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Volume 24 No. 158

Facilities Venues

     The planned October 1 start date for construction of the
Raptors' Air Canada Centre "will be delayed if politicians
continue to insist on major changes," project manager Jay Cross
said after a city committee turned down the team's latest
proposal yesterday.  If the committee's rejection is upheld by
the Toronto City Council next week, construction will not start
on time.  Committee members rejected the plan because of the
possibility of construction of high-rise residential developments
planned by the Raptors and Canada Post near the arena.  Cross:
"The more the delay drags on, the less enchanted our fans will be
playing in the SkyDome and the more we'll have to start
considering our other alternatives."  Cross said that could mean
another site.  The NBA "would not be thrilled" by such a move,
according to Cross:  "They've granted a franchise which was
conditional on a new stadium.  If you don't deliver a new
stadium, you're at risk" (Paul Moloney, TORONTO STAR, 4/21).

     The Packers, who will play all games at Green Bay's Lambeau
Field next year, have had a 96% renewal rate from ticket-holders
for those games formerly played at Milwaukee County Stadium.  The
team expected only a 75% rate from those Milwaukee fans, many of
whom face a long drive to Green Bay.  The team is currently
adding 90 more luxury boxes and a new, 46-seat auxiliary press
box as part of a $8M Lambeau renovation.  The waiting list for
Packer season tickets is now 19,000 (Mike O'Hara, DETROIT NEWS,
4/21).
     LIONS WANT MORE TO ROAR:  The Lions plan to reduce prices on
about 5,000 tickets in the upper level of the Silverdome from $30
to around $20.  The team will also keep end zone bleacher seats
priced at $12.50.  Lions Vice Chair Bill Ford Jr. said the team,
locked into their lease until 2004, is limited in what they can
do "regarding ticket prices and 'fan-friendly' improvements."
Ford: "We're going to take a look at the whole approach to
tickets, with the goal of getting as close to a sellout as we can
every week" (Mike O'Hara, DETROIT NEWS, 4/21).

     Arthur Griffiths, chair of Northwest Entertainment Group,
unveiled a model of the new state-of-the-art scoreboard for GM
Place.  The arena will be home to the Canucks and the expansion
Grizzlies.  The Mitsubishi "Diamond Vision," an eight-sided
scoreboard, will cost $6M.  The 62,000-pound video scoreboard has
four 9-foot-by-12-foot full color screens, four monochrome
message boards and will be controlled from a miniature TV studio.
Only the Madison Square Garden, the new United Center, and Kiel
Center have eight-sided video scoreboards.  As part of the
sponsorship arrangement, Mitsubishi will also provide 499 TVs
throughout GM Place.  NEG also announced a deal with sound system
supplier Bose Corp., who will install 400 loudspeakers (Gary
Kingston, VANCOUVER SUN, 4/21).  Griffiths, who recently endured
a corporate restructuring, admitted yesterday it has been a tough
year.  Griffiths:  "The most difficult emotion was realizing that
in 24 months we had started the building, been awarded the
franchise and then gone to the Cup final and all the incredible
stress of keeping it together was so tough" (Tony Gallagher,
Vancouver PROVINCE, 4/21).