In Cincinnati, Bill Koch reported the Univ. of Cincinnati will play two Big East football games next season at 65,535-seat Paul Brown Stadium “instead of at UC’s on-campus Nippert Stadium, which seats 35,000.” UC AD Mike Thomas said, “The decision was based on the hope and expectation that the kind of crowd that we would draw for those two games would exceed the capacity of what we have at Nippert Stadium.” Thomas said that UC’s decision to play two conference games at Paul Brown Stadium “does not necessarily mean the Bearcats are moving toward playing all their home games there,” nor does “it rule out the prospect of renovating Nippert Stadium” (CINCINNATI.com, 2/25).
BAD TIMING: In Miami, Douglas Hanks notes the timing of a possible NFL lockout “carries special implications for the Dolphins.” The team is “in the midst of a public and political effort to pass a state bill allowing Broward and Miami-Dade to raise hotel taxes to partially enclose” Sun Life Stadium and “add high-tech lighting and 3,000 seats near the field.” Florida’s legislative session begins March 8 and ends two months later, meaning lawmakers “could be considering the Dolphins bill in the midst of a season shutdown” (MIAMI HERALD, 2/28).
PLAYING THE WAITING GAME: In California, David Garrick reports Escondido County officials “have postponed indefinitely” a vote on a $50M minor league ballpark development agreement with Padres Vice Chair & CEO Jeff Moorad for the Triple-A Tucson Padres. California Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed a bill that would “abolish redevelopment revenue.” Still, City Manager Clay Phillips and Moorad adviser Steve Peace said that both sides “remain fully committed to the ballpark, and that a short delay based on relatively minor issues would not jeopardize plans to begin constructing the ballpark in January 2012 and have it open in April 2013.” But Phillips and Peace acknowledged that the ballpark deal “would essentially be dead if redevelopment revenue goes away” (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 2/26).
RETIRE ALREADY: A SEATTLE TIMES editorial notes a bill in the Washington state legislature “aims to continue” Safeco Field taxes to pay for “arts, culture, work-force housing, tourism projects and expanding the Washington State Convention & Trade Center.” The 0.5% restaurant sales tax “dedicated to paying off the bonds on Safeco Field is expected to expire later this year -- four years ahead of schedule.” The editorial: “The citizens paying the taxes were told the tax would expire. Continuing these taxes in any economic climate is bad faith, but more troubling in the current one” (SEATTLE TIMES, 2/28).