SBD/Issue 141/Facilities & Venues

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  • Sonics’ Future In Doubt Without Legislature Voting On Arena

    Bennett Says “Little Hope” That Sonics Will Stay
    In Seattle Region After Legislature’s Decision
    Washington lawmakers will not vote on public funding for a proposed $500M arena in Renton before they adjourn this week, and Sonics and WNBA Storm Owner Clay Bennett said the teams now have “little hope of remaining in the Puget Sound region,” according to Brunner & Thomas of the SEATTLE TIMES. Legislative leaders said that there was “not enough support for the proposal,” and Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire called Bennett “to ask whether talks could continue after the session.” Bennett said that he “remains willing to work with Gregoire and lawmakers ‘to explore every conceivable funding option,’ including private funding.” However, he added, “At this time we have no other concepts on the table.” Washington state House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler said that arena supporters “could use the time after the session in ‘an attempt to remarket it and see if we can get something going for next year’” (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/17). Gregoire asked Bennett if he would drop his November 1 deadline, but Bennett declined (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 4/17). Jim Kneeland, a local PR liaison for the Sonics ownership group, indicated that it is “unlikely the team would go before the Legislature again next year” (SEATTLE P-I, 4/17).

    DOUBLE TALK: Several Legislature members, including Kessler, indicated that while there “may not be support for a basketball arena, ... there could be for a ‘multi-purpose facility’ with a basketball team as the key tenant.” But in Seattle, David Postman wrote arena supporters “already tried hard to present the project as something other than a basketball arena. The spreadsheet distributed recently outlining the deal is headlined, ‘Proposed public financing for a world-class multi-purpose arena in King County’” (SEATTLETIMES.com, 4/16).

    HOME ON THE RANGE? In Seattle, McGann, Galloway & Harris note the Sonics are contractually obligated to play in KeyArena until 2010, and if the ownership group wanted to “end their lease early, they’d have to negotiate a buyout with the city.” Also, Bennett would have to petition the NBA before March 1, 2008, in order to relocate the team in time for the ’08-09 season (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 4/17). In Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel writes the Hornets were a “raging success” in their two-season stint in the city largely due to the efforts of the business community and government, and Bennett “was the main reason why.” Tramel: “The NBA owes Bennett big time and knows it. ... It would be very difficult for men who grew up in Oklahoma City to put an NBA franchise somewhere else” (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 4/17).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, NBA, New Orleans Pelicans, Seattle Storm
  • Lightning, Magic And Marlins May Receive Tax Rebates

    Proposal Calls For Teams Like Magic
    To Receive One-Time Payment
    A “scaled back” version of a $540M proposal to help Florida’s pro sports teams is expected to be unveiled today before the state Senate Committee on Tourism & Economic Development Appropriations and will include only the Lightning, Magic and Marlins, according to Alex Leary of the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES. Under the reworked proposal, the teams would each get a one-time payment of $32.6M, instead of a $2M annual sales tax rebate over 30 years. The teams would be required to use the money to improve their playing venues, and they would have to apply for the money and “prove they generate at least $4[M] annually in sales tax.” The municipality or county in which each team resides would then have to “pass a referendum after holding a public hearing on the application.” Committee Chair Mike Fasano said the Lightning, Magic and Marlins “are the three franchises that have come to us asking for assistance.” He added that all three teams have “shown a commitment to invest their own funds in the stadium.” Leary notes any team that left the state would have to pay back the “difference between the $32[M] and the amount of sales tax it generated for the state” (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 4/17). In Miami, Pineiro & Caputo note the bill would mandate that each facility “be owned by local governments in Orlando, Tampa and Miami. The team has to stay in the state for 15 years and have an attendance of 300,000 a year. At least $60[M] of local money must be invested” (MIAMI HERALD, 4/17).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, Miami Marlins, Orlando Magic, Palace Sports & Entertainment, RDV Sports, Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Baltimore City Council Proposal Would Ease Tix-Selling Rules

    Baltimore City Council Debating Bill To Relax
    Ticket Reselling Laws Around Camden Yards
    Baltimore City Council member James Kraft yesterday introduced a bill that would “lift a prohibition against reselling tickets within a mile of the Camden Yards sports complex,” according to John Fritze of the Baltimore SUN. Supporters “hope the measure would boost the Orioles’ lagging attendance by making it easier for ticket holders to unload their extra tickets.” The proposal “only allows sales at or below the face value of tickets — keeping the scalping of tickets in the area illegal.” But StubHub and TicketsNow spokespeople said that consumers are “increasingly wary of buying tickets on the street.” StubHub PR Dir Sean Pate: “On the street, you’re always open to a little more lack of security and a little more limitation on what you’re actually shopping for.” Orioles officials declined to comment on the proposal, but Ravens Senior VP/Public & Community Relations Kevin Byrne indicated that he does “not believe the bill would have much of an effect on ticket sales.” Byrne added, “Clearly, there is a secondary market for tickets, but we have found that most of that’s done online.” The Ravens partner with TicketsNow for secondary ticketing (Baltimore SUN, 4/17).

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Ravens, Facilities, StubHub
  • Facility Notes

    Global Spectrum Senior VP Frank Russo said that his company “did not submit a bid for SMG to Morgan Stanley, the investment bank handling SMG’s sale.” AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke also said that his company “was not interested in acquiring SMG and its estimated 180 facility contracts” (Don Muret, SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/16 issue)....San Jose Chief Development Officer Paul Krutko issued a report confirming A’s Owner Lew Wolff’s proposal to finance a new soccer and football stadium on the San Jose State Univ. campus “would not require any public investment” and would be built “debt-free.” Funds for the stadium would come from a real estate deal proposed by Wolff (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 4/17)....BC Place Stadium will host an exhibition match October 3 between the USL first division Vancouver Whitecaps and the MLS Galaxy (ESPNSOCCERNET.com, 4/17).

    Print | Tags: AEG, Comcast-Spectacor, Facilities, Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS, Oakland Athletics
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