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Volume 24 No. 113

Facilities Venues

          Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen on Wednesday predicted that
     "he can negotiate" a deal with the city of Denver "to break"
     his team's lease at Mile High Stadium, which expires in
     2018, in time for a special stadium election in May,
     according to Alan Snel of the DENVER POST.  Bowlen said that
     the fact that Denver spent two years "dealing with" Ascent
     Entertainment over the severing of their lease at McNichols
     Arena "will help the city and the Broncos hammer out" a
     deal.  However, Snel points out that there are "several"
     legislative "hurdles to attain" before a stadium election
     could be held in May.  But Bowlen remains "optimistic." 
     Bowlen: "We're not reinventing the wheel here. ... We just
     have to shut the doors and keep the negotiations out of the
     newspapers" (DENVER POST, 10/23).  In Denver, Ann Imse
     reports that Stadium Board Chair Ray Baker yesterday said
     that the new stadium is "likely" to cost $300M, a figure
     which is 25% "more than" the original $240M projection.  The
     taxpayers' share of the stadium cost "is capped at" $180M by
     state law, so the entire increase "would be borne" by the
     team.  Despite Baker's estimate, Bowlen feels the facility
     will cost between $260-$280M (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 10/23).

          The Greensboro Coliseum unveiled a new, $1.1M
     scoreboard during last night's Blues-Hurricanes game.  The
     Hurricanes paid for 60% of the scoreboard's cost, with the
     remainder covered by the team's rent payments to the arena
     (Brian Holloway, Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 10/22)....MLG
     Board Member Brian Bellmore said that, despite reports, the
     Maple Leafs have "no intention of moving" to the Raptors new
     Air Canada Centre (Lance Hornby, TORONTO SUN, 10/23).
 

          Oakland City Council members "were shocked to learn"
     that the public "will not have access to the Warriors' two-
     week-old training facility," even though the city paid $1M
     of the center's $7M construction costs, according to Stacey
     Wells of the OAKLAND TRIBUNE.  Council members say that they
     thought the city's financial contribution "was in exchange
     for use" of the facility for youth basketball events and "to
     ease overcrowding at the adjacent Oakland Convention
     Center."  But Warriors spokesperson Eric McDowell said,
     "Right now the only accessibility is for the basketball
     staff and training."  Wells: "At this point, it's unclear
     whether the basketball team has broken its promise to the
     city or if officials misinterpreted the pledge" (Stacey
     Wells, OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 10/22).

          The financial situation at the Oakland Coliseum "is
     looking worse" as Oakland and Alameda County "may have to
     kick in about" $6M this year "on top of" the $8M already
     budgeted "to bail out" the complex, according to a front-
     page report by Rick DelVecchio of the S.F. CHRONICLE.  Both
     the city and the county "have earmarked cash" to cover
     Coliseum deficits for the next two years, but the "deepening
     hole" may mean that the "cushion will disappear sooner than
     expected."  Oakland City Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente:
     "We have $20-million-plus.  I was counting on that $20
     million to last a couple of years, at least."  DelVecchio
     adds that if the surplus funds are "exhausted," money "will
     have to come from" general funds, and the cost of any
     bailout "would be split" by the city and county.  The
     deficit comes "partly" as a result of the "slow sales" of
     Raiders PSLs, which, with "more than" 20,000 available, have
     "been abysmal."  From July 1 to September 30, the Coliseum's
     revenue from PSL sales totaled $1.9M, "just" 28% of what the
     Coliseum Authority had budgeted.  In the first quarter, the
     Coliseum "ran" $11.8M "in the red" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/23).

          A new poll shows southwestern PA voters are set to
     "resoundingly reject" a proposed 0.5% sales tax to help fund
     new sports stadiums on November 4, according to Dennis
     Barbagello of the Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW.  Results of the
     poll, commissioned by PA-based Lincoln Institute of Public
     Opinion Research, a non-profit foundation, "indicate that
     Allegheny County voters are likely to reject the plan by a
     two-to-one margin," and voters in the 10 other counties "may
     vote nearly three-to-one against."  Opposition to the
     proposal "is especially strong outside of Allegheny County"
     where 71% of those surveyed said they will vote against it,
     compared to 15% who "indicated support."  Other findings
     found that 43% don't believe the Pirates will leave the city 
     if a new ballpark is not constructed; 31% feel they will and
     26% had no opinion.  "Only" 15% believe the Steelers will
     leave without a new stadium.  The poll of 336 registered
     voters in the 11-county region was conducted for the Lincoln
     Institute October 15-16 by PA-based Precision Marketing. 
     Margin of error was +/- 3% (TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 10/22).
          TURNING TIDE? ESPN's Sal Paolantonio reported that
     since '89 "voters in nine cities have approved referenda to
     finance new facilities for their professional sports teams. 
     Only one has failed, Seattle, and it was later approved
     there.  So NFL officials and proponents of new stadiums in
     cities such as Philadelphia and Denver are closely watching
     the November 4 ballot issue here in Pittsburgh to see if the
     tide is turning against taxpayer support of professional
     sports franchises" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/22).   
     

          The Twins pursuit for a new ballpark is "creeping
     toward a political climax," as a special session convenes
     today in St. Paul to "determine the fate" of MLB in MN (Jay
     Weiner, Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/23).  A STAR TRIBUNE
     editorial this morning states that if the Twins leave MN,
     the Minnesota "economy and culture will be poorer and more
     isolated" (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 10/23).  In St. Paul,
     Patrick Sweeney reports that Twins Owner Carl Pohlad bought
     full-page ads in both Twin Cities newspapers "to deliver a
     message to the public and to lawmakers."  In the ads, Pohlad
     said he "is willing to discuss" a ballpark contribution, and
     also "pledged, as a show of good faith," that if he sells
     the team to NC investor Don Beaver, he "will donate the
     difference between his investment in the team and Beaver's
     purchase price to local charities" (PIONEER PRESS, 10/23).