In San Jose, Mike Rosenberg reports a judge yesterday “ruled that South Bay school officials were wrong last year to yank $30 million in disputed tax funds” from the 49ers’ new Santa Clara stadium. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Allen Sumner said that he “could not immediately award the funds to the 49ers, but he appeared to leave little recourse but to make sure the Niners eventually receive the money one way or another.” He added that the team “may have to wait until as late as 2016 to receive the cash.” Sumner ruled that Santa Clara voters and city officials “had specifically earmarked the funds for the new stadium being built in the city -- and outside groups had no legal right to take it away” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/21).
BLUEPRINT SPECIAL: Red Sox Owner Fenway Sports Group has "snapped up" a parking garage on Lansdowne Street opposite Fenway Park, paying $10.5M for the "potential redevelopment play.” The two-story garage under current zoning “could be converted into an eight-story building -- about twice the height of the iconic Green Monster across Lansdowne.” But team execs “were tight-lipped yesterday about what they’ll do.” Red Sox Corporate Communications Dir Zineb Curran said, “It will be operated as a parking garage for the foreseeable future” (BOSTON HERALD, 3/21).
HOPEFUL ABOUT ATTENDANCE: ESPN’s Shannon Spake said it was "hard to ignore the empty seats Sunday at Bristol," and asked Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell how he would describe the current state of at-track attendance. Campbell said, “We're all still faced with the same challenges with the economy still being depressed. Obviously, weather plays a factor in every weekend. ... But we're still faced with those same challenges and everybody's doing what they can to bring the crowds back. I think we're seeing some improvement now with the interest that we have with the Gen-6 car, the great racing we’ve had so far. So I think we have a lot to be encouraged about this year” ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 3/20).
HOME FOR THE BILLS? In Buffalo, Thomas Prohaska notes Niagara County Legislature member Jason Zona yesterday “released a measure he and his colleagues, Dennis F. Virtuoso and Owen T. Steed, plan to introduce when the Legislature next meets April 16, placing the county on record in support of construction of a new stadium for the Bills in downtown Niagara Falls once the Bills’ new lease on Ralph Wilson Stadium runs out.” There was “no reaction from the Bills” with team Senior VP/Communications Scott Berchtold “on vacation.” But Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster “reacted cautiously.” He said, “I would do anything I was asked to do by the Bills to help them stay in Western New York. I don’t want to do anything that would make it look like I was fishing in troubled waters” (BUFFALO NEWS, 3/21).