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The price of Raleigh's Centennial Arena, future home of the Hurricanes and N.C. State Univ., has increased by $20M, putting the cost of the arena at $152M, according to Laurie Willis of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. Centennial Authority Chair Steve Stroud said the price increase "reflects construction delays caused by unusually wet weather that has slowed work." Since the beginning of construction, there have been "well over" 60 bad weather work days. Stroud "suggested" that the Authority might ask for more support from the city and Wake County. But Raleigh Mayor Tom Fetzer, who was already an opponent of the arena, said that he "doesn't plan to give another dime" to the project. Fetzer: "Not in this lifetime. This will be the third time they've gone to that well" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 6/5).
In Toronto, Nicolaas van Rijn reports that the Air Canada Centre is 60% "complete and on schedule -- eight months away from completion and its February, 1999, opening" (TORONTO STAR, 6/5)....Over 5,000 people attended the ceremony yesterday which renamed Granada Hills [CA] high school's football stadium after alumnus John Elway (DENVER POST, 6/5)....Philadelphia Attorney William Schwartz has filed a class-action lawsuit against Ogden Entertainment, concessionaire at the Vet, accusing them of "consumer fraud" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 6/5)....In Dallas, Holly Cain reports that the TX Motor Speedway is getting "rave reviews" for its revamped oval track after yesterday's practice/ qualifying session for this weekend's IRL-NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series doubleheader (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/5).
WA-based Safeco Corporation and the Mariners announced an agreement to name the team's new ballpark Safeco Field. Mariners President Chuck Armstrong, who said the team spoke to over two dozen companies, said the naming rights deal calls for $1.8M per year for 20 years, adjusted annually for inflation -- about $40M over the full commitment. The deal is subject to approval by the Public Facilities District. The 45,600-seat retractable roof stadium is scheduled to open in July '99 (Mariners). As part of the deal, Safeco will get to put its signs at all the major entrances to the ballpark, as well as two "prominent locations" inside the building. Safeco is "also expected to participate" in other promotions (David Schaefer, SEATTLE TIMES, 6/4).
Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner "all but threatened last night to leave New York City" unless City Council Speaker Peter Vallone "abandoned his push for a referendum on whether city money should be used to help build a new ballpark," according to Norimitsu Onishi of the N.Y. TIMES. Steinbrenner's remarks came after City Council leaders "unveiled their own plan for the city's next budget." The Council and NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani "have been deadlocked over the budget" because of Giuliani's refusal to consider any changes proposed by the Council unless Vallone "abandoned his call for a public vote on the stadium issue." Steinbrenner: "Politics has driven more team from New York City than any of us care to remember. ... I do not want to move the Yankees from New York, but I must warn: [Vallone] is bringing us dangerously close." Steinbrenner's words were "the strongest he has used so far in the subject of the team's future home." Vallone responded to Steinbrenner by saying that, "Yankee Stadium is a good debate and everyone should have a say in it (N.Y. TIMES, 6/5).