SBD/Issue 57/Facilities & VenuesPrint All
Phoenix City Council Approves Extra
Funding To Assist With Renovations
The Phoenix City Council unanimously approved $17M in funding for renovations to America West Arena, "spurred in part by anticipated stiff competition for events from the new Glendale Arena," according to Harris & Richardson of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC, who note the funding will cover a new scoreboard, sound system and electronic advertising panels. The work will begin this summer following the completion of a current $50M renovation of the facility, which includes 20% in public financing. Council member Dave Siebert: "The arena probably has the best return more so than some of the other facilities on the investments we've made in it. We can't let it get antiquated. The sports teams are going to play somewhere, the concerts are going to be held somewhere, so why not Phoenix? Why shouldn't we capture those dollars and keep them here?" City records show Phoenix "has received $9.2[M] on its investment in AWA, which will total" $70M, or 41% of the $169M to build and renovate the arena. The Suns will have invested about $99M, or 59%, "the largest percentage of funding among" Phoenix' four major sports franchises. Phoenix Finance Dir Kevin Keogh: "We are not being asked to foot the entire amount. They (Suns) have stepped up and always financed a higher proportion than we have" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/4).
L.A. Coliseum EIR Report Approved
L.A. Coliseum officials yesterday "certified their environmental-impact report," according to Farmer & Perry of the L.A. TIMES. L.A. County Supervisor and Coliseum Commission President Don Knabe called the move an "'absolutely huge' step toward making their stadium NFL-ready," adding that the Coliseum "is now as much as two years ahead of the Rose Bowl and Carson sites in terms of planning." Knabe: "This puts us where we can be playing football by 2006, and I don't think anyone else can say that." Farmer & Perry note the NFL "was neutral in its response to the Coliseum's news." NFL Exec VP Joe Browne: "It's not unexpected. We continue to work with all three of the groups." Farmer & Perry add Coliseum officials, unlike Rose Bowl and Carson execs, are "not interested in receiving financial support from the NFL, at least not yet." Coliseum GM Pat Lynch: "(The NFL) would like us to work through them, I'm sure. But we're not obliged to. We can talk to whoever we want to. We are now clear to do a deal. It will take the other sites a very long time to catch up to where we are today" (L.A. TIMES, 12/4). Carson City Manager Jerry Groomes "downplayed the significance" of the Coliseum's move: "Great for them, but my understanding is that it's not a race to see who can finish their EIR first" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 12/4).
SAN DIEGO: Lynch indicated that he "has had no discussions with the Chargers," but he "would talk to the club if it called despite ... San Diego [DA] Casey Gwinn threatening legal action against anyone who discussed moving the Chargers." But Lynch's "first preference is to continue working with the NFL" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 12/4). In San Diego, Caitlin Rother reports the Chargers faxed San Diego city officials a letter yesterday "refusing to comply with the city's demand they move their lawsuit" from L.A. to San Diego. The Chargers indicated they "would be willing to move the lawsuit to Orange or [S.F.] counties, but not to San Diego." The city will file a motion tomorrow "seeking a change of venue to San Diego" (UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/4).
’04 Democratic Convention
Event Headed For Fenway
'04 Democratic National Convention Chair Bill Richardson said yesterday that Fenway Park will host an event as part of the July 26-29 convention at FleetCenter. The nature of the Fenway event will "remain a `surprise' for now." Also, the Yankees conclude a series in Boston against the Red Sox July 25, and organizers "are discussing purchasing blocks of tickets for convention delegates" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/4).
QUIET PLEASE: In Sacramento, Ailene Voisin reported NBA Kings Co-Owners Joe and Gavin Maloof "have banned the excessive use" of artificial fan prompts, following "repeated complaints" from season ticket holders. Arco Arena Events Manager Wendy Fresques: "We're only going to do it if an opponent goes on a 15-0 run or we need something to rev up our crowd. Otherwise, we are going to avoid them completely." But Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban said of his team's approach, "If you can hear the sneakers squeak, we have messed up big-time" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 12/3).
NOTES: The name "George's Grill" has been dropped from the restaurant at HP Pavilion, which was named for original Sharks Owner George Gund. Last year's ownership change Gund remains a minority investor in the club "combined with the renaming of the arena ... made the timing right for the move." The restaurant is now called "The Grill at HP Pavilion" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 12/3)....CFL Tiger-Cats Owner Bob Young pledged C$2M toward the installation of a state-of-the-art video scoreboard at Ivor Wynne Stadium in time for the '04 CFL season (CP, 12/4).
County Board Rules Ericsson
Stadium Is Worth $183.9M
The NFL Panthers' appeal of the $172.7M assessment of Ericsson Stadium "backfired" as Mecklenburg County's (NC) property tax appeals board yesterday raised the value $11.2M to $183.9M, according to Richard Rubin of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The new valuation means the city and county governments "will collect nearly $880,000 more each year than the team believes it should pay." The Panthers argued that the seven-year-old stadium is "heading rapidly toward obsolescence. The Panthers' appraisers cited recently abandoned stadiums in Seattle, Tampa, and Michigan as proof that NFL facilities last only 24 years on average." The Panthers also contend that they built the 73,248-seat stadium too large. Panthers General Counsel Richard Thigpen said that the team's execs "overbuilt because they were told that a larger stadium was needed to draw a Super Bowl." Thigpen: "The pipe dream of a Super Bowl, we've got a better grip on the reality of that now" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/4).
Indoor Mini-F1 Circuit Among
Planned Attractions For Xanadu
The New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority has approved plans by Mills Corp. and Mack-Cali Realty to build the $1.3B Xanadu entertainment and retail complex at the Meadowlands, according to Matthew Futterman of the Newark STAR-LEDGER, who notes the developers "plan to break ground in the spring." The Meadowlands Commission still "must approve the project after an environmental hearing," and the NJSEA must prevail in a lawsuit filed by developer Hartz Mountain Industries alleging that the NJSEA "violated its charter and the state's open public meetings law when it awarded" Mills/Mack-Cali the contract. NJSEA Chair Carl Goldberg said that the 75-year lease requires the developers to pay $160M next year "to cover the first 15 years of lease payments." In 2019, the developer "would begin annual payments totaling some $75[M] by 2029. After that, payments rise each year according to the consumer price index" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 12/4). The AP's Steve Strunsky noted dissenters "worry traffic problems will worsen in an area already congested by commuters and sports fans filing into" the Meadowlands. NJSEA board member Raymond Bateman, who cast one of two "no" votes, said, "When Giants Stadium is filled to capacity, ... it will be absolute gridlock" (AP, 12/4).
Concessions At The Linc
Could Be Examined In Probe
Six of the 11 concession leases reserved for minorities at Lincoln Financial Field are run by people with ties to Philadelphia Mayor John Street and/or attorney Ronald White, who is "at the center of a federal corruption investigation," according to city records and stadium officials cited by Tanfani, Fazlollah & Gelbart of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. Eagles execs said that political influence "played no role in their choice of their minority food vendors," adding that they "received no pressure or suggestions about whom to hire from White or anyone in Street's administration." Eagles President Joe Banner "I don't even know who our food vendors are." Lincoln Financial Field concessionaire Sportservice GM John Nuttall added, "The Eagles never asked that we do special business for anybody. Nobody. Ever." Tanfani, Fazlollah & Gelbart note there is "no sign that the stadium leases are involved in the continuing federal investigation into possible corruption in city-related contracts." However, the FBI "has subpoenaed records from White's law office and from the concession managers at" Philadelphia Int'l Airport (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/4).