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Volume 24 No. 158

Facilities Venues

          The new 72,000-seat Browns stadium is "about" $14.8M
     over budget, and could reach $23.5M by the time the stadium
     opens in '99 (Karl Turner, Cleveland PLAIN-DEALER, 3/27)....
     Disney Wide World of Sports VP Reggie Williams is profiled
     by Javier Solano of the ORLANDO SENTINEL.  Williams, on the
     complex: "People are here to be entertained.  And because of
     our sports authenticity, the script changes weekly of what
     is being offered here.  One of our top goals in Year Two is
     to continue to build bridges into the Central Florida
     community" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 3/27)....Devil Rays Owner
     Vince Naimoli on Tropicana Field: "You'd be amazed at how
     much progress we've made."  Rays VP of Stadium Operations
     Rick Nafe: "I think we're in very good shape for baseball"
     (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/27)....Pro Player Stadium has upped
     parking from $5 to $7 at Marlins games this season (SUN-
     SENTINEL, 3/27)....In MN, Robert Whereatt writes that MN
     Governor Arne Carlson "scrambled key staff members Thursday,
     ordering them to explore alternative financing plans for a
     new hockey arena in St. Paul" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE,
     3/27).  The AP's Bill Wareham wrote that even if St. Paul
     Mayor Norm Coleman secures money to build a new hockey
     arena, "a victory in the battle may cost him the war in the
     gubernatorial campaign" (AP/STAR TRIBUNE, 3/27).

          Ravens Exec VP David Modell said yesterday that "he
     doubts a 40-foot raven sculpture will be perched atop the
     club's new stadium when it opens this fall," according to
     Vito Stellino of the Baltimore SUN.  The proposed sculpture
     "has become a point of dispute" between the team and MD
     Stadium Authority Chair John Moag, who believes it would be
     a signature look for blimp TV shots during games.  Modell
     said that he's not against the idea, but other fan amenities
     are more important.  The Ravens "have the call because funds
     for the sculpture aren't in the stadium authority's budget." 
     Moag's original projected cost was $250,000, but Modell
     believes that it will cost $500,000.  Meanwhile, Modell said
     that the stadium's brick exterior will be a signature in
     itself, without the sculpture (Baltimore SUN, 3/27).  

          "Taking a cue from amusement parks, the newest stadiums
     in pro sports are touting all sorts of distractions --
     allowing people to spend extra cash without ever having to
     watch the game," according to Sam Walker of the WALL STREET
     JOURNAL.  Team owners say that "the added attractions will
     lure new groups to the stadiums and prompt them to spend all
     day."  Braves President Stan Kasten: "I want teens, women
     and senior citizens, and I want them to stay longer.  If
     there's nothing here for them but baseball, I lose." 
     Tropicana Field, home of the expansion Devil Rays, will
     offer an area behind the center-field grandstands that
     features a hair salon, a brew pub, a climbing wall for kids
     and showroom space for car dealerships.  Walker writes,
     though, that "what troubles some people ... about these
     stadiums of the future centers on a fundamental issue: The
     excitement these places generate has less and less to do
     with sports."  Rick Burton, Dir of the Warsaw Sports
     Marketing Center at the Univ. of OR, said that expensive new
     facilities "may backfire on teams that fail to produce a
     winner."  Walker concludes that it's "too early to judge the
     success of most of these flashy new digs, but there are some
     indicators."  For example, four of the five MLB teams with
     the highest payroll "all moved into new stadiums within the
     past six years" (Sam Walker, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/27).