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Volume 24 No. 155

Facilities Venues

      The Broward County Commission has voted to raise the
county's tax on hotel bills from 3% to 5% in order to help pay
for the Panthers' new arena, according to the Fort Lauderdale SUN
SENTINEL.  The increase, scheduled to take effect July 1, means
that tourists would contribute $8M yearly, or 55% of the cost
toward building the $212M Sunrise, FL, facility.  Stan Smith,
spokesperson for Panthers Owner Wayne Huizenga:  "This was the
last important step before moving into planning and
construction."  The Broward Hotel and Motel Assoc. agreed to
support the bed tax boost -- but on the condition hoteliers
receive additional money for tourism promotion.  The Commission,
which favored diverting a share of arena profits to tourism,
"stopped short" of making a firm commitment (David Nitkin, Ft.
Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 4/24).  Jack Neese calls Huizenga the
"clear winner":  "[Huizenga] got almost everything he wanted.  He
or the Panthers will own the company that manages the arena and
profit from almost everything that happens there" (Ft. Lauderdale
SUN-SENTINEL, 4/25).
     ALL ABOARD:  Huizenga was scheduled to tour the Molson
Centre, Corel Centre and FleetCenter prior to last night's
Panthers-Bruins playoff game.  Despite being "besieged" with
offers from architectural and construction companies, Huizenga
and county officials have yet to choose a firm to build the arena
(Fort Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 4/24).
      THE HEAT IS ON:  Even though election day is over six
months away, Miami mayoral candidates "eager for headlines" are
already "exploiting" plans for a new Heat waterfront arena,
according to the MIAMI HERALD.  Metro Commissioner Alex Penelas
intends to make his opposition to the facility a "cornerstone" of
his race, while arena backers Arthur Teele, Xavier Suarez and
Maurice Ferre are "making their own arena plays" (MIAMI HERALD,
4/24).

     Local and state politicians continued to put together "last
minute plans tax plans to build a new stadium" for the Bucs,
according to Henderson & Metz of the TAMPA TRIBUNE.  Two
proposals being floated include a referendum on a half-cent
Hillsborough County sales tax increase to pay for new schools,
police buildings and the stadium, and a 4% increase in the
county's hotel-motel tax (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/25).

     The Diamondbacks announced a deal with Aqua Clear Industries
to build a pool, hot tub, wet bar and barbecue area in the right
field stands of their new Bank One Ballpark, according to Dale
Hajek of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC.  The pool will be rented on a
game-by-game basis similar to a party suite and will accommodate
groups of 25 to 30 people. Scott Brubaker, D'Backs VP/Sales and
Marketing, said Owner Jerry Colangelo was not sold on the idea at
first, but slowly "liked the idea more and more" (ARIZONA
REPUBLIC, 4/25).  The area will replace 240 bleacher seats, but
Brubaker "expects the club to triple that lost revenue" with
groups paying up to $3,500 for a single game.  USA TODAY's
Michael Hiestand notes the club also has "valuable ad space on
the outfield wall a foot in front of the raised pool and 405 feet
from home plate" (USA TODAY, 4/25).

      Even though Paul Allen will not decide whether to buy the
Seahawks from Ken Behring until the end of the football season,
he will begin exploring options for an improved stadium -- either
a renovated Kingdome or a new facility.  In Tacoma, Elaine
Porterfield writes the Blazers' $262M Rose Garden that Allen
constructed is considered a "model public-private partnership"
since taxpayers contributed only $34.5M to the $155M Allen
procured from private investors and the $46M he paid himself.
But in Portland, Allen was able to entice investors with a track
record of 812 sellouts, 70 pre-sold luxury suites and a schedule
of over 200 events a year.  A football-only stadium would be less
profitable, hosting at most 10 games a year.  Allen:  "It can be
done, but it takes a lot of work."  Allen said if he were to
build a new stadium, one of the three sites adjacent to the
Kingdome being considered for the Mariners ballpark would be his
first choice, with a suburban facility with more parking his
second (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 4/25).
     SHOULDN'T BREAK THE BANK:  The city of Anaheim said the
Seahawks owe about $150,000 for the cost of fixing up the
training camp they were set to move into.  City attorney Jack
White:  "We haven't even invoiced them yet, but we don't expect
any problem in receiving the payment from them for the costs
incurred" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 4/25).

     Phillies President Bill Giles said talks did occur between
the team and Comcast regarding a new baseball stadium, but he
said both sides agreed to "wait and see what the state will do."
Giles admitted reports of the team exchanging cable rights for
help with funding a new stadium were true, but said that giving
up those rights would "not be a good idea."  Giles:  "That's what
I call funny money.  If we had a new stadium, why would I want to
take away the cable rights?"  Giles is waiting to see what a
state committee of sports development experts will suggest in
their report, expected in July.  Giles:  "It has to be the state.
It doesn't have to be all state money, but the state has to come
up with the majority.  The city has to put up some, the state has
to put up some, and we have to put up some" (Ed Moran,
PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 4/25).

     Atlanta officials are nearing an agreement on a deal to use
rental car taxes to finance improvements near the proposed new
arena for the Hawks (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/25)....Loudoun
County, VA, will unveil a plan tonight for a "sprawling" sports
and entertainment complex near Dulles Int'l Airport as the
competition "intensifies" among four Northern VA counties vying
to be home to a new ballpark.  Regions have until May 15 to
submit bids to the VA Baseball Stadium Authority (WASHINGTON
POST, 4/25)....Maneuvering of the city of New York and the
Yankees over a new stadium on Manhattan's West Side is profiled
in the current NEW YORK magazine.  Craig Horowitz writes Mayor
Rudolph Giuliani's intent was to send a "clear pro-sports, pro-
business message," but that was not a "strong opening position
for negotiations" since the city seemed to be bidding "against
itself."  Giuliani "hasn't played the game well thus far, thought
he hasn't lost it.  Yet" (NEW YORK, 4/29 issue).