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Volume 24 No. 156

Facilities Venues

          A new Broncos stadium "could be called Mile High, would
     not have a retractable roof dome, and a fourth of the cost
     would be paid by team owner Pat Bowlen under a bill approved
     by a House committee Monday night," according to Peggy Lowe
     of the DENVER POST.  As the bill now stands, Bowlen would
     have to pay for 25% of the stadium, which he estimated will
     cost at least $340M without a dome.  Previously, Bowlen's
     cost was capped at $100M.  Under the present bill, the
     amount of taxpayer subsidy is unchanged, at $266M.  The
     measure, already approved by the Senate, would extend a six-
     county 0.1% sales tax, already in place for Coors Field, to
     2018 (DENVER POST, 3/17).  In CO Springs, Mary Boyle
     reported that the committee also voted to retain the name
     Mile High Stadium, "despite the fact that selling the naming
     rights could save taxpayers as much as" $20M.  Boyle added
     that the bill still "faces more controversy on the House
     floor" (GAZETTE TELEGRAPH, 3/17).  In Denver, Chuck Green
     writes that the House "should be proud" of the committee's
     decision to require Bowlen to pay one fourth of the
     construction costs, "since that is a practical way of
     limiting extravagant spending."  Green adds that the total
     project "is likely to cost in excess of" $500M "and probably
     more than" $600M (Chuck Green, DENVER POST, 3/18).

          Phoenix "likely will provide shuttle buses" for the
     Diamondbacks, but "won't be footing the bill," according to
     Chris Fiscus of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC.  Under a compromise
     reached Tuesday, corporate dollars would fund the cost --
     about $20,000 per month -- to operate buses on game days for
     two or three months.  Fiscus writes that the deal "would
     replace a controversial plan that called for a city-funded
     shuttle" for the team.  The City Council will vote on the
     bus plan today.  Fiscus adds that the city "balked" at a
     plan submitted Tuesday by Southwest Charter Lines to provide
     shuttle transportation, "because of its cost and because the
     city could not provide the buses without going out for bid." 
     Southwest today will submit an updated bid without asking
     for use of the city buses (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/18).

          The Tigers officially announced a deal with Tokyo-based
     Sumitomo Bank to finance their new ballpark.  Sumitomo will
     fully underwrite the $145M transaction (Tigers).  The Tigers
     "pledged control of" the new stadium and the projected
     revenues it will generate as collateral to secure the loan
     from Sumitomo (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 3/18)....MA House Speaker
     Thomas Finneran yesterday said that he "opposed a Senate
     plan to help" the Patriots build a new stadium in Foxboro
     "unless the state received part ownership of the stadium,
     related commercial development, or the team itself."
     Finneran: "[T]here's not a great deal of support or
     sentiment in the House for the gift of $20 million in
     exchange for a piece of land that we're not then able to use
     for '99 years" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/18).

          Pirates Managing General Partner Kevin McClatchy "wowed
     a crowd of Pittsburgh notables" with his model of a new
     ballpark, "but shed little light on the team's contribution"
     to its $203M cost, according to Rich Lord of the Pittsburgh
     TRIBUNE-REVIEW.  McClatchy said he was "extremely confident"
     that the stadium will be completed by Opening Day, 2001. The
     team is aiming for a groundbreaking in 14 months. Though the
     team will only sign a 25- to 30-year lease, McClatchy
     predicted the park "would keep baseball in Pittsburgh for
     another 111 years" if the team, state, city of Pittsburgh
     and Allegheny County can "formalize a suitable financing
     agreement."  McClatchy: "The money's not in the bank yet." 
     Pirates VP/New Ballpark Development & Comm. Steve Greenberg
     said that the team is negotiating naming rights with "at
     least two" local companies, including PNC Bank.  Plans for
     the new 38,000-seat ballpark include 64 luxury suites, 540
     Field Club seats (with access to a private lounge), 2,260
     upper club seats, with an average ticket price of $15 and
     10,000 seats priced under $10 (PITT. TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 3/18). 
          REAX: In Pittsburgh, Kim Burger writes that "skepticism
     was the sentiment all over" the city on Tuesday (TRIBUNE-
     REVIEW, 3/18).  Columnist Bob Smizik: "It has been some time
     since the baseball future of the region looked so promising"