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If the Minnesota Legislature approves public funding for a new stadium for the Vikings, “much of the money could come from Minnesota Twins fans,” according to the AP. The stadium bill introduced at the state Capitol earlier this month “offers a list of potential taxes, ranging from ticket fees to sales taxes in the community that hosts the team.” Minnesota Public Radio on Thursday reported that “about 60 cents of every $1 the state pays for a stadium would come from one source: a 10 percent tax on sports memorabilia.” That would include “hats, shirts, jackets, balls and all sorts of other licensed merchandise.” MPR reported that the “vast majority of memorabilia tax revenue would come from the sale of Twins merchandise because that's what sports fans buy the most.” Twins Exec Dir of Public Affairs Kevin Smith in a statement said that the Twins “support the Vikings' effort to get a new home, but the baseball team is concerned about the memorabilia tax.” Smith: "It all boils down to affordability. The concern is that particularly suggested funding mechanism would negatively affect the affordability of our product to our fans." MPR said that it “could also affect the Twins' income from souvenir sales.” Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley said, "We have only ever advocated for an NFL memorabilia tax. The legislators came up with the idea to tax all sports memorabilia. And that's what's in the bill" (AP, 4/28).
Univ. of North Carolina-Charlotte officials are pursuing a naming-rights deal of $5M over 10-12 years for a stadium to be built for the school's new football program. The field itself and a fieldhouse in the south end zone are also being marketed for naming deals that will most likely be sold to philanthropic donors, said UNCC AD Judy Rose. The university is working on those deals in-house. "I'm not at liberty to say but we are very close to closing in on naming the field," Rose said. "We have a proposal out for the stadium right now. There will also be some smaller things in the fieldhouse to sell." The school held a ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday to kick off construction of a 15,000-seat stadium that can be expanded to 40,000 seats in the future. The $45M overall project cost includes $33M to build the stadium and $4.5M to relocate intramural fields at the site of the new facility. The stadium, developed by local firm Jenkins Peer Architects and DLR Group, a national sports designer, will have 1,900 premium seats with chairbacks between the 30-yard lines on the west side, tied to the school's Forty-Niner Seat License program. Those premium-seat holders get access to a 6,950-square-foot open-air hospitality deck on the roof of the fieldhouse in the south end zone. The only suite is a 32-seat skybox inside the press box reserved for university use. The master plan for expanding the stadium would convert the 10,754-square-foot press box structure to all suites and build a new press box as part of a new upper level. UNCC football's first home game is set for Aug. 31, 2013, at its new stadium. The school will start playing at the Football Championship Subdivision level with a goal of eventually moving up to Football Bowl Subdivision status.
The French Tennis Federation is engaged in a “fight to expand Roland Garros,” site of the French Open, and it “looks like the row is destined to be thrashed out in the French courts,” according to Gittings & Duke of CNN.com. The Serres d'Auteuil Botanical Gardens lie alongside the courts, and “beneath the gentile surroundings a simmering war is brewing, one that pitches fauna lovers against forehand followers and has battle lines drawn between the ornate, glass greenhouses of the gardens and the clay of the courts.” The FFT maintains that the tournament “has become a victim of its own success and has outgrown its current site following player complaints of cramped conditions.” The organization proposes “expanding into the botanical gardens next door, replacing greenhouses with a new arena fit to house some of the world's best tennis matches.” But opponents and local residents “accuse the tennis body of ‘environmental vandalism’” and are “bitterly opposed to the move.” Serres d'Auteuil is “one of only three botanical gardens in Paris and contain a series of unique greenhouses and campaigners say the very rare plant life will be lost forever.” Under the FFT's plans, Roland Garros “will grow from its current 8.5 hectare site to 13.5 hectares, with a new planned show court in the corner of the gardens.” FFT General Dir Gilbert Ysern said, "I fully respect those who disagree with us but my concern is that most of the opposition is based on a lack of information, false information or false rumors. I would not have supported any project in this gorgeous place that would have destroyed ancient greenhouses." Former tennis player Amelie Mauresmo said, "I think that in Paris today we don't have the possibility to have the necessary space to develop Roland Garros. We are the smallest of the four grand slams and I think it is important to have the chance to grow, and for the public to have more room" (CNN.com, 4/28).
In N.Y., Bagli & Perez-Pena cite sources as saying that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the developers of the Mall of America “have struck a deal to pour in $1 billion more in hopes of reviving the oft-ridiculed Xanadu Meadowlands complex.” The deal with the state gives developer Triple Five “until the end of the year to arrange all the financing for the project,” but is not clear “when construction would resume, or when the mall would open.” The developers “would not only complete the 2.4-million-square-foot retail and entertainment center, but also greatly expand it, rename it and slap new skin on its reviled exterior.” Triple Five would “christen Xanadu as American Dream@Meadowlands.” The company also would “add a large indoor water park and a skating rink and keep the 600-foot indoor ski slope” (N.Y. TIMES, 4/29). The property “remains prime real estate.” Located “about 10 miles west of New York City, it is next to the Izod Center and across a highway from" New Meadowlands Stadium, which is slated to host the '14 Super Bowl (AP, 4/28).
NOT DROPPING A DIME: Univ. of Kentucky officials on Thursday said that new scoreboards and a sound system for Commonwealth Stadium “will be financed by private funds and will not use a low-interest loan from the university.” In Kentucky, Cheryl Truman notes the school “dropped a plan to give the UK Athletics Association a $3.1 million loan to help it install the $6.25 million project after intense criticism from UK faculty and staff members.” The project will “now be financed entirely by private funds, including a withdrawal of up to $4.6 million from an athletics department endowment fund.” The additional $1.65M “will come from Athletics Association funds raised from private donors” (LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, 4/29).
MOODY MOMENTUM: Southern Methodist Univ. officials on Thursday announced that the school “has secured another $10 million toward the planned Moody Coliseum expansion and renovations.” In Dallas, Kate Hairopoulos noted former SMU basketball player David Miller and his wife, Carolyn, “have committed the gift.” A “lead gift of $20 million toward the project from the Moody Foundation was announced last week.” SMU expects the “total project to cost $40 million” (DALLASNEWS.com, 4/28).