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Volume 24 No. 156

Facilities Venues

          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).