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Volume 24 No. 115

Facilities Venues

     Cincinnati City Manager John Shirey said that a $16M plan to
upgrade Riverfront Stadium should be rejected and the city should
concentrate on whether to build either a new Reds ballpark or a
new Bengals stadium.  Shirey said that the team that does not get
a new stadium would have to accept a major renovation at the 24-
year-old Riverfront.  The proposal to upgrade Riverfront by adding
luxury boxes and a stadium club is opposed by Reds owner Marge
Schott.  Schott has refused to agree to an upgrade plan because of
concerns that construction would take place in the area where many
Reds season-ticket holders now sit.  Cincinnati Business Committee
Chair James Zimmerman said while his organization is prepared to
commit millions to a new sports complex, his group will not aid in
renovation: "There's no interest in a short-term fix" (Richard
Green, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 10/26).

     Service America, which supplies concessions at the Seattle
Coliseum during Sonics games, yesterday filed a federal civil suit
asking for at least $1M in damages from the city because of the
remodeling project that forces the team to play elsewhere this
season.  The suit claims that as a result of the remodeling
project, Service America will experience a negative cash flow.
The Sonics plan to play their home games in the Tacoma Dome this
season (Angelo Bruscas, SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 10/26).

     The UConn Senate voted 29-21 to reject a proposal to upgrade
the school's football program to Division 1-A.  Recently, there
has been speculation that if the football program makes the
upgrade, the state would build a stadium in Hartford (HARTFORD
COURANT, 10/26)....Cleveland officials said that the city might
take a "financial hit" because fewer people than expected are
parking at the new city-financed Gateway garages.  The officials
said that the baseball strike has affected the parking (CLEVELAND
PLAIN DEALER, 10/25). ....When asked by the DETROIT NEWS if they
would support public funding of a new Tiger Stadium, incumbent
Governor John Engler (R-MI) and challenger Howard Wolpe (D) both
said while they don't necessarily support the use of public
dollars to build a stadium, they do believe the state could assist
with infrastructure development -- such as building roads and
acquiring land (DETROIT NEWS, 10/25).

     Cowboys owner Jerry Jones yesterday said that he is prepared
to make an unspecified financial investment to support a proposed
Texas Stadium expansion and is confident the improvements would
lead the NFL to play a Super Bowl there.  Jones said that stadium
expansion would cost approximately $140M to expand the stadium to
104,000 seats and add air conditioning, a grass field and a
retractable roof.  NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said that the
league is "receptive" to the possible stadium renovations and
added that the modifications would make Texas Stadium a "strong
candidate" for a Super Bowl.  Jones: "I am very confident Paul
would do everything he could to influence putting a Super Bowl
here" (Ed Werder, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/26).
     WHERE'S THE MONEY:  Irving city officials said that Jones'
proposed plan not only includes more seats and a closable roof but
also a neighboring Cowboys hall of fame and an NFL theme park.
City officials said that the additional improvements would raise
the price tag of the project to about $200M.  Council Member Harry
Joe questioned whether the city could finance the plan and still
contribute to a new arena for the Mavericks and Stars:  "With $140
million estimated for the arena, and now $200 million for Texas
Stadium, is the mayor proposing that the city pay for a $340
million sports district?"  Despite that and other objections,
Irving Mayor Bobby Joe Raper maintained that the city council will
approve the project:  "After their questions are answered, I'm
sure there will be unanimous support" (Karen Michel, DALLAS
MORNING NEWS, 10/25).  Jones said that public funds would be
necessary: "I won't build this myself without help from the city"
(DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/26).

     L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan and City Council President John
Ferraro have told NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue they are ready
to "jointly explore options" on providing a stadium as a permanent
home for the Super Bowl and NFL theme park.  Deputy Mayor Robin
Kramer maintained, however, that the mayor's office is primarily
concerned with renovating the Coliseum: "The mayor unambiguously
feels the Coliseum is the crown jewel of sports."  Kramer said
Riordan is considering Tagliabue's proposal to "leave the door
open to the NFL's interest in our city" (Kenneth Reich, L.A.
TIMES, 10/26).