The Maple Leafs' proposal for a new arena at Exhibition
Place won approval from the Metropolitan Toronto Council
yesterday "with ease," according to David Shoalts of the
Toronto GLOBE & MAIL. But the approval "doesn't mean the
Leafs have committed themselves" to the $250M project, as it
now moves into an 80-day due diligence period during which
both the team and the council "will consider various
questions." On February 28, the Leafs will have to decide
"whether to commit" financially to the site. Leafs Chair
Steve Stavro said that he will not use the due diligence
period to force the Raptors and Owner Allan Slaight into an
arena partnership (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 12/11).
EMPTY GARDEN: Stavro added that Maple Leaf Gardens
"definitely will not" be torn down. Stavro: "We're looking
to preserve [MLG] as it was built and rent it out for
different sports and charities" (TORONTO STAR, 12/11).
Groundbreaking ceremonies for the MLB Giants' new Pac
Bell Park are scheduled for today at 12:00pm PT and in S.F.,
Gerald Adams reports that Giants stars "past and present,"
including Willie Mays, Dusty Baker and Barry Bonds will
attend the ceremony for the $262M park. In addition, those
who have already bought PSLs park have been invited to a
reception before the groundbreaking (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/11).
CAN'T BE TOO CAREFUL: In S.F., Eric Brazil reported
that Giants ownership is buying insurance for $5-6M "against
virtually every imaginable construction risk" that could
delay Pac Bell's scheduled 2000 opening. In addition to
losses from natural disasters and labor strife, the policy
also covers "dumb mistakes," such "as architectural design
and engineering blunders" (S.F. EXAMINER, 12/10).
The Dallas City Council voted 12-2 to send the $230M
downtown arena plan "to the voters" on January 17, according
to Todd Gillman of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. The deal calls
for the city to put up $125M towards the facility, while the
Mavericks and Stars will pay $105M "and cover cost
overruns." Also, in a "change from the deal signed two
months ago," both teams "agreed to share any savings with
the city" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 12/11).
MEDIA BLITZ: Arena boosters, touting the arena in
newspaper ads, a new one-minute radio spot, and a full-color
brochure mailed to 65,000 Dallas homes, are saying the arena
deal "will reduce homeowners' tax burden" and strengthen the
local economy. The pro-arena radio spot features Roger
Staubach, while the brochure lists "dozens of prominent
supporters," including Staubach, Rolando Blackman, Nancy
Lieberman-Cline and Michael Johnson. Critics, however,
contend that promised development around the arena "is not
guaranteed," and note that the deal calls for the first
$7.3M in new tax revenue generated to be used to "repay the
teams for street improvements" (MORNING NEWS, 12/11).