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TAMPA BAY TIDBITS: ARENA OPENING DELAYED? RAYS SIGN

     Lightning Governor David LeFevre said construction of the
new downtown Tampa arena may not be ready by the October '96
goal, according to today's ST. PETE TIMES.  Construction of the
21,000-seat arena began months ago, but the team needs another
extension to prepare a financing plan.  In the meantime, the
Lightning has opened talks with St. Pete officials about
extending their ThunderDome lease (Richard Danielson, ST. PETE
TIMES, 4/28). The Tampa Sports Authority and the City Council
extended Sunday's deadline to get $60M in financing until June 30
(TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/28).
     RAYS LEASE:  The St. Pete City Council reluctantly approved
a 30-year lease for the Devil Rays at the Thunderdome.  Under the
lease, the city must raise $50M for renovations while handing
over management of Dome events to the Rays.  The city also will
be responsible for insurance, traffic control and a portion of
the maintenance costs.  In return, the city receives $.50 for
every ticket sold for any event.  While council members
acknowledged "the lease is no winner, they said the city got what
it wanted -- a team."  (Noam Neusner, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/28).  The
Rays take over Dome management in January '98 (ST. PETE TIMES,
4/28).
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