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Volume 24 No. 113

Facilities Venues

     The Gateway Economic Development Corp., the body in charge
of the Gund Arena and Jacobs Field in Cleveland, must borrow $12M
to payoff cost overruns of around $30M in the construction of the
new arena.  The new $148M home of the Cavs cost 25% more to build
than expected because the arena was built on a "fast-track"
before architectural plans were completed, leaving many costs
unanticipated.  Gateway Chair Thomas Chema said the bill will be
paid through sporting and special events at Gund and neighboring
Jacobs Field:  "We said we weren't going back [to the public],
and we're not."  The rest of the overrun will be covered by a
$10M capital fund provided by the Cavs, and part of the $14M
earned from the Gund family for naming rights to the new arena.
Total construction costs for Gateway were $401M (Steven Koff,
Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 12/14).
     BROWNS NEXT IN LINE?  As Cleveland Mayor Michael White
campaigns for a taxpayer-funded renovations at Cleveland Stadium
for the Browns, PLAIN DEALER columnist Dick Feagler says
taxpayers are "sick of the whole stadium subsidation issue.  And
that the neighborhood playgrounds ought to start getting some
attention instead of the Yuppie playgrounds."  Feagler: "Sooner
or later, all the big-league cities get a ransom note. 'If you
want to keep on enjoying your beloved playmates, ... leave a
couple of hundred million bucks in stadium renovations and a big
piece of the take from the food concessions in the hollow tree.
No cops'" (Dick Feagler, CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, 12/14).  For our
profile of Cleveland Stadium.

     Patriots Owner Robert Kraft may ask the state of MA to buy
Foxboro Stadium from him and then lease it back to the team,
according to Phil Primack of the BOSTON HERALD.  Kraft has
reportedly met with state officials and made a proposal that the
state "would make major stadium investments that Kraft says are
needed for the Patriots to be financially competitive."  A source
to MA Gov. William Weld said the stadium costs and improvements
would be about $100M or more, but "a lot less than building a new
open-air stadium from scratch."  There is "little support" from
state leaders to provide financial aid for the stadium because
they are "reluctant to publicly subsidize a private business."
But, by turning the stadium into a state-owned facility, Kraft
could "counter that criticism" (BOSTON HERALD, 12/15).
     PATRIOTS GAMES?  An editorial in this morning's HARTFORD
COURANT argues that the state of CT should not be used as
"bargaining lever" by Kraft to get a better stadium deal in MA.
If Kraft brings the team to CT, "he will receive a welcome and a
stadium the likes of which it has never known in Massachusetts.
But no more Patriots games" (HARTFORD COURANT, 12/15).

     A preliminary plan for renovating Yankees Stadium was
unveiled to Bronx borough officials on Tuesday.  The proposal,
designed by the sports architectural firm, HOK of Kansas City,
calls for "widening the structure by 40 feet and adding luxury
boxes."  The plan also calls for building 90 luxury boxes, 12,000
parking spots, and a picnic area in the left field bleacher area.
HOK, widely known for its design of Oriole Park at Camden Yards,
also plans to have an "exact replica of the original facade of
the stadium as a new outer wall for the ballpark."  To make the
facility more accessible, the subway station would be improved,
and easier on/off exits from the George Washington Bridge
(Matthew Purdy, N.Y. TIMES, 12/14).  The cost of the stadium
renovation is estimated at $125M and total neighborhood
renovation at $380M.  Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner has
threatened to move the team out of the Bronx when his lease
expires in 2002 (Polner & Lin, N.Y. NEWSDAY, 12/14).

     Members of Blockbuster Park's management team who recently
signed a "three-year job agreement were told to start looking for
other work."  Those working without contracts were let go.  This
comes as a result of Viacom's decision last week to cancel the
$2B Blockbuster Park Sports and Entertainment Complex.  Company
execs declined to comment on the cuts (Don Finefrock, MIAMI
HEARLD, 12/14).

STADIUM:
Cleveland Stadium, Cleveland, OH
AGE: Built in 1931
CAPACITY: Capacity is over 75,000 — 7th highest in NFL.
LUXURY SEATS: 104 "loges," owned and operated by the Stadium Corporation.
OWNERSHIP: Owned by the City of Cleveland.
MANAGEMENT: Cleveland Stadium Corporation.
COST: Facility cost $2.9M — paid by public bonds
CONCESSIONS: Service America. Team does gets undisclosed percentage of revenue.
ADVERTISING: Team sells stadium advertising. Revenue breakdown between team and Stadium Corp. is undisclosed.
PARKING: 4,000 spots — $7. Revenue goes to Stadium Corp.
RENT: $742,000 — 7th lowest in the NFL.
LEASE: Expires in '98.

(Source: Eddie Uhas/Cleveland Stadium; rent and public subsidy figure from Florida Times-Union article on July 24, 1994)

      A Los Angeles group attempting to buy the CFL Las Vegas
Posse has met with representatives of the L.A. Coliseum about
possible use of the facility.  Las Vegas Major League Sports
Inc., which owns the team, announced an agreement in principal
Wednesday to sell the team to the L.A. group, pending debt
problems and CFL approval.  Coliseum General Manager Pat Lynch
said he has met twice with representatives of the group, but
talks have been "preliminary in nature."  Potential problems
include the current configuration of the Coliseum floor, not
currently wide enough for a CFL field, and the possibility that
scheduled construction of a new press box could hinder stadium
use (Tim Brown, L.A. DAILY NEWS, 12/15).

     The Port of Seattle told a committee charged with studying
the possibilities of a new stadium for the Mariners that it
"wants little to do with paying for a ballpark."  The Port said
it has budgeted every available dollar for the next five years
and has "a lengthy wish list should more money become available."
Port Commission President Pat Davis said baseball is not on that
list: "It would be a hard stretch to find where a new stadium
would fit into our mission statement."  The committee will hold a
final meeting January 11 before King County Executive Gary Locke
reviews its findings.  Expected to be in the report -- 35-45%
private financing with the public paying the remaining costs, but
no agreement on a domed, retractable dome or open-air ballpark
(Larry LaRue, Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 12/13).