SBD/9/Facilities Venues

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              IL-based Sportsman's Park will be "transformed into a
         dual-purpose facility" and host a CART race on Labor Day
         weekend in '99, according to Skip Myslenski of the CHICAGO
         TRIBUNE.  The $50M makeover will begin as soon as its
         current thoroughbred season closes June 30.  Track officials
         also hope to "eventually" land a NASCAR race.  The National
         Jockey Club, which owns Sportsman's, will retain ownership
         of the renovated track, but will put on the CART race in
         "equal partnership" with racing team Owner Chip Ganassi.
         Capacity will be expanded initially to between 60,000-
         70,000, before "phase two," which will expand the track to
         "approximately 90,000" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/9).
              NO TO BALTIMORE: Despite efforts to build a new
         racetrack in the Baltimore area, NASCAR VP/Competition Mike
         Helton said, "There is no interest from NASCAR to move into
         that area with any races."  He said the Baltimore-D.C.
         market "is serviced by other tracks with whom we already
         have long-standing relationships" (Baltimore SUN, 4/9).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, NASCAR

              In Boston, columnist Mike Barnicle writes that while
         Fenway Park "is a wonderful envelope of memories, and while
         nostalgia can be a nice emotion, the park itself is on life
         support.  And it's time to pull the plug" (BOSTON GLOBE,
         4/9)....The MN Senate Tax Committee yesterday "narrowly
         passed a ballpark funding bill."  Under the bill, a $284M
         open-air stadium would be built using customer and team user
         fees, with state money tapped only to back up the finance
         plan.  In Minneapolis, Jay Weiner reports that "despite its
         revival, the stadium bill appears to be a long shot" (STAR
         TRIBUNE, 4/9).  ESPN's Peter Gammons said last night the
         Twins situation "is a mess.  Minnesota is not going to build
         Carl Pohlad a ballpark ... To make things worse, the
         [Greensboro, NC] triad area is considered too small for a
         major-league market.  But the Executive Council says there
         may be an out.  They say NationsBank will finance a downtown
         stadium in Charlotte if the Twins will consider moving
         there" ("SportsCenter," 4/8)....The NHL Panthers' new arena
         in Sunrise has "at least 100 dates booked during the year
         after the facility opens."  Panthers Exec VP Dean Jordan
         said that 69 of the arena's 70 luxury suites have been sold,
         selling for $70,000 to $120,000 apiece (SUN-SENTINEL, 4/9).

    Print | Tags: Bank of America, ESPN, Facilities, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Twins, Walt Disney

              In MN, the '98 legislative sessions "neared its
         conclusion" after leaders reached agreement on financing for
         a $130M St. Paul hockey arena, according to Whereatt & Brown
         of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  The "main parts" of the
         plan include a $65M interest-free loan from the state, a
         contribution of $30M by the city and a $35M contribution
         from the Wild.  Part of the state loan, $17M, would "be
         forgiven if the arena is opened for various public functions
         for 50 rent-free days a year.  Wild CEO Jac Sperling said
         that he saw "no problems working out an arrangement for
         rent-free events."  The team will also "still keep most of
         the money" from the facility, including naming rights, and
         suite and concession revenue.  Senate Majority Leader Roger
         Moe, who had withheld support on the arena, said he "won
         approval for other major bills 'all in exchange'" for the
         arena deal (STAR-TRIBUNE, 4/9).  Moe and House Speaker Phil
         Carruthers said repayment of the remaining $48M to the state
         "will be paid back by the team."  The city will also get
         $750,000 per year for 20 years from the state, about the
         same amount paid to the Target Center.  The agreement has
         the support of MN Gov. Arne Carlson (PIONEER PRESS, 4/9).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, Minnesota Wild
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