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The Cincinnati City Council voted 6-3 in favor of endorsing Broadway Commons as the site for a new Reds ballpark. The Reds, however, still favor a new home "on the riverfront" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 9/25)....Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris, speaking before Denver business leaders, "made a pitch" for a new stadium for the Broncos: "Mile High Stadium is clearly the worst stadium in the country -- by far" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 9/26)....TX Motorplex Owner Billy Meyer "has confirmed" his interest in building a new drag racing track "closer to Dallas and moving his two NHRA events from his Ennis facility" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/25).
MA officials yesterday unveiled their "last, best offer" to keep the Patriots, according to Tina Cassidy of the BOSTON GLOBE. A new bill offers the Patriots $50M for "land and improvements" around Foxboro Stadium, and calls for team Owner Robert Kraft to spend "that amount" on facility improvements. But the deal still "hasn't got an OK" from State House Speaker Thomas Finneran, who has been a "vocal opponent of spending public money on anything beyond infrastructure improvements." Cassidy adds that Finneran did not "specifically endorse the new bill, and was cagey in response to the legislation." MA Sec. of Admin. & Finance Charles Baker said that the state's offer "won't get any better" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/26). In Providence, Tom Mooney reports that MA officials said "repeatedly" that should the bill pass, "they believe Kraft will keep the Patriots in Foxboro." Neither Kraft nor any team officials were available for comment yesterday (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/26). Also in Providence, Christopher Rowland writes that Gov. Lincoln Almond's administration "is refusing to sit down" with the team for more stadium talks "until the Patriots show a willingness to close the deal." Almond said that a difference of "about" $2M remained between the two sides and sources tell Rowland that a "key sticking point" remains disagreement over the size of a ticket surcharge that would help pay development costs (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/26). BANKING NEWS: Boston-based Fleet Financial Group has been "quietly advising the state of Rhode Island" in its negotiations with the Patriots, according to Joan Vennochi of the BOSTON GLOBE. Vennochi adds that Fleet spokesperson James Mahoney "stresses the bank - so far - is working on behalf of Rhode Island, not the Patriots." While Fleet's "local rival," BankBoston, is the team's banking partner, Vennochi writes that it is "clear Fleet is interested" in the team as a business partner (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/26).
The Steelers and Pirates ended "months of speculation" yesterday by unveiling "their financial share of two proposed North Side sports stadiums," according to Sandra Skowron of the Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW. Steelers President Dan Rooney announced that the team will commit to a private contribution of $50M toward the cost of constructing a new stadium and said that as part of the team's commitment, it would sign a 25-year lease for the new stadium. The team would assume responsibility for cost overruns in the construction of the new stadium, provided that it control the design and construction phase of the project. The Pirates would commit $35M for construction costs of a natural grass stadium expected to cost $185-200M and, like the Steelers, would sign a 25-year lease and pay for cost overruns if they control construction and design. Pirates Managing General Partner Kevin McClatchy said that the team hasn't determined how it will raise the $35M yet. Rooney said that his club "likely would borrow" $50M to build a $185M stadium and then use team revenues to pay off the loan. Team execs were "hopeful their commitments would bolster support" for a 0.5% sales tax increase which will appear on the ballot in 11 counties (TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 9/26).