Bengals' GM Mike Brown told the Cincinnati Business
Committee [CBC] that his team "would suffer financially without a
new stadium." The CBC has been studying a renovation plan for
Riverfront Stadium, but Brown said that would "leave his team
with $5.5M less in annual revenue than the estimated average of
an NFL stadium during the years 2000-2011." Brown said, "We do
not want to leave here. We are going to work our hardest to make
it work here." His remarks came a day after Cleveland Browns
owner Art Modell called on OH legislators to consider ways to
finance stadium improvements for the Browns, Bengals and the
Reds. Brown said he was "intrigued" by Modell's idea of state
financing for both projects, but Richard Green reports it is
unlikely any plans will "immediately" come out of the statehouse
(Richard Green, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 10/18).
Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke announced yesterday that he
is looking at MD properties other than Laurel on which to build
his new stadium. Cooke said Laurel is still the "first choice"
but Stadium Project Manager Walter Lynch said the team has been
"swamped" with alternative land offers. "Some observers who have
been close to the yearlong process" of gaining stadium approval
see Cooke's announcement as a "message" to the NFL and the Rams,
reinforcing Cooke's intention to "move into the Maryland football
market." When asked if he had eliminated Baltimore as a
potential stadium site, Cooke said, "That is my business."
Rumored MD sites include USAir Arena in Landover and the former
Freestate Raceway in North Laurel. Cooke "did not appear to rule
out" VA and DC sites. DC mayoral candidate Marion Barry said the
announcement "doesn't affect us": "We're moving full steam
ahead" (Katherine Richards, Baltimore SUN, 10/19).
Dallas community leaders yesterday were given a report which
recommends that Reunion Arena be demolished upon completion of a
new, state-of-the-art facility. The report, commissioned by the
Dallas City Council, further recommends that a new arena have
only 60 luxury suites, down from earlier proposals of 144 suites.
The total cost of the 22,000-seat arena is estimated at $170M --
down from earlier estimates of $187M. The 46-page report does
not make recommendations on how to finance the new arena, but
several Dallas council members said they hope that the city will
pay only a third -- and certainly no more than half. Stars
President Jim Lites said that a arena with only 60 luxury suites
would be a "mistake": "Luxury suites are an important part of the
deal. There's no arena being built anywhere with two teams that
has less than 100 boxes. They'd be ill-advised to build less."
The report was prepared by a team of consultants, including
Ellerbe Becker and Austin-Turner Arena Group, a venture of Austin
Commercial and Turner Construction (Sylvia Martinez, DALLAS
MORNING NEWS, 10/19).
The Buffalo City Common Council voted unanimously yesterday
to release $2.7M to begin immediate construction of the Sabres'
new arena. A "key element" to gain support from black Council
members is an affirmative action agreement allocating 25% of
contracts and jobs to minority and female-owned businesses.
Formal NHL approval is still required for the clause in the
contract that the Sabres remain in Buffalo for 30 years, but
Sabres point man Larry Quinn said the NHL has "basically signed
off on the transaction" (Kevin Collison, BUFFALO NEWS, 10/19).
Council member Gene Fahey: "We have put ourselves in the
position so we won't be Al Davis-ed" (AP/OTTAWA CITIZEN, 10/19).
TO BE DETERMINED: Lease discussions remain between the city
and Sabres-controlled Crossroads Arena Corp., but city attorney
Arnold Gardner said talks are progressing. The city will receive
$500,000 in annual ground rent and a "share in potential
profits." The city and the team must also negotiate payment of
$11M in infrastructure associated with the arena. Buffalo has
already pledged $10M for the arena and Public Works Commissioner
Joseph Giambra says the infrastructure costs will have to compete
with other city needs. The city has invested $6.5M so far to
purchase land and raze existing buildings. $45M in county and
state funds for the arena are awaiting $67.5M in private
financing (Kevin Collison, BUFFALO NEWS, 10/19).
Officials from Hillsborough County and the Yankees hope to
raise $2M toward the construction of a Yankees spring training
complex in Tampa through the "Yankee Backers" fundraiser
beginning this Saturday. The drive will sell 10,000 brass name
plates for seats in the new complex, ranging from $100-1000 for
seats behind home plate (Kevin Walker, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/19).