Final "Friday Night Fights" Tonight Louisiana Passes Sports Event Bidding Bill Miami May Get Football/MLS Stadium MLSE Close To Naming New CEO Sources Deny Report On Rams To L.A. St. Paul Saints Open Ballpark Michigan Approves Athletics Project NHL Salary Cap Expected To Grow 5% Figo, Van Praag Pull Out Of FIFA Race
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NJ Gov. James McGreevey "backed away yesterday from comments that suggested the construction of a long-anticipated sports arena" in Newark "hinged on the re-election" of Mayor Sharpe James, according to Richard Lezin Jones of the N.Y. TIMES. McGreevey said on Monday, "Under the leadership of Sharpe James, we will build an arena for the Devils and Nets. ... Newark, you give me Sharpe James," and the city would get the Devils and Nets. But McGreevey said yesterday that he had "not intended to draw an official connection between a win for" James and construction of the $355M arena. McGreevey: "There exists no linkage yet. Mayor James has always been exceptionally supportive of the idea of an arena from the very outset, but there is no linkage." But Republican lawmakers said that they were "troubled by the governor's suggestion that there might be some kind of quid pro quo" for Newark if James was re-elected. NJ State Sen. co-Majority leader Anthony Bucco said of McGreevey: "You can't go around endorsing people and telling residents, `I'll give you the Nets if you give me Sharpe James'" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/23).
The Eagles have sold all of the available suites in their new stadium, which opens in '03, and "have put in an urgent call to their architect," according to Phil Sheridan of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, who notes the original stadium design "called for 125 suites but allowed space for more to be added later if needed." The Eagles "have decided to build them now." Eagles President Joe Banner said of the suites selling out: "Most of this was done before [the team's playoff run]. We would have sold out even before this happened, but I wouldn't have wanted to try to do this if people didn't feel the team was headed in the right direction." Sheridan reports the Eagles sold all of the highest-priced seat licenses to potential season-ticket holders, as there were more applicants than available licenses. Sheridan: "The only work left ... is to offer the lower-priced licenses (which are for lesser seats) to those shut out on the best seats." The current planned seating in the $512M stadium is 66,000, with 29,000 set aside for those who purchase seat licenses (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/23).
The McKinney (TX) Community Development Corp., a nonprofit organization funded by a half-cent sales tax to pay for projects that can include entertainment venues, "approved a request from the city for funding" to build a soccer stadium for the MLS Burn, according to Ian McCann of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS, who noted the stadium project includes the 18,000-seat facility, two practice fields, 1,500 parking spaces, and new streets and water and sewer lines. McKinney City Council member Steve Bell said that the final decision on the project "is expected within weeks and could come as early" as tonight's City Council meeting. Hunt Sports Group President John Wagner, who is repping MLS in negotiations with the city of McKinney, said that the Burn "would move to McKinney if the stadium were built," and that if the city "makes a decision quickly, the facility could open in" April '03. Though McKinney Community Development Chair Kevin Slay "couldn't disclose the amount" of funding, the city had asked for $30M. However, the city's application said that the project is expected to cost McKinney $47-53M. Bell said that the additional money "could come from" Collin County, MLS, developer David Craig or the McKinney Economic Development Corp. (DMN, 1/22).
Cook County (IL) Circuit Judge John Madden yesterday "agreed to expedite a case and ordered" the Friends of the Parks and the Soldier Field development team "to formulate a time frame during which they can gather depositions and other evidence for him to consider before making a final decision on the remaining two counts of the lawsuit," according to Ellen Almer of CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS. Madden also set a January 30 deadline for the development team to answer Friends of the Park's "discovery requests," and scheduled February 25 for a status hearing. The two remaining counts claim the stadium renovation "improperly taps public funds and violates public trust by using public land for private use" (CRAIN'S CHICAGO, 1/22). In Chicago, Ford & Mendell write that "both sides of the dispute hailed Madden's ruling as a victory." Stadium renovation spokesperson Tom Hardy, noting that Madden "has done nothing to stop work at the site," said, "Now we're just marking time until this case is resolved." But Friends of the Parks President Erma Tranter said that the ruling "holds out the possibility that Madden eventually could order the Bears to stop building the new [facility] and regardless of cost to the team put up something more acceptable to preservationists" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/23).