SBD/6/Facilities Venues

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         The L.A. Coliseum Commission voted Wednesday to begin
    construction on a new $5.6M press box that will be paid for with
    federal funds.  However, while lack of additional funding would
    keep the stadium from adding luxury suites ready for '95, Don
    Webb, director of the Coliseum renovation project, says there are
    "promising" signs the facility could receive financing to build
    the first 21 suites within eight weeks (Kenneth Reich, L.A.
    TIMES, 4/6).
         MIND GAMES?  Just what (if any) team might play in the
    facility next season is a larger question.  Al Davis' Raiders do
    not have a lease with the Coliseum, which they have called home
    since '82.  Davis has not told the league where he will be
    playing next season, but Baltimore and Oakland have been
    mentioned as possibilities.  One NFL source told the Baltimore
    SUN's Jon Morgan that Davis tried last year to get the league to
    tentatively schedule Raiders home games at several sites and then
    allow the team to make a decision on where to play later.  The
    league refused, according to the source:  "This is Al's way of
    sending the message that he's thinking of moving" (Baltimore SUN,
    4/6).     BENGALS OR RAMS?  Coliseum Commission member Sheldon
    Sloan says his group has talked to the Raiders and "at least two
    other teams" about playing in the facility in '95.  Sloan would
    neither confirm or deny if he was referring to the Rams or
    Bengals, the only NFL teams without a binding lease for '95.
    Rams President John Shaw has said Coliseum officials have
    contacted him about playing in L.A. for the '95 season.  Sloan
    says he would like to have the Rams return:  "We'd be willing to
    talk about an interim (agreement).  We're willing to talk about
    all kinds of things" (Michele Himmelberg, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER,
    4/6).  In Cincinnati, Bengals GM Mike Brown says he has not
    spoken with anyone about playing in L.A., and Bengals Secretary/
    Treasurer Katie Blackburn also denied the rumors:  "We haven't
    talked to them.  We're trying to get things done here" (Geoff
    Hobson, CINCINNATI ENQURIER, 4/6).
         TROJANS MAY BE SECURE:  USC AD Mike Garrett has sent a
    letter to the commission confirming that USC will sign a long-
    term lease with the Coliseum once suite construction begins
    (Kenneth Reich, L.A. TIMES, 4/6).

    Print | Tags: Cincinnati Bengals, Facilities, NFL, Oakland Raiders, LA Rams

         The MA Megaplex Commission began its three-day tour
    yesterday with stops in Baltimore and Chicago.  In Chicago, the
    group toured McCormick Place -- a convention center, funded by
    tourist taxes, currently in the midst of a $987M addition that
    will increase its size to 2.2 million square feet.  In Baltimore,
    the Baltimore Center and Oriole Park at Camden Yards were toured.
    The Baltimore Center is undergoing an expansion which will bring
    it to 300,000 square-feet.  The difference, however, is that the
    Baltimore buildings are in the "heart of downtown," whereas
    McCormick in Chicago is located south of downtown.  The Boston
    panel is trying to decide which situation would best suit the
    city (Richard Kindleberger, BOSTON GLOBE, 4/6).  Panel member
    Stephen Tocco said Baltimore "opened my eyes to how the
    combination of sports and a convention center can together appeal
    to a marketplace and take advantage of common infrastructure"
    (Phil Primack, BOSTON HERALD, 4/6).
         FINAL FOUR IN BOSTON?  In today's BOSTON GLOBE, Mark
    Blaudschun discusses the NCAA's inability to bring the Final Four
    to the East due to a lack of facilities.  Blaudschun argues that
    if Boston builds a megaplex, the city could handle a Final Four:
    "While the NCAA will not award a Final Four until a building is
    operating, there seems little doubt that Boston could get into
    the mix very quickly, given the proper facilities" (BOSTON GLOBE,

    Print | Tags: Facilities, NCAA

         Diamondbacks officials announced yesterday that their new
    47,000-seat retractable dome stadium will be named the Bank One
    Ballpark, having sold the naming rights to the proposed stadium
    to the subsidiary of the OH-based Banc One. The team announced it
    has sold nearly 33,000 season tickets for its inaugural season in
    '98 (Mult, 4/6).

    Print | Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Facilities

         A year after both the Hawks and Knights announced intentions
    to leave the Omni, both are still in search of a new home.  Plans
    for a new facility in north suburban Fulton County are on hold,
    while the teams remain "in a holding pattern" as Atlanta
    officials lobby to keep them downtown.  Hawks VP Lee Douglas says
    the team is "very, very active" in pursuing a new arena.  The
    Knights are taking a "wait-and-see attitude," according to team
    CFO Charles Felix.  Knights officials claim the economic risk of
    two suburban arenas is too high (Carlos Campos, ATLANTA

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Facilities

         Six professional teams in Texas have joined an effort to
    back state legislation that could help finance or renovate arenas
    or stadiums.  The Mavericks, Stars, Cowboys, Rockets, Oilers, and
    Spurs have formed the Pro Sports Association, a group that will
    push bills to "allow cities to create special tax districts
    around sports facilities."  The teams state the districts are
    needed to keep teams in the state, and help attract large events
    such as the Super Bowl, Olympics, and All-Star Games to the area.
    Two state lawmakers have sponsored tax zone bills which would
    allow municipalities to create special "sports facility
    enterprise zones" around an arena or stadium.  Such a zone would
    "spur development" by offering tax abatements and other
    incentives, and any tax revenues could be reinvested in the
    facility or used to pay off bonds that financed it.  The money
    "would be managed by a sports authority that the state and
    municipality would appoint jointly" (Sylvia Martinez, DALLAS
    MORNING NEWS, 4/5).
         A KEY TO DALLAS' DOWNTOWN?  A full-page editorial in
    yesterday's DALLAS MORNING NEWS focuses on "Downtown Dallas" and
    possible ways to revitalize the city.  On a downtown sports
    arena, the paper urges city officials to "pull out all the stops
    to make sure professional sports remain in downtown Dallas."
    Legislation that "would permit the city to assess fees and taxes
    on arena users is a step in the right direction" (DALLAS MORNING
    NEWS, 4/5).

    Print | Tags: Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, Facilities, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs

         Despite acknowledging earlier this week that it would be
    impossible to meet an April 30 deadline to sign a lease for the
    ThunderDome, St. Petersburg officials were reportedly
    "optimistic" yesterday that they will be able to  meet the
    deadline.  St. Petersburg Mayor David Fischer:  "We'll have
    something.  A lot of things happen in tight deadlines."  Fischer
    did admit, however, that he "didn't know how everything would
    wrap up in time."  Also yesterday, city officials applied for
    state sales tax to cover "about half" of the reported $40M
    renovation costs.  According to city attorney Mike Davis, getting
    the tax money "should go smoothly."  The other half of the
    renovation money is what "poses the problem," though one possible
    solution is to get the Pinellas County Commission to raise the 3%
    tourist tax to 4% (Neusner & Moncada, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/6).

    Print | Tags: Facilities
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