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Volume 24 No. 116


The Cubs yesterday began "evaluating new signs and a 6,000-square-foot video board" in the Wrigley Field outfield, "installing mock-ups to see if rooftop views of the ballpark would be impaired," according to Paul Sullivan of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Team Chair Tom Ricketts "took in the view from a rooftop on Sheffield Avenue as the mocked-up sign in right field was put in position." Afterward he said the view was “what we expected” and the blockage to the rooftop clubs was "minimal." The Cubs "used cranes to hoist two large tarps where the video board would be on Waveland Avenue behind the Toyota sign and a large quadrangular sign that would be in the back of the right-field bleachers." The Wrigleyville Rooftops Association in a statement said that the group "appreciated the Cubs' 'willingness to demonstrate the impact of their sign plan.'" Cubs VP/Communications & Community Affairs Julian Green said that there is "no plan to start construction and the exercise was 'part of the evaluation process' for the neighborhood and rooftop owners." Green: "This was not part of any requirement with the city. We’re trying to help minimize the impact on our rooftop neighbors." The mock-ups were "dismantled shortly after they were set up" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/29).

TIME FLIES: The TRIBUNE's Sullivan notes the Cubs are "hoping the City Council pushes up its vote on the proposal" by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Tom Tunney to "allow for up to 46 night games." This would "allow them to schedule" five 3:05pm CT Friday starts this year, with "additional night games starting in 2014." Hearings are "scheduled for next week." The City Council "approved up to 18 night games a year in 1988 and gradually increased the limit to its current 30, in place since 2004" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/29).

Two months after UNLV "dumped Majestic Realty as a partner in a new stadium, Majestic is pushing an alternative that would bypass the university and instead partner with the state itself," according to a front-page piece by Alan Snel of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. Majestic point man Craig Cavileer said that the company will "commit $385 million toward the $770 million project." In recent weeks he has been "quietly lobbying lawmakers and Gov. Brian Sandoval, seeking support for a $1.50 per trip taxi fee in the Las Vegas area that would pay the state’s half of construction costs." The "Southern Nevada Mega Events Center" would be "built on 40 acres on East Tropicana Avenue near Koval Lane, an easy walk from" the UNLV campus. Cavileer said that Majestic can "buy the site from Wells Fargo for" $55M. He added that UNLV would be "offered free use of the stadium for football games." Nevada Assembly Minority Floor Leader Pat Hickey said that he "spoke with Cavileer about the proposed taxi fee, but 'it was too late in the session' to adopt a stadium bill." The legislature is "scheduled to adjourn next week." UNLV Now project head Don Snyder said, "UNLV is not part of this project. When there are multiple efforts, it makes it more confusing. I was surprised by it. We’re focused on doing the project on campus" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/29). Snel noted UNLV officials said that they "want a direct partnership with the major hotel-casinos of the Strip to build a new domed stadium on campus." They are "counting on a proposed stadium authority and its 11-member governing board -- which would include at least two tourism/hotel executives -- to accomplish that." The bill would "create the authority with a two-year window to make a plan" for what UNLV officials are calling a "mega-events center." UNLV said that Majestic was "a wedge between the university and the hotel/resort industry" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/27).

Madison Square Garden Co. and Forest City Ratner, the two largest developers competing to rebuild the Nassau Coliseum, “have begun running television and print ads in what experts called an effort to convince local residents and public officials that their projects can finally revitalize the property,” according to Robert Brodsky of NEWSDAY. The ads “began earlier this month.” MSG's 30-second commercial “focuses" on its $250M proposal to "renovate the arena with 14,500 seats and construct Long IslandLive!, an entertainment complex that would include restaurants, clubs and sports bars.” The video “features renderings of the project and highlights the plan's potential to create jobs and boost revenue for Nassau County.” Forest City Ratner Chair & CEO Bruce Ratner’s video for his $229M proposal “begins with the words ‘Nassau Like Never Before’ and a rendering of a renovated 13,000-seat Coliseum.” The ad also “shows video clips of potential attractions.” Ithaca College sports management professor Stephen Mosher said Ratner is "attempting to appeal to a younger, more transient demographic," while MSG "is attempting to engage the residents of Nassau County who actually live there and have their roots there.” NYU Tisch Center sports management professor Lee Igel said both companies "are trying to appeal to the people who will buy tickets and to those in politics and government that will ultimately pull the lever here." Long Island-based Blumenfeld Development Group and New York Sports LLC, the other two Coliseum bidders, “have not run any ads promoting their plans.” MSG and Ratner “declined to disclose details about their television ad buys.” MSG and Ratner in addition to the TV ads “are running full-page ads in Newsday.” MSG also has “launched a website devoted to its proposal.” The Ratner team “has not created a website focused on its Coliseum plan” (NEWSDAY, 5/28).

The Boston Redevelopment Authority has "decided to negotiate an extension of the deal that enables the Red Sox to turn part of Yawkey Way into a private outdoor food court on game days, despite a warning from the state inspector general’s office that it might not have legal standing to award a new license," according to Callum Borchers of the BOSTON GLOBE. The BRA’s "control over the street, which runs out at the end of this baseball season, is based on a determination that Yawkey Way is an area of 'urban blight' and in need of redevelopment." James Masterman, the attorney advising the BRA on Yawkey Way, said that the Red Sox' financial gain "is merely a side effect of the BRA’s effort to enhance the neighborhood," and added that the "public is the primary beneficiary." Former Massachusetts Inspector General Gregory Sullivan "reached a different conclusion late last year, when he wrote a letter to the agency arguing that a Yawkey Way license should be given by the city government -- not the BRA, which technically operates independently -- to the winner of a competitive bid process or granted to the Sox through special legislation." The license agreement between the BRA and the Red Sox -- which also includes the Green Monster seating section -- "has proven to be a windfall for the ballclub." The annual license fee, originally set at $165,000 for the '03 season, has "increased with the local consumer price index, rising by a total of" 28% to about $210,000 this year. Meanwhile, the Red Sox said that they have "routinely grossed more than" $2M in concession sales on Yawkey Way, and the Green Monster section now yields $3.9M "in gross ticket revenue, three times what it produced in the deal’s first year" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/28).