SBD/Issue 112/Facilities & Venues

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  • NBA To Unveil Proposal Friday For New Kings Arena At Cal Expo

    Kings' Owners Say They Are
    Losing Money At Arco Arena
    NBA officials Friday "will unveil an ambitious plan to turn much of Cal Expo into a densely packed urban community" with an arena for the Kings as its centerpiece, according to Tony Bizjak of the SACRAMENTO BEE. The proposal to be presented to the Cal Expo board reportedly "would wipe the slate clean at the 40-year-old fairground, eliminating the horse-racing track, the grandstands, the livestock pavilions and other buildings." Town houses, apartments, offices, stores and restaurants "would sprout on a new street grid, anchored by the arena and a site for what Cal Expo officials have billed as a modern State Fairground and year-round event center." Sacramento city officials have "hailed the plan as dramatic on three fronts: as a prototype for urban development in Sacramento; as the move that could finally give the Kings what they want to stay in town; and as a financial boost for a fading State Fair." But questions "remain unanswered: How will the project be funded? How many years will it take to build? Will any developer sign on in this down economy? And, will the Kings stick around long enough to see it all happen?" Baltimore-based Moag & Co. CEO John Moag, a consultant working for the NBA on this project, said, "We have about a year to put something together that makes sense. If we miss that opportunity, we do have a problem on our hands." Kings co-Owners Joe and Gavin Maloof said that they are "losing money as a bad economy and poor play by the team leave more empty seats" at Arco Arena. But Joe Maloof earlier this month "repeated his long-standing mantra: The team has roots in Sacramento, it is part of the community, and he hopes an arena deal can be arranged here." NBA reps said that Friday they will offer the Cal Expo board "its first view of a master-plan proposal for the state site, including proposed financing, consultants' analysis and artistic renderings." The board is "expected to convene a second meeting in March to vote on whether to sign an agreement with the NBA for the fairground model" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/27). 

    IN THE DARK: State Assembly member Dave Jones, who serves on the Cal Expo BOD, said that he had "met with NBA officials on Wednesday and had been brief[ed] about the broad outlines of the plan, but he said he was provided no details." Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said that he had also "requested a briefing on the plan prior to the meeting, but he had not yet received one" (MSNBC.com, 2/27).

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  • Yankees, BofA Officially End Talks For Major Sponsorship Deal

    Yankees, Bank Of America Still May Sign
    A Smaller Sponsorship Deal
    The Yankees and Bank of America (BofA) Thursday officially announced that they have "ended talks for a major sponsorship deal for the new Yankee Stadium," according to Anthony Rieber of NEWSDAY. The two sides in September reportedly were "close to a lucrative signature sponsorship deal," but the economy and BofA's stock have "taken a major swan dive."  BofA Senior VP/National Media Relations Joe Goode Thursday said, "This was a unique business partnership we were talking about. These unprecedented times often call for difficult decisions." Rieber notes it is "unclear how the loss of the potential Bank of America sponsorship will affect the Yankees' plans for advertising" at the new ballpark. Yankees COO Lonn Trost Wednesday said, "I can say the economy has not affected our sponsorship one iota" (NEWSDAY, 2/27). The AP's Ronald Blum reports Trost "expects to negotiate a lower-level deal with a bank that would include cash-machine rights" in the new Yankee Stadium, and Trost indicated that BofA "could become involved in those talks." Trost: "It just doesn't seem like this is the time to do something special with a financial institution. There are so many teams being criticized. In the face of that, to do a deal, we would face additional criticism" (AP, 2/26).

    FAILURE TO LAUNCH: A Yankees exec said that the team and BofA "mutually agreed to part ways after seeing the heat that Citigroup was getting for putting its name on the new Mets stadium" (CNBC.com, 2/26). Meanwhile, Goode Thursday said that contrary to reports, the bank "never tried to negotiate for naming rights at the stadium." Goode said that BofA will "continue to offer Yankees-related products such as credit cards," though he admitted that it will be "harder to market them to consumers without the stadium agreement." Goode: "We still see value in the Yankees organization as both a business and marketing partner. It's our hope that we can find other ways to maintain our business relationship that goes back to the mid '90s" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/27). Goode said the two sides "concluded our negotiations on a long-term agreement in early January" (N.Y. POST, 2/27).

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  • City Of Industry City Council Approves Ed Roski's NFL Stadium Plan

    City Of Industry City Council Unanimously
    Approves $800M Football Stadium
    The City of Industry (CA) City Council Thursday unanimously accepted an environmental plan for an $800M football stadium proposed by Majestic Realty Chair & CEO Ed Roski, and the prospect of having an NFL team return to the L.A. area "inched closer," according to Jennifer McLain of the PASADENA STAR-NEWS. Majestic Realty VP John Semcken said that the company can "start negotiating with football teams as early as next month." However, Semcken acknowledged that lawsuits posed by the nearby towns of Walnut and Diamond Bar "could delay the project," and attorneys representing the two cities Thursday claimed that City of Industry "did not properly follow the state's environmental act because it did not provide public documents within the required time frame." Walnut attorney Jan Chatten-Brown said that the city will "now pursue its legal options" (PASADENA STAR-NEWS, 2/27).

