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Volume 24 No. 157

Facilities Venues

          After voters in NC's Triad area defeated an MLB stadium
     tax referendum, critics of the plan said a "constellation of
     issues" -- not just "no-more-taxes" -- were factors in its
     loss, according to Taft Wireback of the Greensboro NEWS &
     RECORD.  Some of the factors: An unwillingness to use taxes
     for pro sports; "skepticism" of some local business leaders
     and groups backing the plan; "disbelief" of the projections
     of the ballpark's economic impact; a "perceived arrogance"
     of ballpark proponents "in its refusal to actively engage
     the majority of voters in the discussion" of MLB; "anger" at
     the "slick" campaign promoting the proposal; and "animosity
     toward" wealthy professional athletes and team owners.  But
     Walt Klein, campaign manager for "Vote Yes For MLB," said
     that the campaign failed because the "economy is good right
     now, so people are more satisfied with the Triad's status
     quo."  He added that "the average person couldn't latch onto
     the abstract" of what an MLB team would do for the
     community.  Klein: "I believe it's difficult for people to
     think five or 10 years down he road" (NEWS & RECORD, 5/10). 

          The Dodgers "are expected to seek approval" from the
     city of L.A. in the next several weeks "to build luxury
     suites" at Dodger Stadium, according to Robert Kuwada of the
     ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER.  Dodgers President Bob Graziano said
     plans for 50-60 suites "are among several options under
     consideration" that would allow the team to generate
     additional revenue to increase the team's payroll.  The
     Dodgers "also are considering increasing advertising signage
     inside the stadium and improving preferred field-level seats
     between the home and visiting dugouts."  But Graziano said
     that a naming rights deal for the ballpark "is not among the
     options at this point" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 5/8).

          In DC, Mike Cleary reports that the MCI Center has
     "spurred or accelerated" many of the projects in the eastern
     part of downtown DC.  The arena has also "brought a new wave
     of patrons" to the area (WASHINGTON TIMES, 5/11)....Work
     crews will begin dismantling the retractable roof at Olympic
     Stadium today.  The process, to be completed in December,
     will cost Quebecers C$180M, much of it in repairs, to
     replace it with a C$37M permanent roof (TORONTO STAR, 5/11).
     ...Int'l Speedway Corp. (ISC) showed plans Friday for its
     proposed, $200M Kansas Int'l Speedway.  The new track will
     sport condominiums, a restaurant and a museum and should
     closely resemble the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (K.C. STAR,
     5/9)....Harbor Yard, the new minor league park for the
     Bridgeport (CT) Bluefish will cost taxpayers about $17M
     instead of the projected $14M (HARTFORD COURANT, 5/11).

          The Mariners and the Safeco Insurance Co. "both denied
     they have an agreement" to sell the company naming rights
     for the team's new ballpark, according to a report in the
     SEATTLE TIMES.  Mariners Dir of PR Dave Aust said that no
     deal has been signed and that "none was imminent."  Aust
     also said that the team is "still negotiating with several
     companies."  Safeco spokesperson Pat Hillis "confirmed that
     Safeco has talked to the Mariners about naming rights," but
     said that there "is no deal" (SEATTLE TIMES, 5/8).