Venue News & Notes: Florida Battles for the Sox

Lee County, FL, is bidding to lure the Red Sox away from Sarasota County. Commissioners in Lee County have set aside $80 million to build a 12,000-seat stadium emulating Fenway Park.
…Commissioners in Lee County, FL, set aside $80 million to build the Red Sox a 12,000-seat stadium modeled after Fenway Park for the team’s new spring-training facility that gives the Sox everything the team wanted — something Sarasota County could not do. Sarasota had worked for 11 months to lure the Red Sox from their Fort Myers spring-training home but was out-spent by Lee County, in part because the larger county collects nearly twice as much in a tourism tax charged at hotels and rental condos. Lee County also approved an agreement with the team that sets a timetable for construction of a baseball complex replete with luxury suites and six practice fields…
…In a battle for limited state funds, the city of Seattle will face stiff competition from several other interested groups looking to use leftover tax money from Safeco and Qwest Fields. City officials, along with sports-related business groups interested in keeping KeyArena solvent in a competitive market, are working with the state legislature to secure $75 million to complete a $300 million proposal to remodel KeyArena. The city wants to create an NBA-ready facility in the hope of securing another basketball team in the near future…
…Monday night’s lousy weather in Philadelphia brought an interesting observation from a Fox sportscaster: “All of a sudden, a domed stadium does not seem like a bad idea.” It is also an issue in Pinellas County, FL, as some interests pursue a more modern stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays. County Commissioner Bob Stewart is on a committee studying stadium proposals…
…New Jersey Nets owner Bruce Ratner said this week that he welcomes hearing from potential investors from around the world interested in buying into his NBA franchise and its planned Brooklyn arena. But Ratner denied a report that he is already entertaining overtures from investors in Russia and Dubai as potential sources of ready cash for the team and the Atlantic Yards project that includes the arena…
…The International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief said the main concern for London 2012’s organizers should be to avoid leaving behind “white elephants.” “If the best solution is to transform the track into something else, then we would be in favor of that,” he said. This would seem to mark a shift in IOC policy and open the door for a football club moving to the Stratford venue…
…The Tottenham, UK, football team has confirmed plans to sell the naming rights of its proposed 60,000-seat stadium — spelling the end for the current White Hart Lane facility. The plans for the new ground include parts of the existing site, but the stadium will be located to the north of the current one and will carry a sponsor’s name.

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