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The Hurricanes on Friday "agreed to spend" $20M as part of its deal to play in Raleigh's new sports arena and "pledged to stay" in the city for 20 years, according to Joe Dew of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. The team also "acknowledged - with a caveat" that N.C. State holds the naming rights to the facility. The Hurricanes had originally planned to contribute $10-12M towards the arena, but the extra money will help the Centennial Authority add a "long list of amenities," including 20 additional luxury suites, a special press section, and video scoreboards. The Hurricanes also "agreed to make it clear in the legal agreements" that N.C. State now holds naming rights, however Hurricanes attorney Jim Cain said "that could change" if a corporate sponsor offered "millions of dollars" for the rights. If so, in exchange for giving up the rights, N.C. State "would be guaranteed" a share of the money (NEWS & OBSERVER, 10/25).
The Mets are "putting the final touches" on plans to tear down Shea Stadium and replace it with a recreation of the Brooklyn Dodgers' old Ebbets Field, according to Lathem & Hardt of the N.Y. POST. Team President Fred Wilpon has been "quietly putting together" the package for the new 40,000- seat retractable roof stadium, which will be built in Flushing, on the site of what is now a parking lot for Shea, and "is expected" to open in April 2001. Plans call for the park to have a lowered right-field wall and pedestrian concourse, and "intimate" seating. The team is also "giving serious thought" to naming the new park after the Dodgers' Jackie Robinson. Original cost estimates put the park at $450M, including $300M for construction and $150M for "road, subway and parking improvements," however, Mets officials "hint" that the cost "could be higher" (N.Y. POST, 10/27).
MA-based Staples, Inc. has agreed to a 20-year deal with the developers of L.A.'s proposed downtown arena to "become the main corporate sponsor" for the $300M complex, according to sources "within the company" and cited by White & Dillman of the L.A. TIMES. The deal is worth "about" $100M, which is the "largest amount ever" paid for naming rights to an arena. In addition, GTE heads a group of "secondary sponsors" which "could bring in" an additional $50M. The city "would not receive" any of the money from the deals, however the money "could be used" to pay the $58M in municipal bonds, which the city is issuing to fund the new arena. Kings President Tim Leiweke said Friday that there was no finalized deal, but that talks will continue this week (L.A. TIMES, 10/25).
A new Tribune-Review/WPXI-TV poll has found that support for a proposed regional sales tax which would benefit the construction of new stadiums for the Steelers and Pirates "has inched upward," according to Sandra Skowron of the Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW. In the new poll, 66.4% of the respondents opposed the tax, with 53.4% saying that they were "flat-out opponents." A poll conducted by the paper two months ago found that 71% of the people were opposed, with 52.2% "staunchly against" the tax. Voters said that offers made by the Pirates and Steelers to contribute to the projects "did increase" their support. Also, "about" 38% said that they think the Pirates "will leave" if the referendum fails, while 34.9% feel the team will stay. The survey of 901 voters was conducted October 17-22, and has a margin of error of +/- 5.7% (TRIBUNE REVIEW, 10/26)