THE ROOF IS LEAKING: A section of the roof at Olympic
Stadium in Montreal came "crashing down yesterday," slightly
injuring two workers. Officials blamed "heavy snow, weighed
down by unseasonable rain." But the C$37M roof is "brand
new" and the work of U.S.-based engineering company Birdair
(GLOBE & MAIL, 1/19). Former Canadiens GM Serge Savard, on
possibly replacing outgoing Expos President Claude Brochu:
"I don't pretend to be a baseball guy. I like the sport as
a simple fan. If the Expos need help in any project to keep
baseball in Montreal, I'll help" (Montreal GAZETTE, 1/19).
MINNESOTA FACTS: Vikings President Gary Woods said for
the "first time publicly" on Monday that the team would
prefer a new stadium to a renovated Metrodome. Woods: "As
long as the Twins are playing in the Dome, it really can't
be renovated because there's no down time." Woods is
looking to resolve the issue this year. In related news,
Charley Walters reports that the Vikings grossed $2.5M in
merchandise and souvenir sales for their 12-game Metrodome
schedule this year. In Sunday's loss alone, they grossed
$325,000. During the '97 regular-season schedule, the
Vikings earned $875,000 in merchandise sales (PIONEER PRESS,
1/19). Walters added that talks "continue" between the NHL
Wild and US West on a naming rights deal expected to be
worth at least $2M a year (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/17).
OTHER NOTES: Hillsborough County and the Tampa Sports
Authority have sued the Bucs after the team "refused to hand
over copies of leases" for the 168 skyboxes at Raymond James
Stadium. The county wants the leases to see whether the
Bucs or suite holders should pay real estate taxes (TAMPA
TRIBUNE, 1/16)....The Dallas-based Arena Group said that
4,000 residents took part in a arena survey for the Mavs'
and Stars' proposed new facility. Of the participants, 40%
were from Dallas, 11% from Arlington, Grand Prairie and Fort
Worth and 38% from the Dallas suburbs. The remaining 11%
were from other areas (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/16).
PA Gov. Tom Ridge continues to "pitch" for new stadiums
in the state to "what has proven to be one of his toughest
audiences -- members of the House Republican caucus,"
according to Reeves & Shelly of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE.
Ridge met with about 70 GOP members last week and was "well-
received," but when he made his bid for up to $325M in new
stadium funding, observers said, "No one clapped." One
lawmaker: "He talked up stadiums, and it just isn't
happening." Ridge is hoping for a vote by February 10, and
several Ridge staffers say that stadium-funding backers "may
actually have lost ground, since the bill failed to pass the
House in November (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 1/17).
TEAM BUILDING: In Pittsburgh, Peter Shelly reported on
the "impressive lineup of lobbyists" that will aid PA's
teams on the stadium legislation. While the teams "have
built a balanced lineup, with lobbyists from the east and
west," they still face "tough odds in the House ... where
lobbyists have not fared well" (POST-GAZETTE, 1/16).