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Volume 24 No. 156

Facilities Venues

     The controversy over a downtown megaplex in Boston was
detailed in the BOSTON GLOBE.  The Boston Redevelopment Authority
wants to separate a convention center from a domed sports
stadium, "not only because it sidesteps the controversial issue
of using public money to assist team owners, but also because the
habits of conventioneers and football fans argue for different
sites" (Michael Rezendes, BOSTON GLOBE, 12/19).  Patriots Owner
Robert Kraft's proposal to sell his Foxboro Stadium back to the
state was also examined.  "The Patriots are the hottest ticket in
town, and Kraft knows it," writes Charles Pierce. "He is trying
to enrich himself by pretending that he is doing the rest of us a
favor.  He wants the increased profits that will come from the
increased skybox seating in a megaplex, and he wants his team
moved closer to the profit center in Boston. .... He wants all
the rest of us to pay for it" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/18).  GLOBE
business writer Joan Vennochi writes on the strained relationship
between Kraft and MA Gov. William Weld.  "Gov. Weld continues to
feel some obligation to Kraft, even though the Pats owner has
worked hard over the past year to wear out his welcome in the
Governor's office" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/18).  Among the six "major
players" polled by the GLOBE, only one said he was an "ardent"
supporter of a sports facility as part of the megaplex process
(BOSTON GLOBE, 12/18).

     Members of the Tampa Sports Authority (TSA) voted on Monday
to develop plans for a new stadium costing at least $150M.  The
vote came after a proposal for renovating Tampa Stadium was
presented by the architectural firm, HOK of Kansas City, MO.  The
firm unveiled its study on how to improve the facility by adding
up to 7,400 club seats and 48 more luxury boxes at a cost between
$26-48M.  Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman said
elected officials would be reluctant to back that type of
appropriation without the Bucs extending their current lease to
the year 2025.  There was a feeling among some TSA members that
renovation plans would only buy time.  TSA Chair George Davis:
"The new ownership groups say ultimately they'll need a new
stadium."  Davis announced a press conference today by local
leaders who have been working to keep the team in Tampa (Francis
Gilpin, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/20).

     Raiders Owner Al Davis is talking with Hollywood Park
officials to build a privately-financed $175M-$200M 65,000-seat
stadium across the street from the Great Western Forum in
Inglewood, CA.  Officials close to the negotiations say the new
stadium would have at least 150 luxury boxes and be ready for the
1997 NFL season.  Hollywood Park Inc., which owns the racetrack,
would build and own the stadium on its 345-acre complex.  The
City of Inglewood has hired an accounting firm to help Hollywood
Park Inc. arrange financing for the project.  City Manager Paul
Eckles: "They (the Raiders) are dead serious about it."  In
addition to providing luxury boxes which the L.A. Coliseum lacks,
the new stadium would have 20,000 parking spaces, up from the
Coliseum's 8,000.  A possible deal could include "some financial
commitments" from the NFL.  NFL Dir of Communications Greg Aiello
confirmed that "conversations have taken place" between the
league and Hollywood Park  (Mark Katches, L.A. DAILY NEWS,
12/20).

     Earlier this month, reports indicated that NFL CommissionerPaul Tagliabue asked Bills Owner Ralph Wilson to consider playingsome league games at SkyDome in Toronto.  But officials of ErieCounty, which owns and operates Rich Stadium, plan to sign theBills to a new lease after their current lease expires in '98 andhave a $23M renovation of Rich Stadium already in progress, whichwill add 14 new luxury boxes.  The team does have a friendlylease, good luxury seating, and one of the largest capacities ofany NFL stadiums.  Today, we continue to examine our State of theStadiums with a profile of Rich Stadium in Buffalo.
STADIUM:
Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
AGE: Completed in 1971.
OWNERSHIP: Owned by Erie County, New York
CAPACITY: 80,091 — 2nd highest in the NFL.
NAMING RIGHTS: Bills paid an undisclosed amount for naming rights from Rich Products, a family-owned company in New York, agreement runs through 1998.
LUXURY SEATS: 88 suites — 1,000 enclosed club seats — owned and operated by the Bills.
GAME-DAY: Team pays for all game-day personnel.
MAINTENANCE: Team handles routine maintenance. City pays for extensive strutural repair.
CONCESSIONS: Ogden Food Services, team splits % of net revenue 50/50 with the county.
ADVERTISING: Team receives all advertising revenue.
PARKING: 12,500 spots at $7, revenue split 50/50 with county.
LEASE: Expires at the end of 1998.
RENT: $660,298 — 6th lowest in NFL.

