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Volume 24 No. 112

Facilities Venues

          Paul Allen "warned" WA lawmakers in a letter that they
     "have just one shot -- the current session -- to approve a
     June vote on his plan to replace the Kingdome" with a $425M
     stadium and exhibition hall, according to Ed Penhale of the
     SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER.  WA Gov. Gary Locke supported
     Allen by adding there "would be no special session on the
     legislation."  The POST-INTELLIGENCER's Penhale notes the
     stadium funding bill is "near death" in the House because of
     the proposed 2.5% tax on sports-licensed merchandise and
     some Members have called on Allen to contribute more to the
     stadium proposal than the $100M he has offered.  WA State
     Rep. Paul Zellinksy had asked Allen to "make another run at
     the stadium next year," but Allen responded that if the
     current proposal fails in the House, he will not exercise
     his option to buy the team.  Allen: "As to why I just don't
     pay for everything, I was asked to be a partner in this
     endeavor, not the only partner.  We are convinced that fans
     want to be a part of the solution.  If they don't, they will
     tell us at the polls" (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 4/17).

          The Maple Leafs will announce this morning that they
     want to "extend an olive branch" to the Raptors by becoming
     business partners in the construction of a new Maple Leaf
     Gardens, according to Marty York of the Toronto GLOBE &
     MAIL.  The Leafs are studying a site above Union Station,
     one block from the Raptors' Air Canada Centre, which has
     begun construction.  Raptors President Richard Peddie:
     "We're a little amazed with the Leafs."  Peddie said that
     the Leafs "never mentioned Union Station" during site
     negotiations before February.  Peddie: "We have $80-million
     invested in this site.  We have two months of construction
     behind us already" (GLOBE & MAIL, 4/17).  MLG VP & Project
     Dir Tom Anselmi says that he doesn't think the Raptors "were
     nearing the point of no return" on making a decision to join
     the Leafs (Lance Hornby, TORONTO SUN, 4/17). 

          MD officials say construction of the Ravens' new
     stadium is "on budget and on time" for the '98 season,
     according to Paul Valentine of the WASHINGTON POST.  The
     stadium's financing plan has been "slightly altered," but MD
     Stadium Authority (MSA) Exec Dir Bruce Hoffman said that
     more public money will not be requested.  Also "in the early
     stages of study" is an "urban entertainment center" between
     the stadiums which would include a hotel, movie theaters,
     restaurants and a sports museum.  It would take some of the
     4,000 parking spaces between the stadium and Oriole Park,
     but Hoffman said that "would be more than offset" by
     construction of a 2,000-car garage (WASHINGTON POST, 4/17). 
     In Baltimore, Jon Morgan writes that the dispute over
     Orioles parking "has become the latest flash point in a
     rapidly deteriorating relationship" between the MSA and the
     Orioles.  Morgan: "Each side accuses the other of dragging
     its feet and inconveniencing fans whose spaces were
     displaced by the construction of the Ravens' stadium.  The
     rhetoric has become lively" (Baltimore SUN, 4/17).

          In Tampa, Hillsborough County commissioners approved a
     loan to continue building a "scaled down" version of a new
     football stadium in case the Bucs' lease is overturned later
     this year by the FL Supreme Court.  Former Mayor Bill Poe's
     challenge has kept officials from selling $204.5M in
     construction bonds, making a $9.7M loan necessary to
     continue stadium construction through July (TAMPA TRIBUNE,
     4/17)....A MN House subcommittee approved a bill that
     authorizes the state to buy the Twins for as much as $100M. 
     Also, the MN Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal
     Policy will pay the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche
     $38,500 over the next month to analyze proposals for the
     legislature on the Twins issue.  Deloitte & Touche was
     selected over a new consulting firm, the Sports Economics
     and Facility Financing Group, made up of Smith College
     baseball economist Andrew Zimbalist, IU Urban Economist Mark
     Rosentraub and Congressional Research Service Tax Economist
     Dennis Zimmerman (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/17)....In AZ,
     the state Senate approved a bill allowing two or more
     municipalities to develop stadium districts, which then
     could ask voters to approve a sales tax to fund a sports
     complex for the Cardinals.  The bill also repeals a law that
     allowed Maricopa County to levy a sales tax to build the
     Bank One Ballpark without voter approval.  The bill now goes
     to the House (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/17)....The Tostitos Fiesta
     Bowl and ASU agreed on a new lease to keep the game at Sun
     Devil Stadium for at least the next ten years.  The lease is
     subject to approval by the AZ Board of Regents (ARIZONA
     REPUBLIC, 4/17).