    WHO'S IN LINE? Semcken Thursday said that at least eight NFL franchises, including the Raiders, Bills and Vikings, "have been identified as possible targets for relocation." Semcken added that developers are "confident the NFL would approve a move by a team." Semcken said the NFL "understand[s] the stadium, they understand the economic opportunity. All they want is certainty. They want to make sure our stadium is getting built." NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy said that the league was "monitoring potential stadium developments" in the L.A. area, but declined to comment on specific plans (AP, 2/26).

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  • Marlins Ballpark Deal Includes Death Clause That Alters Payout

    If Miami City Council Approves Ballpark
    Agreement, County Commission Then Will Vote
    Miami-Dade County in the pending ballpark contract with the Marlins "demanded a cut of the profits" if Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria sells the team within seven years, but if Loria, 68, "dies in those seven years and the team is sold, the public's equity in the team is wiped out," according to Dolan & Rabin of the MIAMI HERALD. As part of the clause, which is "buried deep inside the hundreds of pages" of the contract, if one of Loria's relatives inherited the club and then sold it, the heir would "get the money otherwise destined for government coffers." In that case, local taxpayers would "lose the only direct financial return on their 81[%] investment" in the ballpark, parking and public-works project. County spokesperson Victoria Mallette said, "The intent was to ensure Jeffrey doesn't flip and get rich quick. If he dies that doesn't happen. We weren't playing tit for tat on individual issues." Miami Mayor Manny Diaz through a spokesperson said the clause was a "technicality," and noted that "even if Loria dies, it doesn't necessarily mean the team would be sold within seven years." Marlins President David Samson indicated that Loria "insisted on the clause." But Samson added that the "debate is much ado about nothing ... because he expects Loria to outlive the clause's term." Dolan & Rabin note city and county officials in Minnesota and DC recently "demanded the so-called 'flip tax' when they build new stadiums, but neither included a death clause." If the Miami City Commission approves the ballpark agreement in a March 6 vote, the Miami-Dade County Commission will vote on March 9. When told about the death clause in the contract, County Commissioner Joe Martinez, a "potential swing vote," said, "That sucks" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/27).

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  • Facility Notes

    San Jose City Council Members Want To Discuss
    How To Best Proceed In Stadium Talks With A's
    In San Jose, Denis Theriault notes San Jose City Council members Nora Campos, Rose Herrera and Nancy Pyle "want the full council to schedule a discussion March 24 on how best to proceed in stadium talks with the A's" and MLB. In a memo to be taken up next week by the City Council's agenda-setting Rules and Open Government Committee, Campos, Herrera and Pyle recommend "immediately commissioning a citywide poll to gauge public support for a stadium, with the results to be made public within 45 days" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/27).

    SLOT BATTLE: In Baltimore, Gadi Dechter notes Laurel Park Owner Magna Entertainment Corp. (MEC) is "trying to revive their disqualified bid for slot machines with a last-ditch constitutional claim," but Maryland attorneys Thursday in court argued that "'market conditions' rather than a legal flaw led to the defective application." Laurel Park had been disqualified this month after MEC "failed to submit $28.5[M] in required slots-application fees." Laurel Park attorneys are suing the state, "claiming that the failure to pay was appropriate because the fees are technically not refundable and that the entire bidding process constitutes an illegal 'forfeiture of property' prohibited by the Maryland Constitution" (Baltimore SUN, 2/27).

    NARROWING THE CHOICES: In Florida, Glenn Miller notes a list of nine sites for the new Red Sox Spring Training facility "was trimmed to four Thursday by a panel" of Lee County (FL) and Red Sox officials. Lee County commissioners "will begin negotiations" on March 17; the date for the final decision hasn't been set (Ft. Myers NEWS-PRESS, 2/27). In Boston, Sean McAdam notes one site is in Ft. Myers proper, while the other sites "are in unincorporated land owned by Lee County." The Red Sox "plan to select a site by mid-April, with a groundbreaking expected in the first quarter" of '10. The complex, "which will be built in the South Fort Myers area, is slated to open" in February '12 (BOSTON HERALD, 2/27).

    POSSIBLE SITE: Toronto Mayor David Miller said that a decommissioned Hearn power plant is the city's "top site to build a long-overdue, four-pad arena to anchor a planned sports complex on the eastern portlands." In Toronto, Mary Ormsby reports the NLL Toronto Rock "are one of several potential private partners recruited by the city who are keen to invest in and use a new arena." But the city "must acquire the property from the province, since it's owned by Ontario Power Generation" (TORONTO STAR, 2/27).

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