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Volume 24 No. 112

Facilities Venues

     Hillsborough Circuit Court Judge James Whittemore ruled a
lawsuit by former Tampa Mayor William Poe Sr. to block a half-
cent tax from going on the September 3 ballot was "without
merit," according to Joe Henderson of the TAMPA TRIBUNE.  Voters
will vote on the half-cent sales tax increase, designed to help
fund a new Bucs stadium (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 8/27).  The Yankees, who
use land adjacent to Houlihan's Stadium for parking at Legends
Field during spring games, have objected to some of that land
being promised to Bucs Owner Malcolm Glazer for commercial
development if a new facility is built.  The question of who
controls the land is becoming "increasingly contentious," and
could be a "roadblock" to finishing a lease on the stadium (TAMPA
TRIBUNE, 8/27).

     Harris County Judge Robert Eckels says there is a "strong
likelihood" commissioners will call for an Astros stadium
referendum by September 3, the last day possible for having
ballot language ready for the November 5 election, according to
John Williams of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE.  Such a move is designed
to "pressure" Astros Owner Drayton McLane to remain in Houston
and speed up "stalled" talks over a $250M, 42,000-seat,
retractable-roofed ballpark.  In the past Eckels had said a
referendum would not be conducted unless McLane supported the
stadium financing plans.  Eckels noted that a November referendum
provides Harris County with several strategies: more time to
negotiate with McLane and develop details of a new facility;
placing pressure on MLB to prevent McLane from relocating if he
opposes a final plan.  Eckels:  "The referendum is not really
about Drayton.  It's about whether or not the voters want to
build a stadium."  Astros Senior VP Bob McClaren said the club
has "no problem" with a referendum (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/27).

     The Panthers proposed new home in Sunrise, FL is "shaping up
to be a fan-friendly arena unlike any in North America,"
according to Larry Lebowitz in the Ft. Lauderdale SUN SENTINEL.
Among features planned: outdoor food courts with views of the
Everglades; wiring of seats for future technological advances,
such as individual TVs and computers; a "record number" of
restrooms and seats that will put fans closer to the ice.  The
"biggest hurdles" remaining are highway access, parking spaces
and budget concerns (Ft. Lauderdale SUN SENTINEL, 8/26).
     BANK ONE: When the Diamondbacks begin play in Bank One
Ballpark in '98, they will be attending not only a stadium, but
"part museum and part high-tech showplace," according to Ken
Weston of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC.  Among the attractions at the
complex "being dubbed Fox Sports Diamondtown," will be baseball
memorabilia, 10 "huge" video walls and as many as 150 TV
monitors.  Interactive kiosks will be set up, enabling fans to
tap into nostalgia video and the Internet.  D'Back officials are
predicting "as many as 500,000 people will pass through the
stadium just on tours."  Ten of the D'Backs largest corporate
sponsors, including America West, Bank One, Checker Auto, Circle
K and Miller Brewing, will sponsor a zone in Diamondtown (ARIZONA
REPUBLIC, 8/27).

     In the wake of the Lions proposed move back to downtown
Detroit, State Rep. Deborah Whyman plans to introduce a bill when
the MI Legislature reconvenes September 12 that would require the
Lions to reimburse the state about $13.9M in taxpayer-funded
subsidies paid out over 19 years to help fund the Silverdome,
according to Craig Garrett of the DETROIT NEWS.  Lions officials
responded to Whyman's plans by saying the Silverdome has
generated positive benefits for the state, adding in statement,
"The Silverdome ... has generated more than $200 million in
revenues since it opened [in '75].  The $13.9 million state
subsidy, which ended in 1992, went directly to the city of
Pontiac, with none of the subsidy going to the Detroit Lions"
(DETROIT NEWS, 8/27).  The DETROIT NEWS' Brian Harmon reports the
Pontiac Stadium Building Authority still owes $28M on municipal
bonds that helped pay for the Silverdome and that Oakland County
taxpayers can expect to pay at least $7M of that tab (DETROIT
NEWS, 8/27).  A DETROIT NEWS chart indicates Pontiac taxpayers
"paid most of the costs" of the Silverdome as of '95 --
approximately $49,673,638 (DETROIT NEWS, 8/27).   SAVE THE
SILVERDOME:  Ron French of the DETROIT NEWS eyes "ways to keep
the Silverdome from being bulldozed."  Ideas include turning the
facility into an industrial park, an amusement park, an upscale
mall, an "ultimate Metro Detroit night spot," or a casino
(DETROIT NEWS, 8/27). .

     Sharks Owner George Gund announced the club will pick up the
cost for a $7M building improvement project at San Jose Arena
designed to create an "owner entertainment suite" and install
short glass walls outside executive suites to ensure that suite
users do not knock drinks onto people in the suites below (SAN
JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/27)....Cleveland Stadium will host "The
Final Play" September 21 where Browns fans can tour locker rooms
and walk on the field. Demolition of the stadium is scheduled to
begin in November (USA TODAY, 8/27)....Michigan Int'l Speedway
drew a season-record attendance of 616,510 in '96, including the
U.S. 500 (Penske Motorsports)....Bethesda, MD-based Clark
Construction Group Inc., which has won such projects as D.C's MCI
Center, the Brewers' Miller Park and the Redskins' new stadium,
is featured in the WASHINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL.  The company is
one of the nation's largest contractors with nearly $1.5B in '95
projected value and formed a division called Clark Sports
(WASHINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/23 issue).

     Fruit of the Loom's Pro Player sports and licensing division
officially announced a ten-year, $20M deal with Dolphins, Marlins
& Panthers Owner Wayne Huizenga to rename Joe Robbie Stadium as
Pro Player Park.  The deal allows Pro Player entitlement rights
and signage throughout the stadium (Pro Player). JRS President
Bob Kramm confirmed that the additional revenue might lead to the
addition of a retail and entertainment center at the stadium,
according to the MIAMI HERALD.  Kramm: "This announcement pushed
that possibility further ahead, but we have to study it more."
The name change takes place immediately, and workers yesterday
began replacing the more than 100 references to "Joe Robbie
Stadium," while the "most prominent" sign on the stadium's
outside wall will not be finished in time for the Dolphin's home-
opener Sunday.  Pro Player officials say they are working on a
new logo, and are hoping to unveil it for the Dolphins' September
15 game.  The only sign with Joe Robbie's name that will remain
is on the Dolphins Honor Roll, but JRS officials "might come up"
with a way to recognize the Dolphins' founder (MIAMI HERALD,
8/27).
     BE A PLAYER:  The deal does not call for exclusive
merchandise rights at the stadium and Pro Player will pursue TV
or print ads with several players on Huizenga's three teams.  Pro
Player will also advertise on SportsChannel Florida, managed by
Huizenga's Front Row Communications.  Pro Player will also
purchase ads inside Miami Arena.  JRS' Kramm said American
Airlines, which had been considered for naming rights, is a
candidate for other sponsor deals at the stadium.  Huizenga is
considering selling naming rights to the Panthers' new arena, but
it is "unlikely" Pro Player will bid (MIAMI HERALD, 8/27).
     THE WORD: Pro Player President & COO Doug Kelly told THE
DAILY the company signed the deal in order to "build the Pro
Player brand."  He added the deal allows the company to be
exposed to potential customers on a continual basis not only
through Dolphins and Marlins games, but also the FedEx Orange
Bowl, the Carquest Bowl, and possibly the Super Bowl.  Kelly also
said the entitlement has no effect on Pro Player's desire to be
an NFL sideline licensee (THE DAILY).