SBD/Issue 144/Facilities & Venues

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  • Proposed Stadium Deal For MLS, San Jose State Football Dead

    Wolff’s Involvement In SJSU
    Stadium Seems To Be Dead
    A proposal by A’s Owner Lew Wolff to build a stadium on the campus of San Jose State Univ. (SJSU) to house an MLS team and the school’s football team “died late Thursday” after Wolff and SJSU President Don Kassing “decided they could not resolve differences over what Wolff should pay to use campus property,” according to a front-page piece by Witt & Wilner of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. SJSU Associate VP/Government & Community Relations Larry Carr said Kassing and Wolff “came to an agreement that the deal just wasn’t going to work.” Carr said that Kassing “believed Wolff was not offering enough money to justify giving up the university’s land for that purpose.” Witt & Wilner note Kassing “wanted $6[M] a year, guaranteed, from stadium-related revenue,” but sources said that Wolff offered $1M a year, “plus a split of future revenue.” Earthquakes Soccer Exec VP David Alioto in an e-mail to local boosters wrote that they “shouldn’t abandon hope on finding a new home” for an MLS team in San Jose. Meanwhile, SJSU officials said that they will “work on Spartan Stadium improvements on their own” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 4/20).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, MLS, Oakland Athletics
  • New Downtown Vikings Stadium Estimated To Cost $954M

    Commission Reviews Details Of
    Proposed $954M Stadium For Vikings
    The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC) on Thursday reviewed a report from S.F.-based Roma Design Group on a new $954M retractable-roof Vikings stadium that would keep the team in Minnesota through 2041. The new facility would be built on the current site of the Metrodome. Roma was charged with envisioning how the stadium can help spur development in the surrounding neighborhood (MSFC). Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley said that Owner Zygi Wilf is “prepared to invest ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’ in revitalizing the downtown east district.” Property owners said that Wilf “has begun negotiations with dozens of area landowners.” In Minneapolis, Paul Levy notes the Vikings pledged $280M last year toward a previous plan for a stadium in Blaine, but they have “been mum on how much they might contribute toward a stadium downtown” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/20).

    LITTLE SUPPORT: The AP’s Dave Campbell wrote while the Vikings and the MSFC “have been invited to an informational hearing of the [Minnesota] House Tax Committee next month, the prospect of immediate progress is not strong.” House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, when asked about the chances of a Vikings stadium plan being heard this year, said, “If I checked it for vitals, I’d say it was at the morgue.” Gov. Tim Pawlenty added, “It is easy to draw up plans. The question is who gets to pay for it” (AP, 4/19).

    DESIGN CLASS: Several urban designers said that the plan for the new stadium is “a first-rate start — but more of a marketing pitch than a true master plan.” Carolyn Krall of Minneapolis-based Landform Engineering said, “They need a lot of money to make this happen. To do that, they are going to need people to fall in love with the new stadium. The interior view does that; the exterior not so much” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/20).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, Minnesota Vikings
  • DC Boosts Verizon Center Ticket Tax To Cover $50M Upgrade

    Tax Rate On Tickets, Merchandise Purchases
    At Verizon Center To Increase To 10%
    The tax rate on tickets and merchandise at Verizon Center will increase to 10% from 5.75% as “part of a plan to pay for $50[M] in renovations at the sports arena under a bill approved” Thursday by the DC Council, according to Nikita Stewart of the WASHINGTON POST. The plan includes the issuing of bonds to cover “major upgrades” at the arena. Wizards Owner Abe Pollin had requested the money, saying that he “could not afford to pay for the improvements himself.” Stewart notes Pollin still owes $110M on money borrowed to build the $220M arena. Pollin has agreed to give DC a “rent-free 24-seat luxury suite with numerous amenities and a clear view of the floor.” DC Council member Jack Evans said, “It’s very important that we keep the Verizon Center a first-class facility, and the $50[M] will go a long way” (WASHINGTON POST, 4/20).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, Verizon, Washington Wizards
  • Laurel Park Sees Wagering, Attendance Drops For Winter Meet

    Wagering and attendance “suffered significant drops” at the recently completed Laurel Park winter meet, with total wagering falling from $321M in ’06 to $291.8M this year and attendance dipping 19.3% to 214,409, according to John Scheinman of the WASHINGTON POST. The meet, which ran from January 1-April 15, featured 71 days of live racing, one less than last year. Maryland Jockey Club President & COO Lou Raffetto said that field sizes were “hampered by bad weather and a shortage of horses.” Raffetto: “Last year we had a record meet. We set the bar pretty high. Our meet this year, in terms of horseflesh, wasn’t a solid one. We were probably down [150-200] horses from where we were a year ago” (WASHINGTON POST, 4/20). In Baltimore, Sandra McKee reports the in-state handle dropped 10.8%, while the out-of-state handle also fell 7.8% from $183.1M to $168.8M. Raffetto “attributed the decline in out-of-state wagering to increased competition for simulcasting signals and a decline in the size of fields at Laurel Park” (Baltimore SUN, 4/20).

    Print | Tags: Facilities
  • Facility Notes

    M&T Bank Stadium will undergo “four significant changes” for the ’07 season, including a series of “digital upgrades to the SmartVision video screens,” a $1M upgrade to the club level to include a timeline of Baltimore football, five new suites in the corners of the stadium and a “‘tailgate-friendly’ marketplace for fans to buy products.” The team will pay for all improvements “in lieu of rent” (WASHINGTON EXAMINER, 4/18).

    SONICS: A SEATTLE TIMES editorial states the Washington state Legislature’s “lack of action on a new Renton arena ... is extremely disappointing,” and comments by elected officials “demonstrate the poor chances of the bill coming up for a vote.” The editorial asked, “What is [Sonics Owner Clay] Bennett supposed to do if the Legislature is not even willing to vote on the proposal?” (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/20).

    PENGUINS: The Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority is looking to relocate the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol-Beth Jacob synagogue in order to build the Penguins’ new $290M arena. Rabbi Stanley Savage said that he “had heard nothing about a possible relocation.” Savage: “I just think it’s a shame that the last of 23 synagogues can’t stay here” (POST-GAZETTE, 4/20).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, MT Bank, Pittsburgh Penguins
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