SBD/Issue 16/Facilities & Venues

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  • Racing Away: Pikes Peak Int’l Raceway Sold To ISC

    ISC To Purchase Pikes Peak, Move
    Inventory To Other Tracks
    ISC has entered an agreement to buy Pikes Peak Int’l Raceway (PPIR), “shut it down and ship its grandstands to other ISC tracks,” according to Thomas Brown of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. ISC officials said that PPIR’s Busch Series race next August will be relocated to Martinsville Speedway, “where it’s expected to draw a larger crowd.” Brown noted the move requires the approval of NASCAR, but that is “considered a given” since the France family runs both companies. In a management contract with PPIR Owner Lehman Bros. signed three years ago, ISC agreed to pay $18.5M if it decided to buy the track, but ISC Assistant Dir of Investor Relations Leonardo Santiago said that the company “will be paying a lower price when it closes the deal” this week. Santiago did not give the price, but said that it is “‘fully supported’ by the property’s appraised value.” The El Paso (CO) County tax assessor said that the track “has a market value of” $8.9M (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 10/1). In Colorado Springs, Brian Gomez noted the track was built for $35M, but was sold to Lehman Bros. in November ’01 for $16.8M (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 10/1).

    CROWD CONTROL: PPIR President Rob Johnson said that under its management agreement, ISC “had the right to match any bids if PPIR put up the track for sale.” Johnson added that he “didn’t believe the lack of support was a factor,” noting that crowd totals “improved each year he was president of the facility.” In Denver, Stocker & Renck noted the Busch Series ITT Industries, Systems Division and Goulds Pumps Salute to the Troops 250 presented by Dodge on July 23 drew an estimated 40,000 fans, while the IRL Honda Indy 225 August 21 drew close to 30,000 (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 10/1).

    MIXED BAG: In Colorado Springs, David Ramsey in a front-page piece wrote under the header, “Lack Of Nextel Cup Race Forced Demise Of Pikes Peak Raceway.” Ramsey: “Colorado racing fans didn’t embrace second-tier drivers. The stands weren’t packed, and the big-time vibe that would have lifted PPIR never quite arrived” (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 10/1). However, in Denver, Mike Chambers wrote the “demise of [PPIR] ... could turn into a blessing for Denver-area race fans who have yearned for a NASCAR Nextel Cup-hosted superspeedway.” ISC Dir of Communications David Talley said, “We’ve always felt that Denver is a great market for motorsports. While right now we focus on Seattle and [N.Y.], it would not be surprising to me that sometime in the near future we’d look at Denver again” (DENVER POST, 10/2).

    INDUSTRY ANALYSIS: Standard & Poor’s analyst Gary McDaniel cut ISC’s rating to 3 stars (hold) from 5 stars (strong buy), writing, “We are increasingly concerned about the strategic focus of [ISC’s] management.” McDaniel called the purchase of PPIR “lackluster,” and added, “This comes on the heels of the company's agreement to acquire Action Performance, an unimpressive operator, in our view, in a business we see as risky and tangential.” S&P cut its target price on ISC to $57 from $68 (, 9/30).

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Facilities, IndyCar, NASCAR
  • Edmonton Investors Group Planning On New Arena For Oilers

    Oilers Owners Planning For
    New Arena In Near Future
    The Edmonton Investors Group (EIG), which owns the Oilers, is planning for a “new state-of-the-art arena to replace aging Rexall Place,” according to David Staples of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. Oilers Chair Cal Nichols noted that “only the [Penguins] and the [Islanders] play in older buildings.” Nichols said that “the economics of the Oilers and the NHL have to justify private individuals and the community investing money in a new building.” Nichols: “The thing can only be dealt with if you’re viable and profitable as far as the eye can see, because if it isn’t, you can’t think new building.” EIG attorney Mike Crozier said Nichols “doesn’t have the attitude that somebody should provide [a new arena] for nothing.” However, Staples noted that EIG still must pay the remaining C$30M on the ’98 bank loan used to purchase the team before a new arena can be built. The investors have yet to make money on their initial C$60M investment, and in ’02, they had to “put in an additional [C$14M] to cover costs” (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 10/2).

