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Volume 24 No. 113


Owners of Miami-based Magic City Casino are taking issue with an illuminated Miccosukee Indian Tribe sign along the northern wall of Marlins Park because the Miccosukees are "obvious competitors for the vital gambling dollars that Magic City Casino is trying to attract," according to Charles Rabin of the MIAMI HERALD. Magic City VP/Political Affairs Isadore Havenick said that the sign "violates the agreement reached after the public voted in 2008 to allow slots at three Miami-Dade pari-mutuels including Magic City." Havenick said that despite "brief discussions with county administrators, there has not been any movement toward new talks." Rabin notes the situation is "complicated, because though the county owns the ballpark and the land it sits on, the Marlins are renters and control the facility's advertising." Havenick said that he is "not contemplating litigation yet because the contract calls for renegotiating in good faith first." He also is not "focused on demanding a cut of the Miccosukee advertising revenue." Marlins President David Samson called it a "non-issue" (MIAMI HERALD, 7/6).

Sponsors of Initiative 91 Thursday warned Seattle City Council members to "expect a lawsuit if they approve the current proposal to build a new sports arena," according to Bob Young of the SEATTLE TIMES. Council members Mark Baerwaldt and Chris Van Dyk said that the proposal "does not meet the initiative's requirement to return a fair value on the city's proposed investment." They said that the city "would have to net" 2.7% a year, or about $3.25M annually, to "satisfy the initiative," which was approved in '06. Arena investor Chris Hansen said that the city's return would be at least 7.4% a year, "and likely more." He said that Baerwaldt and Van Dyk "are not counting the value of the arena property, which the city would own after the 30-year deal is complete, nor are they counting increased tax receipts that would be generated by hotel stays and other spending related to an arena." Hansen added that the “raw value of the arena land” is about $50M today and that value would increase by about 5% a year over the life of the proposed 30-year deal. Young reports City Council analysts "had a different view of Hansen's proposal and I-91" as they said that the city "could argue I-91 does not apply to this deal because it calls for the city to get a fair-value return for its investment." And fair value, according to I-91, "should be computed as the city's 'net cash on cash return.'" Young writes, "Because the city isn't investing cash ... there is no cash investment on which to base return rates" (SEATTLE TIMES, 7/6).

In Edmonton, Angelique Rodrigues reports as the city prepares to talk about the proposed Oilers downtown arena, "once again one councillor isn’t convinced officials will be able to wrangle the project’s finances back under budget.” If officials “don’t come back with a complete funding model, Coun. Linda Sloan says it could force the city to take a step back from the project.” Sloan on Thursday said, “If the funding is not complete, in my opinion, we shouldn’t be proceeding. I think it is possible at any point to say we aren’t going forward with it” (EDMONTON SUN, 7/6).

EXTREME MAKEOVER: ISC President John Saunders said Daytona Int'l Speedway’s renovation project "would be a game-changer for the industry.” Saunders: “We think the industry needs that, and that should happen at the industry's top-flight brand." ISC execs confirmed that the project “was not speculative, but reiterated that it was still in the conceptual stages and that multiple factors could delay or abort it.” In Daytona Beach, Tom Knox notes “obtaining credit in a difficult lending environment, future media-rights agreements and whether the company can sell its Staten Island property all could play a part in determining the project's fate.” The renovation project could “increase the Speedway's ability to generate revenue, both through the addition of more food and merchandise booths in the grandstand area as well as improved amenities for hosting corporate events.” ISC Senior VP & CFO Dan Houser said that DIS "needs to be more convenient for fans looking to buy products by allowing fans to take fewer steps to get what they want” (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 7/6).

CHANNELING HIS CREATIVE SIDE: In Tampa, Jamal Thalji noted Lightning Owner Jeff Vinik “doesn't just plan to remake Channelside Bay Plaza,” he plans to make the “troubled development more pedestrian-friendly; add retail and possibly a hotel to bring in more visitors; and link it to the Tampa Bay Times Forum and Florida Aquarium to turn the Channelside district into a seamless waterside entertainment area linked to Tampa's Riverwalk, the 2.2 mile waterfront walkway.” Vinik and his partners are “negotiating with the Anglo Irish Bank of Dublin to take over the 234,520-square-foot structure.” Their plans are “just ideas and concepts at this stage,” as they are “not firm and have not been made public.” But they were “shown to the Tampa Port Authority's governing board,” which Hillsborough County (Fla.) Commissioner Sandra Murman sits on (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 7/4).