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Volume 24 No. 159

Facilities Venues

     MN legislative leaders announced yesterday they will put a
new Twins stadium to a public referendum, according to the
Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  Leaders are unsure when the question
will come up, but polls done for the Twins show the best time to
get a Yes vote could be the September 10 primary.  Some fear the
issue would face a closer vote in a more crowded November general
election.  The vote is non-binding, and even with voter approval,
legislators would still need to back some public financing.  A
bill to authorize a referendum asks voters "if they favor
construction of an open-air, retractable-canopy stadium, financed
by contributions from the Twins, private sources, a hotel-motel
and liquor tax and a surcharge on admissions to the stadium."
The question does not mention cost or location (Robert Whereatt,
Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/18).

     The Nets yesterday reportedly dropped a lawsuit against the
NJ Sports and Exposition Authority which challenged the name
change from Brendan Byrne to Continental Airlines Arena.  The
deal would reportedly give the Nets a "piece of the" $29M naming
rights deal and other ad revenue.  A source told AP that some the
revenue includes "some that Coca-Cola pays for a sign right
outside the arena" (N.Y. POST, 1/18).  The deal reportedly brings
the Nets' lease closer to the "better terms enjoyed" by the
Devils (Bergen RECORD, 1/18).

     The start of construction on a new stadium for the Brewers
could be delayed because of problems with the team's finances,
according to the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL.  Although
groundbreaking is scheduled for March 17 or 18, a "delay of a few
weeks is almost inevitable," and one source said groundbreaking
"could be put off by three or four months."  The "elements in
doubt" appear to be the team's $90M share of the stadium's cost,
including a $50M loan from the WI Housing and Economic
Development Authority and $40M that they agreed to raise
themselves.  WHEDA Exec Dir Frank Ruf said the process was
running behind and said they are "very concerned.  There are a
lot of hurdles if we're going to meet the March 17 deadline."
One problem complicating the WHEDA loan is the "fact that three
major financial institutions have liens on Brewers revenue
sources that could take precedence over the Brewers' obligation
to WHEDA bond-holders."  The team also has not "nailed down their
direct" $40M funding -- $25M is to come from naming rights, but
the team just hired a new Vice President to sell those rights on
January 5 (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 1/18).

     The Giants will kick off their campaign for a new, privately
financed stadium on Saturday by holding "Opening Day of the Yes
on B Campaign."  The event will consist of newly-elected Mayor
Willie Brown and Hall-of-Famer Willie Mays opening the campaign
headquarters (Giants).