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Cleveland City Council members say that the NFL and the new owner the Browns "should pay for stadium overruns" now estimated at $13-23M, according to Alison Grant of the Cleveland PLAIN-DEALER. Council members, in a resolution Monday night, "urged" Cleveland Mayor Michael White to negotiate with the league and the Browns' future owner and "to take responsibility for costs that exceed" $248M, the final price at which White pegged the project last year. The resolution sponsored by 14 city council members "is an appeal, but the league and new owner are under no mandate to abide by it." White's press secretary said the mayor would take the matter "under advisement." NFL VP/Communications Greg Aiello: "[W]e have been actively working with the city to manage stadium costs efficiently. We are confident this issue, and all others, will be resolved fairly at the proper time and in the proper form" (Cleveland PLAIN-DEALER, 4/22).
Red Sox Exec VP John Buckley said the club "was not ready to present a specific plan" for a new stadium yet. Characterizing the project as a "public-private partnership," Buckley said, "We've got to have a financing plan that makes sense. We don't have that." He also said that before any plan could be unveiled, the team "wanted to do more groundwork with fans and neighbors" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/23)....CO Gov. Roy Romer approved a plan to use public money for a new Broncos stadium, "clearing the way for a November election" to decide the "fate" of the project. Romer: "I strongly believe the people of the metro area should have the opportunity to vote on this issue" (DENVER POST, 4/23)....The Winston-Salem, NC, board of aldermen "has decided not to take a position on a proposal to use taxpayers' money" to build a $210M MLB stadium in the Triad area (AP/Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 4/22)....ARC Int'l Corp. broke ground on a hockey and figure skating facility in Chesapeake, VA. The 80,000-square-foot project, which features two NHL regulation-sized rinks, a sports-themed diner and pro shop is scheduled to open in the Fall (ARC).
Construction on the Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) began Tuesday, but TMS officials said they "still haven't finalized a plan" for the track's "major overhaul," reports Holly Cain in the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. TMS GM Eddie Gossage: "We haven't decided what we're going to do yet, but the things being done now with the bulldozers and milling machines would have to be done anyway." The next scheduled event at TMS is a June 5-6 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and IRL "doubleheader." Gossage said that TMS engineers are "still consulting" with NASCAR, NASCAR drivers, as well as the IRL in "finding a solution that pleases as many interests as possible" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/23). PREMATURE MOVE? NASCAR officials "were taken aback" by a Tuesday report that South Boston Speedway (SBS) "planned to move its NASCAR Busch Series race in the year 2000 to a proposed track in the Washington DC/Baltimore area," according to Bob Zeller of the Greensboro NEWS & RECORD. SBS Owner Mason Day: "In order to see my event grow and stay competitive in the industry, relocating this event is inevitable." NASCAR President Bill France: "NASCAR has no precedent of track owners arbitrarily relocating races. Nor have we agreed to any changes two years in advance." Zeller notes that track owners "don't own" NASCAR race dates, and adds that with the exception of the CA Speedway, NASCAR "does not commit to events at speedways that have not been built yet." NASCAR spokesperson Tim Sullivan, on Day's comments: "In our eyes, it's a little premature to make those comments when we don't know what the 1999 schedule looks like yet" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 4/22).
MLS officials say they're "extremely interested in operating a franchise within the five boroughs to join the MetroStars," according to Seifman & Hardt of the N.Y. POST. MLS Commissioner Doug Logan said the league has "always" had plans to bring a second team to N.Y., but that league officials have "been kind of scratching our heads, wondering where we could go." NYC officials "have a ready answer" -- Yankee Stadium, if the Yankees move out, "could play host" to an MLS team. NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani: "If we could find a suitable site, we could have a soccer franchise now. It's a sport that draws 20,000 to 22,000 people per game." A spokesperson for Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer said that an MLS team is "an idea worth considering" if it plays "when the Yankees aren't in town" (N.Y. POST, 4/23). NEW OLD STUDY: A '96 study of the economic impact of a Manhattan stadium for the Yankees projected that it would generate $102.5M per year for NYC, "far less" than the $1B projected by city officials in a new report. Smith College Professor Andrew Zimbalist, on the studies: "There has not been an independent study by an economist for any stadium built over the last 30 years that suggests you can anticipate a positive economic impact. One has to take these claims with a grain of salt" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/23). YANKEE DOODLES: More reax from Mayor Giuliani's corporate tax plan to fund stadiums for the Yankees and Mets appeared in today's N.Y. dailies. Bob Herbert of the TIMES: "If the new stadiums are such gold mines, then why aren't private investors rushing to finance their construction? The answer is that private interests can make a lot of money from the stadiums as long as they don't have to pay to build them. The real gold mine is the city treasury, and Mr. Giuliani has graciously invited [Yankees Owner, George] Steinbrenner and [Mets Owner, Fred] Wilpon to come in and stake their claims" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/23) ....The DAILY NEWS' Jim Dwyer writes that the Yankees and Mets "are not struggling businesses that need government handouts to survive" (DAILY NEWS, 4/23)....NYC Council Speaker Peter Vallone wrote in today's DAILY NEWS under the header "New Stadium? Ask Taxpayers First." Vallone: "I, like many others in our city, personally oppose the Yankees moving from the Bronx to Manhattan, but if New York's taxpayers want it, I will agree to it" (DAILY NEWS, 4/23).