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Volume 24 No. 155

Facilities Venues

          In Toronto, David Shoalts reported that two new sites
     are under consideration for the Maple Leafs' new arena. 
     Although the team "won't say" where the proposed sites are,
     Shoalts writes that "at least one of them is out of the
     downtown Toronto core" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/30)....Officials of
     the New England Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America
     and the Greater Boston Chapter of the National Spinal Cord
     Injury Association have dismissed their lawsuit brought last
     year over the sightlines at the FleetCenter.  In return, the
     FleetCenter has agreed to provide enhanced accessible and
     companion seats on all levels of the arena (FleetCenter).

          Astros Owner Drayton McLane Jr. attended yesterday's
     groundbreaking ceremony for Houston's new downtown ballpark,
     "ending two days of speculation" that he might not show up
     "since he has not completed a letter of agreement" for a
     long-term lease with the Harris County-Houston Sports
     Authority, according to John Williams of the HOUSTON
     CHRONICLE.  McLane said that the "biggest holdup" in talks is
     how to keep the projects's cost under the "promised" $250M
     cost, but added that he "expects" to have the negotiations
     completed "early next week" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/31).

           Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell said yesterday that he
     "prefers a Center City location" for any new sports facility, 
     but is "concerned that costs may be prohibitive," according
     to Marder & Gorenstein of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. 
     Rendell's announcement came as the City Council announced
     plans to organize a "series of public hearings on what kind
     of stadium is needed and where it would go."  Rendell: "If a
     downtown stadium ... adds $80 million to the cost of the
     project ... then, folks, it ain't gonna be downtown."  The
     Mayor also said that he would agree to a South Philadelphia
     site "only if plans included shops, restaurants, and possibly
     an NFL Hall Of Fame," and added that discussion of a stadium
     location was "premature" until the state decided how much
     money it will contribute to the cost, estimated to be more
     than $200M (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/31).  An Arthur
     Andersen study showed that a ballpark built anywhere in or
     near Center City would have an $416M annual economic impact
     on the city, while a park in South Philadelphia would
     generate $341M in annual revenue (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 10/31).

          Ascent Ent. and Denver officials "compromised" on a
     final deal for the $170M Pepsi Center yesterday, according to
     Ann Imse of the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS.  City negotiators "gave
     up their demand" for veto power over a new owner if Ascent
     sells the Avalanche and Nuggets, but the city "won written
     assurances" that it won't be left with millions of dollars in
     expenses to run the arena if Ascent "goes bankrupt or
     otherwise defaults."  Ascent "will pay for the arena and keep
     the revenue."  Imse adds that the city is "giving up millions
     of dollars in tax revenues" and "releasing" the Nuggets from
     a long-term lease at McNichols Arena "in exchange for a
     guarantee that both teams will remain" in Denver for 25 years
     (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 10/31).  The city will also give Ascent
     a "bundle of lucrative concessions," including $4.5M for
     infrastructure and $2.25M in sales-tax rebates during the
     two-year construction period (Alan Snel, DENVER POST, 10/31).

          A new poll shows that MA voters "are willing to pay" for
     land and road improvements around Foxboro Stadium to keep the
     Patriots, according to Tina Cassidy of the BOSTON GLOBE.  The
     Boston Globe/WBZ-TV survey of 400 registered voters,
     conducted by KRC Communications Research from October 26-29,
     showed that 57% of the respondents said they "were in favor"
     of investing money for infrastructure improvements, "provided
     no funds are used for the stadium;" 22% said they "were"
     against the idea, while 21% were undecided or refused to
     answer.  In response to a more "general question" asking
     whether they would "support or oppose the use of state
     funding" to keep the Patriots in MA, favorability "slipped"
     to 51%, with 31% against and 18% with no opinion.  The poll
     had a margin of error of +/- 5% (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/31).