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Volume 24 No. 116

Facilities Venues

     Mavericks Owner Donald Carter has offered to pay $65M, half
of the construction cost, to replace Reunion Arena.  This comes
after a letter from Carter's attorney to the city saying the team
will leave Dallas because the city has "defaulted on its lease."
Carter stood by the letter, saying it wasn't a scare tactic and
maintained that he wants to stay in Dallas.  Still, Carter feels
the city has failed to hold the Stars hockey team to certain
commitments, "including the promise to sign a long term lease"
(Martinez & Gesalman, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 12/9).  A MORNING NEWS
editorial supports a new facility, stating that the latest "spat"
shouldn't jeopardize one of the most important decisions the
council will make (MORNING NEWS, 12/9). Meanwhile, officials in
Lewisville, TX, released a site plan they say is "far more
detailed than anything compiled" by Dallas (Thurman/North, DALLAS
MORNING NEWS, 12/9).

     The Cavaliers have received "so many complaints about poor
sightlines at the new Gund Arena that the team is investigating
ways to change the building, including raising the playing
floor."  Cavs President & CEO Tom Chestnut said the architects
have been called back to the $140M arena to find a solution.
Gund Arena is the newest facility in the league, opening in mid-
October.  The main problem is "that the rows of seats don't rise
sharply enough" and many fans "can't see over the heads of the
people in front of them."  Complaints have come mostly from those
in the lower bowl, "including those sitting in the most expensive
seats."  Chestnut said no timetable has been set on improvements,
although team officials told the Akron BEACON-JOURNAL that the
target date for implementing a plan is the second week of
January.  Chestnut declined to say who would pay for improvements
(Bob Dyer, Akron BEACON-JOURNAL, 12/8).

     Giants Stadium will not be domed as part of a stadium
expansion/renovation plan.  However, "luxury boxes" and "special
club seating" are reportedly included in the scheme.  The
expansion will be a cooperative effort between the NJ Sports and
Exposition Authority, Giants and Jets. Details will be announced
in two weeks.  But the authority was "examining" building as many
as 104 new luxury boxes, up from the current 72 above the third
tier of the stadium.  The club-seating plan would involve moving
the press to the upper-tier of the stadium and converting the
current press box and lounge into a "club" (N.Y. POST, 12/10).

     A Hamilton County official says Reds owner Marge Schott's
"unwillingness" to discuss plans for a new ballpark with civic
leaders could leave her "at the gate behind the Bengals."  County
Commissioner Guy Gukenberger urged Schott to meet with the tri-
state task force that plans to recommend next year "how, when and
where at least one new stadium should be built."  Schott has
frustrated officials for months by not telling them "what she
specifically wants in a ballpark."  Through advisors, Schott's
wishes for a ballpark are said to be "retro-style ballpark" with
a Reds museum and hall of fame.  Schott has been "irked" at a
"new and more lucrative lease" the city worked out with the
Bengals; there was no such offer for the Reds.  Last week, City
Manager John Shirey said he would "press hard for renewed
negotiations with Schott" and have a deal by January 4 to
"guarantee millions in new income" at Riverfront and get a
timetable to renovate the stadium or build a new park  (Richard
Green, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 12/10).

     A WASHINGTON POST editorial this morning urges the approval
of a new downtown stadium, saying the "opportunity must not be
squandered by narrow-minded decision makers putting impossible
squeezes on anyone seeking to do business here (WASHINGTON POST,
12/12)....Browns Owner Art Modell on Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones'
expansion plans:  "I'd like to see an upper deck on the top of
Texas Stadium.  If you buy a seat up there, the game will be a
rumor" (MIAMI HERALD, 12/11)....Patriots Owner Robert Kraft:
"I'm committed to keeping the team in Massachusetts, unless it
comes to a point someday where it is impossible for our team to
compete.  This is my goal.  And I think right now that goal needs
tremendous cooperation between the public and the private
sectors" (Will McDonough, BOSTON GLOBE, 12/10). ....The Cardinals
switch to grass at Busch Stadium will cost more than $3M (ST.
LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/11).

     Wayne Huizenga's dream "of building a sports and
entertainment complex on the edge of the everglades died Friday,"
when Viacom, Blockbuster's parent company, said the park did not
fit its strategic goals.  Huizenga said the "project as we know
it is gone.  It's dead.  There are only so many things one
company can do."  The project was to be the home for Huizenga's
Marlins and Panthers.  Viacom can now sell the land or proceed
"with a partner on a similar, smaller project."  As to the future
of his teams, Huizenga did pledge to build an arena for the
Panthers, although he said it was unclear where the facility
would be built.  Huizenga could build on Blockbuster Park land,
or explore new sites, such as that adjacent to Joe Robbie
Stadium, which he also owns (Don Finefrock, MIAMI HERALD, 12/10).
The City of Miami would like to keep the Panthers in Miami Arena,
and Mayor Steve Clark said they are "willing to sit down with Mr.
Huizenga and do whatever we can to accommodate him"
(Finefrock/Neal/Vernon, MIAMI HERALD, 12/10).

     Fifty-three percent of Wayne County voters oppose a
"financing plan" that could include "new taxes on restaurant
tabs, car rentals and hotel rooms" to build a publicly-owned
baseball stadium for the Tigers, according to a poll commissioned
by the Michigan Restaurant Association.  Tigers owner Mike Ilitch
wants a new stadium to replace the aging-Tiger stadium in
downtown Detroit.  Under legislation passed in '91, the county
has the ability to levy, with voter approval, a 1% tax on
restaurant food and beverage sales, a 2% tax on car rentals and a
1% hotel tax.  The tax on restaurant food and drink is the most
unpopular, with only 29% in favor.  Recent interest in public
financing comes as Ilitch and the Tigers "rework" financing
plans.  Although he "initially wanted to build and own the
stadium," Ilitch has "indicated" recently he is not "averse" to
public ownership (Amy Lane, CRAIN'S DETROIT BUSINESS, 12/5-11
issue).