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After voters in NC's Triad area defeated an MLB stadium tax referendum, critics of the plan said a "constellation of issues" -- not just "no-more-taxes" -- were factors in its loss, according to Taft Wireback of the Greensboro NEWS & RECORD. Some of the factors: An unwillingness to use taxes for pro sports; "skepticism" of some local business leaders and groups backing the plan; "disbelief" of the projections of the ballpark's economic impact; a "perceived arrogance" of ballpark proponents "in its refusal to actively engage the majority of voters in the discussion" of MLB; "anger" at the "slick" campaign promoting the proposal; and "animosity toward" wealthy professional athletes and team owners. But Walt Klein, campaign manager for "Vote Yes For MLB," said that the campaign failed because the "economy is good right now, so people are more satisfied with the Triad's status quo." He added that "the average person couldn't latch onto the abstract" of what an MLB team would do for the community. Klein: "I believe it's difficult for people to think five or 10 years down he road" (NEWS & RECORD, 5/10).
The Dodgers "are expected to seek approval" from the city of L.A. in the next several weeks "to build luxury suites" at Dodger Stadium, according to Robert Kuwada of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. Dodgers President Bob Graziano said plans for 50-60 suites "are among several options under consideration" that would allow the team to generate additional revenue to increase the team's payroll. The Dodgers "also are considering increasing advertising signage inside the stadium and improving preferred field-level seats between the home and visiting dugouts." But Graziano said that a naming rights deal for the ballpark "is not among the options at this point" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 5/8).
In DC, Mike Cleary reports that the MCI Center has "spurred or accelerated" many of the projects in the eastern part of downtown DC. The arena has also "brought a new wave of patrons" to the area (WASHINGTON TIMES, 5/11)....Work crews will begin dismantling the retractable roof at Olympic Stadium today. The process, to be completed in December, will cost Quebecers C$180M, much of it in repairs, to replace it with a C$37M permanent roof (TORONTO STAR, 5/11). ...Int'l Speedway Corp. (ISC) showed plans Friday for its proposed, $200M Kansas Int'l Speedway. The new track will sport condominiums, a restaurant and a museum and should closely resemble the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (K.C. STAR, 5/9)....Harbor Yard, the new minor league park for the Bridgeport (CT) Bluefish will cost taxpayers about $17M instead of the projected $14M (HARTFORD COURANT, 5/11).
The Mariners and the Safeco Insurance Co. "both denied they have an agreement" to sell the company naming rights for the team's new ballpark, according to a report in the SEATTLE TIMES. Mariners Dir of PR Dave Aust said that no deal has been signed and that "none was imminent." Aust also said that the team is "still negotiating with several companies." Safeco spokesperson Pat Hillis "confirmed that Safeco has talked to the Mariners about naming rights," but said that there "is no deal" (SEATTLE TIMES, 5/8).