(Source: Buffalo Bills; rent figure from Florida Times-Unionarticle on July 24, 1994.)

     The public buyout of the Target Center "took a giant step
toward completion Monday" when Minneapolis city finance officer
John Moir offered a solution to the potential "deal-breaking
problem of ticket surcharges tied to interest rates."
Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commissioner Chair Henry Savelkoul
after the new proposal was offered: "We have essentially reached
agreement with all the principal elements [to complete the buyout
of the Target Center and sale of the Timberwolves]."  The
solution offered by Moir, which still needs approval by the
Minneapolis city council, includes an arena reserve fund, managed
by the sports facilities commission and funded with money from
the sale of tax-exempt bonds.  If necessary, that money would be
used to cover the cost of any "excessive rise in ticket
surcharges."  All parties involved "expressed confidence that the
major hurdle had been cleared" with this new proposal by Moir.
The $54M public purchase of the Target Center from outgoing T-
wolves owners Marvin Wolfenson and Harvey Ratner has been a year
in the making.  When the sale of the arena is complete, perhaps
by the end of January, the sale of the T-wolves to Glen Taylor
for $88.5M also will be complete (Jay Weiner, Minneapolis STAR
TRIBUNE, 12/20).

     American venue-management companies are looking to expand
their operations to foreign markets, where government-managed
facilities that cater to large markets could give these companies
large earning potential.  Ogden Corp. and Spectacor Management
Group (SMG) have been leaders in exoanding into foreign markets,
with ventures ranging from arenas in London and Oslo to Australia
and Japan.  Latin American expansion is also on the menu, with
large markets having a "huge" potential upside, translating "into
big dollars."  While most markets in Europe and Latin America
currently have an arena and stadium these facilites usually
generate less money than their American counterparts because of
the lack of "top shelf concession stands, premium seats and space
for inbuilding billboards."  This could change with the sports-
management expectations of expansion into European and Latin
American markets by the "top four" American sports -- baseball,
basketball, football and hockey.  Manuel Marrerro, Ogden Director
of Business Development for Latin America: "This is not a stab in
the dark. ... We have a strategy, we have a commitment" (Eric
Conrad, Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 12/20).

     Monday's cover story in the MIAMI HERALD's Business section
examines the now-defunct Blockbuster Park, Wayne Huizenga's mega-
development that was to have been built in Miramar, FL.  Now that
the plan has been aborted, it remains uncertain what to do with
the land and where Huizenga will build a new hockey arena and
baseball park for his teams.  One possibility is for Blockbuster
parent company Viacom to sell the land -- possibly to home
developers.  Or, they could develop the land themselves, perhaps
with a partner.  If the park had been built in Miramar,
Huizenga's Panthers would have moved to a new arena there, a site
he has yet to rule out.  Other proposed sites for an arena
include Hollywood, near Joe Robbie Stadium and a site near
Sawgrass Mills.  As for a baseball stadium, Huizenga would like
to move his Marlins out of Joe Robbie Stadium and build in
Miramar, but he acknowledges that is a remote possibility.
Huizenga:  "I don't think there are any front-runners.  I just
think we have to start all over" (Don Finerock, MIAMI HERALD,
12/19).