Owners from the Mavericks, Stars, and Cowboys reiterated
their desire for legislation to "allow cities to create special
tax districts around sports facilities." This would allow any
"additional" hotel and alcohol taxes from the district to help
pay for the facility. The Legislature is expected to take up
arena related bills before the end of their May 31 session. Mavs
Owner Donald Carter, who wanted to be in a new arena by the '97-
98 season, said he "has become frustrated by the whole affair,"
but that he is not "ready to break off negotiations yet" (Sylvia
Martinez, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/22).
Chicago developer Stein & Co., currently managing the $675M
expansion of the city's McCormick Place convention center, is
"floating" a proposal to build a domed stadium at the convention
center requiring "at most, a modest public subsidy," according to
the latest issue of CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS. The plan comes
just two weeks after Bears Owner Michael McCaskey said he will
seek state funding to cover 2/3 of the cost for a $285M new
stadium in the suburbs. CRAIN'S writer Jeff Borden reports that
Stein & Co. has distributed the plan to Bears and city officials
within the last week to 10 days and calls it "a serious setback"
for McCaskey. The Stein plan calls for a "state-of-the-art"
domed facility with a natural grass surface that would be
"transported in and out" for games. The stadium would seat
74,000, including 200 luxury boxes and 10,000 club seats.
Sources estimate the dome would generate $40M-$45M/year. Much of
the financing for the facility would be raised through the sale
of PSLs, with the remaining costs financed through public and
private bonds "serviced by the in-stadium revenue stream."
Borden reports that the stadium would increase Bears stadium
revenues from the $5.5M/year they now receive at Soldier Field to
$12M-$15M/year. Stein & Co. has overseen construction of the
United Center and is currently involved in the Jaguars' stadium
renovation (CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS, 4/24 issue).
The "long-term future of baseball in Seattle" is being
debated in Olympia this week, according to Angelo Bruscas in this
morning's SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER. The "score on financing a
new stadium is deadlocked with the Mariners at bat and two
strikes already against them." If the team fails in the
Legislature, they face few options when the Kingdome lease
expires after '96. The two proposals before the Legislature
consist of funding a new $250M stadium with King County-wide 0.1%
sales tax (that would need voter approval), or finance the
project "through a rebate" of 0.1% to the county from sales taxes
already collected, not subject to a referendum. If the
Legislature fails to reach an agreement during their special
session, the Mariners have said "they will start looking
elsewhere for a new home." The team is concerned that a local-
option tax increase would not pass a public vote (SEATTLE POST-
INTELLIGENCER, 4/25). The chances of the Mariners moving,
possibly to Orlando, is examined by Tom Farrey of the SEATTLE
TIMES. Farrey writes that FL developer Norton Herrick's interest
in buying the team might previously have been "cause for civic
panic," but it's a "buyer's market now." Farrey also notes
"competition from other leagues" as factor working against a
Mariner's move. The NHL is planning to expand, and Arena
Football, Major League Soccer and the UBL all are "moving into
growth markets and absorbing civic funds" (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/24).
Maryland Stadium Authority Chair John Moag is profiled in
this morning's Baltimore SUN. Moag, who recently took the
position, has taken a more aggressive stance than his
predecessor, Herbert Belgrad. Moag is considering a lawsuit
against the NFL to help push the league toward putting a team in
Baltimore. SUN writer Jon Morgan calls Moag "a brash,
politically connected Washington lobbyist who acknowledges more
familiarity with the halls of Congress than the politics of the
NFL." Moag says that Baltimore's record of "currying favor" with
the league in trying to obtain a team was appropriate when trying
to land an expansion franchise, but "may not suit a city trying
to pry a team out of its hometown." Moag says if a team does not
commit soon, the state's stadium fund may go to other uses --
one reason for his suggestion that a basketball-hockey arena may
be an option. Moag: "You have to look at everything. With the
time constraints I think we have politically, and the patience of
our fans, I think a new strategy is required" (Baltimore SUN,
Devil Rays Owner Vince Namoli has indicated he is writing
MLB to ask that the league push back their "fast-approaching
deadline" for an agreement on renovations to the ThunderDome,
according to David Rogers in this morning's ST. PETERSBURG TIMES.
MLB had said earlier in the month that the "final package" to
finance about $50M worth of improvements to the Dome had to be in
place by April 30. However, the earliest the St. Petersburg City
Council could complete action is May 9. The city council is
expected to pass financing on the stadium renovations, which
would be paid for by a penny increase in the Pinellas County
tourist tax (David Rogers, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 4/25).
The artificial turf at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia,
"called the worst" by many in baseball and football, has been
replaced by "something bright and shiny and new." The project
cost the city $1.85M to complete. The Turf was made by AstroTurf
in Dalton, GA (Michael Bamberger, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/25).