Cleveland City Council members say that the NFL and the
new owner the Browns "should pay for stadium overruns" now
estimated at $13-23M, according to Alison Grant of the
Cleveland PLAIN-DEALER. Council members, in a resolution
Monday night, "urged" Cleveland Mayor Michael White to
negotiate with the league and the Browns' future owner and
"to take responsibility for costs that exceed" $248M, the
final price at which White pegged the project last year.
The resolution sponsored by 14 city council members "is an
appeal, but the league and new owner are under no mandate to
abide by it." White's press secretary said the mayor would
take the matter "under advisement." NFL VP/Communications
Greg Aiello: "[W]e have been actively working with the city
to manage stadium costs efficiently. We are confident this
issue, and all others, will be resolved fairly at the proper
time and in the proper form" (Cleveland PLAIN-DEALER, 4/22).
Red Sox Exec VP John Buckley said the club "was not
ready to present a specific plan" for a new stadium yet.
Characterizing the project as a "public-private
partnership," Buckley said, "We've got to have a financing
plan that makes sense. We don't have that." He also said
that before any plan could be unveiled, the team "wanted to
do more groundwork with fans and neighbors" (BOSTON GLOBE,
4/23)....CO Gov. Roy Romer approved a plan to use public
money for a new Broncos stadium, "clearing the way for a
November election" to decide the "fate" of the project.
Romer: "I strongly believe the people of the metro area
should have the opportunity to vote on this issue" (DENVER
POST, 4/23)....The Winston-Salem, NC, board of aldermen "has
decided not to take a position on a proposal to use
taxpayers' money" to build a $210M MLB stadium in the Triad
area (AP/Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 4/22)....ARC Int'l Corp.
broke ground on a hockey and figure skating facility in
Chesapeake, VA. The 80,000-square-foot project, which
features two NHL regulation-sized rinks, a sports-themed
diner and pro shop is scheduled to open in the Fall (ARC).
Construction on the Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) began
Tuesday, but TMS officials said they "still haven't
finalized a plan" for the track's "major overhaul," reports
Holly Cain in the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. TMS GM Eddie
Gossage: "We haven't decided what we're going to do yet, but
the things being done now with the bulldozers and milling
machines would have to be done anyway." The next scheduled
event at TMS is a June 5-6 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and
IRL "doubleheader." Gossage said that TMS engineers are
"still consulting" with NASCAR, NASCAR drivers, as well as
the IRL in "finding a solution that pleases as many
interests as possible" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/23).
PREMATURE MOVE? NASCAR officials "were taken aback" by
a Tuesday report that South Boston Speedway (SBS) "planned
to move its NASCAR Busch Series race in the year 2000 to a
proposed track in the Washington DC/Baltimore area,"
according to Bob Zeller of the Greensboro NEWS & RECORD.
SBS Owner Mason Day: "In order to see my event grow and stay
competitive in the industry, relocating this event is
inevitable." NASCAR President Bill France: "NASCAR has no
precedent of track owners arbitrarily relocating races. Nor
have we agreed to any changes two years in advance." Zeller
notes that track owners "don't own" NASCAR race dates, and
adds that with the exception of the CA Speedway, NASCAR
"does not commit to events at speedways that have not been
built yet." NASCAR spokesperson Tim Sullivan, on Day's
comments: "In our eyes, it's a little premature to make
those comments when we don't know what the 1999 schedule
looks like yet" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 4/22).
MLS officials say they're "extremely interested in
operating a franchise within the five boroughs to join the
MetroStars," according to Seifman & Hardt of the N.Y. POST.
MLS Commissioner Doug Logan said the league has "always" had
plans to bring a second team to N.Y., but that league
officials have "been kind of scratching our heads, wondering
where we could go." NYC officials "have a ready answer" --
Yankee Stadium, if the Yankees move out, "could play host"
to an MLS team. NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani: "If we could
find a suitable site, we could have a soccer franchise now.
It's a sport that draws 20,000 to 22,000 people per game."
A spokesperson for Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer
said that an MLS team is "an idea worth considering" if it
plays "when the Yankees aren't in town" (N.Y. POST, 4/23).
NEW OLD STUDY: A '96 study of the economic impact of a
Manhattan stadium for the Yankees projected that it would
generate $102.5M per year for NYC, "far less" than the $1B
projected by city officials in a new report. Smith College
Professor Andrew Zimbalist, on the studies: "There has not
been an independent study by an economist for any stadium
built over the last 30 years that suggests you can
anticipate a positive economic impact. One has to take
these claims with a grain of salt" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/23).
YANKEE DOODLES: More reax from Mayor Giuliani's
corporate tax plan to fund stadiums for the Yankees and Mets
appeared in today's N.Y. dailies. Bob Herbert of the TIMES:
"If the new stadiums are such gold mines, then why aren't
private investors rushing to finance their construction?
The answer is that private interests can make a lot of money
from the stadiums as long as they don't have to pay to build
them. The real gold mine is the city treasury, and Mr.
Giuliani has graciously invited [Yankees Owner, George]
Steinbrenner and [Mets Owner, Fred] Wilpon to come in and
stake their claims" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/23) ....The DAILY NEWS'
Jim Dwyer writes that the Yankees and Mets "are not
struggling businesses that need government handouts to
survive" (DAILY NEWS, 4/23)....NYC Council Speaker Peter
Vallone wrote in today's DAILY NEWS under the header "New
Stadium? Ask Taxpayers First." Vallone: "I, like many
others in our city, personally oppose the Yankees moving
from the Bronx to Manhattan, but if New York's taxpayers
want it, I will agree to it" (DAILY NEWS, 4/23).