SBD/Issue 84/Facilities & Venues

Cubs Expected To Pick Spring Training Site By End Of Next Week

Cubs Choosing Between Arizona And Florida
For New Spring Training Facility
The Cubs "have received what they believe are the final proposals" from Mesa, Arizona, and Naples, Florida, for a new Spring Training facility, and the team is "expected to pick a site by the end of next week," according to a source cited by Bruce Levine of ESPN CHICAGO. Cubs President Crane Kenney yesterday said, "We're hopeful of making a choice in the very near future." Kenney "met with the city manager and city attorneys of Mesa on Wednesday to discuss two sites in East Mesa." A source indicated that the Cubs are "seeking an $80[M] state-of-the-art spring training facility." The team "also wants a Wrigleyville atmosphere around the park that features new restaurants, hotels, bars and retail outlets." The Cubs are "looking for a stadium with a capacity between 15,000-18,000, making it the largest spring training park." After choosing a site, the Cubs "will ask the second choice to stand by and keep its offer viable in case their first choice isn't able to secure funding." Cubs ownership is "hopeful to be able to move into a new facility by 2012 or '13" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 1/13). Kenney declined to tip his hand after months of effort on the issues, but it is strongly expected the team will remain in Arizona, where they have been a local spring training fixture for nearly six decades and routinely draw sellout crowds. Kenney: "It's time to kind of put something concrete in front of our board and get their opinion" (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

WILDCAT FORMATION: In Chicago, Teddy Greenstein reports the "most significant hurdle has been cleared" in Northwestern Univ.'s (NU) "quest to host a football game at Wrigley Field: The dimensions, it has been determined, can accommodate 22 players and two sidelines." Sources said that with the "safety issue resolved," both NU AD Jim Phillips and Kenney are "working toward making the game a reality." A source said that "Big Ten issues, NCAA issues, TV matters and finances still need to be sorted out" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/14).

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