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SBD/Issue 52/Facilities & VenuesPrint All
DC Officials Standing Firm On
$535M Spending Cap For Ballpark
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).
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).
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).