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NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR DIGS IN TO KEEP DEVILS FROM EXITING 16W
Published May 17, 1995
NJ Gov. Christine Todd Whitman "is maneuvering" to keep the Devils from accepting a lucrative deal to move to Nashville, according to Richard Sandomir in this morning's N.Y. TIMES. Sandomir reports that Whitman plans to meet with the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority today, and has assigned her husband, who is an investment banker, to "devise a proposal to satisfy the Devils, without giving away the store." In an interview Monday night, Whitman said she would consider adding more luxury boxes to the Brendan Byrne Arena. The Nashville Metro Council last night approved a resolution giving any team that moves to the city's new arena attractive lease incentives, including: A $20M relocation fee plus yearly rent of $750,000 or 5% of ticket sales; 100% of game ticket revenue, 100% of radio-TV revenue and 97.5% of luxury suite revenue; revenues from game-day merchandise, parking and concessions, scoreboard, sideboard, and 50% of all other arena advertising. In addition, Sandomir reports that "privately, the league looks favorably upon the possibility of the Nashville Devils. It would ease the three- team overcrowding" in the New York market, "and let the NHL establish the first major league sports team in Nashville" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/17). MUSIC CITY CHIMES IN: By a 21-12 vote, the Nashville Metro Council approved a measure last night allowing the arena to sell beer in the new arena after opposition from some conservative Christian ministers. Councilman Ronnie Stein: "I have been told our window of opportunity for the NHL is only three or four months wide. And at that time, it may close for years into the future" (Mark Ippolito, Nashville TENNESSEAN, 5/17). However, while local politicos are enthusiastic about attracting a pro sports team, Nashville's pursuit of an NHL franchise "continues to be greeted with something less than enthusiasm by many sports- minded citizens," writes columnist David Climer of the TENNESSEAN. Climer reports that many residents are "shocked" by the cost of NHL tickets and are "concerned" about downtown parking (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 5/16).