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NAME GAME: Naming rights will be sold to the Bandimere Speedway in Denver. Speedway President/GM John Bandimere Jr. said "he has pitched the sale of naming rights to Pennzoil and Chrysler Corp. and is now testing further interest in a deal" (DENVER POST, 9/18).
NFL VP/Communications Greg Aiello told THE DAILY yesterday that, contrary to reports, there is no dispute between the league and the Dolphins over rotating signage at Pro Player Stadium. Aiello said a large rotating sign at Pro Player is "not a problem" because it is high enough and above the goal posts. In addition, no letters have been sent from the league office to the Dolphins or team Owner Wayne Huizenga regarding the signage (THE DAILY).
Numbers are "finally being discussed that suggest how much taxpayers could be asked to contribute" to an East Valley domed stadium and National Sports Center, according to Lisa Gonderinger of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. A report by the East Valley Partnership says a quarter-cent sales tax could raise "as much as" $223M for the proposed center. The report also listed "nine potential sites," to include a "campus-like collection of venues, with a retractable-roof dome over a stadium that could include both grass and ice surfaces" for the Cardinals and Coyotes. It also includes a hotel, convention center, a sports-related theme park that would include the NFL Experience and Hall of Heroes, and a sports-entertainment center with shops and restaurants. The report will now be taken to city officials in Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Gilbert and Chandler to see whether they want to create a special stadium district to "hammer out further details of the project" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/19).
Patriots Owner Robert Kraft "is expected to head to Providence today to complete an accord that would bind the Patriots to negotiating exclusively" with RI for a stadium package, according to Tina Cassidy of the BOSTON GLOBE. Talks "were expected" to go through the weekend with an announcement by RI Gov. Lincoln Almond planned for Monday. One of the "sticking points" in the deal is "how an exclusivity agreement would be defined. Almond wants Kraft to agree to stop pursuing a stadium proposal in [Foxboro] while he negotiates with Rhode Island." Sources say Kraft "accepts the idea of an exclusivity clause but not one that is 'all encompassing'" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/19). In Providence, Christopher Rowland reports that Almond was expected in West Springfield today, and he does not mention a potential meeting with Kraft. Rowland adds that among issues yet to be resolved include: Financing and ownership of a stadium parking garage; development rights for a related hotel, sports museum, retail shops and restaurants that Kraft would build; and how the state would be protected if the team moves before stadium bonds are paid off. An NFL source also tells Rowland that the future home of Kraft's MLS Revolution is part of the negotiations (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/19). ANARCHY: Patriots VP/Communications Don Lowery responded to comments made by MA House Speaker Thomas Finneran, who described Kraft as a "whining multimillionaire" seeking "bribes" to keep the team in MA. Lowery: "At a time when we would expect leadership from the State House in resolving this issue, all we have seen is character assassination and mudslinging." But MA Acting Gov. Paul Cellucci called Kraft to say "he would try to quickly pass through the Legislature" a proposal to expand Foxboro Stadium (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/19). In Boston, business writer Joan Vennochi: "The truth hurts, but here it is: Bob Kraft, more than anyone else, is the reason the [Patriots] appear to be moving. ... His team has many champions. He doesn't." Vennochi criticizes Kraft's lobbying efforts, adding that "he continued to get blitzed by the same defensive team" and while he "believed he could scramble past them ... he never could" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/19).