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Volume 24 No. 219

Facilities Venues

          The Hurricanes on Friday "agreed to spend" $20M as part
     of its deal to play in Raleigh's new sports arena and
     "pledged to stay" in the city for 20 years, according to Joe
     Dew of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER.  The team also
     "acknowledged - with a caveat" that N.C. State holds the
     naming rights to the facility.  The Hurricanes had originally
     planned to contribute $10-12M towards the arena, but the
     extra money will help the Centennial Authority add a "long
     list of amenities," including 20 additional luxury suites, a
     special press section, and video scoreboards.  The Hurricanes
     also "agreed to make it clear in the legal agreements" that
     N.C. State now holds naming rights, however Hurricanes
     attorney Jim Cain said "that could change" if a corporate
     sponsor offered "millions of dollars" for the rights. If so,
     in exchange for giving up the rights, N.C. State "would be
     guaranteed" a share of the money (NEWS & OBSERVER, 10/25).

          The Mets are "putting the final touches" on plans to
     tear down Shea Stadium and replace it with a recreation of
     the Brooklyn Dodgers' old Ebbets Field, according to Lathem &
     Hardt of the N.Y. POST.  Team President Fred Wilpon has been
     "quietly putting together" the package for the new 40,000-
     seat retractable roof stadium, which will be built in
     Flushing, on the site of what is now a parking lot for Shea,
     and "is expected" to open in April 2001.  Plans call for the
     park to have a lowered right-field wall and pedestrian
     concourse, and "intimate" seating.  The team is also "giving
     serious thought" to naming the new park after the Dodgers'
     Jackie Robinson.  Original cost estimates put the park at
     $450M, including $300M for construction and $150M for "road,
     subway and parking improvements," however, Mets officials
     "hint" that the cost "could be higher" (N.Y. POST, 10/27).

          MA-based Staples, Inc. has agreed to a 20-year deal with
     the developers of L.A.'s proposed downtown arena to "become
     the main corporate sponsor" for the $300M complex, according
     to sources "within the company" and cited by White & Dillman
     of the L.A. TIMES.  The deal is worth "about" $100M, which is
     the "largest amount ever" paid for naming rights to an arena. 
     In addition, GTE heads a group of "secondary sponsors" which
     "could bring in" an additional $50M.  The city "would not
     receive" any of the money from the deals, however the money
     "could be used" to pay the $58M in municipal bonds, which the
     city is issuing to fund the new arena.  Kings President Tim
     Leiweke said Friday that there was no finalized deal, but
     that talks will continue this week (L.A. TIMES, 10/25).

          A new Tribune-Review/WPXI-TV poll has found that support
     for a proposed regional sales tax which would benefit the
     construction of new stadiums for the Steelers and Pirates
     "has inched upward," according to Sandra Skowron of the
     Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW.  In the new poll, 66.4% of the
     respondents opposed the tax, with 53.4% saying that they were
     "flat-out opponents."  A poll conducted by the paper two
     months ago found that 71% of the people were opposed, with
     52.2% "staunchly against" the tax.  Voters said that offers
     made by the Pirates and Steelers to contribute to the
     projects "did increase" their support.  Also, "about" 38%
     said that they think the Pirates "will leave" if the
     referendum fails, while 34.9% feel the team will stay.  The
     survey of 901 voters was conducted October 17-22, and has a
     margin of error of +/- 5.7% (TRIBUNE REVIEW, 10/26)