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              In Minneapolis, Jay Weiner writes an open letter to
         Vikings Owner Red McCombs offering advice on pursuing a new
         publicly-funded stadium: "Please, as you crank up the volume
         on the Vikings stadium debate, address specifics.  Please
         don't insult the intelligence of Minnesota's public and
         sports fans.  We've seen it all, Red" (STAR TRIBUNE, 5/10). 
         Meanwhile, fallout continued from the departure of Vikings
         VP/Football Ops Jeff Diamond, and in Houston, John McClain
         called McCombs' action in Diamond's exit "a foolish decision
         at such a crucial time to build support and good will with
         the media and fans" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/8).  One day after
         Diamond left, the team "fired" his secretary and 32-year
         franchise employee Roz Sorenson.  In St. Paul, Bob Sansevere
         wrote that McCombs "might be a competent businessman, but he
         sure isn't a compassionate one" (PIONEER PRESS, 5/9).  
              OTHER NOTES: NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue made his
         "pitch" for Patriots stadium luxury seat sales at Citizens
         Bank's Boston office on Friday (BOSTON HERALD, 5/8).  

    Print | Tags: Facilities, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, NFL

              Five security guards at Lowe's Motor Speedway were
         fired Friday for "roughing up" a Charlotte Observer
         photographer and "seizing" his cameras and film after last
         week's accident in which three spectators were killed at the
         VisionAire 500, according to Foon Rhee of the CHARLOTTE
         OBSERVER.  LMS President Humpy Wheeler said the track
         employs "approximately" 200 part-time security staffers and
         that they "will get trained in new policies" before NASCAR
         races later this month "to prevent this from happening
         again."  Videotape shows about a half-dozen security guards
         "surrounding" Observer photographer Todd Sumlin, pushing him
         and grabbing cameras from around his neck.  The cameras were
         later returned, but a roll of film was "destroyed." 
         Wheeler: "It was an unfortunate situation for everyone
         involved.  While no one from speedway management directed or
         instructed the action taken during the incident, we still
         deeply regret it happened" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/8).       
         King examines Lowe's association with the tragedy through
         its naming rights deal at the Charlotte speedway.  Lowe's
         execs said they had "not begun to assess the impact of the
         association on their business."  Lowe's Senior VP/Marketing
         Gregory Bridgeford: "We really haven't focused on anything
         but the personal aspects of this tragedy."  But David Paro,
         VP/ProServ's consulting division, said of the tragic
         incident at Lowe's: "I hate to admit it, but it will hurt
         the naming-rights situation in motorsports" (SPORTSBUSINESS
         JOURNAL, 5/10 issue).  VisionAire has not decided whether it
         will remain as title sponsor of the IRL event, even if the
         race returns to Charlotte.  VisionAire Chair Jim Rice:
         "Whether you keep the race or not, I don't know." 
         Communications Concepts and Sports Media Challenge President
         Kathleen Hessert said that VisionAire and other sponsors
         "were saved" by LMS management's decision to cancel the race
         after the severity of the accident was determined.  Hessert:
         "If they had kept racing here, VisionAire would have been
         bombarded" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/10 issue).  

    Print | Tags: Facilities, IndyCar, NASCAR, Speedway Motorsports Inc.

              A new poll shows that the Rio Salado Crossing campaign
         is "so close" that the last vote cast on May 18 "might
         literally decide the race," according to Robbie Sherwood of
         the ARIZONA REPUBLIC.  Voters in Mesa, Gilbert and Queen
         Creek "remain almost evenly split" on the $1.8B development,
         which would include a new stadium for the Cardinals.  The
         closest race is in Mesa, where 45% of the voters support the
         project, 45% oppose it and 10% remain undecided.  The poll
         numbers "hardly budged" from an Arizona Republic poll taken
         in January.  The development project would be funded by a
         quarter-cent sales tax "increase" in Mesa to help pay for
         the $497M stadium and convention center.  The other $1.3B is
         for retail, commercial and office development that will come
         from "private monies."  Analytical Research surveyed 407
         registered voters in Mesa, 203 in Gilbert and 141 in Queen
         Creek, from May 1-4 (AZ REPUBLIC, 5/9).  The AZ REPUBLIC has
         endorsed the Rio Salado Crossing project (AZ REPUBLIC, 5/9).
         In Phoenix, Robbie Sherwood writes that voter turnout is
         expected to be low next Tuesday (AZ REPUBLIC, 5/10).

    Print | Tags: Facilities
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