SBD/25/Facilities Venues

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              Renewed efforts by Washington, DC, government officials
         and business leaders are under way to bring MLB back to the
         city, according to Thom Loverro of the WASHINGTON TIMES. 
         The effort will include a soon-to-be-released DC Sports
         Commission study that supports a movement to build a new
         downtown ballpark.  The $86,000 report also includes a
         feasibility study of renovating RFK Stadium for baseball as
         well as building a new stadium next to RFK.  Although it
         does not make a "firm recommendation," several DC government
         sources "said the study's conclusions favor building a new
         downtown ballpark."  Loverro reports that the prospects for
         a new baseball stadium "seem remote -- not only because of
         the financing questions," but also the "strong opposition"
         from Orioles Owner Peter Angelos (WASHINGTON TIMES, 3/25). 
              LES EXPOS FACTOR: In Montreal, Jack Todd asked, "Will
         the Expos be back in Montreal?  Will they get their new ball
         park -- or play next season in northern Virginia?  No matter
         what happens, that will be the story of the Expos' 30th
         season.  By June 30, president Claude Brochu will make the
         call" (Montreal GAZETTE, 3/24).  Todd speaks with a
         "confident-sounding" Brochu about a new ballpark.  Brochu:
         "Compared with where we were last June, when we announced
         this project, we've seen a massive shift of opinion in
         Montreal. People are more supportive, more understanding,
         more willing to get involved" (Montreal GAZETTE, 3/25).

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Facilities, MLB

              A Deloitte & Touche study commissioned by the city of
         San Diego predicts that the city will lose more than $1M in
         rent receipts for Qualcomm Stadium every season through 2006
         "because of a ticket guarantee it signed with the Chargers,"
         according to Ronald Powell of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. 
         Estimates have ticket sales to Chargers games through 2020
         averaging 56,000 per game.  Under the agreement, the city
         must pay the team for any unsold general-admission seats
         below an average of 60,000, with the payment in the form of
         rent reduction.  Last year, the first of the deal, the team
         had a rent reduction of $1.3M.  City Manager Michael
         Uberuaga said he "hopes the Chargers have a successful
         season," because in that event "general-admission ticket
         sales should reach the 60,000-seat level."  Short of that,
         "he would be willing to ask the Chargers, Qualcomm or others
         to help pay for unsold tickets."  Last season, the Chargers
         and Qualcomm bought "nearly" 40,000 unsold seats, saving the
         city another $1.6M (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 3/24).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, San Diego Chargers

              Hamilton County, OH, and the Bengals will hold a
         groundbreaking ceremony for Paul Brown Stadium on April 25
         (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 3/24)....In Las Vegas, the U.S. Grand
         Prix [USGP] formally submitted a proposal to Clark County,
         NV, to build an 18-hole championship golf course and a 2
         1/2-mile F-1 route. In its proposal, the USGP's Tommy Baker
         said that F-1 circuit would be used only once a year, for a
         proposed season-ending U.S. Grand Prix.  Baker said that
         FIA, the sanctioning body for F-1 racing, "is behind the
         project" and would grant Las Vegas a race if the circuit is
         built (LAS VEGAS SUN, 3/24)....In L.A., NHL Kings President
         Tim Leiweke said that negotiations for the Clippers to move
         into the new Staples Center, which breaks ground tomorrow,
         "have broken down again."  Clippers Owner Donald Sterling
         "initially rejected overtures from developers because the
         Kings and Lakers would get the choice dates and the Clippers
         would get the rest, probably a lot of weekday matinees"
         (L.A. TIMES, 3/24)....Unseasonably wet weather has put
         construction of the Astros ballpark about ten days behind
         schedule (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/25)....Ogden Entertainment is
         trying to stop picket action in front of the Corel Centre
         and its parking lots by striking cleaners.  Ogden said the
         seven-week long strike is causing "irreparable harm" to the
         company and limiting the ability of fans to get to the game
         on time (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 3/25).

    Print | Tags: Cincinnati Bengals, Facilities, Formula One, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Lakers

