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Volume 24 No. 157

Facilities Venues

          Cincinnati and Hamilton County leaders "are poised to
     vote today on a deal to clear the way for construction" of
     the Bengals' $400.3M stadium complex, according to May,
     Goldberg & Hobson of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER.  Bengals' Dir
     of Stadium Development Troy Blackburn "stopped just short of
     saying a tentative deal had been struck" after yesterday's
     session among city, county and team negotiators.  But
     Hamilton County Administrator David Krings said late last
     night that the staffs "were still working and will attempt
     to finalize a deal this morning" (ENQUIRER, 1/30).  In
     Cincinnati, Paul Daugherty writes that Bengals Owner Mike
     Brown "is not Art Modell," but that his stadium stance "is
     still a shakedown. ... Just not at gunpoint."  Daugherty:
     "It's the attitude.  It's the arrogance of the NFL and other
     sports leagues.  They are bullying, arm-twisting, hostage-
     taking, heartbreaking thugs" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 1/30).

          The Thomas & Mack Center and Sam Boyd Stadium were
     awarded a $5M grant for renovation and improvement projects. 
     The grant, which will be contingent upon an extended
     agreement with the National Finals Rodeo, earmarks $3M for
     the construction of a tunnel at the Thomas & Mack Center and
     $2M to reconfigure and expand Sam Boyd Stadium to 40,000
     seats (THE DAILY).  The National Finals Rodeo contract runs
     through 2000, but Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority
     officials "are looking" for a 10-year extension (LAS VEGAS
     SUN, 1/28)....The Bears are considering several new stadium
     sites but a downtown location is "very unlikely."  In
     Chicago, Mike Mulligan reports that there is no timetable on
     a new stadium, "and it's unlikely one will be announced in
     the foreseeable future."  Bears Owner Michael McCaskey added
     "there's no truth to a rumor that Ameritech has already
     signed" a $75M naming rights deal (SUN-TIMES, 1/30).

          In his State of the County address yesterday, Nassau
     County, NY, Exec Thomas Gulotta "urged" that the county get
     started this year on construction of a new arena for the
     Islanders "and other sports teams as the centerpiece of a
     tourist and entertainment hub in central Nassau," according
     to Bruce Lambert of the N.Y. TIMES.  Gulotta said he wanted
     plans for the new arena made final this fall, with an
     opening date set for the 2001 hockey season.  Gulotta said
     talks are underway with the Islanders and other pro sports
     franchises "that might be interested in sharing the arena,
     but he would not provide any details" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/30).

          Revenues from the Warriors' renovated arena "could fall
     more than" $20M short of the "amount needed to cover annual
     bond payments and arena expenses during the next 10 years,"
     according to a report prepared for the Oakland-Alameda
     County Coliseum Authority and cited by Renee Koury of the
     SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS.  The issue of whether the team or the
     city and county "should cover any financial gap" in the
     $140M Warriors deal "has become a sticking point in the
     negotiations for a contract giving" team Owner Chris Cohan's
     Warriors Arena Management (WAM) control of the arena.  The
     contract proposal "was pulled at the last minute from the
     Coliseum authority's agenda Thursday."  Under a proposed 30-
     year deal, WAM would run the arena and pay bond debt on the
     renovated facility.  But Oakland City Manager Robert Bobb
     said that because WAM is "separate from the team and worth
     just" $500,000, the city and county would have "little
     recourse if it failed to pay" the arena bills.  Team General
     Counsel Robin Baggett said the team "may voluntarily cover a
     shortfall, but we will not guarantee it contractually." 
     Some Oakland city execs "are insisting the Warriors
     management agreement should protect the public" from
     covering the shortfall.  The report said that the city and
     county "are better off letting the Warriors run the Arena,
     projecting deficits" of $30M-$34M over 10 years if the
     Coliseum manages the arena itself (MERCURY NEWS, 1/30).

          Members of the MA Senate "are considering writing a
     bill that would dedicate" the Patriots increased payroll
     taxes to finance state-funded infrastructure improvements
     near Foxboro Stadium, according to Tina Cassidy of the
     BOSTON GLOBE.  With the new NFL TV deal, teams will get an
     additional $40M on average per year, most of which will go
     to player salaries.  That means the Patriots "will generate
     an extra" $2.4M in income taxes, "just about enough to
     cover" the debt service on the state spending that Owner Bob
     Kraft says he needs for the expansion (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/30).