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Volume 24 No. 156

Facilities Venues

          The Cincinnati City Council voted 6-3 in favor of
     endorsing Broadway Commons as the site for a new Reds
     ballpark.  The Reds, however, still favor a new home "on the
     riverfront" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 9/25)....Rockies Owner
     Jerry McMorris, speaking before Denver business leaders,
     "made a pitch" for a new stadium for the Broncos: "Mile High
     Stadium is clearly the worst stadium in the country -- by
     far" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 9/26)....TX Motorplex Owner Billy
     Meyer "has confirmed" his interest in building a new drag
     racing track "closer to Dallas and moving his two NHRA
     events from his Ennis facility" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/25).

          MA officials yesterday unveiled their "last, best
     offer" to keep the Patriots, according to Tina Cassidy of
     the BOSTON GLOBE.  A new bill offers the Patriots $50M for
     "land and improvements" around Foxboro Stadium, and calls
     for team Owner Robert Kraft to spend "that amount" on
     facility improvements.  But the deal still "hasn't got an
     OK" from State House Speaker Thomas Finneran, who has been a
     "vocal opponent of spending public money on anything beyond
     infrastructure improvements."  Cassidy adds that Finneran
     did not "specifically endorse the new bill, and was cagey in
     response to the legislation."  MA Sec. of Admin. & Finance
     Charles Baker said that the state's offer "won't get any
     better" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/26).  In Providence, Tom Mooney
     reports that MA officials said "repeatedly" that should the
     bill pass, "they believe Kraft will keep the Patriots in
     Foxboro."  Neither Kraft nor any team officials were
     available for comment yesterday (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/26). 
     Also in Providence, Christopher Rowland writes that Gov.
     Lincoln Almond's administration "is refusing to sit down"
     with the team for more stadium talks "until the Patriots
     show a willingness to close the deal."  Almond said that a
     difference of "about" $2M remained between the two sides and
     sources tell Rowland that a "key sticking point" remains
     disagreement over the size of a ticket surcharge that would
     help pay development costs (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/26).
          BANKING NEWS: Boston-based Fleet Financial Group has
     been "quietly advising the state of Rhode Island" in its
     negotiations with the Patriots, according to Joan Vennochi
     of the BOSTON GLOBE.  Vennochi adds that Fleet spokesperson
     James Mahoney "stresses the bank - so far - is working on
     behalf of Rhode Island, not the Patriots."  While Fleet's
     "local rival," BankBoston, is the team's banking partner,
     Vennochi writes that it is "clear Fleet is interested" in
     the team as a business partner (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/26).

          The Steelers and Pirates ended "months of speculation"
     yesterday by unveiling "their financial share of two
     proposed North Side sports stadiums," according to Sandra
     Skowron of the Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW.  Steelers
     President Dan Rooney announced that the team will commit to
     a private contribution of $50M toward the cost of
     constructing a new stadium and said that as part of the
     team's commitment, it would sign a 25-year lease for the new
     stadium.  The team would assume responsibility for cost
     overruns in the construction of the new stadium, provided
     that it control the design and construction phase of the
     project.  The Pirates would commit $35M for construction
     costs of a natural grass stadium expected to cost $185-200M
     and, like the Steelers, would sign a 25-year lease and pay
     for cost overruns if they control construction and design. 
     Pirates Managing General Partner Kevin McClatchy said that
     the team hasn't determined how it will raise the $35M yet. 
     Rooney said that his club "likely would borrow" $50M to
     build a $185M stadium and then use team revenues to pay off
     the loan.  Team execs were "hopeful their commitments would
     bolster support" for a 0.5% sales tax increase which will
     appear on the ballot in 11 counties (TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 9/26).