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Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell is "optimistic" the Hawks will build their new arena downtown and spark a "renaissance" in the area, according to Maria Sapota and Henry Unger of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. Sapota and Unger report the city put together an "excellent package" for Turner executives to review. William Shaw, head of the Hawks Arena Task Force: "We continue to work optimistically with the mayor's office. They have worked very hard on this." The Task Force is expected to make a presentation to Hawks Owner/TBS Chair Ted Turner soon, perhaps as early as next week (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 6/22).
Mets Co-Owner Fred Wilpon has a "much more advanced" plan than his partner Nelson Doubleday's desire to replace Shea Stadium with a retractable dome ball park and construct an adjacent futuristic entertainment complex, according to Richard Sandomir in the N.Y. TIMES. In a conversation with Charles Gargano, Chair of the NY Urban Development Corp., Wilpon said Doubleday's Belmont Park plan has hardly been discussed and stated further, "We're perfectly happy at Shea, and we don't want to go anywhere" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 6/22). Paul Moran writes, "Doubleday's idea is worth exploring. The core of Belmont must be preserved, but the fringes of its vast property are expendable and the property is much too large for its current use" (NEWSDAY, 6/22). Joe Gergen writes, "That the Mets are preparing to abandon the facility is not exactly news. ... There is a chance that by the start of the new century New York City will be without a major-league baseball team" (NEWSDAY, 6/22). Bob Glauber notes that the Jets' Meadowlands lease runs through 2008, making them unlikely to join the Mets in a new stadium in "the foreseeable future" (NEWSDAY, 6/22). Denene Millner and Jane Furse note in the N.Y. DAILY NEWS New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said he would "make certain" the Mets stay in New York City (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/22).
Tampa Stadium Authority Chair Chuck Davis said Wednesday that local business told him the TSA "probably" won't be able to raise half of the estimated $168M stadium cost through the sale of PSLs, as they had hoped, report Joe Henderson and Kevin Walker in the TAMPA TRIBUNE. A report from sports marketer Max Muhleman, to be ready in about a month, will outline how much the area can reasonably expect to raise through PSLs. Henderson and Walker report the project could have "nearly $100M in unfunded needs," with the "most talked-about" funding options being a restaurant tax, an increase in the hotel tax, ticket surcharges or a utility tax. Stadium backers have acknowledged taxpayer support will be needed, but had hoped it would be $70M or less. Hillsborough County Commissioners agreed Wednesday to give Bucs Owner Malcolm Glazer a break on the rent if attendance falls below 55,000 per game and offer him concession and parking profits if attendance is above 55,000. That should allow Glazer to wrap up his purchase of the team. NationsBank has delayed closure on the deal pending those financial guarantees (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 6/22). Columnist Tom McEwen writes, "So the Buc ship is better rigged and appears to be back on course" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 6/22). Pat Yasinskas writes that the NFL, through the Raiders, is sending a message to which Bucs supporters may want to pay attention, "It's no longer difficult to relocate an existing team" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 6/22).
The Reds and Bengals may get new stadiums under a $540M proposal to raise the Hamilton County sales tax but reduce property taxes, according to the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. The 20- year tax increase, from 5.5% to 6.5%, would be imposed without a public vote, and would generate an estimated $100M annually. This revenue would be used for a $540M stadium complex, special levies now being paid by county property owners, and a 300-bed jail. The plan will be released today by County Commissioner Bob Bedinghause, and will roll back property taxes by an average of 18% annually. Bengals Business Manager Bill Connelly: "This is what Mike (Brown) has been waiting for. We're anxious to see the details" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 6/22).