School asks regents to approve deal

Updated: June 22, 2004, 9:21 PM ET
Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Arizona State University asked the Board of Regents on Tuesday to approve a settlement with the Arizona Cardinals to resolve a dispute over revenue from sponsorship signs in Sun Devil Stadium.

The proposed settlement would let the Cardinals sell an agreed-upon number of signs inside the university-owned stadium. The team would keep all home-game stadium revenue after deducting ASU's expenses for staging the games, according to university officials.

The Cardinals, who share ASU's 73,014-seat stadium, also would get all parking revenue minus the school's expenses. They would get event-day use of various university facilities.

The proposed settlement was a late addition to the agenda for the Arizona Board of Regents' meeting Thursday and Friday in Flagstaff.

ASU athletic director Gene Smith said through an aide that the ``renegotiated agreement'' was reached ``in the spirit of good business and cooperation.''

Cardinals spokesman Mark Dalton said the team and ASU had made ``tremendous progress'' but were still working out details of the settlement.

``I know the lawyers continue to meet over the last couple of issues, and we hope to have the matter wrapped up in the next few days in time for the regents to act on it at their meeting,'' Dalton said.

The proposed settlement calls for the two sides ``to create a new relationship that maximizes income opportunities and goodwill for the Cardinals and results in no subsidy from ASU for the direct costs of hosting Cardinals' football games and related events.''

It also calls for both sides to work with one another to ``resolve past differences, promote community pride, and explore joint marketing opportunities.''

The Cardinals have shared ASU's stadium in Tempe since moving from St. Louis in 1988; a new 63,000-seat stadium is being built in Glendale for the Cardinals' use starting in the 2006 season.

The current dispute arose in 1999 after the university renovated the stadium and installed new signs. The Cardinals claimed a right to approve any new signs but the university said the team's rights only applied to temporary signs.

The team sought nearly $12 million from the university, claiming damages from signs the school placed in the stadium starting in 1999 and continuing in subsequent years. Cardinals officials contended the new signs made it impossible for them to sell sponsorships.

Initially, the Cardinals sought $21 million, but an arbitrator said in mid-2003 that the team was not entitled to that much.

Under the original 1988 agreement between the university and the Cardinals, the team paid ASU a per-ticket fee and they shared parking and concession revenue.

The Cardinals had no right to sell or display sponsorship signs within the stadium in the original agreement, but that changed into a 50-50 split under a 1994 agreement covering new signs.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press