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Volume 24 No. 156


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday said the league wants to "see the Dolphins stay in Miami," according to Steve Wyche of Goodell said, "We want to see them stay in a facility that will allow them to compete, and to bring in other big events, including Super Bowls. That takes work, it takes investment, and [Dolphins Owner] Steve Ross was doing the investing and was really the guy who was putting his heart and soul into this and his passion into this. What's frustrating is that it didn't get a chance to get to the voters." Goodell noted the league will "do whatever is necessary" to help the team in its stadium renovation efforts because league officials "do think it's right for all of Florida." Goodell: "We think it's particularly good for the Miami-Dade area." He said is disappointed the initiative was not put up to a vote in part because the "local officials in the Miami-Dade County region had worked very hard with the Dolphins to come up with a proposal that was very intelligent, very thoughtful." Goodell: "I was there on the day that the Senate passed the (bill) 35 to 4, and we met with members of the House. I think the frustration is it never had the opportunity to go to the voters. ... I think the voters deserved the opportunity to evaluate the proposal, and make the kinds of changes that Steve Ross and the county and city officials had proposed. We think that would be good for the community, we think it would be good for the stadium and we think it would be good for the team" (, 5/9).

HEADING NORTH? In Miami, Adam Beasley notes Dolphins CEO Mike Dee on Thursday hinted the team "might consider pursuing a new stadium in Palm Beach County." Dee: "You can’t close the door on anything. I wouldn’t say it’s a priority to evaluate that and march down that road at this time, by any means, but the simple fact is we have to address a long-term issue with the venue. All ideas -- good, bad, indifferent -- should be considered.” Dee noted that the team "will not cut corners when it comes to the on-field product" despite not succeeding in landing the stadium renovations. Dee: “The outcome of the stadium will have no impact on the way we address the needs of the football team. Absolutely none" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/10). In West Palm Beach, Ben Volin cited a source as saying earlier this year that the Dolphins "likely wouldn’t consider trying to build a stadium in Broward County because elected officials there have shown little interest in providing public funds for the team." But the source said that the team would "investigate sites in Palm Beach County, most likely in the western portion of Delray Beach or Boynton Beach." Palm Beach County Mayor Steven Abrams said that "neither he nor county administrator Bob Weisman have been approached by the Dolphins" (PALM BEACH POST, 5/10).

ALL FOR NOT: In Miami, Douglas Hanks notes South Florida Super Bowl Bid Committee Chair Rodney Barreto detailed the $21M Super Bowl L plan Thursday, but also "acknowledged a failed effort for a subsidized renovation of Sun Life Stadium seemed to render the pursuit of the milestone game a futile exercise." Several times during his presentation, Barreto "referred to the plan for the 2016 game as something that could have been." But he also said that "hope is not lost and said NFL owners will have a 'tough decision' on May 21 when they award the 50th game." Hanks notes the plan would "bring a lavish festival to downtown Miami, with football played on a Navy aircraft carrier docked at Bayfront Park, a zipline ride over Bayside Marina and nightclubs set up on barges in the bay." Miami is competing with S.F. for the game, and the "loser will take on Houston for Super Bowl 51." Barreto said that South Florida would "scale down the plan for the 51st game if it managed to knock out Houston for the consolation prize" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/10). Barreto said of the Dolphins' public funding request dying in the Florida Legislature a week ago, "It's kind of the elephant in the room, isn't it?" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 5/10). In Miami, Armando Salguero writes S.F. now is "clearly the favorite to land" Super Bowl L. This "isn’t about Atlantic versus Pacific," but instead about "old school versus new technology." The 49ers' new Levi's Stadium is going against a venue that "needs upgrading and isn’t getting any." Sun Life Stadium "pales as a Super Bowl facility," so South Florida "cannot compete in the one area that perhaps matters most to the NFL. ... The game’s venue" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/10).

Betfair Hollywood Park in a letter Thursday told the California Horse Racing Board it "won't seek 2014 racing dates and will close at the end of its fall meet Dec. 22," according to Tom LaMarra of The facility has been "slated for closure and redevelopment for years," but the project had stalled (, 5/9). In L.A., Aram Tolegian reports track owner The Stronach Group is "expected to turn it into a real estate and shopping development." Track President Jack Liebau said, "Ownership has been upfront from the beginning that the property would eventually be developed unless there were significant changes in the horse racing business. ... From an economic point of view, the land now simply has a higher and better use." Santa Anita Park "appears to be the big winner because of Thursday's news." The track will now "start the process of assuming Hollywood Park's racing dates." That means Santa Anita's winter meet  in '14 could "now last well into summer" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 5/10). DAILY RACING FORM's Steve Andersen noted Hollywood Park opened in '38 and "hosted two of the first four Breeders’ Cup -- the inaugural running in 1984 and again in 1987." The track hosted the event for a "third and final time" in '97 (, 5/9).

DYING BREED: In L.A., Eric Sondheimer writes the "rise of Internet betting, simulcast wagering and changing demographics have put horse racing in Southern California in a precarious position." Both Santa Anita and Del Mar Racetrack are "expected to pick up racing dates with the closure of Hollywood Park." More "challenging will be finding additional stable stalls with the loss of 1,800 stable spots." Liebau said that demolition should begin "soon after Dec. 22." Hollywood Park Casino "will remain." Liebau said that track memorabilia "will be preserved" (L.A. TIMES, 5/10).

