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Volume 24 No. 114


Warriors co-Owner Joe Lacob said getting the team's new waterfront arena in S.F. built in time for the '17-18 season is still possible if everything "worked perfectly," but acknowledged that time frame is "going to be a challenge." Appearing on KNBR-AM's "Gary & Larry" program on Thursday, Lacob said, "We're going to try like hell to get it approved. If it has to go to a public vote -- we haven’t made that decision yet -- it'll go to a public vote and people will speak. ... We're trying, we're going to keep trying. But it could be delayed because the truth is we need to do it right." He noted team officials have "listened to everybody" with opinions on the project and said, "We're trying to make it so it’s something everybody (can agree on)." Lacob: "There is certainly a group of people, led by (former S.F. Mayor) Art Agnos as their spokesperson apparently, who for whatever reason don’t think an arena should be built on that waterfront site. There are some people who don’t want any progress on the waterfront, any building, and there are other issues that we have now, that we didn't expect, that have come into the fray ... and made for a bigger discussion." He called those obstacles "disappointing" because the Warriors are "trying to do something that actually is great for the city." Lacob: "You're not going to make everybody happy. It's all about the majority and what is good for the majority of people in San Francisco and in the Bay Area. And it's not just about basketball."

WNBA TEAM IN THE FUTURE? Lacob also stated it is a "dream of ours" to acquire a WNBA franchise, as it could be "very successful in the Bay Area." He said, "We're not in a rush to do it because we're focused on our primary job right now, which is the Warriors. ... But if the opportunity came along, we would definitely do it. We have shown that we can do a sport that isn't a major, giant sport and do it well in Santa Cruz with the D-League." Lacob noted the WNBA is "getting more and more successful" and "most of the teams actually make a little bit of money or break even." Lacob has been linked to the L.A. Sparks, which is searching for a new owner. He said, "I don’t know whether we're going to get this team. It's reported we have interest. It's true, but if it stays in L.A. which is where they are today, that's also fine. We'll eventually do it" ("Gary & Larry," KNBR-AM, 1/23).

Kansas State Univ. is "wasting little time pursuing" new facility upgrades after renovating Bill Snyder Family Stadium last year, as a "new wave of athletic facility upgrades is on the way," according to Kellis Robinett of the K.C. STAR. Among the upgrades planned is an "overhaul of the north end zone of Snyder Family Stadium, where the football team’s offices and training facilities are located." The school also "wants to add new video boards and sound improvements to its football, basketball and baseball venues." The upgrades "carry a projected cost" of $62M, "again paid for by donors." School AD John Currie said, "Iowa State, Baylor, Texas Tech, TCU and Oklahoma State all have extraordinarily improved their football training facilities, weight rooms and locker rooms. We still function very efficiently in the Vanier Football Complex, but that is something we need to address at some point." He said that the north end zone at Snyder Family Stadium "needs permanent restrooms and upgraded seats," but Currie "isn't sure" when the school will break ground on that project. However, fundraising is "under way, and preliminary designs have been discussed, but setting a timetable for construction is complicated." Currie also "wants to replace the dated video board at Bramlage Coliseum with a state-of-the-art model found in NBA arenas," and "promises HD-quality video and new stat capacities" (K.C. STAR, 1/23).

A 4-3 Las Vegas City Council vote to give Baltimore-based Cordish Cos. "another four months -- after four years of planning -- to finish its funding plan" for a $390M arena project revealed "deep divides between the downtown business community and city hall, and between council members who disagree on the propriety of investing public money in a home for a sports franchise," according to Benjamin Spillman of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. It was a "bloody victory for the pro-arena faction," who "savor the prospect of attracting big league basketball and hockey to a pro sports backwater." The debate also "laid bare the hard fact" that the current financial plan falls $52M short of the estimated cost, with "no obvious way of filling the gap." Given the "hard feelings aired during public testimony, it’s hard to imagine major downtown players volunteering to help" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 1/23). Las Vegas City Manager Betsy Fretwell said that the city will have to "hire an outside attorney at an estimated cost of $100,000 to provide legal counsel on negotiations with Cordish related to the arena project." In Las Vegas, Conor Shine noted reps from several downtown organizations, including Boyd Gaming and the Downtown Las Vegas Alliance, which "represents dozens of downtown businesses, spoke out against the use of public funds for the arena and criticized the city’s lack of engagement with the broader community on the project" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 1/23).