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DIAMONDBACKS READY TO BANK ON ONE SUCCESSFUL FIRST SEASON
Published March 23, 1998
On Friday, D'Backs Managing General Partner Jerry Colangelo christened Bank One Ballpark and demonstrated the retractable roof for the media, according to Bill Muller of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Colangelo said the ballpark will not be 100% complete on March 31, "mainly because the Cox Clubhouse, an area with interactive games and a baseball museum, would not be ready" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/21). In AZ, Kerry Fehr-Snyder reported that the economic impact of the D'Backs "will top" $300M a year in AZ, most of it in downtown Phoenix. The estimate is a "substantial increase" from the $230M impact predicted in '93 (AZ REPUBLIC, 3/21). D'BUCKS: BUSINESS WEEK's Ronald Grover reports that Colangelo and his group of 15 investors spent more than $325M getting the franchise ready for this season, but the D'Backs are "all but assured of placing among the leaders in attendance and operating profits." The team has raised $500M in marketing revenue and Colangelo predicts it will draw 3.5 million this season (BUSINESS WEEK, 3/30 issue). MEDIA CONFLICT? In AZ, consumer advocate writer Richard de Uriarte said that some readers have complained that the Arizona Republic "gives favorable treatment to the Diamondbacks because of a conflict of interest." Phoenix Newspaper Inc., Publisher of the Republic, has invested $5M as a limited partner in the team. D'Backs Dir of Media Relations Bob Crawford said the paper's investment in the team "will not give Republic reporters an inside track." Crawford: "We treat all reporters the same." de Uriarte: "Editors are aware of the scrutiny. We've made no secret of the investment. And we have promised our readers it would not affect coverage" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/22). DESERT NOTES: The D'Backs drew a crowd of 11,117 on Saturday, the sixth time this spring the team has played in front of a crowd of 10,000 or more (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/22)....On ESPN SportsZone, Mitch Lawrence wrote that "more than one" NBA GM "is privately accusing the Suns of bypassing the salary cap" when Colangelo made Danny Manning a minority owner in the D'Backs (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/22). ...CNN/SI's Tom Verducci reported that the "scouting report" on Bank One Ballpark is that "it's great for fans, but it's a nightmare for umpires." NL officials said that due to the park's different angles, they "might have to change the ground rules during the season" ("CNN/SI," 3/20). GREEN RAYS: Devil Rays Managing General Partner Vince Naimoli projects revenues of $90-$100M in his team's first year, which would rank among the top eight MLB teams. The team expects to generate up to another $15M from other events at Tropicana Field. Naimoli predicts Devils Rays' attendance "should be around" 3.2-million, an average of 40,000 per game (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 3/22).