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SABRES SHOULD HELP FUND HOCKEY ARENA, GRIFFIN SAYS

Mayor Griffin wants the owners of the Buffalo Sabres to put up some of their own money in the construction of a new downtown arena.

At his monthly news conference Tuesday, Griffin also reiterated that he opposes using general tax revenues to meet the lease demands of the Buffalo Bisons, but he remains hopeful that differences between the team and city can be worked out.

The mayor spent much of the news conference talking about sports-related issues. Griffin said he wants the Sabres to go beyond the private financing plan outlined last month by the team's financial consultant.

"We need the private sector to come and help," he said. "We have to have it."

The consultant estimated that revenue from the sale of premium seats, in-building advertising, naming rights and the like could generate about $30 million in private financing. Investment from vendors, such as food concessionaires, could raise another $5 million.

Neither the consultant nor team officials at the presentation mentioned any cash investment by the team itself, which Griffin said Tuesday he wants to see. He didn't specify an amount.

The Sabres have said they can't compete in the present facility.They have recommended a 20,000-seat arena that would cost an estimated $100 million.

Turning to the Bisons, Griffin said he was disappointed at many of the proposals the team has made during negotiations for a lease on Pilot Field if Buffalo gets an expansion team.

"If I had more hair, it would have raised the hair on my head," Griffin said of the proposals.

"No way are we going to give any of our general fund to sports," Griffin said.

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