Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 157

Facilities Venues

     The Broward County Commission unanimously agreed Tuesday to
buy 135 acres near the Sawgrass Mills mall in Sunrise to build an
arena for the Panthers, according to Meg James in the MIAMI
HERALD.  Lennar Florida Land will sell the land for "almost"
$12.6M.  Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-November for
an October '98 opening.  County Commissioner Scott Cowan said
that the county now plans to begin selling "as much as" $185M in
bonds today in New York to finance the project.  The Panthers,
under the agreement reached Tuesday, will follow an existing site
plan that calls for 7,500 parking spaces and "as much as" 75,000
feet of free-standing retail space (MIAMI HERALD, 9/11).

     Penguins Owner Howard Baldwin "predicted" that he would
reach a "comprehensive plan" with the city and county
commissioners on all Civic Arena-related issues, including
whether a new downtown facility should be built, according to
Steve Halvonik in the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE.  Halvonik writes
Baldwin's "optimistic assessment" came "only days" after the
Penguins "refused to make an $800,000 bond payment for previous
renovations at the arena."  The bond issue "may now become a
bargaining chip in negotiations."  Baldwin said, "No one was
harmed because we did not make this payment," while adding that
"bondholders were paid by escrow funds."  The Civic Arena is
owned by the Public Auditorium Authority of Pittsburgh, a
partnership of the city and county, and it must pay off the bonds
if the Penguins default.  Baldwin has formed Igloo Development
Corp. to explore ways to renovate and improve the arena and
examine the possibility of building a new, state-of-the-art
facility downtown.  It will also explore retail development of
the land surrounding the Civic Arena.  The team soon will present
estimates of how much changes to the Civic Arena would cost and
how much they would be willing to contribute.  Baldwin wants the
city and county to take over the $1.2M in annual bond repayments
the team is making to finance $10M in renovations from two years
ago.  He also seeks reimbursement of the $1.6M in payments that
the team has already made.  Baldwin named Chuck Greenberg, a
Pittsburgh attorney, to head Igloo Development (PITTSBURGH POST-
GAZETTE, 9/10).

     Pro Player unveiled a new logo and a name change of the
Dolphins and Marlins home to Pro Player Stadium.  In explaining
the change from Pro Player Park, Pro Player President Doug Kelly
said, "In the creative process of designing logos, we felt Pro
Player Stadium best represented the facility"  (Pro Player).
Stadium President Bob Kramm  said signs with the new name will be
visible to viewers on NBC's Sunday telecast (Barry Jackson, MIAMI
HERALD, 9/11).

     Minneapolis officials have identified five downtown sites
where a retractable-domed stadium, which would cost "at least"
$300M, could be located, according to Jay Weiner in the
Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE.  "Minnesota Wins," a local pro sports
advocacy group backed by $1.25M in cash from 17 corporations,
including "an undisclosed amount" from Cowles Media Co. which
owns the Star Tribune, will begin conducting focus group sessions
to "take citizens' stadium-related pulse."  St. Paul Mayor Norm
Coleman has "floated his desire" to get the Twins to move there
and due to an escape clause in their lease, the Twins can leave
the area after the '98 season.  Twins Owner Carl Pohlad has
stated that he doesn't want to sell or move the team.  If the
Twins leave the Metrodome, the Vikings will eye a renovation of
the facility with more football seats that are closer to the
field (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 9/11).

     A ban on smoking in McNichols Sports Arena takes effect this
Sunday.  Smokers will now be forced to two areas outside the
arena (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS,9/10)....In L.A., city officials are
reportedly uniting in support of renovations for the Coliseum,
which could cost between $150M and $200M to be home to an NFL
team.  Although no specifics were announced, an administrator for
the city said that the NFL has expressed an interest in hearing
the renovation plans.  NFL Dir of Communications Greg Aiello said
the league would "prefer a new, state-of-the-art facility."  But
he indicated that the NFL is "willing to listen to any plan,
including one for the Coliseum"  (LOS ANGLES BUSINESS JOURNAL,
9/2).....In a Boston Globe/WBZ-TV poll of 404 likely voters,
conducted September 4-5 by KRC/Communications Research, 44% said
a new stadium for the Patriots should be paid for with no public
money, 31% favored a mix of public and private funds, and 8% said
taxpayers should "pick up the whole tab" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/11).