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With the Raleigh arena project $20M over budget, Laurie Willis of the NEWS & OBSERVER reported that the Hurricanes "have proposed giving more money for the arena, but have not divulged how much they are offering" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 6/6)....In Dallas, Holly Cain reports that Bruton Smith's $3M worth of renovations at his Texas Motor Speedway may have "put" the track "back in contention for a highly coveted" second Winston Cup race in '99 (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/8). But in Charlotte, Jim Utter wrote that the Winston Cup circuit next year is "likely to include" a 34th race at the Homestead Motorsports complex in FL, while another race may be added for the Kansas City, KS, facility in 2000 (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/7).
Irvine, CA, leaders "expressed wariness" Friday at granting exclusive development rights to an investment group seeking to build a pro football stadium in the city, and said that "it could be months before they make a final decision," according to Shelby Grad of the L.A. TIMES. The Southern California Sports Group (SCSG), comprised of L.A. investors including former USC RB Anthony Davis, has said that it "will raise" $500M for a stadium if Irvine "will give it sole authority to develop the project and help recruit an NFL team." Irvine Mayor Christina Shea, on the SCSG's proposal: "They want exclusivity, and I don't think the council is ready to do that." SCSG execs could not be reached for comment, and Grad wrote that it is "unclear" whether the group would proceed with a stadium plan without exclusive development rights (L.A. TIMES, 6/6).
New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone "refused to drop his call" on Friday for a referendum on any new Yankee stadium, one day after team Owner George Steinbrenner said Vallone's actions could led him to relocate his team out of New York, according to Michael Finnegan of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Vallone said he was "definitely proceeding with" the stadium referendum, adding that city voters "must be allowed to decide whether taxpayer money is spent on the nation's most expensive ballpark at a time when many public schools are in disrepair." NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani "added to the extraordinary pressure" on Vallone, "echoing" Steinbrenner's statements, and saying that the city "must be able to offer Steinbrenner a Manhattan ballpark" if the team decides to leave Yankee Stadium (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/8). NO CHANCE TO WIN VOTE? In N.Y., Clifford Levy wrote an analysis of Giuliani's opposition to a referendum under the header, "Sensing A Defeat." He wrote that Giuliani is looking to avoid a vote as, "stadium naysayers here, as in similar votes elsewhere, would seem to have the upper hand" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/6). In N.Y., Mike Lupica wrote that Steinbrenner uses "vague threats" in talks of a new stadium, but "never comes out and tells us exactly what he wants" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/7). Also in N.Y., Dave Anderson wrote, "[E]verybody should know that whenever [Steinbrenner] talks about taking his team anywhere, he's bluffing" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/7). But a N.Y. POST editorial titled "Steinbrenner Is Serious," stated that, "Whatever else Steinbrenner may be, he isn't a loose cannon. ... When he says Jersey, he means Jersey" (N.Y. POST, 6/6). A N.Y. TIMES editorial stated that while the "referendum Mr. Vallone desires is unlikely to enhance public discourse" of a facility, it is his "right to raise the issue of public financing." The paper concluded: "The universe of private financing options is a lot wider than Mr. Steinbrenner and the other lords of baseball let on" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/6).
MD Stadium Authority Chair John Moag, who was named to head the sports investment group at Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc., said that he "will take the steps necessary to avoid conflicts of interest," according to Jon Morgan of the Baltimore SUN. Moag said that his investment group "won't be looking for work" in MD and added, "The kind of stuff I'm going to be doing here is out of state." However, Morgan wrote that others "aren't so sure," including MD Common Cause Exec Dir Kathleen Skullney, who called Moag's new position "very problematic," and said Moag "has a responsibility to the state not to wear those two hats." Moag said that he "will recuse himself from consideration of business that might overlap with Legg Mason's work," adding that Legg Mason "won't do business" with the Stadium Authority or either Baltimore team (Baltimore SUN, 6/7).