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Volume 24 No. 117

Facilities Venues

     Bengals President Mike Brown admitted yesterday if the
stadium vote failed in Cincinnati he "wouldn't have had any
choice" and the team would have moved to Cleveland, according to
today's Akron BEACON JOURNAL.  Brown:  "Our backs were to the
wall with this thing, and I have a lot of roots in Cleveland."
Brown still believes an established team will move into Cleveland
by '99.  Brown: "I would be very surprised if we [the NFL] expand
to Cleveland.  I know plenty of existing teams that would be
happy and pleased to move there."  Brown warned yesterday that
Cincinnati stadium talks could "still fall apart," as new
stadiums are contingent on a "significant financial contribution"
from both teams.  While Brown has offered $25-35M, Reds Owner
Marge Schott has "pledged nothing so far" (Bart Hubbuch, Akron
BEACON JOURNAL, 3/21)....Cincinnati Mayor Roxanne Qualls, on the
vote:  "We now have money for two new sports facilities.  We have
money to invest in what will be the renaissance of our community"
("Sports View," CNBC, 3/20).

     Real estate developer Ronald Rubin, who helped broker
Comcast's purchase of the 76ers, Flyers and two arenas, confirmed
yesterday he is "laying the groundwork for a huge sports-
entertainment complex in South Philadelphia that would include a
new stadium," according to this morning's PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER.
No deal is imminent, but Rubin's involvement and his ties to the
Comcast-Spectacor venture make it all the more likely a new
facility would happen. Rubin said he is not working with either
team, but sources said his "energies have been directed toward a
new baseball stadium."  The facility would be surrounded by a
sports-themed retail and entertainment complex, similar to
Chelsea Pier in Manhattan.  Rubin said Comcast is "not directly
involved in talks about a new stadium," and Comcast Chair Ralph
Roberts said, "We're not interested in building any more
stadiums" (Sokolove & Rozansky, PHILA. INQURIER, 3/21).

     The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to
approve three agreements that will "govern the distribution of
revenues and the management and use of Bank One Ballpark for at
least the next thirty years," according to Eric Miller of the
ARIZONA REPUBLIC.  The agreements outline details of "critical
stadium-use issues ranging from base rent to be paid" by the
Diamondbacks to operation, maintenance, control and use of the
stadium when the team is playing games and during the off-season.
The team's stadium lease will be completed next year (ARIZONA
REPUBLIC, 3/21).

     The Metro Nashville Election Commission has set a referendum
for May 7 to determine if voters want to issue bonds to pay for
the city's $149M share of the Oilers relocation deal.  State and
local officials have already approved the $292M deal that would
have the team play in a new stadium in '98.  But Nashville Mayor
Phil Bredesen has said if the referendum fails, "local efforts to
attract the Oilers will stop," and the team will have to find a
new city or return to the Astrodome (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/21).

     A Brewers source said yesterday the team would meet the noon
Friday deadline set by the local Stadium Board to obtain the
team's $90M share of a new stadium, according to this morning's
MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL.  But Kenneth Lamke quotes two
separate sources close to discussions who claim the team does not
have its "financial packaged nailed down."  One "big problem" for
the team obtaining a $50M loan from their bank, NationsBank, is
the fact they want to use a $3.85M annual maintenance payment
from the stadium board as backing for about $35-40M of the loan.
A stadium board source noted the $3.85M is not expected to "pay
back indebtedness," and that it is a variable, and depends on
actual maintenance cost.  The team source still expects the team
to secure the $50M loan from NationsBank with guarantees from up
to 10 local businesses.  The team reportedly has been in
"marathon meetings" with officials from Miller regarding a large
sponsorship package including stadium naming rights (MILWAUKEE
JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/21).

     The FL House tentatively approved a $2M tax break for the
Heat to help pay for a new arena.  Both the House and Senate are
expected to give full approval to the tax break today (MIAMI
HERALD, 3/20)....The relationship between West Palm Beach and the
Braves has deteriorated to the point the team may look to play
elsewhere next spring.  The team has one more year on its lease
before moving to a planned Disney complex (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
3/21)....After considering other sites, the Astros are expected
to stay in Kissimmee, FL, for the next three springs (HOUSTON
CHRONICLE, 3/21).

     Tigers President John McHale said one obstacle still faces
the prospect a new ballpark for the club -- a lawsuit filed by
the Tiger Stadium Club concerning a $55M grant from the Michigan
Strategic Fund that would go toward land acquisition.  McHale
said once the suit is resolved, "we can get going" (DETROIT NEWS,
3/21).  Both sides on the stadium issue say they will appeal the
decision to be released today by local Judge James Giddings on
the lawsuit, should they lose.  City officials have "said they
will seek an emergency bypass that would send the case straight
to the Michigan Supreme Court" (Valarie Basheda, DETROIT NEWS,
3/21).