POHLAD'S $111M OFFER FOR BALLPARK MET WITH "COOL" RESPONSE
Twins Owner Carl Pohlad pledged $111M toward
construction of a new ballpark Friday, "an announcement that
left [MN] legislators unimpressed and talking instead about
acquiring the team from him," according to Weiner & Whereatt
of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Because reaction to
Pohlad's offer was "cool," legislators and Gov. Arne Carlson
"instead began talking about having a charitable foundation
created by the state take ownership of the team and build a
scaled-down stadium." Pohlad's offer of $111M includes "at
least" $35M in upfront revenue from selling the naming rights
to the stadium and vendor rights (STAR TRIBUNE, 10/25).
DETAILS: Pohlad's $111M offer toward the $411M ballpark
"matched exactly" the recommendation by a legislative task
force earlier this month. However, Weiner & Whereatt add
that the offer is based on certain conditions: the team
"would have to control all stadium revenue, if and when it's
built; the team's Metrodome lease would have to be changed to
increase team revenue by "at least" $3.5M a year while a new
ballpark is being built and the business community would have
to "guarantee" the purchase of 40 of the stadium's 50 luxury
suites, and 22,000 season tickets in 2002, when the stadium
would open -- "more than double the current season ticket
sales." Sources say that Pohlad "would recoup his investment
in about 20 years by receiving all of the revenue generated"
by the $411M stadium (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/25).
NOTES: Despite Pohlad's offer, MN Senate Majority Leader
Roger Moe said ballpark approval remains a "long shot" in the
Senate and is also unlikely in the House (ST. PAUL PIONEER
PRESS, 10/26)....In MN, Sid Hartman wrote that with his
pledge, Pohlad has secured the "guarantee that baseball
owners would not block a possible move to" NC, if his offer
is rejected. Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, on Pohlad's
offer: "By comparison, this is extraordinary and generous"
(STAR TRIBUNE, 10/25)....In Minneapolis, Dick Youngblood:
"[T]he most distinctive aspect of the rancorous debate over
financing a new Twins stadium has been the all-but-total
absence of participation by the business community" (STAR
TRIBUNE, 10/27)....For the '97 season, the Twins had gross
ticket revenue of $14,498,337, an increase of $1,025,961.
Concession revenue was down $195,798 from $2,307,142 in '96
to $2,111,344 this year (STAR TRIBUNE, 10/26).