SBD/Issue 52/Facilities & Venues

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  • DC CFO Says District Cannot Raise Cap On Ballpark Spending

    DC Officials Standing Firm On
    $535M Spending Cap For Ballpark
    DC CFO Natwar Gandhi and other local officials “are expected to tell the DC Council Monday that raising a $535[M] cap on spending for a new baseball stadium is not an option, and that the city must scale back the ballpark design or persuade [MLB] to chip in to stay under budget,” according to Tim Lemke of the WASHINGTON TIMES. Gandhi will tell the council that it cannot “budge from the cap and retain credibility with bond raters.” Meanwhile, DC Sports & Entertainment Commission (DCSEC) members said that they will provide the council with details of a new lease agreement with MLB for the ballpark. DCSEC Baseball Committee Chair William Hall: “I’m optimistic that we will work out the issues necessary to make good on the deal from Wall Street’s standpoint, as well as keep ballpark costs at or below that $535[M].” DC Council Finance Committee Chair Jack Evans said that he is “not aware of any discussions to raise the price ceiling,” even though costs for the ballpark have risen from $244M to $337M and land acquisition costs have increased to $98M (WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/23).

    LAND IN GEAR: In DC, David Nakamura reports the DC government has told landowners on the site of the proposed ballpark that “they must vacate their properties by Feb. 3 so that the city can begin construction in March.” Officials had said that they wanted the land by December 31 “so they would have time to raze the buildings and address any environmental problems by March 1.” So far, seven landowners have agreed to sell, for a total of $14M, while DC filed an eminent domain suit against the 16 remaining owners, “depositing $84[M] in offers in a court-controlled trust” (WASHINGTON POST, 11/23).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, MLB
  • Keeping The Faith: NJSEA Creates Prayer Areas At Facilities

    NJSEA officials said that the organization will set aside areas at Giants Stadium and Continental Airlines Arena “for fans who want to pray,” according to Diamant & Ben-Ali of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. The decision, which is believed to be the first such designation in the country, follows the detention of five Muslim fans who knelt in prayer during Giants-Saints September 19 at the stadium. NJSEA President & CEO George Zoffinger said, “I think that we handled this situation with sensitivity, and it’s the right thing. We reached out to the people in the community who felt offended and we put in an expert on both Muslim culture and religion to address all our staff in terms of the sensitivities involved.” Sami Shaban, one of the men detained, said, “It’s a very good start. ... It was not our main aim, though. Our main aim was to bring to light and educate people about what it is we’re supposed to do, that (our praying) is not suspicious behavior and we shouldn’t have been treated like this” (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 11/22).

    Print | Tags: Continental Airlines, Facilities, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, NJSEA, San Francisco Giants
  • NBA Facility Notes

    Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen said, “For any NBA team in a small- or medium-sized market, you have to have three things — an advantageous arena deal, a strong fan base and a modest payroll — to be a financial success. Right now, we don’t have those things.” When asked if he would ever try to buy back the Rose Garden, Allen said, “It’s worth talking about. Whether that will happen, I can’t say. It would have to be a much more favorable deal (with the city) than we were operating under” (PORTLAND TRIBUNE, 11/22).

    JAZZ: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Don Muret reports the Jazz are accommodating corporate clients with premium seats by “creating a business-to-business premium club, an area that could generate twice the revenue for the team compared with selling the space as individual suites.” The team spent $150,000-200,000 to “consolidate four skyboxes on the arena’s fourth level” and build the Executives Club. The 23 memberships sell for $26,000 per season in three-year commitments, and the Jazz would collect about $1.8M from selling out the 92-seat space. Utah-based FFKR Architects designed the club (SBJ, 11/21 issue).

    NETS: In N.Y., Paul Colford reports that among considerations for Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards project, the future home of the new Nets arena, are a “wildflower meadow and boardwalk on the roof” and an entryway with “stoop-like seating and a new marsh to handle storm water runoff.” The Frank Gehry-designed, 18,000-seat arena is “now a kind of bowtie-shaped space.” During a presentation Tuesday at the Center for Architecture, Gehry “showed how giant images might be projected” on the floor and ceiling, as well as how the streets outside the arena “might be striped with the Nets’ team colors” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/23).

    BOBCATS: In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg reports the Bobcats are “adjusting the franchise’s pitch for arena naming rights and other sponsorships, hoping to take advantage” of the scoreboard in their new arena and other high-tech equipment “to close more deals.” Sources estimated the cost of naming rights at the arena at $2-3.5M annually. WMG Marketing President Jeff Knapple said, “There is a scale of diminishing return once a building opens, but I don’t think (the Bobcats) will feel that in the first year. I think they have some attractive assets: It’s a new building with a new team in an area that’s passionate about basketball” (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/21 issue).

    Print | Tags: Charlotte Bobcats, Facilities, NBA, Brooklyn Nets, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, Vulcan Ventures
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