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DE-based Dover Downs Entertainment Inc. has acquired Nashville Speedway USA with the intention of building a new speedway in another location "in the near future," according to Joe Caldwell of the NASHVILLE BANNER. Gaylord Entertainment will become a minority partner in the project. The new speedway initially will seat about 50,000, "with the ability to expand that right from the start." Dover Downs President & CEO Denis McGlynn said that no plans are set to try to get a Winston Cup date. McGlynn: "We are going to build a track that can handle any type of racing that is available" (NASHVILLE BANNER, 11/7).
The Ohio State Univ. Board of Trustees approved a $150M renovation plan for the university's stadium. The renovated stadium will have about 98,000 seats, including spots for 3,000 wheelchair users. It will be paid for by proceeds generated from the stadium, including the sale of leases for 76 new luxury suites (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 11/8)....The $102M- renovated Oakland Coliseum Arena opened Saturday as a sellout crowd of 19,283 attended the T-Wolves-Warriors game. In San Jose, columnist Bud Geracie, on the renovated arena: "There's not a bad seat in the house, just a bad team" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 11/9)....In L.A., California Planning and Development Report Editor William Fulton wrote a commentary urban benefits of the L.A. Coliseum: "All the things that drive the NFL crazy about the Coliseum are all the things that make it a great place for a football stadium. ... The NFL notwithstanding ... it is possible to use football to create the same kind of intimate urban experience that baseball is thriving on these days. In fact, football is still used this way all over the country"(L.A. TIMES, 11/9).
Magic President & CEO Bob Vander Weide "left little doubt" on Friday that the team "expects a replacement" for the Orlando Arena, "possibly within seven years," according to Dan Tracy of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. The team's current lease at the arena, under which they pay the city $446,500 a year, ends after next season. While Vander Weide said that the team "intends to honor" the agreement and "exercise an additional five-year rental option," he "would not commit" the Magic to the eight-year old facility "beyond" the 2004 season. While Vander Wiede "would not discuss who might pay," for a new arena, Tracy wrote that Orlando and Orange County officials have been "adamant in saying they will not spend tax dollars" on such a project. The arena still has a debt of "about" $40M, which will not be paid off fully until 2019. The team released a study showing that renovation "would not bring in extra cash" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 11/8).
MN Gov. Arne Carlson said Friday that he believed sentiment in the Legislature "is starting to turn toward approval of state spending" on a new ballpark for the Twins, according to Patrick Sweeney of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. Carlson: "I think we're in pretty good shape in the Senate. I still think it's touch-and-go in the House." On Thursday, legislators will return to a special session to consider a complex ballpark proposal that calls for Twins Owner Carl Pohlad to donate the team to a foundation and to guarantee any operating losses the team might incur during the 3-5 years the foundation would hold it while looking for a new owner (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/8). State Rep. Ron Erhardt: "The calls tend to be a little more positive" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/8). Today, the Twins will send team Exec VP Kirby Puckett, former P Bert Blyleven and team President Jerry Bell around the state to lobby for a new ballpark (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/9). NOTES: Ads supporting the Twins began appearing on billboards and city buses over the weekend. The copy read: "Publicity Fades. Debates End. Baseball is Forever. Call Your Legislator. Keep the Twins in Minnesota" (STAR TRIBUNE, 11/8)....A STAR TRIBUNE editorial on Pohlad's "community ownership" proposal for the Twins: "That doesn't make the stadium plan perfect. But it ought to make the plan passable. ... If not, then prepare to kiss the Twins goodbye" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/9).