule out other options, such as renovating Foxboro Stadium or being part of a downtown Megaplex, perhaps looking to "improve his image" with legislators who have criticized him for asking for public support. Red Sox officials, who have said they would are willing to pay for a new home if the state provides the land, said they would meet with Kraft. Red Sox VP John Buckley: "If there is any possibility to side-by-side football and baseball stadiums, that would be great." Commission members said if Kraft and the Red Sox are willing to finance facilities themselves, the commission would focus on a convention center alone, which is what several "wanted to do anyway" (Phil Primack, BOSTON HERALD, 3/30). NFL VP/ Business and Football Development Roger Goodell also addressed the commission, saying that communities that have lost NFL teams "quickly came to understand the tremendous value to the community of what they had lost after failing to respond to the need for a new facility" (Martin Nolan, BOSTON GLOBE, 3/30). Goodell also floated the notion of a new Boston facility hosting the Super Bowl (AP, 3/30).