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Volume 24 No. 156

Facilities Venues

     Settling on the proper interest rates for the bonds to help
finance the Brewers' new $250M stadium "is proving to be a tough
balancing act," according to Kenneth Lamke of the MILWAUKEE
JOURNAL SENTINEL.  While the rate must be high enough to attract
bond buyers, it must be low enough so the Brewers can afford to
pay them back -- and so far that medium has not been found.
Timothy Sheehy, President of the Metropolitan Milwaukee
Association of Commerce:  "The teeter-totter swings back and
fourth."  Two other factors --the coverage ratio and length of
the bonds -- also have yet to be worked out.  Sheehy said he
"wouldn't be surprised" if Northwest Mutual Life "played a role"
in buying some of the bonds (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/25).
Today's WALL STREET JOURNAL reports $60M of the stadium will be
financed by privately placed debt so the team won't have to open
its books to public inspection (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/29).

     Tigers President John McHale said he "is optimistic" that
legal challenges from the Tiger Stadium Fan Club will be overcome
and that construction on the new Stadium will begin in December,
according to Joseph Serwach of CRAIN'S DETROIT BUSINESS.  McHale
said, while the stadium could be completed within two years after
ground breaking, it "will probably take 30 months" in order to
avoid mistakes.  In a separate piece, Matt Roush reports that
Denise Ilitch Lites, daughter of Tigers Owner Mike Ilitch and
president of Olympia Development Inc., will return to Detroit to
help attract business and entertainment opportunities to the new
stadium area.  Ilitch Lites said she will hire at least one
senior staff member and a support staff soon but that her company
will not be involved directly in land acquisition for the stadium
itself, which is being handled by the city (CRAIN'S DETROIT
BUSINESS, 5/20).
     RUMOR-DU-JOUR:  The DETROIT NEWS' Joe Falls reports that
"the rumor bouncing around" is that Ilitch lacks the funds to
build the new ballpark and that Edsel Ford will buy the Tigers
and share a downtown stadium with Bill Ford's Lions.  McHale:
"We've had continuing talks with the Lions, but there is nothing
to it right now.  And we do have the money to build our own
stadium" (DETROIT NEWS, 5/26).

     Jay Cross, who has currently been the stadium project
director for the Raptors' Air Canada Centre, has been hired by
the Heat to work on their proposed $165M arena, writes Robert
MacLeod of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL.  Raptors President John
Bitove Jr. insisted Cross's departure has nothing to do with the
fact that construction of the Air Canada Centre continues to be
delayed by legal details, and that he encouraged Cross to take
the Heat job.  Bitove:  "They are where we were two years ago.
They need someone to put it together to make it happen."  The
Raptors also announced that they will hold part of their training
camp next season at the 4,200-seat Molson Centre in Barrie, 45-
minutes north of Toronto (Toronto GLOBE AND MAIL, 5/28).

     MA House Speaker Thomas Finneran has named former BOSTON
HERALD sports business reporter Phil Primack as a policy aide.
The appointment of Primack, "who wrote extensively on casinos and
the megaplex, was greeted with a gulp from insiders with a stake
in those issues" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/26)....Redskin Owner Jack Kent
Cooke said he will officially break ground for his new 78,600-
seat stadium in June (WASHINGTON TIMES, 5/25)....In an article
detailing the boom of new sports stadiums, Dan McGraw of U.S.
NEWS & WORLD REPORT writes that $7B has been spent or committed
in the past three years to build or renovate 30 major sports
facilities in America.  McGraw warns, however, that if the
"supply of big-revenue-producing luxury suites" outstrips demand,
the "stadium boom could go bust" (U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT,
6/3)....Jack Wilson, head of The Greater Tampa Chamber of
Commerce, has begun working with the Arlington, VA-based Public
Opinion Strategies to help "combat ... areas of voter anger" over
proposed sales tax increases to help fund a new stadium for the
Bucs (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 5/27).... Canlan Investment Corp. has
announced plans to build an arena containing four NHL-sized ice
pads in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke (Toronto GLOBE AND MAIL,
5/25)....In an article on numerous price hikes at Madison Square
Garden, the N.Y. POST's Li & Francescani write, "MSG is slam-
dunking New York Sports fans ... everyone from high-roller
luxury-suite holders to the average Joe" (N.Y. POST, 5/26).

     The DC Sports Commission plans to hire a consultant within
the next few weeks to examine the feasibility of a downtown
baseball stadium near the MCI Center, which is currently under
construction.  Lena Sun of the WASHINGTON POST reports the
Commission has been talking to two groups, The Virginia Baseball
Club, led by William Collins, and the L'Enfant Group, headed by
Calvin Hill, about bringing a team to the DC area.  The
consultant would study the availability of land and the traffic
issues related to a stadium at Gallery Place (WASHINGTON POST,
5/28).  Meanwhile, the FAA has asked Arlington County, VA, to
perform $7,500 worth of studies to determine whether a stadium
would interfere with navigation and air traffic control of planes
attempting to land at nearby National Airport (Lipton &
Nakashima, WASHINGTON POST, 5/29).  Loudoun County, VA, may re-
enter the stadium derby with site west of Dulles Airport.  Unlike
a previous plan, rejected because the county would have had to
foot a $30M bill, the new strategy calls for area entrepreneurs
or the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority to buy the land and
build the stadium (WASHINGTON TIMES, 5/29).
     VA JACKPOT:  If a site for a new stadium in Northern
Virginia is settled on, state legislators say that the lottery
"is shaping up as the most likely" form of state money.  The
WASHINGTON TIMES reports that because Gov. George Allen opposes
any tax increase, legislators have had to look to new lottery
games and "a hodgepodge of small user fees" to pay for the
Eric Lipton examines the lack of a leader driving the bid for a
stadium in VA, with some blaming "Disney-itis" -- a fear of being
associated with a failed project like the Disney theme park in
Prince William County (WASHINGTON POST, 5/25).