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Rose Bowl Wants Eight
Super Bowls As Part Of Deal
Rose Bowl officials looking to land an NFL team "will ask the NFL to pay rent — even though the league would put up the money for the $500[M] project — and will seek a commitment of eight Super Bowls in 30 years," according to Sam Farmer of the L.A. TIMES, who noted a 13-page "vision statement" dated today was prepared by Pasadena City Manager Cynthia Kurtz for this week's owners meetings in Philadelphia. Moag & Co. Chair and Rose Bowl consultant John Moag: "The hardest part of this project has always been trying to get the community around something that made sense for them. This proposal makes a lot of sense." An expert source said that the proposal "was so heavily weighted in Pasadena's favor that it probably wouldn't appeal to NFL owners but appeared to be a jumping-off point for negotiations." Among the proposal's points: the city would continue to own the stadium with the Rose Bowl Operating Co. maintaining its oversight role; the NFL, in addition to paying rent, would also pay for all operations, maintenance, repairs and improvements for the term of the lease, "which would be at least 30 years"; the league would also "provide the city adequate revenues" to pay off existing Rose Bowl bonds "without using revenue from neighboring Brookside Golf Course." Moag: "The city needs to be assured that it's not saddled with that debt with no way to repay it" (L.A. TIMES, 5/17). In L.A., Billy Witz wrote "both the Rose Bowl and Coliseum, citing current economic and political climate, say their plans will not include public funds." Rose Bowl Tenant Search Committee Chair Bill Thomson: "I think there's been the recognition on the part of the league that the market is different in Southern California than in other places. This is not a time in the history of Southern California and probably the state where public money is going into the building of an athletic facility" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 5/18).
MOVING VANS? ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli noted Malcolm Glazer's potential purchase of the Dodgers and wrote, "Rumblings that he might attempt to wrangle a deal in which he also owns a football team in the nation's second-largest market have ceased. What should also desist are the rumors that [Vikings Owner] Red McCombs ... could pack the moving vans and head to the Left Coast." NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue told McCombs that he was "staying put, in part because of his tightly-written lease and in part because the league has its own designs for filling" the L.A. market. Pasquarelli: "The not-so-subtle message delivered to McCombs: There will eventually be a team in Los Angeles, but it won't be the Vikings" (ESPN.com, 5/16). In Indianapolis, Bob Kravitz, on the possibility of the Colts moving to L.A.: "The good news is, there hasn't been any public haggling or posturing or politicking. Since the start the tone from both sides has been strikingly civil. The Colts haven't made any overt threats, although it's fair to say it's implied. And Mayor Bart Peterson's office has not let the talks become a front-page issue. The bad news is, there hasn't been any good news" (INDY STAR, 5/18). In San Diego, Tim Sullivan wrote, "Today, Los Angeles is a vague threat to Chargers fans. Tomorrow, it could be a clear and present danger." While "it is unlikely that the NFL owners will endorse any specific site" this week, "any progress in L.A. is problematical for San Diego." Sullivan: "If I'm [Chargers Owner] Dean Spanos ... I'm studying the local landscape with one foot out the door. Much as I might prefer to stay put, I wouldn't want to forsake the L.A. option while waiting for San Diego to settle [its legal issues]." Among possible NFL teams to relocate, the Chargers have "the earliest escape clause" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 5/18).
Soldiers Interested In Naming-Rights Deal
FOOTBALL: In this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Terry Lefton reports that the a $1.5M-a-year offer made by the U.S. Army to call the Bears' renovated stadium U.S. Army Stadium at Soldier Field was rejected. Lefton writes, "The talks never got too far along since the Bears felt they could never sell the idea to city fathers. Wouldn't any marketing effort to aid Army enlistment be welcomed by the same people who cherish the Soldier Field name? We'll never know" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/19 issue)....USA TODAY's Larry Weisman notes an in-stadium laser system of marking the first-down line "may get its tryout in college football rather than the NFL, possibly as soon as this autumn." First Down Laser Systems Developer Alan Amron said that his "preferred setup time for `optimal' testing of the system is about two months `to make sure everything is perfect' and the cost ($300,000-500,000) a stadium would be borne by sponsors" (USA TODAY, 5/19)....Loudoun Co. (VA) County Administrator Kirby Bowers said that the county "intends to approve the Redskins' request to host camp at their regular season training facility" in Ashburn. County officials "want the Redskins to address a few issues relating to the traffic that will be created" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/17).
GETTING AHEAD: In Dallas, Richard Alm noted that tourist taxes financing the American Airlines Center "are generating enough revenue to create a comfortable surplus" of $16.5M in collections from hotel and rental-car taxes that back 30-year arena bonds. Alm noted that "if the trend continues, the city will be able to pay off the debt ahead of the" 2028 due date, "just as Arlington did with the" Rangers' ballpark (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/17).
MSG, Dolan Tell The Nets
Not To Cross The River
Newark is "believed to have agreed to put up $210[M] toward a $355[M] arena" for the Nets and Devils, according to John Brennan of the Bergen RECORD. NJ Gov. James McGreevey: "We have set forth a very reasonable, balanced proposal — and arguably a proposal which [YankeeNets] originally requested. It becomes increasingly difficult to negotiate with a moving target" (Bergen RECORD, 5/17). NEWSDAY noted the $210M offer is "about 25[%] larger than the state's final offer. It's also $45[M] more than the city pledged in a preliminary agreement in October" (NEWSDAY, 5/17). In N.Y., Serby & Kernan wrote that Nets ownership "recently reached out to [Cablevision CEO] James Dolan and offered to become a tenant." But Dolan "told the Nets to stay on their side of the river" (N.Y. POST, 5/18). In Newark, Matthew Futterman wrote the Nets' and Devils' success "has done little to generate enthusiasm within the boardroom of their parent company." Futterman: "The majority of board members view the teams as a drain on the company's assets. The most telling sign of that sentiment is the board's refusal to make an up-front investment in the proposed $355[M] arena in Newark." SportsCorp President Marc Ganis, who is advising YankeeNets, said the teams' success is "not a driving factor in the arena deal. We are not taking (the playoff success) into account as an economic driver." YankeeNets officials said that the Devils are "projected to lose as much as $25[M]" this year even if they win the Stanley Cup. Each home playoff game "generates about $800,000," but investors "still owe former Devils owner John McMullen roughly $35[M]." While the "finances are less dire for the Nets," the team still needs to reach the NBA Finals "to have a chance to break even or eke out a small profit." An unidentified YankeeNets official said, "The teams came together for two purposes, creating a sports network and building an arena. One of them is done, and the other is sucking wind" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 5/16).
Bengals, NFL Sued By OH County Official
Hamilton Co. (OH) Commissioner Todd Portune "sued the Bengals and the [NFL] on Friday, claiming the league violated federal antitrust laws when it 'extorted' more than $450[M] from taxpayers to build Paul Brown Stadium," according to Dan Horn of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. The suit "accuses the NFL of using a monopoly over professional football to secure favorable stadium deals from Cincinnati and other communities." Portune, who filed individually as a "taxpayer's lawsuit" in U.S. District Court, is "seeking damages of more than $200[M] on behalf of county taxpayers and seeks to triple those damages if a judge finds the NFL violated federal antitrust rules." Portune: "They pushed those buttons to manipulate the public into doing these stadium deals." The suit alleges that teams claimed new stadiums were needed "to remain competitive when in fact the only purpose ... was to increase the profits of team owners." Portune noted that the county's stadium lease "stuck taxpayers with millions in cost overruns while giving the team too much control over development around the stadium" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/17).