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Lions Vice Chair William Clay Ford Jr. said lease negotiations with officials at the Pontiac Silverdome are "frustratingly slow, and the team continues to pursue other stadium options," according to David Barkholz of CRAIN'S DETROIT BUSINESS. Barkholz notes the Lions "have not ruled out a joint deal for a new downtown Detroit stadium with the Tigers." Ford said the Lions' would like to remain in Pontiac, but the team wants to "manage the stadium rather than lease it to get at revenue sources currently denied the team." FINANCIAL WORLD recently ranked the Lions' franchise value at 26 out of 28 NFL teams -- primarily due to the fact that the Lions get no stadium revenue. But Ford says: "We need to get this resolved soon. If we have to, we could get out of our lease by paying off the last few years and leaving if our (new) stadium is ready early. But I keep getting back to this point: It makes so much sense for Pontiac and us to do this deal (so) that it can and will work" (David Barkholz, CRAIN"S DETROIT BUSINESS, 5/1-7). FIRST INTERVIEW: Ford also gave his first full-length interview since his promotion to vice chair. In the CRAIN'S DETROIT interview, the topics covered include the Lions' stadium situation and the current state of the NFL. Ford: "The one trend I see that I don't like is the growing tendency for each franchise to fend for itself. I think what made the league strong is the fact that the NFL has done things for the good of all franchises. ... The TV revenue is shared. ... NFL Properties, which sells all of the paraphernalia and is a huge business, is absolutely split 30 ways. ... You don't have the 'haves' and 'have nots' that you have in other sports. It's made for a much stronger league" (CRAIN'S DETROIT BUSINESS, 5/1-7 issue).
This afternoon, the Tampa Sports Authority will get its first look at the details on options for improving Tampa Stadium. The architectural firm of Hellmuth, Obala & Kassabaum (HOK) will include in its presentation the first-ever look at the option of reconstruction, according to Danielson & Banks of the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES. The reconstruction would be similar to how the Jaguars prepared the Gator Bowl for their inaugural season in the NFL, a job also done by HOK. Costs would be higher than renovating, but cheaper than building a new stadium. Danielson & Banks report that new Bucs Owner Malcolm Glazer has made his desires clear on what it will take to keep the Bucs in Tampa: "more luxury suites, the addition of club seats and roomier, nicer seats throughout the rest of the stands." The decision on which option to pursue will depend not only on cost, but also on how long work would take. Glazer's sons Bryan and Joel will attend the briefing, but both declined to comment on the stadium options (Danielson & Banks, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 5/9).