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).