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Volume 24 No. 117

Facilities Venues

          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).