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).