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Volume 24 No. 159


The “much-touted deal” to have the Reds and Bengals “contribute nearly $10 million to the fund that pays for their stadium construction is dead,” according to Sharon Coolidge of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. The decision Friday from the Hamilton County Commission means that “taxpayers will continue to shoulder the burden of bailing out the county's stadium fund on their own," and it was "county leaders -- not the teams -- that pulled the plug." The deal was announced in December “as a five-year fix to the stadium fund's growing deficit.” It called for the teams to “pay a combined $9.6 million -- $7.4 million from the Bengals and $2.2 million from the Reds -- in rent between 2011 and 2015, as opposed to nothing as their lease calls for." It was “presented as a done deal, just awaiting signatures,” but “no agreements were signed -- and now the county says they won't be.” Problems with the Bengals “surfaced immediately, with the two sides disputing whether the deal" should include an option for the Bengals to "extend their lease for 10 years” at Paul Brown Stadium. The Reds' agreement “was thought to remain in place -- just not signed -- held up by how the Bengals' deal would shake out.” Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann Friday said that “it was the county's choice to ax the deal with the Reds.” The commissioners today are “scheduled to discuss the stadium fund deficit” at a staff meeting (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 4/17).

Packers officials indicated that a "new indoor football practice facility as well as a baseball stadium" are among the concepts under consideration for a sports and entertainment district around Lambeau Field, according to Walter & Ryman of the GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE. Among projects under consideration are a “multi-use baseball stadium that could be located in one of several places, a new indoor practice facility that most likely would be in the Lambeau Field parking lot and a hotel that also could be in the parking lot.” Packers VP/Administration & General Counsel Jason Wied said that the team “would support any project that attracts more visitors to the area.” Wied emphasized, however, that “plans are in early-development stages." He noted that the Packers have "not made commitments to any projects.” The Packers spent about $27M “over the past several years to purchase land near the stadium, much of it west of Lambeau Field along Lombardi Avenue.” The organization “wants to develop that area to generate revenue it would not have to share with other NFL teams.” Packers Assistant Dir of Corporate Communications & PR Aaron Popkey said that “if anything were to be built in the parking lot, the team would make accommodations for additional parking in adjacent areas, similar to how it adjusted when it added security barriers a few years ago” (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 4/17).

As Minnesota state legislators "begin to consider a site-neutral Vikings stadium bill, activity is picking up around the two downtown Minneapolis sites that helps burnish their appeal as well as highlight their differences," according to Kevin Duchschere of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The Metrodome site "is getting a fresh analysis" from Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chair Ted Mondale, "seeking ways to make a stadium there less expensive." On the "other end of downtown, in the shadow of popular Target Field, a site at the Farmers Market is gaining traction with the business community and Hennepin County Board Chair Mike Opat even though it would cost more." The Vikings also are "considering the hundreds of empty acres at an abandoned munitions plant in Arden Hills, a site being pushed by Ramsey County officials." But Duchschere noted much speculation for the Vikings' new facility has "centered on the Minneapolis sites." The Metrodome site "would be a relative bargain," but Target Field "has opened eyes to new opportunities in the North Loop area." Mondale said that he is "re-running the numbers and taking another look at the retractable-roof stadium designed for the Dome site by HKS Architects" in '09. The cost then was $870M, and Mondale "wants to see if that can be whittled down" by at least $100M (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/16).

MAKE IT OR BREAK IT: A STAR TRIBUNE editorial stated, "It's past time for key elected officials, local business leaders and the team to give the taxpaying public some specific answers on how and where the stadium could be built." There is "still time for a Target Field-like plan to come together -- and for the public to digest the details -- but approval remains a long shot this legislative session." If Vikings Owner the Wilf family "skips town because Minnesota refuses to compete with cities hungry for a new franchise, don't expect the NFL to return to the market anytime soon -- and never again without an adequate stadium" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/16).

The AP's Jacob Adelman reports a "little-noticed provision in a current draft of the plan" for a downtown L.A. NFL stadium "would transfer valuable development rights from the city" to AEG. The company's initial printed pitch, which an L.A. City Council committee "will begin considering" today, "envisions a deal that would grant it the ability to build on a 2.4-acre parcel within its LA Live hotel and restaurant complex that the city planned to use to expand its aging convention center." The firm "had agreed to leave the so-called Event Deck parcel alone until 2021 as part of the 2001 deal that allowed the company to build its 27-acre LA Live project on land that it owns." AEG officials now say that the city "no longer needs access to the parcel" (AP, 4/18).

: In N.Y., Selim Algar cites a source as saying that a "memorandum of understanding between the Shinnecock Indians of Southampton and Nassau County executives on using all or part" of the Nassau Coliseum site "for a gaming facility is close to completion." But even if the memorandum is "signed by both sides, it's still not a sure thing," as it would be "only the first step in a sale of all or part of the 77-acre coliseum parcel to the Shinnecocks." The Islanders "would not necessarily be left in the cold -- they might also get a facility on the site" (N.Y. POST, 4/18).

PLAY IT AGAIN: In Chicago, Teddy Greenstein cited sources as saying that the Illinois-Northwestern college football game at Wrigley Field in November was "such a financial and marketing success that Cubs and Northwestern officials have talked about putting an annual Wrigley Field game on the calendar." But that "won't happen until the Cubs renovate their ballpark." Once it "secures funding, the team hopes to create space for a regulation 100-yard field by manipulating walls in at least one dugout area." NU officials "would re-examine their ticket policies after fans complained about prices and location" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/17).