In Nashville, Michael Cass reported the Metropolitan Council on Tuesday voted without discussion to "build two new youth hockey rinks in Antioch, a decision that could carry a significant price tag for tax payers over the next 20 years." The council agreed unanimously "to issue up to" $15M in debt to pay for construction. Metro already had agreed to the deal "in principle when it renegotiated" the Predators' Bridgestone Arena lease last year. The hockey center will be "owned by Metro and run by the Predators under a 20-year lease." The Predators will pay Metro "$350,000 to $450,000 annually to lease the space." The lease payments "will be applied to paying off Metro's construction debt of approximately $985,000 a year" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 7/17).
PLANS PUT ON HOLD: In Florida, Dave Berman noted Nationals Principal Owner Mark Lerner on Monday pitched a plan to "move his team's spring training operations from Viera to Kissimmee." But the Osceola County Commission "balked at paying for the proposed" $98M stadium. Commissioners initially "voted down the plan, 3-2, but later unanimously agreed to reconsider at the Aug. 19 meeting." The commission action "brings into question where the Nationals will wind up for spring training if they move forward with plans to leave Viera after" the '14 or '15 season (FLORIDA TODAY, 7/16).
DAMAGED GOODS: In St. Paul, Mike Berardino noted the Twins "again find themselves worrying about the condition of the Target Field playing surface." The Kenny Chesney "No Shoes Nation" concert tour stop "drew 43,940 fans July 12." As a result, head groundskeeper Larry DiVito and his crew "laid new sod Tuesday." Twins President Dave St. Peter in an e-mail wrote that "the 'turf stress/damage' caused by this year's Chesney show is 'similar in scope' to the one held last July" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 7/17).
PHASING OUT: In Baltimore, Ryan Sharrow reported First Mariner Arena is "quietly transitioning to again be known as the Baltimore Arena." First Mariner’s 10-year, $750,000 naming-rights deal "officially expired Dec. 31," but signage and promotional material for the arena "continue to display the Baltimore bank’s name and logo." First Mariner Arena GM Frank Remesch said that the goal is "to have the name change intact by Sept. 1." That will include "removing exterior signs on the arena boasting the bank’s name." Legend Sales & Marketing, city officials and arena operator SMG "continue to talk with companies about a new naming-rights deal" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 7/17).