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Volume 24 No. 155

Facilities Venues

     Among the features of the new Texas Motor Speedway is an
"innovative" dual-banking design which will make the track "user-
friendly" for both NASCAR and IndyCars.  The Motor Speedway has
not committed to either IndyCar or the IRL (John Sturbin, FT.
WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 11/28).... Hundreds of Detroit voters
attended a public hearing last night with the City Council on the
new plan to build a $235M ballpark.  With the "advocates solidly
outweighing the critics, stadium supporters believe the council
is likely to approve the plan" (DETROIT NEWS, 11/28).

     Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said yesterday he will not
support building a domed stadium downtown to keep the Bears in
Chicago, according to Kass & Pearson of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE.
Bears officials had asked IL Gov. Jim Edgar to revisit his McDome
proposal -- attaching a domed stadium to McCormick Place -- but
Daley is sticking with his $156M plan to renovate Soldier Field.
Daley's comments seem to indicate "in his town it's his deal or
no deal -- even if it means the Bears moving to Gary."  City
officials have accused the Bears of using the McDome plan and
offers from Gary as "bargaining chips to extract more concessions
from the city," but Kass & Pearson note Daley "keeps his hand
strong by rejecting -- at least for now -- any alternatives" but
renovation.  Daley called McDome "unbelievable" and questioned
how the city would finance it.  Daley said "no one wants" the
Bears to leave, but stressed the renovation was "the best deal
they can have" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/28).

     "Whether you're in the suites, at center court, or in the
nosebleed seats, the Rose Garden has become a bit of a thorn in
the side of many fans," writes Jeff Manning in the Portland
OREGONIAN.  Manning notes while the arena itself is
"spectacular," its initial season has been a "rough one," with
seating problems, "endless" lines, bad food and inflated prices.
Blazers VP/Business Affairs J. Isaac notes the problems are
"inevitable" for a new arena like the Rose Garden.  Manning notes
the Blazers will not let the problems "fester" as the team must
keep seats filled to meet the debt payments on the $262M facility
(OREGONIAN, 11/26).
     REPORT CARD:  In addition to Manning's report, the OREGONIAN
had a "Rose Garden Report Card" which graded the spectacle, food,
drink, and design of the Rose Garden.  For sound and spectacle,
Marty Hughley gave concert sound an A-, game sound a B-, "bells
and whistles" a B-, and overall atmosphere a B.  Karen Brooks
graded the food.  The only item to get an A was the $5.75 curry
chicken, while the $3 firedog got an F.  She notes that while the
Rose Garden is the arena of the future, it "isn't up to the task
of serving the food of the 50's."  Randy Gragg grades seating and
signage as follows:  seating earns a B-, lighting a B-, bathrooms
an A, navigational signage a B-, game signage a B+, and concourse
signage an A (Portland OREGONIAN, 11/26).

     The prospect of building a new arena in downtown San Diego
is "dubious at best," according to Barry Bloom of the SAN DIEGO
UNION-TRIBUNE.  Although the city has control of the project and
can offer full control to a franchise owner willing to move an
NBA or NHL team, the city does "not intend to dangle financial
giveaways similar to the huge sums recently awarded" NFL teams.
City Manager Jack McGrory said the city will not fully fund an
estimated $154.8M arena without a "substantial investment from a
team," adding "it is not realistic to expect a rent-free sports
arena."  Without a team, the city would be on the hook for close
to $7-8M a year to operate the building and service the debt.
Gaining an expansion franchise is not likely as the NBA does not
plan to expand until the turn of the century and the NHL will not
move there "without approval" of the Mighty Ducks, who claim San
Diego as part of their territory.  Therefore, arena plans have
"been placed on the city's back burner" and questions remain on
the city's ability to support pro sports.  McGrory:  "If the
business community wants to help come up with the money, we'll do
it.  But things like that don't happen in this town."  Mighty
Ducks President Tony Tavares:  "You've got the failure of two
basketball teams, the Padres' problem drawing people to baseball
games.  Even the IHL moved out. ... Those things are going to
impact whether anyone wants to go in there with an NBA or NHL
team" (SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE, 11/27).