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The Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) has become the "preeminent racing facility in the country, second perhaps only to Indy, and that's primarily on historical value," according to Steve Goldberg of CHARLOTTE magazine. The development of the track has "permanently changed the spectator and business sides of racing," creating a "new growth-industry base for the region with significant economic impact." The success "is directly attributed" to parent company Speedway Motorsports "high-octave mixture of innovation and emulation," and since '75, track owner Bruton Smith and CMS President Humpy Wheeler have spent "more than" $200M on improvements. Wheeler says the key to CMS' success is the "three T's: tickets, traffic and toilets." According to a '96 study by UNC-Charlotte, CMS "is the nucleus of a local industry that has grown over" 48% in the past five years. In the area, 135 motorsports-related firms have created 1,790 jobs, with a payroll of $71.4M and $207M in direct expenditures, and an additional 3,347 jobs and "some" $258M in indirect expenditures (CHARLOTTE, 10/97).
The CoreStates Center will add a cigar bar to its Red Bell Brewery and Pub in November. The bar will be for members only, with membership ranging from $300-400 for season-ticket and premium-seating customers, and around $500 for the general public (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/1). ....The MLB Giants, the city of S.F. and Baykeeper, an environmental group, announced they have negotiated an agreement to increase environmental monitoring at the site of the Giants' new ballpark. That "removes the final obstacle" for the new park, and groundbreaking is planned for mid-November (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/1).
Top Dallas officials met Tuesday with Stars and Mavericks officials, "suggesting to some that the parties may be close to striking an arena deal," according to Todd Gillman of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Dallas City Council members said the city "seems to be emerging victorious after days of meetings" and Stars Owner Tom Hicks "reinforced that belief." Hicks: "We're closer than we've ever been before. I think if things are going to come together, they're going to come together in the next few days." Mavs Owner Ross Perot Jr. met with Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, and a "high- level Cowboys official" said Perot wanted to discuss a possible joint arena-football stadium with Jones. Stars and Mavs execs "called the idea unlikely" (MORNING NEWS, 10/1).
The Orioles and the MD Stadium Authority (MSA) "appear to be on another collision course as the state agency moves forward this week with plans for a Niketown-type entertainment complex at Camden Yards -- a development the team bitterly opposes," according to Jon Morgan of the Baltimore SUN. The MSA "is expected" to issue a "formal request for ideas to develop the land -- now a parking lot -- between the Ravens' and Orioles' stadium." The MSA wants to "incorporate a parking garage into the development and pay for it with revenue" from the complex. But the Orioles, while "eager to replace parking lost to the construction of the Ravens' stadium, prefer a parking garage be built across the street," on a site now occupied by businesses. Orioles attorney Alan Rifkin said that the club would "take legal action to block the entertainment complex," but the MSA said that the team "cannot prevent development on the state-owned site as long as it does not interfere with baseball games" (Jon Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 10/1).