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As Arenas Sprout, a Scramble to Keep Them Filled

We make the NYT:


In the inaugural season for the new ballparks for the New York Yankees and Mets, the teams have been embarrassed by television shots showing vast areas of premium seats going unsold.

But those who study sporting facilities say empty seats may become even more commonplace here, as New York faces a glut of sports arenas.

Five major complexes -- four existing and one planned -- will soon be slugging it out within an area 30 miles wide.

At least two of the existing arenas already lose money, and experts say further casualties are almost guaranteed.

"Five arenas is not going to work," said Mark S. Rosentraub, a professor of sports management at the University of Michigan. "I don't think four works, even in a market as large as New York. There's competition in every direction and there aren't enough events."

In the Minneapolis-St. Paul region, the Target Center, which is owned by the city of Minneapolis, vies with the publicly subsidized Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team plays at the Target Center; the Minnesota Wild hockey team plays at Xcel Energy Center. Both sites are losing money, and they must also compete with the University of Minnesota, which has two arenas.

And then of course the House That Bob Built will be opening this fall...

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