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Energy company Enron "is the front-runner" to acquire naming rights to the Astros' new ballpark in a deal that could have "ramifications far beyond" naming rights, according to John Williams of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. The new name of The Ballpark at Union Station could be "as simple" as Enron Park. Enron is also "proposing" that it manage many of the services in the new stadium, including elevators, escalators, energy, air conditioning and landscaping. The company is also "looking into helping to acquire" currently vacant land around the stadium to "build and manage a large residential, retail and commercial development." Enron execs declined comments and said that "facility management and especially downtown development" talks are "premature" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/13).
The MLB Rangers "have agreed to pay" Arlington, TX, $22.2M over 26 years to "cover costs incurred from litigation over land condemnations around The Ballpark in Arlington," according to Sean Wood of the FT. WORTH STAR- TELEGRAM. The money will "reimburse" the Arlington Sports Facilities Development Authority for payments it made to two families and "cover the costs incurred by the city because of the lawsuits, along with an interest rate" of 5.09%. As part of the deal, the Rangers won't "exercise their option" to buy The Ballpark when the sales tax debt is retired in 2002, but will "put off the opportunity" to buy it until 2024. Arlington "has long wanted" the team to reimburse the authority for the settlement payments (STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/13).
The Red Sox "denied" a report that the team is seeking $50M or more from the City of Boston to help finance a new ballpark, according to Meg Vaillancourt of the BOSTON GLOBE. Red Sox VP/Public Affairs Dick Bresciani: "That is absolutely false. We have not asked the city for a dime. In fact we are still researching and reviewing our options." Bresciani also refused to put a timeline on when the franchise may announce its ballpark plan: "We don't have a definite date for making any decisions." Team officials told the BOSTON GLOBE that a public announcement could be postponed for "several months or more" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/13).