    LOCKOUT COSTLY: In Edmonton, Joanne Ireland wrote that the Oilers expect the “lost season will have cost” EIG C$9M. Corporate sales are down 40% — an additional C$2M shortfall — “largely because the lockout ended after the fall media buy.” While the team added 1,000 new season-ticket holders, as many as 400 former season-ticket holders elected not to renew their packages. Oilers President & CEO Patrick LaForge said, “We’ll recover eventually our commercial shortcomings, but the lockout has a hangover that goes with it. And in my mind, it’s got to be six months. At least” (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 10/2).

    Print | Tags: Edmonton Oilers, Facilities, Hockey, New York Islanders, NHL, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Bengals Put Down The Pat-Downs Amid Pressure From County

    Bengals Cancel Pat-Down Plans Amid
    Pressure From County Commissioners
    The Bengals canceled plans to pat down fans at yesterday’s game against the Texans at Paul Brown Stadium amid pressure from Hamilton County (OH) officials after the team hired a private security company to conduct the NFL-mandated pat-downs and county officials became “worried that a fan could sue,” according to the CINCINNATI POST. The county filed for a temporary restraining order and the team said that it “would try to work out a compromise before the next home game” on October 23. The Bengals had hired Contemporary Services Corp. to handle the pat-downs, the same company that handles Super Bowl security (CINCINNATI POST, 10/1). In Cincinnati, Coolidge, Curnutte & Perry noted that the company was to be paid with county money, and Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich said, “These are illegal searches, the last thing we intend to do is pay for them.” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said that the searches may resume “as long as no county money is used to pay for them” (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 10/1).

    SLOW GOING: In Atlanta, Steve Wyche writes there were “several thousand empty seats well into the first quarter,” at yesterday’s Vikings-Falcons game at the Georgia Dome, “in part because of long lines entering the stadium” due to pat-downs and random searches (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/3).

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Facilities, Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, NFL
  • Maryland Officials Question Stadium Authority’s Hiring

    Officials at the Maryland Attorney General’s office “believe the Maryland Stadium Authority improperly paid more than $100,000” to the Baltimore-based law firm of William Murphy Jr., a “close ally of [Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich] to prepare a possible lawsuit against [MLB] to block the arrival” of the Nationals, according to Matthew Mosk of the WASHINGTON POST. The officials indicated that the “no-bid contract did not follow state procurement law, which requires state lawyers to sign off before any agency hires private attorneys.” Stadium Authority Exec Dir Alison Asti said that she hired Murphy’s firm “because the work was urgent and she was advised that the state’s lawyers were too busy.” Asti: “It is routine for us to use outside counsel.” Mosk noted that the suit was never filed because Orioles Owner Peter Angelos settled his dispute with MLB. Murphy later repped Angelos in his suit against Comcast over cable rights to Nationals games (WASHINGTON POST, 10/2).

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Facilities, MLB, Washington Nationals
  • Facility Notes

    BankAtlantic Reportedly Paying $2.7M
    Annually For Arena Naming Rights
    A Broward County (FL) official said that BankAtlantic is paying about $2.7M annually for its ten-year naming-rights agreement for the NHL Panthers’ BankAtlantic Center. Office Depot, which had its name on the building from ’02 until last month, paid about $1.4M a year (Steve Gorten, Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 10/1)....The Louisiana State Racing Commission granted approval to Fair Grounds Race Course to run a 37-day meet at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City to make up for the cancellation of the racing season in New Orleans (Bob Fortus, New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 10/1)....In Providence, Shalise Manza Young reported Connecticut-based Yarde Metals lost its appeal in Suffolk County (MA) Superior Court challenging an earlier decision that found the Patriots “had the right to rescind” season-ticket privileges after a male ticket holder “was caught using the women’s restroom” during a game in ’02 (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 10/1).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, New England Patriots, NHL
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