SBD/20/Facilities Venues

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         Hamilton County voters yesterday "overwhelmingly ratified" a
    half-cent sales tax increase to build two new stadiums for the
    Reds and Bengals, according to Michaud & Green of the CINCINNATI
    ENQUIRER.  Despite poor weather, turnout was a record in a
    primary election.  With close to all precincts reporting, Issue I
    on the stadium tax led, 61% to 39%.  Bengals GM Mike Brown hugged
    Reds Owner Marge Schott before addressing a pro-stadium rally and
    called it the "greatest moment in my life."  OH Gov. George
    Voinovich said citizens voted to "maintain Cincinnati as a major
    league city."  The vote will raise the sales tax in Hamilton
    County from 5.5% to 6% beginning June 1.  The tax would raise
    around $50M each year, of which Hamilton County would use $35M a
    year to build the stadiums.  The rest would fund property tax
    relief.  The Bengals will pay $25-30M toward the estimated $170M
    football stadium, while Schott is in discussions with officials
    on their contribution.  Proponents say the total cost of the
    project will hit $700M when interest payments are included, up
    from preliminary estimates of $544.2M.  Hamilton County
    Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus said work to complete the financing
    for the stadium will begin immediately (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER,
         TIGER BY THE TAIL?  As election day approached, "speculation
    increased" the Bengals might move to Cleveland if the tax failed
    (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 3/20).  After the vote, Brown admitted
    filling a 70,000-seat stadium and selling over 70 boxes will be
    difficult.  Local economists are also "skeptical" the city's
    corporate community will support both teams (Akron BEACON
    JOURNAL, 3/20).

    Print | Tags: Cincinnati Bengals, Cincinnati Reds, Facilities

         Voters in Detroit yesterday voted a "resounding" yes on
    allowing the city to use public money for a new ballpark,
    according to this morning's DETROIT NEWS.  Early returns showed
    Proposal B, a non-binding measure which would allow public funds
    be spent on a new facility, leading by more than a 2-1 margin.
    Proposal A, which would have "barred the use of public money for
    a new stadium," was being rejected by about the same margin.
    Team and city officials were pleased, and the Tigers could be
    playing in the new park as early as '98.  Voters were asked
    whether they would permit $40M in Downtown Development Authority
    bonds to help finance the $240M facility.  Tigers Owner Mike
    Ilitch has pledged $145M, while $55M would come through the
    quasi-public Michigan Strategic Fund.  Voters said they "were
    swayed by the promises of economic rebirth and a revitalized
    downtown" (Basheda, Lewis, & Linsalata, DETROIT NEWS, 3/20).
         WHAT'S NEXT?  The opposition Tiger Stadium Fan Club has "one
    more weapon in their arsenal" -- a lawsuit challenging the $55M
    grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund (Basheda, Lewis, &
    Linsalata, DETROIT NEWS, 3/20).

    Print | Tags: Detroit Tigers, Facilities

         The city of Oakland may ask a Superior Court judge for an
    injunction forcing the A's to play their first six home games at
    the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, according to this morning's
    OAKLAND TRIBUNE.  The announcement, which came after a City
    Council meeting last night, "significantly escalated the war"
    between the Coliseum and A's over stadium renovations.  Council
    Member Ignacio De La Fuente said the A's decision to move their
    home opener was an insult and that they will "do whatever has to
    be done to protect our reputation and make sure they follow their
    agreement."  Robert Salladay writes the injunction could "affect
    the already-strained-relationship" the city has with the team
    (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 3/20).  Most reports have the team playing its
    first two home series in Las Vegas at the 10,000-seat Cashman
    Field, but talks have gotten off to "a poor start," according to
    the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS.  Sources say the A's asked for a
    guarantee of $1.05M for six games, while Las Vegas' initial offer
    was for about $300,000 -- later upped to about $500,000.  A's GM
    Sandy Alderson expects a deal today, but one cannot be reached,
    the team would likely open in New Orleans (Robert Kuwada SAN JOSE
    MERCURY NEWS, 3/20).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, Oakland Athletics

         The Palladium Corp. and its general contractor, PCL
    Constructors Eastern Inc, have been named in a lawsuit brought by
    a sub-contractor over a $5M unpaid construction bill for the
    recently completed Corel Centre (TORONTO SUN, 3/19)....Officials
    with Astrodome USA withdrew their request that Harris County
    reimburse them nearly $500,000 for emergency fire-code repairs
    made to the county-owned Astrodome (HOUSTON CHRONICLE,
    3/20)....Maricopa County Supervisors are expected to approve
    today a series of agreements with the Diamondbacks governing the
    use and management of Bank One Ballpark for the next 30 years.
    The deals could increase taxpayers' share of annual stadium
    revenues to $5.5M.  In return, the team would avoid potential
    exposure to taxes normally charged to businesses leasing public
    space (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/20)....The Minneapolis Sports
    Facilities Commission preliminary approved allowing the Twins to
    sell Metrodome ads to the Lottery.  A left-center field wall ad
    would generate $100,000 for the Twins (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE,

    Print | Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Facilities, Minnesota Twins
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