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In Hartford, CT State Rep. Carl Schiessl wrote an op-ed comparing UConn's failed bid for a new football stadium with other university projects throughout the country. Of the 21 schools that built or renovated stadiums in the past 10 years, only four projects used state funds, while a combination of private donations, athletic-event revenues and student fees most often funded stadium projects. Major portions of 13 projects were funded with gifts, private sources and donated services (HARTFORD COURANT, 12/7)....In NC, attorneys for Raleigh's Centennial Authority, the public body in charge of the new arena, have submitted legal bills for "more than" $500,000. That number covers the work of four firms that have operated on the Authority's behalf since its formation in the fall of '95 (NEWS & OBSERVER, 12/9)....White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf said that the club is "looking into 30 or 40 options designed to improve" Comiskey Park (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 12/9)....In Denver, columnist Woody Paige has begun to refer to the Pepsi Center as "The Can," despite the objection of local Pepsi execs. He calls "The Can" an acronym for "The Center for the Avalanche and the Nuggets" (DENVER POST, 12/8)
The emerging public backlash to publicly financed sports facilities was examined in BUSINESS WEEK by Jay Weiner of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and Justin Catanoso of the Greensboro News & Record. Weiner & Catanoso: "[P]ublic financing for pro sports facilities is no longer a slam-dunk." Univ. of Chicago sports economist Allen Sanderson says that "a better-informed public has become skeptical of sports investments." Sanderson: "Sports do not create very many jobs, and there's no evidence that they help attract new industry." Weiner & Catanoso: "Communities have long paid dearly to support their teams, but the costs have reached unconscionable levels. The economics of pro sports is spinning out of control, and perhaps the only thing that can rein it in is the voice of people ... Voices that won't take it anymore" (BUSINESS WEEK, 12/15).