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Volume 24 No. 117


One day after Minneapolis "seemed to gain some momentum as a site for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, the lead House author for stadium legislation said that the city’s stadium plan is 'quite inadequate,'" according to Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. State Rep. Morrie Lanning also said yesterday that Minneapolis’ claim that it "could contribute $300 million toward a new Vikings stadium without raising taxes was 'very misleading' because much of the money would not be immediately available." Lanning’s comments came after state Sen. Julie Rosen, the Senate's chief author on stadium legislation, said that the Minneapolis plan "seemed to be gaining strength." Lanning yesterday said that the Arden Hills proposal had "received much greater scrutiny than any Minneapolis stadium plan." While he conceded that Ramsey County officials "had to find local funding for the project Lanning did not -- like Rosen -- reject having the county use local option taxes" (, 12/7). In St. Paul, Melo & Belden note as Minneapolis leaders "will face tough questions about how they plan to finance" a new stadium. Some of those asking the toughest questions yesterday were Ramsey County officials who "fear their plan for a $1.1 billion stadium in Arden Hills is being overlooked." Ramsey County Finance Dir Lee Mehrkens said, "We're going on the record saying we don't know what their (Minneapolis') math is, because we haven't seen their financial plan. There's no written proposal. When are they going to have a document that's going to be made public?" Melo & Belden note politically, Minneapolis "appeared to be ahead in the stadium race after the final Senate hearing on the issue Tuesday." Leading lawmakers said that they were "impressed that city officials were putting money on the table and lining up behind a refurbished Metrodome, which they say would cost about $200 million less than an Arden Hills stadium" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 12/8).

Within hours of yesterday’s announcement that the U.S. Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas will be on the '12 F1 schedule, the "sprawling construction site southeast of Austin reopened," according to a front-page piece by John Maher of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. Over the "next 10 days, tons of equipment and hundreds of workers will pour back in to the area." Current roads "need to be refurbished," new roads and parking areas "must be developed, the crucial 3.4-mile racing circuit must be paved, and buildings and grandstands must be constructed" in advance of the Nov. 18 race. Meanwhile, promotion and event planning "must proceed, and tickets must be priced and sold." COTA investor Bobby Epstein "expressed confidence that the track would be finished on time." He said, "Our construction group said they can get it done." Utah-based track designer Alan Wilson said, "You can build a track pretty quickly. It's not different than building a campus for a university. We built a project that was actually bigger (than Austin's track) in less than a year." Maher reports the COTA grandstand "will not be built for a maximum number of spectators." The capacity will be around 12,000, as "most of the rest of the circuit's seating will be provided on temporary scaffolding" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 12/8).

In Nashville, Michael Cass noted a deadline for the Nashville Metro Council to tell the Predators “if it plans to terminate the hockey team’s lease incentives was extended by about four months Tuesday, allowing more time to negotiate new terms.” The terms of the Bridgestone Arena lease, which “are worth an estimated $7.8 million this fiscal year, are set to automatically renew June 30 unless Metro gives the Predators notice of termination.” Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s administration said that it “will work with the Predators on a new incentive package that will offer less city money up front” (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 12/7).  

EVENTS CALENDAR: In Chicago, Jared Hopkins noted the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority board met Tuesday and “some members questioned whether the agency was aggressively pursuing non-baseball events like concerts.” Reflecting calls by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel “to examine the finances of the government agency that built and operates U.S. Cellular Field, the mayor's three newly appointed members and Gov. Pat Quinn's four appointees did just that.” Board members suggested “hosting the annual NHL Winter Classic -- which was held at Wrigley Field in 2009 -- and more cooperation with the convention industry.” A management agreement stipulated that revenue from non-baseball events “goes to the authority, but it sometimes needs approval from the team for such use of the stadium” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/7).

BE UP FRONT: In Boston, Brian McGrory wrote Foxborough “may or may not be the best site for a destination resort,” and developer Steve Wynn “may or may not be the best person to build it.” But Wynn and Patriots Owner Robert Kraft “need to be more forthcoming than they were in their odd debut” discussing the project with residents. McGrory: “The pressure’s not on Foxborough, but on them” (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/7).

BANK ON IT: In Omaha, Joe Duggan reported the new home of Univ. of Nebraska basketball “will be called the Pinnacle Bank Arena.” Pinnacle Bank will pay “$11.25 million over 25 years for the naming rights for the arena.” The 16,000-seat sports and entertainment complex is being built in Lincoln's Haymarket district (Omaha WORLD-HERALD, 12/6).