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Volume 24 No. 112

Facilities Venues

          In Houston, Arena Operating Company, manager of The
     Summit, has reached an agreement with Houston-based Compaq
     Computer Corp. in which The Summit will be renamed Compaq
     Center.  Through the deal, Compaq will provide $5.4M over
     the next six years to upgrade the arena, including updating
     the telescreens, installing a new ice floor, replacing light
     fixtures, recovering the seats and upgrading the elevators
     and escalators.  The renaming of the arena is subject to
     approval from the Houston City Council (Compaq).
          COMPAQ COMPETING? In Houston, John Williams writes that
     one of the Rockets' corporate partners is Compaq "rival"
     Hewlett-Packard.  Hewlett-Packard holds advertising rights
     inside the arena during Rockets games.  Williams reports
     that Rockets officials "were unclear" about whether they
     would "try to prevent" Compaq from advertising inside the
     arena.  In other news, Compaq officials said that "they will
     explore putting computers at fans' seats so patrons can get
     statistical updates and, possibly, order food and drinks"
     (John Williams, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/10).

          Turner Sports & Entertainment unveiled design plans
     yesterday for its $213M development project in downtown
     Atlanta, which includes a new arena for the Hawks and
     Atlanta's new NHL expansion team.  The arena, and the
     surrounding 12-acre development, is scheduled to be
     completed in September of '99.  The arena will be built on
     the former site of the Omni Coliseum (TBS).  In Atlanta,
     Unger & Saporta wrote that the arena will have "steel
     trusses supporting three sweeping roofs that resemble cards
     being fanned."  The trusses will spell out "Atlanta" on one
     side and "CNN" on the other.  Braves & Hawks President Stan
     Kasten: "We wanted it to be instantly recognizable and to
     make a statement -- at least as recognizable as the Sydney
     Opera House."  The new arena's luxury suites will be "open"
     with no glass and will also be "stacked vertically," instead
     of horizontally around the arena, so fans will be "closer to
     the action."  Also, 60% of the seats are either in the lower
     level or premium area (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/9).  The
     Hawks will play their home games at both the Georgia Dome
     and on the campus of Georgia Tech  ("Fox Sports News,"
     10/9).  For a visual of the plan, see www.accessatlanta.com.

          In today's WALL STREET JOURNAL, John Helyar writes on
     the "new wave of arenas ... aiming to restore a sense of
     intimacy and to get rank-and-file fans back in the game by
     giving them a better view."  Helyar: "The Pacers may be the
     boldest players in this movement, having broken ground on a
     throwback arena designed to look like a high-school field
     house."  Yesterday in Atlanta, TBS announced plans for a new
     arena "that will confine all suites to one side of the bowl
     and thereby offer much better seats to the suiteless on the
     other." In Toronto, the Maple Leafs "have ordered their
     architect to create 'the Camden Yards of hockey.'"  Janet
     Marie Smith, the design chief behind Camden Yards, "has now
     turned her attention to arenas, heading up the planning for
     Atlanta's and consulting on Indiana's."  Helyar writes that
     the Indiana Fieldhouse "will ooze nostalgia" from the '20s,
     with "metal seat-section signs printed with an old-style
     font; vintage-looking advertising signs; a scoreboard with
     an old-fashioned nondigital clock; even a section with
     pullout bleachers" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/10).