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Volume 24 No. 158

Facilities Venues

     Patrick Sweeney, a member of the Ohio Sports Facilities Task
Force, says "if he had his druthers" he would replace Cleveland
Stadium instead of renovating it.  Sweeney, a Cleveland state
Rep. says a new stadium would create more economic development
than a renovated one.  Sweeney pointed out the economic benefits
that came from Gateway Economic Development Corp.'s Jacobs Field
and Gund Arena.  Cleveland's Mayor Michael White has recommended
the stadium be renovated.  It is estimated a new stadium would
cost $220M, while a renovation job would only be $130M (Thomas
Suddes, Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 3/16).

     The Superdome Commission approved the sale of $14.5M in
bonds to go toward the construction of a new training facility
for the Saints and improvements at the Superdome.  The action
could put the Saints in their new practice home by Christmas.
The approval also assures that dome improvements will be
completed by Super Bowl XXXI in '97 (Brian Allee-Walsh, New
Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 3/15).

     Plans for the new arena in downtown Washington call for the
facility to seat 20,000, less than the 23,000-24,000 originally
expected.  Bullets/Capitals owner Abe Pollin unveiled plans for
the new $180M facility yesterday.  Planners say the size will not
affect arena revenue because estimates were based on seating less
than 20,000.  In other news, the Smithsonian Institution's top
official has informed the DC Council that the new arena "could
destroy business" at two nearby museums.  Smithsonian Secretary
Michael Heyman said "arena traffic could overwhelm" the area
around the National Portrait Gallery and National Museum of
American Art and that the museums could be damaged by the
construction (Woellert & Stanley, WASHINGTON TIMES, 3/17).

     Pepsi and Comsat's Rocky Mountain Entertainment announced
yesterday that Denver's new $132 arena, to open in '97, will be
named the "Pepsi Center."  Pepsi will have exclusive rights to
name the arena, serve its products there and have multi-year
sponsorships of the Nuggets and a possible NHL team.  Rocky
Mountain Entertainment is a subsidiary of Comsat, which owns the
Nuggets.  Financial details were not disclosed, however, in a
presentation last month, Comsat president Bruce Crockett had
"valued the deal at about" $68M.  Eric Foss, GM of PepsiCo's
Western region, said that number is "greatly exaggerated."  Coke
has exclusive "pouring rights agreements" for its products in 24
of the 27 NBA arenas.  According to Information Resources, Denver
is a very strong market for Pepsi, as they hold 46% of the market
share, while Coke holds only 28% (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/17).
The DENVER POST reported in November Pepsi would pay $15M up
front for the naming rights and an additional $1M a year for 20
years.  Comsat and Pepsi may also jointly promote events at the
proposed arena and other local venues (Chance Conner, DENVER
POST, 3/16).

     The Red Sox dismissed a plan by the Boston Redevelopment
Authority to expand and rebuild Fenway Park on its current site.
The plan, unveiled yesterday at a news conference, would expand
capacity to 45,000 seats and add 73 luxury boxes.  The Red Sox
currently have the smallest capacity in MLB.  Red Sox VP John
Buckley said the team has already looked into expanding Fenway
Park, but it has never "come out as feasible because of added
cost, parking, traffic and neighborhood concerns."  Buckley has
said the team is willing to play an "active role" involving a
joint venture with the Patriots on a downtown Megaplex (Phil
Primack, BOSTON HERALD, 3/17).  Red Sox GM Dan Duquette: "Our
orientation is toward a new facility.  These things generally
take five or eight years and we're in the early stages" (Paul
Doyle, HARTFORD COURANT, 3/17).
     MEGAPLEX PANEL ON THE ROAD: The commission studying sites
for a convention center in Boston said they will travel to four
cities next month to "weigh whether a domed stadium should be
part of the project."  Among the cities being toured will be
Atlanta, New Orleans, St. Louis and Indianapolis (Richard
Kindleberger, BOSTON GLOBE, 3/16).

     The WAC is considering the Cotton Bowl along with three
other sites, for its football championship game in '96.  El Paso,
Las Vegas and San Diego are also under consideration.  WAC
Commissioner Karl Bensen says bids for both basketball and
football championships must be turned in by April 1.  Dallas,
Houston, Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Albuquerque and San
Jose are bidding for the WAC basketball championships (Steve
Davis, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/15).