SBD/9/Facilities Venues

JERSEY OFFICIALS ACCELERATE NAMING RIGHTS SALE OF BYRNE

     The Chair of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority
hopes to sell the naming rights to the Byrne Arena in the
Meadowlands before hosting the NCAA Final Four college basketball
tournament this spring, according to Stephen Hirsch of the Bergen
RECORD.  Michael Francis said "at least three" companies either
based in New Jersey or with strong ties to the area have
expressed an interest in the naming rights.  The authority "hopes
to reap $2 million to $4 million per year and is seeking a deal
in the neighborhood of ten years."  Hirsch writes the authority
"needs to complete a deal soon or risk not having the new name on
the arena by March."  Francis: "To have this in place by the
Final Four is of extreme value to the advertiser."  Among
companies rumored to be interested include AT&T Corp. and Bell
Atlantic Corp. and PNC Bank Corp. of Pittsburgh.  Houston-based
Continental Airlines, "which has a hub in Newark ... is
considered a key target" (Stephen Hirsch, Bergen RECORD, 8/9).
     NEWS ON DEVILS DEAL: Hirsch also reports that "three
financial institutions have submitted proposals to refinance
approximately" $25M in debt incurred by the Devils.  NJSEA Chair
Michael Francis said the debt refinancing was "the only sticking
point" to the tentative deal announced between the Devils and the
NJSEA last month (Bergen RECORD, 8/9).  is profiled by Fitzgerald
& Hirsch in the RECORD. The "buzz in political circles had been
that [NJSEA President and CEO Robert Mulcahy] ... will be shoved
out the door when his contract expires next May so that Governor
[Christine Todd] Whitman can put her own stamp on the authority,"
according to Fitzgerald & Hirsch in the RECORD.  But, with
Mulcahy's recent "performance" with the negotiations with the
Devils, there are "rumblings that he might hang on yet again."  A
high-ranking administration official said Mulcahy's "stock has
risen because of the apparently successful outcome of the
negotiations" with the Devils (Bergen RECORD, 8/6).
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