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Volume 24 No. 117

Facilities Venues

     Bears President Michael McCaskey, who has stated he opposes
the idea of his team playing in a domed stadium, urged IL Gov.
Jim Edgar to "quickly get the ball moving" on talks to build a
dome in downtown Chicago, according to the CHICAGO TRIBUNE.
Aides for Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, who has said he will not
support a taxpayer-financed stadium, say the Mayor "will
consider" a dome that "doesn't burden taxpayer wallets."  The
TRIB's Kiley and Pearson write that "effectively" means Daley is
"giving up his push for an open-air stadium" tied to the Univ. of
IL-Chicago.  The "McDome" project would be tied to the McCormick
Place Convention Center and is being touted by developer Richard
Stein and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA).
"The key to the plan" is the MPEA's ability to issue bonds to
cover the project's cost, with few taxpayer dollars required.
Under the plan, the MPEA would issue at least $285M in bonds to
build the project.  Revenues from tickets, PSLs, skyboxes,
advertising, concessions and parking from Bears games and other
events would pay back the bonds.  Taxpayers would fund related
public works, similar to the $30M the state put up for
improvements around the privately-financed United Center.  One
possible obstacle, raised by McCaskey, is how much the team would
get from stadium revenues versus how much would be needed to
retire the construction debt (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/21).
     EARLY REAX:  An editorial in this week's CRAIN'S CHICAGO
BUSINESS urges all sides to "focus on McDome."  CRAIN'S calls for
Daley to "throw his weight" behind the plan and "overcome his
anger over Mr. McCaskey's threats."  The editorial calls for a
"modest" contribution from the city and state.  "If Mr. McCaskey
doesn't bite at that, we'll gladly bid the Bears farewell"
(CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS, 8/21 issue).  A dome in Chicago "would
change the face" of the city "and alter the character of its
sports," writes the TRIB's  Andrew Gottesman.  A dome could
create a huge economic boost to the city, with events such as the
Super Bowl and Final Four bringing hundreds of millions of
dollars to the economy (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/22).
     GREEN GRASS, NO SKY:  Developer Stein is exploring the
option of placing grass in any McDome project, according to this
morning's CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.  Stein has reportedly talked with
researchers at Michigan State who placed grass in the Silverdome
for the '94 World Cup.  Designers say McDome could be the first
dome built with a grass field in mind, with a roof that would
allow in more light and facilities to maintain the turf (CHICAGO
SUN TIMES, 8/22).

     Boston Mayor Thomas Menino yesterday suggested "that if the
Red Sox eventually leave Fenway Park, the ballpark might serve as
the location for the corporate headquarters of Reebok," according
to this morning's BOSTON GLOBE.  Menino said Fenway "would make a
great campus" for the company, which is currently based in
Stoughton, MA.  Menino, who said he had not discussed the idea
with Reebok officials, said a Reebok-Fenway deal would give the
company "a great showcase," while "maintaining the agricultural
integrity" of Fenway.  However, Menino "signaled" that keeping
the Sox at Fenway could be his first priority.  Don Aucoin writes
that the Mayor "may urge the Red Sox to take another look at an
earlier city proposal -- already spurned by the club -- to expand
Fenway Park in its existing location."  The team is in favor of
replacing Fenway with a ballpark in South Boston (BOSTON GLOBE,
8/22).

     Washington, DC's financial control board is reportedly upset
with Mayor Marion Barry over a $47M plan to rent office space
from a friend, saying "it is full of hidden costs and apparently
violates city procurement laws."  The leases are key since to the
plan for a new downtown arena since the city needs to move about
720 office workers from two buildings on the arena site (Philip
Pan, WASHINGTON POST, 8/20).  The WASHINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL
reports that two DC street closings, required to construct the
downtown arena, "could pose major problems to completing the
project."  The issue goes before the National Capital Planning
Commission (WASHINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/24).
     REDSKINS LAND:  The POST examines the $72M in public funds
necessary for Jack Kent Cooke's new Redskins Stadium in Prince
George's County, MD.  The money primarily will be used for
infrastructure improvements.  The consensus of economists
surveyed by the POST:  "If Cooke's assumptions bear out, and many
of them are rational assumptions, the project would be a net
financial gain for the public (Leonhardt & Gillis, WASHINGTON
POST, 8/20).

     The Tampa Sports Authority began assembling a team of
experts yesterday to help build a new stadium for the Buccaneers.
They are currently searching for an expert on stadium
construction costs, an accounting firm and a financial adviser
(TAMPA TRIBUNE, 8/22)....In Atlanta, Len Pasquarelli reports that
"odds now appear favorable" that repairs to the Georgia Dome
"will be adequate enough" so that the Falcons can play their
regular season home opener on September 3 (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
8/22)....The NJSEA has acknowledged that it had "other reasons --
 besides messy fans -- to justify the 67 percent increase" in
parking fees for Giants games.  The authority plans to use some
of the money to study an off-site parking and shuttle bus plan to
relieve parking lot congestion (Bergen RECORD, 8/22)....In
Milwaukee, state negotiators "drove a hard bargain" in the
recently-released deal to build a $250M stadium "sources involved
in the negotiations" told the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL.  The
team originally pushed for an escape clause from the deal if
attendance fell to a certain level, but did not get it.  Also,
the team "choked initially" at a state demand for a $100M
contribution, but eventually agreed to kick in $90M (MILWAUKEE
JOURNAL SENTINEL, 8/22)....Central FL is being considered as the
site for a $50M bass-fishing theme park planned by the Bass
Anglers Sportsman Society.  Volusia and Brevard counties are
among 200 potential locations for the facility that is to be
called B.A.S.S. Outdoor America (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 8/22).