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Volume 24 No. 112

Facilities Venues

          The Stade de France, the new sports stadium in Paris
     built for the World Cup, will issue an asset-backed bond to
     refinance part of its $434M construction costs.  The bond
     will be "secured against the takings on future gate
     receipts" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/23)....In Cincinnati, Skyline
     Chili is looking to encourage Cincinnati-area companies to
     raise $3M in '99 to help fund a Reds museum that would be
     "built in the new stadium" (CINCINNATI POST, 6/23)....In
     Raleigh, a NEWS & OBSERVER editorial called on all future
     meetings between the Hurricanes and the local governing
     authority on cost overruns at the new arena to be held in
     public.  The team is asking for certain concessions in
     exchange for covering cost overruns and the editorial
     stated, "Let the building's major investors, the people of
     this region and state, see just what the team is demanding"
     (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 6/23)....Nationwide Realty
     Investors and partners are "considering" $30-40M in
     development adjacent to the new Nationwide Arena, currently
     under construction in Columbus (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 6/23).

          Broward County, FL, commissioners voted to "freeze" $9M
     to cover back wages owed to construction workers on the NHL
     Panthers' new arena, according to Meg James of the MIAMI
     HERALD.  At issue is "at least" $6M in back wages "owed to
     construction workers" due to insufficient wages.  The move
     "leaves" $7M in county money available for the Panthers to
     complete construction of the $184.5M arena, which is "edging
     closer" to $200M.  Broward Finance Dir Phil Allen said that
     Arena Development Co. is "lining up" a $10M bank loan "to
     complete the project after the county money dries up this
     summer."  Commissioners said they "needed to move quickly to
     prevent the depletion of the remaining" $16M in the
     construction budget (Meg James, MIAMI HERALD, 6/24).

          The administration of MD Gov. Parris Glendening
     "defended its optimistic predictions about the economic
     benefits" of the Ravens' new stadium, disputing a recent 
     "legislative report that says the projections are
     exaggerated," according to Charles Babington of the
     WASHINGTON POST.  Acting Secretary of the Department of
     Business & Economic Development James Fielder said that the
     legislative report "underestimates the ongoing economic and
     fiscal impacts of the proposed Baltimore stadium." 
     Babington reports that the stadium's economic influence "has
     been a touchy political subject" since '96 when Glendening
     "fought hard" to gather support for publicly-financed $220M
     stadium.  In assessing the economic impact, Babington
     reports that the two sides "differ" on the degree to which
     the stadium-related spending would occur elsewhere if the
     stadium didn't exist and on the size of the subsequent
     "multiplier effect" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/24).

          Red Sox Exec VP & GM Dan Duquette addressed the Greater
     Boston Chamber of Commerce yesterday and said the team has a
     "spectacular plan" for a new ballpark which they will unveil
     "once we have our ducks in a row," according to Joan
     Vennochi of the BOSTON GLOBE.  Duquette "did rule out the
     idea of rebuilding Fenway Park."  Red Sox Exec              
     VP/Administration John Buckley said there was "no fixed
     date" to announce the ballpark plan.  Vennochi: "The Sox
     still seem far from prepared to unveil anything close to a
     final proposal. ... In fact, they seem preoccupied with
     other matters," including hosting the '99 All-Star Game and
     racial harassment allegations filed by a former employee. 
     She adds, "On the positive side, Duquette easily charmed the
     business crowd ... [and] took the edge off the image
     perpetrated by the sports media that he is arrogant and
     aloof."  But while he "wasn't aloof or arrogant," he did
     seem "unsure and uncertain" regarding a new ballpark, "[a]nd
     that is bad PR for him and the Sox" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/24).

          NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman attended groundbreaking
     for the $130M St. Paul arena which will house the expansion
     NHL Wild, according to Curt Brown of the Minneapolis STAR
     TRIBUNE.  Bettman "apologized" to the fans, saying that the
     NHL "never should have left Minnesota five years ago and
     promising it will thrive in St. Paul in the next century." 
     Bettman: "We are thrilled to be back here once again, and
     we're sorry we ever left."  After the ceremony, Bettman said
     that he "has no doubts the Wild will succeed," even though
     St. Paul has never had a major league sports franchise. 
     Bettman: "Based on my understanding of the demographics of
     how the Twin Cities metropolis is expanding, this is
     actually the right place to be" (STAR TRIBUNE, 6/24). 
          FAME COMES QUICKLY: Discussions between Wild officials
     and U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame officials "are pointing to
     development of a satellite hall of fame exhibit" at the
     Wild's new arena.  Wild VP/Communications & Broadcasting
     Bill Robertson said that the team has "had preliminary
     talks" with the hall of fame (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 6/24).

          Despite drawing crowds of 53,316 and 54,775 to Yankee
     Stadium for the two Yankees-Braves interleague games on
     Monday and Tuesday, Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner
     renewed his desire for a new ballpark yesterday. 
     Steinbrenner, on Cleveland's Jacobs Field: "They're sold out
     every night.  Every single night.  They have what we had
     (Monday) night every single night. ... It's the same in
     Baltimore.  Every single night" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/24).  In
     N.Y., Harvey Araton writes, "Tell us another one.  Keep
     setting obstacles in the Bronx and daring New Yorkers to
     cross them.  Face it, big guy, they will build a nuclear
     test site in Manhattan before they build you a ballpark"
     (N.Y. TIMES, 6/24).  Steinbrenner, telling the media of the
     need for a park: "To make you guys understand, what I should
     do is take away your parking privileges and make you hunt
     for a parking space the way I saw people doing the other
     night."  The POST's Wallace Matthews claims the team already
     pulled those privileges: "[E]ven when 50,000 show up, he
     still finds something to complain about" (N.Y. POST, 6/24).