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The Broncos "have a deal that will let them leave" Mile High Stadium, contingent on voter approval November 3 of a $260M subsidy of a proposed $350M stadium, according to Ann Imse of the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS. Imse: "For something more than $40 million, according to the deal, the Broncos can walk away from what they call the worst lease in the NFL." To escape the lease, the team will buy out concessionaires at Mile High, pay off city bonds tied to a stadium seat tax, and pay 25% of the cost of street, utilities and other improvements related to the new stadium. Both Mile High and McNichols Sports Arena will be torn down. In return, Denver will sell the 80-acre Mile High site to the six-county stadium district for $10. The city will get the land back at the end of the 25-year deal (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 8/7).
The Pirates and Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank yesterday announced a 20-year marketing alliance under which the new home of the Pirates will be named PNC Park when it opens in 2001. Under the naming-rights agreement, PNC will pay approximately $1.5M a year through the 2020 season. The bank has also negotiated a separate marketing agreement that provides several marketing, advertising and merchandising opportunities, including the exclusive right to offer financial services at the ballpark (Pirates). IMAGE BOOSTER FOR PNC: In Pittsburgh, Tom Barnes reports that PNC Chair Thomas O'Brien and PNC President/ Pittsburgh Operations Sy Holzer said the new agreement "includes a national marketing and promotional component that will help PNC publicize its name on a wider scale and better compete in the world of institutional investing and asset management." O'Brien: "We'll get something like a billion-and-a-half impressions of PNC a year." O'Brien added that PNC's investment will also "bolster its growth in the Pittsburgh region," where it employs 8,100 people and has added 3,400 workers since '95. The naming rights will cost PNC $30M over the life of the deal, and it will also pay another fee for the marketing deal (POST GAZETTE, 8/7). CAN YOU STOP THE INSANITY? MLB Commissioner Bud Selig was asked several questions yesterday about MLB's economic disparity at the PNC news conference, and in Pittsburgh, columnist Ron Cook writes that "it's really depressing when baseball's commissioner offers no real hope for any fiscal sanity prevailing in the future" (POST GAZETTE, 8/7).
The Rose Garden "will have better wheelchair seating than almost any other sports arena in the country thanks to a lawsuit settlement announced Wednesday," according to Ashbel Green of the Portland OREGONIAN. According to the agreement, arena officials will build 101 elevated wheelchair seats throughout the arena so that users can see the game when other spectators stand up in front of them. During Blazer games and other sporting events, arena officials will hold all 101 seats open until the day of the game, but will sell the seats to the general public if they aren't purchased by wheelchair users. The changes "should be in effect" by the start of this season (OREGONIAN, 8/6).
In a front-page piece in today's WASHINGTON POST, Heath & Goodman report that the "politically divisive, decade-long quest" to bring pro football to downtown Baltimore concludes tomorrow night, when the Ravens host the Bears in the first preseason game in their new stadium (WASHINGTON POST, 8/7). Ravens VP David Modell tells Don Pierson of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE that revenues from new, publicly-financed stadiums "separate the men from the boys in this sport." But Modell said the team will not make a $70M profit this year from the new stadium, as is widely reported: "We're receiving $70 million and promptly handing over 64 percent to players. You have a business to run" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/7). In MD, John Eisenberg writes that the stadium is a "splendid place, no doubt, as well it should be for what it cost." But, noting the high upper-level, he writes, "if your seats are up there, you'd better bring a Sherpa" (BALT. SUN, 7/8).