PLANS FOR THE FUTURE: In Baltimore, Chris Korman noted Pimlico Race Course Owner Frank Stronach is not "ready to divulge what he'll do" with the track. Stronach said, "We'll make major renovations. We'll spend a lot on Pimlico. The plans are being drawn up now. We're working through that." Stronach's vision includes building a "park-like area around the track to make it feel more like an oasis in the middle of the city." Stronach: "We're sure we can make it work. We're going to put money into it and we feel great that Maryland has put a deal in place that allows us to look to the future" (, 5/9).

The Iowa state Senate Tuesday approved an appropriations bill that would give $8M to Iowa Speedway over the next four years to "upgrade its facilities in an effort to bring" a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race to the track, according to Hamilton & Petroski of the DES MOINES REGISTER. The funding was "included in the so-called standings appropriations bill," which received "no debate." The bill "must still be considered by the Iowa House." The legislation says that the state money would "be appropriated to the Iowa Economic Development Authority for the development and promotion of a national sporting event at the automobile racetrack location in the City of Newton." The speedway has "hosted the Izod IndyCar Series and NASCAR’s second- and third-level series" in the past. However, state Sen. William Dotzler said a Sprint Cup event would be "the Big Kahuna." Dotzler said that the track would "need to expand its stands, restrooms and concession stands and make other upgrades to offer Cup racing." While it is "difficult to crack the 36-race Sprint Cup schedule," NASCAR HOFer Rusty Wallace, the track's designer and minority owner, said that the money would "provide a boost in his racetrack’s efforts." Wallace added that the money could "help the Speedway expand its permanent seating from 25,000 to 60,000 and 'improve the infrastructure around the track to get it in shape for a Cup race'” (DES MOINES REGISTER, 5/9).

Hedge fund manager Chris Hansen said that he has “no intention of replicating L.A. Live in Seattle’s Sodo neighborhood” with his proposed NBA-ready arena, according to Sharon Pian Chan of the SEATTLE TIMES. Hansen said, “We plan to do something on a much smaller scale on only the block north of the arena site. We only own three properties there and we plan to do something that is much different from L.A. Live. We want to have a gathering spot for our fans and other fans from the stadium district but it would be something more in line with Seattle.” He added, “L.A. Live is meant for L.A. It fits their market. Kansas City Light and Power is much more the look and feel (of what we want to do). It has a covered atrium, is used for a gathering spot, has more local merchants, it’s brick, fits the city.” Hansen noted his attempt to build the arena and buy the NBA Kings is "well in excess of a $1 billion project." Hansen: "These three little real estate parcels we own cost about $15 million. Trying to get a reasonable return on whatever the return on whatever we do is not going to put a dent in the return on investment for buying the team. We are putting this out there because we think it’s a great fan experience for our fans.” Hansen noted renovating KeyArena, where the Sonics played before they moved to Oklahoma City in '08, is not an option, saying, "We cannot tear down KeyArena and play in it at the same time." Hansen: "Our deal with the city cannot work unless we have an NBA arena to play in because neither the city nor us is going to build an arena on spec” (, 5/9).

AEG is teaming up with Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista and the country's "largest construction company to operate Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium for 35 years," according to Panja & Spinetto of BLOOMBERG NEWS. The stadium will host "next year's soccer World Cup final and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics." It held its first test event last month "after being shuttered" for a three-year, US$500M renovation. The group is known as Consorcio Maracana SA and is led by Odebrecht SA, Brazil's "biggest construction firm." It also includes IMX, Batista's "sports and entertainment vehicle." The agreement "needs to be ratified by Rio's state goverment." A Brazilian newspaper stated that the group is paying US$2.7M annually "for the concession." The paper also stated Odebrecht "holds a 90 percent stake in the venture, with IMX and AEG controlling 5 percent each" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 5/9).

In St. Paul, Charley Walters noted an "unresolved issue" regarding the Univ. of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium lease arrangement with the Vikings for the '14 and '15 seasons is "which soft drink -- Coke or Pepsi, or both -- will be sold during games." The school has an "exclusive deal with Coke, the Vikings with Pepsi." It will be "interesting which, or if both, get signage in the stadium." Certain to get signage is PepsiCo's Gatorade, "which has an exclusive arrangement with the NFL" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/9).

SKATING BY: In Edmonton, Catherine Griwkowsky notes a request for provincial funding for the Oilers' proposed C$480M downtown arena project got a "thumbs up" on Thursday from the Capital Region Board. The board voted 17-7 to "approve in principle a collaborative grant application" for C$25M to the province for the arena project, which had been short C$55M in funding. If the grant is "approved, the project would still need" C$30M (EDMONTON SUN, 5/10).

BULL DURHAM: In Raleigh, Harry Lynch noted the Durham City Council on Monday "renewed its operating agreement" for Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The agreement with the Triple-A Int'l League club, "good until 2033, with two additional five-year options for renewal," is projected to save the city about $7.4M "over the life of the lease." It also "restructures each party’s financial obligations, making operating costs and expenses the responsibility" of the team. The club also will be "responsible for maintenance and repair costs up to $200,000 as well as all utility costs" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 5/7).

HANDICAP ACCESSIBLE: In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin notes a three-year renovation to Indianapolis Motor Speedway now is "complete." There are now "two new wheelchair-accessible areas; the South Terrace near the Hall of Fame Museum and atop a mound along the inside of Turn 2." These are the "first steps toward compliance" with the Americans with Disabilities Act (, 5/10).