SBD/1/Facilities Venues

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              Since the Expos launched the first phase of their
         stadium project June 21, the team has raised "just over"
         C$20M from PSL sales, having sold 25 1/2 of the loge
         licenses available, "including 23 at $110,000 each,"
         according to Jack Todd of the Montreal GAZETTE.  The Expos
         have also sold 2,213 of the 18,000 PSLs needed to be sold
         "if this stadium is going to become a reality."  Most of the
         PSLs sold so far have been for the "more expensive" seats;
         986 of 1,314 $10,000 seats have been sold, while "only"
         eight of those in the $2,000 category and 206 of the $500
         seats have been bought.  Expos President Claude Brochu also 
         "confirmed" that he is "in the process" of negotiating a
         naming rights deal for the stadium for about C$40M.  Brochu
         said that "at least" three corporations are "still in the
         running."  Brochu also said that the team is "currently in
         the process of holding serious talks with the various levels
         of government" about some form of government assistance
         (GAZETTE, 11/27).  In Montreal, Ted Blackman calls the $20M
         raised so far by Brochu "a loose commitment ... for front
         pews from the devoted parish" (Montreal GAZETTE, 11/30).

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              Sources close to Maple Leafs Owner Steve Stavro say
         that he "realizes ... that a partnership with the Raptors on
         a single arena is the best way" for his team to proceed, but
         that his "personal dislike" for Raptors Owner Allan Slaight
         is a "considerable obstacle," according to Shoalts & Grange
         of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL.  Shoalts & Grange added that
         Stavro "wants any partnership to be formed on his terms,"
         and at present believes that he can "wait out" Slaight, and
         when the Raptors Owner "tires of the expense" of building an
         arena and maintaining his team, Stavro can "step in to buy
         majority control of the Raptors and the arena for a relative
         song."  Another "scenario put forward" has Slaight selling
         control of the Raptors to MLG Minority Partner Larry
         Tanenbaum and selling the Air Canada Centre to a "new
         company that would jointly be owned by the Leafs and
         Raptors" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/29).  Raptors President
         Richard Peddie "didn't rule out the Leafs coming into" the
         Air Canada Centre "at some future date," but he and Slaight
         "denied" that any talks were ongoing between the two
         franchises (Chris Young, TORONTO STAR, 11/28).

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

              The opening of the MCI Center on Tuesday night was
         featured in a special section in Sunday's WASHINGTON POST. 
         For Washington Sports Chair Abe Pollin, construction of the
         new facility was a "huge challenge ... a four-year struggle,
         slowed for a half year by contaminated soil, a paralyzing
         snowstorm and asbestos," according to Heath & Montgomery. 
         Other setbacks included "so-called 'smart seats' that didn't
         work" and a successful lawsuit by the Paralyzed Veterans of
         America to increase the number of seats for wheelchair-bound
         spectators.  Heath & Montgomery: "Through it all, Pollin has
         been financially stretched, keeping US Airways Arena going,
         signing basketball and hockey players to million-dollar
         contracts and footing the bill for the construction of the
         MCI Center."  Pollin: "I've got everything I've ever done in
         my life on the line.  I've pledged everything.  My advisers
         think I'm nuts.  But I wanted to do something special for my
         town" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/30).  Pollin added in a meeting
         with POST editors that tickets to sports events are "too
         expensive" and that leagues should examine player salaries
         "as a way to curtail" admission prices.  Pollin: "It bothers
         me enormously that no longer can a family of four see a
         game.  What's happened is the [player] salaries are so high,
         we have to keep raising ticket prices.  I don't want to
         raise my prices again" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/30).
              NOTES: With traffic a concern, MCI Center execs hope to
         keep the number of vehicles "under" 5,000 for each game.
         Pollin said that he hopes that half the fans, or 10,000
         people, will take the Metro....The arena has 109 luxury
         suites costing $100-175,000 a year, with a minimum five-year
         lease.  Those in luxury suites or the 3,000 premium club
         seats "will be provided separate parking, enter a separate
         entrance and dine in separate restaurants barred to the
         arena's 15,680 ordinary ticket holders."....Barry Silberman,
         President of Centre Management, which runs the MCI Center,
         said that the facility will host "about 200 events" a year.
         ...Pollin said that despite MCI's recent merger with
         WorldCom, he "expects" the name to remain MCI Center in
         accordance with the 13-year, $44M deal (WASHINGTON POST,
         11/30)....Some 700 tickets for Tuesday's opener, the Sonics-
         Wizards on TNT, "were released for sale yesterday."  The
         game had been listed as a sellout (WASHINGTON POST, 12/1).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, Turner Sports, US Airways
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