The Tigers are collecting $25,000 down payments for
luxury boxes at their new stadium, even though Opening Day
is almost two years away, according to Mark Puls of the
DETROIT NEWS. The team has already leased 32 suites and
expects to have 50 leased in the next few weeks. The
stadium will have 106 boxes, including 94 leased ones. The
other 12 will be held by the city and the Tigers. Tigers
VP/Business Operations David Glazier: "We are ahead of where
Seattle was at this point and where Milwaukee was in leasing
their suites." Boxes range from $75,000 to $125,000
(DETROIT NEWS, 5/27). The Tigers plan to keep 10 suites for
day-of-game rentals (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 5/27).
The Expos "filed papers last week" with the city of
Montreal to develop a 1.4-million-square-foot property that
is adjacent to their proposed site for a new ballpark,
according to Basem Boshra of the Montreal GAZETTE. The
team's plan calls for construction of "three high-rise
buildings" that would include a hotel, stores and offices as
well as residential apartments. The buildings would be
located "just beyond the park's right-field fence." Expos'
VP/Development Laurier Carpentier said that any development
"could be as much as 10 years away" (GAZETTE, 5/27).
N.Y. STORIES: NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani "will consider
leading a campaign to abolish term limits for City Council
members" if Council Speaker Peter Vallone "drops his drive
for a referendum on a new Yankee Stadium (N.Y. TIMES, 5/24).
Former NY Gov. Mario Cuomo, who is working as an unpaid
advisor to Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner, wrote an op-ed
in the DAILY NEWS under the header "Don't Drive Yanks to New
Jersey." He called on city leaders not to rush a referendum
without the proper study (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/26).
OTHER NOTES: Dover Downs Entertainment, parent of Dover
Downs Speedway and Nashville Speedway USA, is listed among
BUSINESS WEEK's "Hot Growth Companies." Due to its "booming
gaming and motor-sports business at its Dover Downs Complex,
it has racked up average annual revenue and earnings growth
of 99.8% and 70.9%, respectively, over the past three years"
(BUSINESS WEEK, 6/1 issue)...In Chicago, "leading developers
have dismissed" Bears Owner Michael McCaskey's "talk" of a
new stadium and hotel/convention center in Elk Grove Village
outside the city and say "he'll be forced to meet" city
Mayor Richard Daley's "demand for a lease extension" at
Soldier Field (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/24)....In Miami, Cindy
Krischer Goodman compared the arena deals in Miami and
Broward County and wrote that Wall Street investors "were
wowed by just how strong sales" of the Heat's new arena's
luxury suites have been. The Heat "is well on its way" to
rasing more than $13M a year from luxury seating, "double
the average for a typical single-sports arena." Aaron
Barman, Managing Dir of Prudential Securities, which placed
the $185M in bonds: "We are impressed by the strong levels
of commitments almost two years before the building is open"
(MIAMI HERALD, 5/23). In Ft. Lauderdale, Alan Snel wrote
that the bond placement is "notable' for its 27-year term
and 6.7% annual interest -- the lowest rate on record for
any modern arena (Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 5/24).
The Broncos spent almost $62,000 to win passage of a
bill authorizing a vote on a new football stadium during
this year's legislative session, according to Peggy Lowe of
the DENVER POST. The money paid for 13 "high-powered
lobbyists" who worked to get measure SB 171 approved by the
General Assembly. The "primary" lobbyist for the Broncos,
Bill Artist, reported $5,000 in income from the Broncos for
the four-month session, while Porter Wharton III, "the most
visible of the Broncos lobbyists," reported $33,950 from the
team during the session. The law firm of Brownstein, Hyatt,
Farber & Strickland reported billing the Broncos $22,748,
not counting April records (DENVER POST, 5/23).
The Pacers on Friday announced a 20-year naming rights
agreement to its new Fieldhouse arena with IN-based Conseco,
Inc. The 18,500-seat Conseco Fieldhouse will open for the
'99-2000 season (Conseco). In Indianapolis, Sean Horgan
reported that the insurance and financial services company
has agreed to pay the Pacers $2M a year for the next 20
years. The deal includes a "reopener clause," which allows
the Pacers to review the $2M annual fee after 10 years "in
relation to the value of naming rights for athletic
facilities across the country." Conseco also holds right of
first refusal, giving it the opportunity to retain the
naming rights beyond the life of the current deal. Conseco
Chair Stephen Hilbert: "I think it's going to be one of the
best bangs for our dollar" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 5/23).
The Stars and Mavericks chose DC-based architect David
Schwarz to design Dallas' new $230M downtown sports arena,
according to Joy Dickinson of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS.
Schwarz designed The Ballpark in Arlington and Disney's
World of Sports complex in FL. Stars Owner Tom Hicks said
some of the other preliminary designs "were a little too
futuristic" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/26). But a "losing
architect" said that arena developers did an "about-face" in
picking a design with a "historical rather than modernistic
feel." William Pederson, of Kohn Pederson Fox: "If that's
what they wanted, they should've told us that upfront"
(DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/27). Also in Dallas, architectural
writer David Dillon criticized the selection and wrote that
Schwarz "presented another piece of lick-and-stick
architecture that will make thoughtful observers wonder
whether Dallas can even spell 'millennium'" (David Dillon,
DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/26).