S.F. Mayor Willie Brown and the 49ers are "expected" to
ask the city Board of Supervisors Monday to place a $100M
bond measure on the June ballot to help pay for the team's
new $300M stadium and retail complex, according to Matier &
Ross in the S.F. CHRONICLE. Sources to Matier & Ross
indicate Brown has agreed to help finance the stadium with
$100M in lease-revenue bonds which will be paid back from
revenue earned from a mall the team plans to build around
the new stadium. The 49ers will finance the rest of the
package with the sale of luxury boxes, tickets, advertising
and other revenues generated by the project. Unlike most
bonds, which require a two-thirds majority vote, lease-
revenue bonds only need a majority to pass, "something the
team thinks it can win" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/31).
A "previously confidential draft" of a proposed plan to
build a new ballpark for the Twins was released Thursday by
the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, and it
reveals that any stadium plan cannot move forward without
the Twins selling 20,000 season-tickets by December 31, '97,
according to Jay Weiner of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.
With 9,000 season-tickets sales in '96, Twins marketing
consultant Pat Forciea admitted the requirement was "pretty
aggressive stuff," but Twins President Jerry Bell said that
he was confident the team could reach its goal. The
documents also show that "as early as one year" after a new
ballpark opens, the state would be required to buy Twins
Owner Carl Pohlad's share in the team for his investment in
both the Twins and the new ballpark, minus tax breaks. In "a
worst-case scenario," the state's buyout could cost $167M.
MSFC Chair Henry Savelkoul said that the draft projection
has been rejected by city officials, and final talks now
center on "how to bring down the price of that buyout."
OTHER NUGGETS: The ballpark plan assumes annual Twins
attendance of three million in the first three years of
operation. The Twins have hit this number only once in
their history. Ticket prices will rise at the new ballpark.
The average Twins ticket in '96 was $8.40, but projections
for 2000, projected at the first year for the new ballpark,
have tickets averaging $16.56. Forciea added that the Twins
are "committed" to an undetermined number of seats in the $1
"range." Also, all cost overruns on the park will be
absorbed by the public (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/31).
TX Gov. George Bush said he opposes any attempt to
raise the local sales-tax gap to build sports facilities,
according to Todd Gillman of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS.
Bush's stance "threatens a pending arena finance bill" and
"could hurt" cities like Houston and Dallas, where sales tax
rates are high, and pro teams are seeking new facilities.
State Rep. Kim Brimer, sponsor of a facility finance bill
which could raise the local sales tax cap by a half-cent,
"called on" Bush to let voters to decide on a higher sales
tax to fund an arena (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/31).
Meanwhile, Stars Owner Tom Hicks yesterday announced that
the Mavs and Stars, "which had stopped talking to each
other," have resumed negotiations on who will control a new
arena in Dallas (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/13).
Palace Sports and Entertainment yesterday cited local
opposition and "shelved" plans for a $40M auto race track at
the MI State Fairgrounds, according to Jennifer Dixon of the
DETROIT FREE PRESS. Tom Wilson, President of Palace Sports
and Entertainment: "We're not in business to be
controversial or bad neighbors, and when it looked like it
was going to be a constant struggle, we felt the prudent
thing was to walk away." Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer and
neighborhood residents "fought the speedway" with engine
noise and traffic concerns (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 1/31).
Paul Allen's lobbying team seeking $300M for a new
Seahawks stadium was greeted at the WA Legislature yesterday
with a "barrage of queries and doubts," according to Rachel
Zimmerman in today's SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER. The five-
member group -- Football Northwest Vice Chair Bert Kolde,
head lobbyist Bud Coffey, and Allen pointman Bob Whitsitt --
appeared before the Trade and Economic Development
Committee, and the session's "adversarial tone was
immediately evident." Rep. Dawn Mason asked why no women
or "people of color" were on Allen's lobbying team. Rep.
Velma Veloria, whose district encompasses the Kingdome,
asked how many people on welfare would get jobs out of the
project and Rep. Jim Dunn asked why Allen didn't appear
before the committee himself. Committee chair Steve Van
Luven: "Why is Paul Allen, the third-richest man in America,
asking the public to help build this facility?" Coffey
countered: "Do you want professional football? Do you want
local ownership? If you do, you cannot find a better owner
than Paul Allen" (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 1/31).
In Sacramento, some members of the eight-person City
Council "appear to be reluctant to make a call on the issue"
of a $70M loan to keep the NBA Kings in town, according to
Tony Bizjak in the SACRAMENTO BEE. While it will take five
council votes to OK the deal, "several" say they are not
pleased with the team's desire for a quick decision, and
want to wait until outside financial experts see the Kings'
books, review the deal and offer advice. Four members are
"leaning toward approving the deal," three are so far
against it, and one is "on the fence." The council has
granted loans to private businesses before, such as $26M to
"lure" Packard Bell two years ago, but the $70M being
discussed would represent the largest loan the city has ever
given to private enterprise (SACRAMENTO BEE, 1/30).
NAME GAMES: The "long running feud" over naming rights
between Thomas and Arco has emerged as a "potential deal-
killer" in the city's efforts to keep the team, according to
Gary Delsohn in the SACRAMENTO BEE. Thomas contends Arco is
obligated to pay around $1M a year for at least 20 years to
keep its name and logo on the arena. Arco has said that it
has already paid more than $7M under a 99-year agreement
reached with the prior owners, and that all of the company's
contractual obligations are fulfilled. Thomas met with Arco
Products Co. President William Rusnack and a spokesman for
Rusnack said Arco might be willing to spend another
$300,000-400,000 a year to increase its visibility in the
arena, but not the $1M Thomas wants (SACRAMENTO BEE, 1/30).
San Diego Mayor Susan Golding is trying to "persuade"
Chargers Owner Alex Spanos to "renegotiate" some of the
"least popular aspects" of the team's new stadium lease.
Golding did not "sound optimistic," saying discussions
"haven't gotten very far" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/31).
...In Boston, State House Speaker Thomas Finneran
"threatened" yesterday to rewrite the MA Port Authority's
charter if the agency follows through on plans to lease land
in South Boston to the Patriots at below-market prices
(BOSTON GLOBE, 1/31)....In Milwaukee, details involving the
bonds issued for the Brewers' new stadium have been "ironed
out." Underwriters Robert W. Baird & Co. and Bear Stearns &
Co. have applied for municipal bond insurance. If they get
it, the bonds, which are now rated A, will be rate AAA by
Standard & Poor's and AAA by Moody's Investors Service.
Also, investors will be able to choose maturities of between
one and 30 years. The bonds will be sold in increments of
$5,000, starting with a minimum of $5,000 (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL
SENTINEL, 1/31)....The Palisades Club in Newport Beach, CA,
and Riviera Club in Pacific Palisades are possible sites to
host a future Davis Cup match (L.A. TIMES, 1/30)....The
Pacers scheduled two extra tours of Market Square Arena due
to "high demand." The team is offering the tours to show
the need for a new facility (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 1/30).
The Tigers began the public sale of suites for their
new stadium set to open in '99. Suites are priced at
$75,000- $125,000. The team has sold 50 suites to sponsors
and season-ticket holders, leaving 30 available for public
lease. Suiteholders can purchase either a four-year plan
with a 6% annual price increase or a seven-year plan with a
3% increase per year (Tigers). The Tigers expect to raise
$6-8M annually through suite sales (DETROIT NEWS, 1/31).