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Volume 24 No. 157


A "much-anticipated analysis" due out today pins the cost of a new downtown Sacramento arena at $387M, and "says it will fit on city-owned land at the front of the downtown railyard," according to Tony Bizjak of the SACRAMENTO BEE. City officials said that developer David Taylor and officials with ICON Venue Group "have not had time to do enough detail work to make the financing possibilities public." The analysis "has not yet concluded how much money might come from private sources, including the Kings owners, and how much might come from the public." Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said that he "will form a regional coalition of elected officials and community leaders to spend the next 100 days working with Taylor and ICON fashioning a proposal for a financing plan." The Kings "threw a potential curveball into the arena financing picture by telling the arena study group two weeks ago the team is willing to consider simply being a tenant in a new" Sacramento arena. Johnson said that he "has talked with" AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke "about potential involvement" in an arena (SACRAMENTO BEE, 5/26). 

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman yesterday put forward a proposal that "would address Minnesota's stadium dilemma with a new statewide tax of 2 cents per alcoholic drink while keeping the Vikings in Minneapolis and moving" the T'Wolves to St. Paul, according to Olson & Kaszuba of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Coleman said that his plan "would raise $48 million a year for sports facilities." He added that the Vikings' plan to move to Ramsey County "doesn't make sense; his plan would not move the team but send" the T'Wolves and WNBA Lynx to St. Paul to "share the Xcel Energy Center with the Wild." The Target Center in downtown Minneapolis would then "become a practice facility." Coleman also would "use the per-drink tax at bars and restaurants to build" a ballpark for the independent St. Paul Saints and "upgrade recreation facilities throughout the state." Olson & Kaszuba note Coleman's proposal "would forgive a $32.5 million state loan to St. Paul for the Xcel construction while paying for $75 million in renovations." The drink tax also "could buy Minneapolis out of the remaining $75 million debt on Target Center." However, the T'Wolves and Vikings called "some of" the plan "too late and unacceptable." Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley: "We're going to Arden Hills" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/26). In St. Paul, Dave Orrick notes "additional sources of funding" beyond the drink tax "would include an additional 0.25 percent St. Paul sales tax and an extension of Minneapolis' downtown sales taxes to the rest of the city" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/26).

Colts Owner Jim Irsay yesterday confirmed that plans are "virtually finalized on a contract that will have his Colts holding training camp in Anderson, Ind., for the next several summers," according to Mike Chappell of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. Irsay said, "We're working through the (labor) uncertainty, but you have to put things in place and have a plan. All of our people felt we had a very good experience up there last year. I look for that to be extended." The Colts held training camp in Anderson from '84-98 before relocating to Terre Haute, Ind., in '99. They "returned to Anderson last summer." Neither Irsay nor a spokesperson for Anderson Mayor Kris Okomon "would address whether there's a deadline by which Anderson University needs to know for certain if the Colts will hold camp there." Irsay conceded that it is "possible the team would hold an abbreviated camp at its West 56th Street complex if the lockout extends into August" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/26).

WORKOUT SCHEDULE: Lehigh Univ. Dean of Athletics Joe Sterrett yesterday said that school officials and the Eagles "have decided to make the call around mid-June on the viability of holding 2011 training camp in Bethlehem, where it has taken place every year since 1996." Sterrett previously had said that Lehigh "would like to know what's up by early June, so the school could schedule a sports festival or something to fill the gap if the Eagles weren't going to use their late-July through mid-August dates because of the NFL lockout" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 5/26).

Baltimore city officials said that developer Willard Hackerman “has offered to finance and build an 18,500-seat arena in downtown Baltimore,” freeing taxpayers from “having to foot the bill and significantly increasing the chances that plans for a $900 million convention center expansion and arena will become a reality,” according to Edward Gunts of the Baltimore SUN. Greater Baltimore Committee officials said that Hackerman “has been actively involved in planning for the arena and convention center expansion, and hired Ayers Saint Gross, a Baltimore-based architecture firm, to develop the designs unveiled Wednesday.” GBC officials and others said that Hackerman “has the financial ability to raise private money for both the arena and hotel and that he wants Whiting-Turner to build them.” GBC President & CEO Donald Fry said that “much of the project's appeal” to Hackerman is the “combination of an arena and an expanded convention center in one location.” Ayers Saint Gross architect Adam Gross said that “while other cities combine arenas and convention centers, none has united facilities the size of those proposed for Baltimore.” Fry said that Hackerman's offer “is contingent on the convention center expansion's moving ahead and being connected to the arena to create one project.” He said that “planners would seek city and state funding for the convention center expansion, making the project a public-private partnership.” Fry said that based on the preliminary designs, the hotel is “expected to cost $175 million and the arena $325 million -- a total of $500 million that would be covered by Hackerman and his investment group” (Baltimore SUN, 5/26).