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Among the features of the new Texas Motor Speedway is an "innovative" dual-banking design which will make the track "user- friendly" for both NASCAR and IndyCars. The Motor Speedway has not committed to either IndyCar or the IRL (John Sturbin, FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 11/28).... Hundreds of Detroit voters attended a public hearing last night with the City Council on the new plan to build a $235M ballpark. With the "advocates solidly outweighing the critics, stadium supporters believe the council is likely to approve the plan" (DETROIT NEWS, 11/28).
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said yesterday he will not support building a domed stadium downtown to keep the Bears in Chicago, according to Kass & Pearson of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Bears officials had asked IL Gov. Jim Edgar to revisit his McDome proposal -- attaching a domed stadium to McCormick Place -- but Daley is sticking with his $156M plan to renovate Soldier Field. Daley's comments seem to indicate "in his town it's his deal or no deal -- even if it means the Bears moving to Gary." City officials have accused the Bears of using the McDome plan and offers from Gary as "bargaining chips to extract more concessions from the city," but Kass & Pearson note Daley "keeps his hand strong by rejecting -- at least for now -- any alternatives" but renovation. Daley called McDome "unbelievable" and questioned how the city would finance it. Daley said "no one wants" the Bears to leave, but stressed the renovation was "the best deal they can have" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/28).
"Whether you're in the suites, at center court, or in the nosebleed seats, the Rose Garden has become a bit of a thorn in the side of many fans," writes Jeff Manning in the Portland OREGONIAN. Manning notes while the arena itself is "spectacular," its initial season has been a "rough one," with seating problems, "endless" lines, bad food and inflated prices. Blazers VP/Business Affairs J. Isaac notes the problems are "inevitable" for a new arena like the Rose Garden. Manning notes the Blazers will not let the problems "fester" as the team must keep seats filled to meet the debt payments on the $262M facility (OREGONIAN, 11/26). REPORT CARD: In addition to Manning's report, the OREGONIAN had a "Rose Garden Report Card" which graded the spectacle, food, drink, and design of the Rose Garden. For sound and spectacle, Marty Hughley gave concert sound an A-, game sound a B-, "bells and whistles" a B-, and overall atmosphere a B. Karen Brooks graded the food. The only item to get an A was the $5.75 curry chicken, while the $3 firedog got an F. She notes that while the Rose Garden is the arena of the future, it "isn't up to the task of serving the food of the 50's." Randy Gragg grades seating and signage as follows: seating earns a B-, lighting a B-, bathrooms an A, navigational signage a B-, game signage a B+, and concourse signage an A (Portland OREGONIAN, 11/26).
The prospect of building a new arena in downtown San Diego is "dubious at best," according to Barry Bloom of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Although the city has control of the project and can offer full control to a franchise owner willing to move an NBA or NHL team, the city does "not intend to dangle financial giveaways similar to the huge sums recently awarded" NFL teams. City Manager Jack McGrory said the city will not fully fund an estimated $154.8M arena without a "substantial investment from a team," adding "it is not realistic to expect a rent-free sports arena." Without a team, the city would be on the hook for close to $7-8M a year to operate the building and service the debt. Gaining an expansion franchise is not likely as the NBA does not plan to expand until the turn of the century and the NHL will not move there "without approval" of the Mighty Ducks, who claim San Diego as part of their territory. Therefore, arena plans have "been placed on the city's back burner" and questions remain on the city's ability to support pro sports. McGrory: "If the business community wants to help come up with the money, we'll do it. But things like that don't happen in this town." Mighty Ducks President Tony Tavares: "You've got the failure of two basketball teams, the Padres' problem drawing people to baseball games. Even the IHL moved out. ... Those things are going to impact whether anyone wants to go in there with an NBA or NHL team" (SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE, 11/27).