The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum board agreed earlier
this week to allow potential A's owners Steven Schott and Kenneth
Hofman to terminate their lease in '98 if renovations do not go
as planned and the club continues to lose money, according to the
S.F. CHRONICLE. Oakland Coliseum President George Vukasin:
"We're very comfortable with that three-year window because these
people bought the team because they want to keep it in the East
Bay, not just make money" (Peter Fimrite, S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/13).
New figures, prepared by the GAO and presented yesterday at
a congressional hearing on DC's arena project, show the District
should expect to spend $56.3M to buy land and prepare a site for
the city's proposed downtown arena, according to the WASHINGTON
POST. The estimate, while slightly higher than the original
$53M, fits within DC's financing plan (Michael Fletcher,
WASHINGTON POST, 7/13).
TROUBLEMAKER: An editorial in today's WASHINGTON POST
faults BET Founder Robert Johnson for attempting to hold up
construction of the arena. The POST: "Unfortunately, Mr.
Johnson's interest in becoming a major sportsman is on a
collision course with the city's best chance to revive the heart
of downtown Washington" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/13).
The Lions have reached an impasse in their negotiations for
a new lease at Pontiac Silverdome and "could vacate the stadium
as early as 1999," according to this morning's OAKLAND PRESS.
Lions COO Chuck Schmidt: "Right now, we have reached the position
that there's no reason to discuss it further. We are
concentrating all our efforts on our other alternatives." The
City of Pontiac has been negotiating with the Lions and the
Silverdome since last September. The team has one of the worst
lease arrangement in the NFL which runs through 2004, but the
Lions could buy out the remaining years. Schmidt said
"preliminary talks are already under way for a new stadium in
Wayne County" (Kowalski & Gray, OAKLAND PRESS, 7/13). OAKLAND
PRESS' Kowalski writes that Lions "have a point" about leaving
the Silverdome, as "the city has done miserably in marketing the
Silverdome" and wants to make "huge profits off the Lions'
innovative ideas and hard work." The Lions "threat" comes "in
the perfect climate for a team looking to relocate" and Lions
President William Clay Ford, Jr. is the "wild card" to this, as
he wants the Lions to be a first class organization and could use
the dispute "as an excuse" to build a state-of-the-art facility"
(OAKLAND PRESS, 7/13).
Mariners VP Paul Isaki said the team's owners will invest
another $70M to keep the team in Seattle until 1999 if the sales
tax increase to build a new ballpark passes on September 19. But
if the team does not get a decision in September, the team would
"leave Seattle rather than risk playing the 1999 season in the
Kingdome." Debate begins today in a "divided" Metro King County
Council whether or not to increase the sales tax by .1% to build
a ballpark and upgrade the Kingdome. Isaki: "We'll go two years
(of more losses) to get this thing built, but we won't go any
longer than that." If a vote fails, Mariners owners "will barely
have enough time to sell the team before they have to start
underwriting a lame-duck '96 baseball season" (Rebecca Boren,
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 7/14).
SEAHAWKS' RISKY STRATEGY? Columnist Art Thiel writes on the
Seahawks' threat to leave without a better lease and $150M in
improvements to the Kingdome. The "security" of the team's first
18 years was "undercut" by two events in the last 12 months --
"The Kingdome broke. The cities of Oakland and St. Louis went
for broke and probably will be broke." Thiel says the team's
strategy "runs the risk that collective voter rage will tell both
teams to drop dead" (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 7/14).
One day after Pasadena City officials approved a renovation
of the Rose Bowl in an attempt to lure an NFL team, L.A. Memorial
Coliseum officials said they were "very close" signing a 10-year
deal with concessionaire Service America Corp., "providing the
revenue necessary for the financing and building of 41 luxury
boxes." The installation of luxury boxes would make the Coliseum
"an attractive site" for potential NFL expansion or to owners of
an existing team. Officials estimate if the agreement goes into
effect by October 1 as planned, luxury boxes could be ready for
the '96 season (Bill Plaschke, L.A. TIMES, 7/13).
Patriots Owner Robert Kraft is "exploring" the option of
PSLs to help finance a new domed stadium for his team or
"possibly major renovations" at Foxboro Stadium, according to
Phil Primack in this morning's BOSTON HERALD. Primack reports
that Kraft has met with PSL guru Max Muhleman. Local officials
opposed to the Megaplex supported the PSL idea. MA House Ways
and Means Committee Chair Thomas Finneran: "It's a huge
improvement over expecting taxpayers to pay for a stadium. The
(PSL) is much closer to real money than anything else we've seen"
(BOSTON HERALD, 7/13).
The Seahawks yesterday "demanded" more than $150M in
improvements for the Kingdome and a new lease similar to those
attained recently by the Rams and Raiders "as the price of their
support" for raising the King County sales tax to build a new
baseball stadium. In today's SEATTLE POST-INTELLEGENCER, Rebecca
Boren reports that the new demand "significantly upped the ante
for keeping the Seahawks in Seattle. And it threatens to blow
up" the campaign to raise the sales tax by .1% to build the
Mariners a retractable dome. The Seahawks have claimed for the
last past year that their lease with the Kingdome is invalid
because of the county's failure to maintain the facility as a
"first class facility." Since that claim a year ago, the team
has escalated demands for improvements from $100M to yesterday's
$150M (SEATTLE POST-INTELLEGENCER, 7/13).
A WI legislator is proposing that the Brewers change thier
name to the "Wisconsin Brewers" if state funds are used to pay
for a new stadium for the team. State Rep. Mark Meyer wrote a
letter to WI Gov. Tommy Thompson calling for the name change.
MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL columnist Michael Bauman writes "by
all means, change the name" if it means the team gets a new
stadium. Bauman notes that while Milwaukeans would oppose such a
move, the WI Legislature would be more receptive to funding if a
state-wide name is used. Bauman: "The deal -- give a name, get a
stadium -- would be a steal. It would be like trading Ron
Rightnower for Hideo Nomo" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/13).