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Workers at Three Rivers Stadium have "rejected" a "tentative" new three-year contract with the facility. Despite the rejection, the union "has no plans to strike" April 7, the day of the Pirates' first home game (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 3/23)....The NJ Sports & Exposition Authority has "approved a deal" which allows the MLS MetroStars to use grass over the Meadowlands' artificial turf until August 1 (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/24)....An editorial in this morning's ST.PETE TIMES addresses problems at Tropicana Field: "[T]he bottom line is that the problems were extensive and inexcusable. [St.Pete] had three years to get ready." The editorial says the "buck stops" with Devil Rays Managing General Partner Vince Naimoli who "demanded the right to manage Tropicana Field ... and with that right came the responsibility to be prepared for the remodeled stadium's first major event. ... [Devil Ray] fans should be forewarned. Tropicana Field will not be ready for the start of baseball, either. Parts of the project probably won't be completed by the end of this season" (ST. PETE TIMES, 3/24). ...The Charlotte City Council has "delayed" a vote on the amended lease between the city and the Hornets. One of the "major reasons" for the delay is the question over who will control the sale of naming rights to the facility (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/24)....Reds Managing CEO John Allen said he was "very optimistic" that the team will reach an agreement with Hamilton County on the location of a new downtown ballpark "in the next 30 days" (CINCINNATI POST, 3/23).
Following "four hours of debate" yesterday, the CO House of Representatives decided that the Broncos "should get a shot at persuading voters next fall" to subsidize a new $350M football stadium, according to Dan Luzadder of the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS. The "hotly-contested" plan, which uses a .1% sales tax to build the stadium, "went through several evolutions" before a version passed the House. A different version of the bill has been passed by the State Senate, and the disparities in the two versions "set the stage for a conference committee battle" (ROCKY MT. NEWS, 3/24). In Denver, Peggy Lowe writes that the House bill "would expand" the six-county stadium taxing district to include all of, or sections of, four additional counties (DENVER POST, 3/24). ROCKY MOUNTAIN NOTES: Although naming rights to a new Broncos stadium still may be sold, the Mile High name "might be worth more than what a company would be willing to pay" for those rights, according to an examination of naming rights by Peggy Lowe of the DENVER POST. Texas Stadium brings in an estimated $20M a year from endorsement deals, which is much more than an annual naming rights fee. But, Lowe notes, "no one knows for sure if Mile High's name could be as lucrative as Texas Stadium's" (DENVER POST, 3/24).