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Red Sox Knew of Financing Trouble

October 11, 2000

BOSTON (AP) _ Two weeks before the Red Sox were put up for sale, the team learned it could fall $35 million short in financing for a new ballpark, The Boston Globe reported Wednesday.

FleetBoston Financial Corp. sent the team a letter Sept. 19, saying ``major issues″ needed to be resolved before financing could proceed, the newspaper said.

The $35 million did not count possible escalation in project costs.

The team has proposed a $665 million ballpark to replace 88-year-old Fenway Park, the smallest and oldest in the major leagues. The proposal calls for $312 million in public money, with the team to pick up the rest.

Team officials said the letter was only ``preliminary″ and it didn’t play a role in the decision by Red Sox chief executive John Harrington to sell the majority stake in the team.

Red Sox vice president James Healey said the team thinks the project can go forward, given the team’s recent broadcast agreement and the market for stadium naming rights.″

``No one has told the Red Sox this can’t be financed,″ FleetBoston chairman and chief operating officer Charles Gifford said.

Gifford said the bank was reviewing the proposal ``based on new, more positive assumptions, including the new TV contracts and increased estimates for naming rights.″

On Friday, when the proposed sale was announced, Harrington cited a more upbeat letter from Salomon Smith Barney. The New York investment firm said it was interested in arranging financing.

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