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Volume 24 No. 159

Facilities Venues

          Hamilton County (OH) will pay "[a]t least" $50M in
     professional fees to architects, lawyers, construction
     managers and other consultants on the Bengals' stadium
     project.  County records show that the fees "already paid or
     budgeted" for the project total "just over" $50M, led by the
     $19.8M commission for L.A.-based NBBJ Sports &
     Entertainment, the project's architectural firm (CINCY POST,
     4/27)....The bright "Las Vegas" stadium sign in Bank One
     Ballpark has "prompted an outcry" from Phoenix' tourism
     industry.  Phoenix Con. & Visitors Bureau President David
     Radcliffe: "It's disappointing to have something like that
     in our own backyard.  It takes away some of the visibility
     for our own city" (AP/SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 4/25).

          MN-based Ellerbe Beckett (EB) has "agreed to design new
     stadiums and arenas so spectators in wheelchairs have a full
     view when other fans stand up,"  according to an AP report
     in the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  Yesterday, the Justice
     Dept. announced an agreement which settles a lawsuit filed
     against EB in '96, which claimed the firm had violated the
     Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) in its designs of
     arenas in Boston, Buffalo, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Portland
     (OR), and Washington, DC.  The settlement, under terms of
     which EB has agreed to "design future sites along
     guidelines" which meet the ADA's requirements, also includes
     "detailed measurements for the average heights of standing
     spectators and the average height of a person in a
     wheelchair" to be used in calculating sight lines for the
     disabled (AP/Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/28).

          The Tigers and Lions have worked out a deal to "share
     parking spaces and revenues for their future side-by-side
     downtown stadiums," according to Patricia Montemurri of the
     DETROIT FREE PRESS.  The deal will enable Lions fans to use
     the Fox Theatre parking structure, which is controlled by
     Tigers Owner Mike Ilitch, with parking fees going to the
     Lions.  In addition, a northwest chunk of downtown Detroit
     "can be open to other development, now that the teams aren't
     targeting that area for one big parking lot."  The two teams
     "had quarreled" over how much downtown land should be used
     for parking, but in the new deal, the Tigers will buy 12
     vacant parcels and the city-owned GAR building for $1.6M. 
     The team will then "landscape" parking lots of 1,000-1,200
     spaces on the parcels, to be managed by Ilitch-owned Olympia
     Entertainment.  The GAR building will be renovated for
     commercial use.  The Tigers will control the lots, except on
     football game days and "other Lions stadium events," when
     the Lions will get "all parking revenues."  All told, the
     teams will have control of "about" 5,500 spaces for game
     days (Patricia Montemurri, DETROIT FREE PRESS, 4/28). 

          Opening new arenas "makes sports franchises giddy," but
     Alan Snel of the Fort Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL wrote that
     moving season-ticket holders into the new arenas "gives them
     headaches."  In FL, the Heat and NHL Panthers face this
     "transition challenge" over the next 20 months.  Last week,
     the Panthers sent seat assignments to 13,000 ticket holders,
     which were based on surveys returned by fans "who indicated
     what seats and price ranges they preferred."  The Heat will
     invite fans to the arena to pick their seats "based on
     priority numbers they received when they opened their
     original accounts."  At the NBA's recent marketing meeting
     in Charlotte, Heat Exec VP/Marketing & Sales Michael
     McCullough "heard tales from the other teams about how fans
     picked seats from seating diagrams only to find the seats
     didn't exist when the arenas opened because of tweaks in
     construction plans."  The Panthers have hired VA-based
     Distributed System Architects, which will be paid out of the
     team's $50,000 relocation budget.  The Heat is negotiating
     with CO-based ticket/relocation consultant Matthew Bortz,
     and has assigned the team's Customer Relations Manager Rod
     Segal "to focus on the fan move" (SUN-SENTINEL, 4/27).  

          NJ Gov. Christie Whitman said that her administration
     is "not conducting hush-hush talks" with Yankees Owner
     George Steinbrenner about moving the franchise to the state,
     according to Tom Hester of the Newark STAR-LEDGER.  Whitman
     said that the talks have "nothing to do with the state
     government."  Whitman: "My understanding from reading the
     papers -- and that's all I know about it -- is that there
     are some private investors who have made some overtures." 
     Whitman also "reiterated" her position that NJ would "love
     to have the Yankees, but the state ... isn't going to build
     a stadium" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 4/28).  NYC Mayor Rudy
     Giuliani "fired a warning shot" to NJ yesterday,
     "threatening to go on a sports-team raiding party" if NJ
     tries to lure the Yankees.  Giuliani: "If they're interested
     in talking to our baseball team, we're interested in talking
     to their soccer team and maybe a few of their other teams." 
     In N.Y., Tom Topusis writes that the Jets and MLS MetroStars
     would be Giuliani's "[p]rime targets" (N.Y. POST, 4/28).
          MAN ON AN ISLAND? In N.Y., Charles Bagli writes that
     Giuliani "finds himself with few allies" in his effort to
     build a new West Side ballpark for the Yankees.  NY Gov.
     George Pataki "has not endorsed the plan," while prominent
     city officials have said that the team "should remain
     forever in the Bronx."  Business leaders "have remained
     silent" on the issue, not wanting to alienate Giuliani,
     while "privately expressing concerns" about his plan (N.Y.
     TIMES, 4/28).  Also in N.Y., POST gossip columnist Neal
     Travis reports that Pataki and other state execs "want
     nothing to do with the West Side scheme" (N.Y. POST, 4/28).