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The Prince George's County Council yesterday voted "unanimously" to buy 300 acres in Landover, MD, known as Wilson Farm. The farm is one area Redskins Owner Jack Kent Cooke is reportedly interested in for a new stadium. Officials, however, contend that the purchase "has little to do" with Cooke's reported interest and that "it's not intended to be used as a springboard for a potential stadium" (John Mercurio, WASHINGTON TIMES, 4/5). But Cooke could face another obstacle with the site, since it "sits atop" the Brightseat Formation, an important geological site that scientists from the Smithsonian Institution and the Interior Dept. are "urging county officials to protect." The area is believed to be rich with fossils, and scientists want to preserve the farm for researching natural history (Pierre & Jeter, WASHINGTON POST, 4/5).
The future of baseball in Tampa-St. Pete has become uncertain as officials in Pinellas County now say they "couldn't meet an April 30 deadline even if they decided to increase tourist taxes to help outfit the ThunderDome for baseball." As reported yesterday, renovations to the Dome will reportedly cost at least $40M. City officials will "probably" get $20-25M from a "special state sales tax fund," which leaves officials "scrambling" for the rest -- and Devil Rays Owner Vince Naimoli "hinting" he could relocate the team. After a meeting yesterday between team and city officials, County Commissioner Steve Seibert said they could not vote on raising the county's hotel bed tax, which would cover about $20M, before May 16. Other county officials claimed they were not aware of the April 30 deadline and criticized Naimoli for "waiting until this week to publicize" it. Siebert said team officials would have to ask the MLB for an extension (Neusner and Moncada, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/5). MLB Expansion Committee Chair John Harrington: "I believe the deadline is very hard, not that it can't be varied. They have to get the commitment on that. I can't say there's any room for negotiations there" (Topkin, Seaton & Davey, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 4/5). In Orlando, Mike Zizzo speculates that a recent joke told to Naimoli by Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood -- that the cities' rivalry may continue since Orlando still has plans to build a "brand-new, baseball-only, open-air stadium" -- "may have left Naimoli with an option" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 4/5).
The Alamodome recently welcomed a new CFL tenant. The team, to be called the San Antonio Texans, will join the Spurs in the two-year-old dome. The Spurs moved to the city-owned facility from the Hemisfair Arena in 1993. The basketball capacity of up to 35,000 has allowed the Spurs to rank third in the NBA in attendance this year at 21,949 a game. The facility will host the '96 NBA All-Star Game. STADIUM: The Alamodome TENANTS: NBA Spurs, CFL Texans. AGE: Opened May 15, 1993. OWNERSHIP: Owned by the City of San Antonio. MANAGEMENT: Managed by the City of San Antonio. COST: $186 million -- The city raised the funds through a 1/2 cent sales tax. CAPACITY: 21,372-35,500 for basketball, 65,000 for football. LUXURY SEATS: 38 luxury suites that seat 12-16 people. The Spurs market 34 of the suites, the Alamodome markets the other four. NAMING RIGHTS: No plans to sell naming rights. CONCESSIONS: ARAMARK Services manages the concessions. Spurs receive 60% of food and beverage sales and receive 85% of souvenir sales (gross income). City receives remaining income. ADVERTISING: Spurs control advertising, city receives $275,000 annually (proposed for '95). PARKING: City owns and manages parking lots at the Alamodome. Spurs lease all available spaces for games at $50,000 annually. Texans will receive 100% of revenue from parking. GAME-DAY: Event staff paid for by Spurs and Texans. LEASE: The Spurs are in 10-year agreement. MAINTENANCE: City is responsible for maintenance, paid through renewal and improvement fund. RENT: Spurs pay $270,000 for office/sports club/ restaurant rental; $205,000/game day rental minimum per season; City receives 6% of gross ticket sales. (Sources: SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS NEWS (Feb. 10), and Janet Vasquez, public information officer of the Alamodome).