SBD/Issue 102/Facilities & Venues

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  • Mesa Mayor Upset Cactus League Teams Oppose Legislation For Cubs

    Mesa Mayor Fires Back At Teams That Oppose 
    Legislation For Cubs' Spring Training Complex 
    Mesa Mayor Scott Smith "lashed out at parochialism among Cactus League baseball teams Monday, saying their opposition to a ticket surcharge for a new Chicago Cubs training facility could cost them all if the team bolts to Florida," according to Walsh & Berry of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Smith: "Whatever temporary hurt a new surcharge would bring pales in terms of the millions of dollars that will walk out of the Valley with the Cubs." Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon noted that downtown Phoenix hotels and the rental-car industry are "wary of the bill and any increase in tourism fees." Arizona state Rep. John McComish, who introduced a bill yesterday that would help finance the Cubs' Spring Training complex in Mesa, said that he "plans to speak with the other 14 teams and the tourism industry before the bill heads to a hearing in about two weeks." Walsh & Berry note the bill's "frosty reception comes as Smith attempts to forge a regional solution to keeping the Cubs, which he said are worth $138[M] a year to the Valley's economy." Smith said that the stadium financing problem "spotlights the lack of funding sources for renovation of existing facilities or the replacement of antiquated facilities in the Cactus League." Smith said of the financing plan, "This is a Cactus League solution, not a Cubs solution." He noted that "some money generated by the additional fees would be available for other facilities through a Cactus League fund" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/9). Smith: "Hopefully, the teams will keep an open mind and discuss honestly how this problem can be resolved so the Cactus League can remain strong and successful. To do otherwise is shortsighted, selfish and foolish." In Chicago, Paul Sullivan noted HoHoKam Park, where the Cubs currently have their Spring Training operations, is "by no means an obsolete ballpark." But it is "one of the older facilities remaining in the Cactus League." Cubs President Crane Kenney in December said that the team "needed a new facility because Cubs fans may decide to attend their road games at more modern Cactus League ballparks in the future." Kenney said, "If I go to Arizona and I'm a Cubs fan and I want to see my team, I can choose to either go to Goodyear, Glendale or one of these really neat facilities" (CHICAGOBREAKINGSPORTS.com, 2/8).

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  • Facility Notes

    In Nashville, Brandon Gee reported the Predators and Bridgestone Americas are "being asked to respond to a rumor that Bridgestone plans to take over the naming rights" for Sommet Center. The Web site www.coolsprings.com in a blog entry Thursday reported that a Bridgestone official "registered 16 domain names last month with names such as BrigestoneCentre.com and BridgestoneTireArena.com." Predators Exec VP & CMO Derek Perez said that the team "has nothing to announce and would not respond to rumors." Bridgestone Exec Dir of Communications Dan MacDonald also "would not confirm or deny that the company and the hockey team are in discussions" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 2/8).

    BET ON IT: New Jersey state Sen. Raymond Lesniak yesterday said that he "will ask top lawmakers to join him in a suit against a federal ban" on sports betting in the state, and a Senate committee yesterday "approved his proposed constitutional amendment to allow sports betting in the state." In Newark, Lisa Fleisher reports New Jersey voters "would be asked to approve a constitutional amendment to allow bets on professional sports" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 2/9).

    Gov. Hopes To Grant Future Exemptions
    Like One He Signed For Roski's Stadium
    FIRST OF MANY? In Sacramento, Dan Morain reports California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is "hoping that his political relationship" with Majestic Realty Chair & CEO Ed Roski "bares offspring." Schwarzenegger in October "signed extraordinary legislation exempting Roski from lawsuits over California environmental law in his effort to construct an 80,000-seat football stadium" in City of Industry. As part of his "push to help the economy," Schwarzenegger is "urging lawmakers to approve legislation that would authorize his administration and future governors to grant the same sorts of exemptions to 25 projects a year." His proposal "gives the geographic spread: 10 in Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties; five in Sacramento and other Central Valley counties; five in the Bay Area; and five to be determined" (SACBEE.com, 2/8).

    GREAT HONOR: In Milwaukee, Tom Haudricourt reports the Brewers yesterday announced that they will honor MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, who previously owned the team, "with a statue at Miller Park's Home Plate Plaza." Selig's statue, which will be unveiled in August, will join those of Baseball HOFers Hank Aaron and Robin Yount. Selig's statue "will measure more than 7 feet in height, not including the base." Haudricourt notes Selig "remains equally proud of his roles in bringing the Brewers to Milwaukee in 1970 and helping secure their future in the city by spearheading efforts to build Miller Park" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 2/9).

    HOMER-FRIENDLY MOVE: In N.Y., Adam Rubin reports the "height of Citi Field's center-field wall will be sliced in half, making the ballpark more homer-friendly." The wall last season measured 16 feet "in front of the sparsely used Home Run Apple," and now, "with the second level of padding being removed, it will measure eight feet in the middle of the outfield." The ballpark's "spacious dimensions won't be altered" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/9).

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