Nike "has dropped its bid" to build a research
headquarters atop Stone Table Mountain in CO, according to
Charley Able of the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS. Leo Bradley,
attorney for local landowners, said that Nike "rejected the
site because the tax incentives were insufficient." Nike
"had been offered" at least $3M in subsidies. Bradley said
that Nike exec Howard Slusher told him that the incentives
that CO offered "were not adequate." Nike is eyeing a new
headquarters that would employ as many as 5,000 people on a
300-acre site overlooking Denver (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS,
4/15). In a statement, Nike said it continues to examine
sites in CO, NV, NM, WA and British Columbia and that "no
decisions are imminent" and the search is "ongoing" (Nike).
The Bi-Lo Center in Greenville, SC, and its developer,
Carl Scheer, were profiled by Leah Beth Ward of the
CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, who wrote the facility, opening in
October, will "set a new standard for minor league sports,
according to sports developers and finance experts."
Scheer's company, ScheerSports, which also owns the ECHL
Greenville Grrrowl, which will play in the arena, "is in a
position to profit handsomely from the enterprise without
having taken significant financial risk." Scheer invested
about 2% of the arena's $63M cost, or about $1M. In
addition, ScheerSports will receive "at least" $1.4M in
development fees upon completion of the arena, though it
must cover any cost overruns. Advance sales of luxury and
premium seating and naming rights "have been so strong that
ScheerSports was able to upgrade the scoreboard to major
league quality." Scheer also signed Bell Atlantic Mobile to
a five-year deal worth $800,000 to be a permanent signage
sponsor of a new scoreboard (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/12). In
addition, Bell Atlantic will equip suites with a cellular
phone for free local calls during events (Bi-Lo Center).
The Red Sox "are close to revealing plans for a new
Fenway Park that will combine elements of the old stadium in
a more spacious modern facility," according to Anthony Flint
of the BOSTON GLOBE. Sources "close to the team" said that
they expect the announcement to be made "soon" and that the
new park will be built "next to the old one." Portions of
the old park "would have to be demolished," but the plans
"envision part of the old Fenway Park being turned into a
baseball museum and park" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/15).
Yankee Stadium "will most likely remain closed for
inspections and repairs through the weekend," putting off
Saturday's home game against the Tigers that would have
marked the 75th anniversary of the stadium, according to
King, Hardt & Kuntzman of the N.Y. POST. Yankees officials
were in "heated negotiations" with Tigers officials to
switch the weekend series to Detroit, and play next
weekend's series, scheduled at Tiger Stadium, in the Bronx
(N.Y. POST, 4/15). An A.L. official said there was "no
compelling reason for the Tigers to agree to a switch that
would inconvenience their own fans" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/15).
HOME AWAY FROM HOME? The Yankees will play the Angels
today at 12:05pm at Shea Stadium. Mets Senior VP/Business &
Legal Affairs David Howard said that having the Yankees play
at Shea Stadium "will be a significant cost to us, but we
will address that at a later date. ... We are not charging
the Yankees any rent." Howard "would not divulge specifics
of any monetary arrangement between the two clubs," but he
said that the Yankees will get ticket and parking revenue,
and "will cover the actual expenses of having a game."
Howard said whether the team will host future games at Shea
"remains to be seen" (Arthur Staple, NEWSDAY, 4/15).
STADIUM INSPECTIONS: NYC Parks Commissioner Henry Stern
said that the "last time city inspectors checked out the
500-pound expansion joint that crashed into the stands ...
was in the early 1980s," according to Finnegan, Fitz-Gibbon
& Siemaszko of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Since July '96, NYC has
spent $5M in repairs/improvements (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/15).
There are 40 engineers overseeing the project. One engineer
said that 15 cracks in the stadium's support beams were
discovered, and that eight beams bore markings indicating
they should have been replaced but were not. One Yankees
player who asked not to be identified said, "From what I'm
hearing, I'd be surprised if we played a game here before
June 1" (Jack O'Connell, HARTFORD COURANT, 4/15).
NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani "hopes" the incident at
Yankee Stadium "will boost efforts to build new ballparks
for both the Yankees and the Mets," according to Robert
Hardt of the N.Y. POST. Giuliani "reiterated his call for a
new stadium" for the Yankees on Manhattan's West Side (N.Y.
POST, 4/15). Giuliani also said that new ballparks in NYC
"will mean substantial revenues for the city that will more
than offset whatever the negotiated price turns out to be.
It will mean a lot more jobs for the city." But Smith
College Professor Andrew Zimbalist said, "People shouldn't
be running to finance a new stadium just because one beam
fell" (N.Y. POST, 4/15). Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner
observed the damage on Tuesday and said of the inspection
process: "[W]e'll be absolutely sure it's safe for fans to
come back" (Bill Chastain, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/15).
REAX: In N.Y., George Vecsey: "Steinbrenner now has
every right -- he would even say the responsibility -- to
search for a safe home for his club and his fans" (N.Y.
TIMES, 4/15). A N.Y. POST editorial says, "[I]t's now
inarguable that the 75-year-old stadium must be replaced"
(N.Y. POST, 4/15). A NEWSDAY editorial says a ballpark in
Manhattan is "plainly the best" option and adds, "It's time
to get on with this job" (NEWSDAY, 4/15). On L.I., Shaun
Powell says a new park should be built, "Just make sure the
taxpayers aren't stuck with the bill" (NEWSDAY, 4/15).
THE FANS SPEAK: A poll by Quinnipiac College of 922
registered NYC voters taken from April 1-6, before the
stadium incident, showed that among those surveyed, 81% want
to keep the Yankees in the Bronx. Among Yankees fans, 91%
support keeping the team in Yankee Stadium (Quinnipiac).