SBD/24/Facilities Venues

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              In Phoenix, D'Backs officials say that Bank One
         Ballpark "is on schedule," and they "are confident" that the
         retractable roof and "grow-in-the-dark grass" will be ready
         for the first exhibition game on March 29, according to Bill
         Muller of the AZ REPUBLIC.  The $354M stadium "is scheduled
         to be finished with at least three weeks to spare."  The
         roof and grass "present significant hurdles," as both are
         the "first of their kind."  D'Backs officials "are being
         closemouthed" about when the roof will be tested, as they
         "want to avoid" a "media circus" (AZ REPUBLIC, 11/23).
              TAXING THOUGHTS: D'Backs CEO Jerry Colangelo "has
         decided to install bulletproof glass" in the windows of his
         Bank One Ballpark office, according to Eric Miller of the
         ARIZONA REPUBLIC.  Miller called this, and other security
         measures, "grim echoes of a 3-year old political decision"
         to approve a quarter-cent sales tax to build the ballpark.
         The tax will sunset November 30, six months to a year ahead
         of schedule, and "will end up harvesting more than its
         allotted" $238M, with extra revenue being used for stadium
         repairs or renovations.  The 2 1/2-year tax, which cost the
         average taxpayer "an estimated $25 a year," helped "cause
         the defeat of two politicians and propel another into a race
         for governor, and it has been blamed for the shooting" of a
         county supervisor.  AZ State Univ. Professor Dorothy Evans
         said that at "the heart is anger" over the decision to enact
         the tax without a public vote.  Colangelo, on installing
         bulletproof glass: "We live in a day and age where you have
         to take a lot of precautions" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/23).

    Print | Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Facilities

              A Miami official confirmed that the city "is trying to
         sell corporate naming rights to the Orange Bowl," hoping to
         net more than $600,000 annually.  Meanwhile, MLS is seeking
         a corporate name for Lockhart Stadium, home of the expansion
         Fusion (Barry Jackson, MIAMI HERALD, 11/23).....On Saturday,
         a MI Stadium record crowd of 106,982 attended the Ohio
         State-MI football game (DETROIT NEWS, 11/23)....With the
         Patriots stadium bill "canned" until the next session of the
         MA State Senate, Will McDonough wrote to "look for Rhode
         Island to heat up again as the next home for the team"
         (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/23)....In San Diego, Don Bauder reported
         that a county grand jury is "probing" the city's stadium
         deal with the Chargers (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/22).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, MLS, New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers

              The MCI Center, which opens next Tuesday, was reviewed
         by architectural writer Benjamin Forgey of the WASHINGTON
         POST, who called it "an unusually attractive, welcoming
         sports arena. ... This is one of the most inviting athletic
         buildings anywhere because it is not just an arena. 
         Impressive stores, restaurants and even a sports museum --
         all saturated with video images and interactive displays --
         surround" its entrance.  Forgey added that the "seating bowl
         is a handsome, commodious affair.  Arranged in three tiers,
         it provides excellent sight lines to the playing floor even
         from the highest seat in the third tier."  More Forgey:
         "[T]here are negatives.  Foremost, to my mind, is the rigid
         stratification of the seating arrangements."  Also, parking
         "is certain to be a temporary problem. ... And it could
         become a long-term headache."  Forgey's conclusion: "All
         parties involved ... deserve sizable credit for the jobs
         they did on the MCI Center.  The efforts to make it a
         welcoming urban neighbor are significant and largely
         successful" (Benjamin Forgey, WASHINGTON POST, 11/22).   

    Print | Tags: Facilities

              Maple Leafs President Ken Dryden "is leaving the door
         open to a joint-arena deal" with the Raptors, but said that
         the team "is committed to a full investigation of a new,
         proposed arena at Exhibition Place," according to Jim Byers
         of the TORONTO STAR.  Dryden's comment comes "amid reports
         of what one source called a battle royal amongst Maple Leaf
         Gardens shareholders."  A source said Minority Owners,
         including Larry Tanenbaum, are "engaged in a battle" with
         Majority Owner Steve Stavro "to try to convince him to join
         the Raptors at the Air Canada Centre" (TORONTO STAR, 11/24). 
         Leafs VP/Project Dir Tom Anselmi said that the team "will go
         to the Canadian National Exhibition board" today with plans
         for a sports, retail and entertainment complex that would
         include the new Maple Leaf Gardens" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/22).  

    Print | Tags: Facilities, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors
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