Putting the Bucks in the Broncos Stadium
painted football fans fill a new stadium for the Denver Broncos in
the fall of 2001, it's unlikely that they'll be thinking about much
more than tailgating and touchdowns.
there can be football, there first has to be financing.
Jim Weinstein '84, '88B comes in. As a senior vice president
and head of the project finance department at Sumitomo Bank,
Weinstein leads a team that figures out how to pay for construction
of new sports arenas such as the one in the works in
became head of the project finance group in 1997. When he first
joined the department in 1991, the bank primarily lent money to
utilities to build new power plants. Weinstein quickly figured out
that those methods of financing could be applied to sports
stadiums. Since then, Sumitomo has had a major role in funding
sports projects in Washington, Ottawa and Detroit, among
are still the meat and potatoes of what Weinstein's department
does, but, however necessary, they lack the sizzle of a brand new
sports stadium. "When you first spin a turbine at a power plant,
there aren't 50,000 people cheering," Weinstein notes.
was not surprising to Weinstein's family (father Ed '57, mother
Sandra and sister Ilene '87) that Jim wound up helping franchises
finance new stadiums. He was always interested in sports, as many
youngsters and teenagers are. But in addition to tracking the
on-field accomplishments of the players, Weinstein had a quirky
fascination with the owners, especially when and by whom teams were
something I knew from before Columbia," he says, "who owned every
sports team, and the history of franchises. I had a book called The
Ballparks, which lists every ballpark where major league baseball
was ever played. I still have it."
If that book
is ever updated, Weinstein could easily be a part of it, having
arranged financing for the construction of the new home of the
Detroit Tigers that will open in April.
sports facilities sprout up regularly around the country, building
a new outdoor stadium or indoor arena is never easy. Satisfying the
interests of the franchise, the city, the league, and other banks
requires sensitive negotiations. Sumitomo works with team
representatives to help them fund their contribution to the
In the Denver
arrangement, for instance, $250 million to build the new stadium
will come from taxpayers and $150 million will be furnished by the
Broncos. Despite the popularity of football in the city of Denver,
taxpayers were suspicious that the Broncos wouldn't hold up their
end of the bargain, says Allan Fears, CFO of the Broncos. The
referendum that passed required the Broncos to make their
contribution up front, before the tax dollars started kicking in.
That meant the Broncos needed $25 million before construction could
"Jim was the
only banker I dealt with in entire process who put together a
structure to loan us $25 million," Fears says.
deal was closed in August. Now that it's complete, Weinstein, an
oarsman during his Columbia days, has time to catch his breath and
help his former crew teammate David Filosa '82 with project finance
of a different sort: Raising money from alumni for a new boathouse
for the Columbia crews, which is scheduled to open next