              Efforts to get Tropicana Field ready for the Devil Rays
         opener on Tuesday "are running into a stack of problems,"
         with the "biggest headache" being a lack of glass,
         "especially glass that fits," according to David Rogers of
         the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES.  Assistant city attorney Mirella
         James sent a "blistering letter" to FL-based BCI Industries,
         the contractor for the glass installation, which "detailed
         the civic humiliation" the city has endured.  James wrote
         that the leaks in the facility's rotunda during last week's
         NCAA tournament generated "negative news coverage" for the
         stadium and caused "irreparable harm" to the community and
         to the Devil Rays.  The Devil Rays had no comment on the
         situation.  Rogers writes that the glass dispute "merely
         tops the list" of problems at Tropicana.  As of yesterday,
         "only about" one-third of the temporary seating erected for
         the NCAAs had been dismantled, and crews "still need several
         days" to haul in the dirt and unroll the surface of the
         Devil Rays' field (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 3/24).
              MORE TROUBLE? Tampa Bay resident and disabled activist
         George Locascio says that Tropicana Field is "deficient of
         state and federal standards for disabled people."  Locascio,
         who in '91 successfully sued the city and forced officials
         to add "about" $700,000 worth of improvements to make the
         stadium more accessible for disabled visitors, voiced his
         feelings yesterday at a meeting of stadium architects, city
         lawyers and disabled activists.  City lawyer Mirella James
         and legal consultant Fred Lyon said that they met with Devil
         Rays managing partner Vince Naimoli yesterday to "review ADA
         compliance and other problems" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 3/25).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, NCAA, PepsiCo, Tampa Bay Rays

              MN State Sen. John Marty, "who last year galvanized
         public opinion against a state-subsidized Twins stadium,"
         called on St. Paul officials Tuesday "to delay the imminent
         demolition of the RiverCentre arena until a private
         financing plan to 'take taxpayers off the hook' is in place
         for a new NHL arena," according to Whereatt & Weiner of the
         Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  Marty: "As each day passes, this
         hockey deal sounds worse and worse."  A spokesperson for St.
         Paul Mayor Norm Coleman said that demolition will go ahead
         as scheduled.  Wild VP/ Communications Bill Robertson:
         "We're too far along in the process to stop now."  Asked
         whether the team's investors would consider funding the
         arena of their own, Robertson said, "No.  We've already
         entered into an agreement with the city and the NHL."  A
         House-Senate conference committee seeking to resolve
         differences in capital-improvement bills will examine the
         Wild's financial arrangements today.  Meanwhile, NHL
         Commissioner Gary Bettman, in St. Paul yesterday, said the
         arena is "right on course," and called the proposed state-
         city-team arena-financing plan "a best-case public-private
         partnership" (STAR TRIBUNE, 3/25).  
              MARTY CRASHER: Marty: "Even if satisfactory answers are
         forthcoming to the questions about conflicts of interest and
         secret dealings, they cannot hide the fact that this subsidy
         is a bad deal for taxpayers."  Bettman: "I don't see a
         problem because we have here strong local ownership in Bob
         Naegele" (PIONEER PRESS, 3/25).  In an op-ed in the STAR
         TRIBUNE, Marty wrote, "Wealthy investors in professional
         sports teams need to take responsibility for their own
         financial needs.  If they fail to do so, why should
         Minnesota taxpayers foot the bill?" (STAR TRIBUNE, 3/25).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild, NHL

              The 49ers' "unsettled ownership situation" could cost
         San Francisco a chance to host the Super Bowl in 2003,
         according to Ira Miller of the S.F. CHRONICLE.  Although
         team President Carmen Policy said yesterday that he "was
         confident" about getting a stadium built in time for the
         game, NFL officials at the league meetings "were not quite
         so sure."  NFL President Neal Austrian said that the stadium
         project "would have to move forward significantly" by the
         end of this year to be completed by the league's timetable. 
         Austrian: "I think we'd have to see a commitment on the part
         of whoever is going to build the stadium that it's going to
         get done."  Miller writes that the league "clearly does not
         have a handle" on who will end up controlling the team, and
         Austrian said the league is "not going to get ... in the
         middle of an intrafamily fight at this point."  Several
         sources said that they "expect" Policy to lead a group to
         buy the team if the DeBartolos sell, but if Eddie DeBartolo
         regains control of the team, they "wouldn't expect" Policy
         to remain.  A "well-placed" source told Miller that the
         league "already was getting inquiries from outside parties
         interested in buying the team" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/25).
              BEST LAID PLANS? In San Jose, Jeordan Legon analyzed
         the stadium situation, and wrote that nine months after
         voters approved the project, "[k]ey players on the city's
         side of the deal" have shifted to other projects, opponents
         of the stadium "are mounting a new campaign," and rumors of
         the team's sale "have rocked the deal to its foundations." 
         Despite "assurances" from S.F. Mayor Willie Brown that the
         project will be built, "new questions are raised almost
         weekly," and the deal has "few assurances to guarantee
         completion."  Some "insiders" say that Eddie DeBartolo's
         latest strategy to regain control "could be to hand over his
         real estate interests to his sister if she will turn over
         total ownership" of the team (MERCURY NEWS, 3/24).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, NFL, San Francisco 49ers
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