SBD/December 6, 2012/Facilities

Facility Notes

In St. Paul, Megan Boldt reports tax receipts “from new electronic gambling -- approved to help pay for a new Minnesota Vikings' stadium -- are coming in at about half the anticipated pace.” A new Minnesota state budget forecast released yesterday reports projected revenue “from electronic pull-tabs and bingo for this fiscal year has been reduced from $34 million to $16 million.” Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and lawmakers “assumed most of the state's $348 million portion would be funded by the new gaming” as part of the deal reached on the $975M stadium this year (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 12/6).

FINDING THE BOND: Univ. of Michigan sports management professor Mark Rosentraub, who is consulting on Tigers and Red Wings Owner Mike Ilitch’s proposed $637M arena project, said that if Ilitch “can secure a stream of $13 million grants from Detroit's downtown development arm, [he] will finance the rest of the project himself.” Rosentraub yesterday said that bonds “backed by several years of grants from the Detroit Downtown Development Authority would be instrumental to the project.” In Detroit, Brian O’Connor notes raising additional public money for the project “seems unlikely.” A Detroit authority spokesperson said that if the legislation “eventually is signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder, Ilitch would need to lay out a detailed plan and could get the money in a multi-year commitment.” The commitment could “then be used to back bonds to build the new arena.” Rosentraub said, "If that's there, you basically know that after that it's the Ilitch family. It's going to be a heavy lift, but if you look at facilities elsewhere, it can be done and it has been done, and when you have somebody like the Ilitch family, then it will be done" (DETROIT NEWS, 12/6).

GETTING AN UPGRADE: A NEWSDAY editorial states the “economics of major league sports demand ultramodern arenas laden with luxury suites and other high-end amenities.” That is what corporate customers “crave, and it's corporate customers that pay the big-league freight.” Now Nassau County Exec Edward Mangano has “created a group to seek the best vision for refurbishing” the Nassau Coliseum in “a reasonable manner” after the Islanders leave for the Barclays Center in '14. But if such a project “can be done,” developer Bruce Ratner and the others are “likely the ones who can figure out how, although they've been tasked only with creating the plan, not executing it.” And if “there's a time when the stars could align to get it done, it's likely now” (NEWSDAY, 11/30).
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