SBD/Issue 33/Facilities & Venues

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  • AEG, City Of Houston Close To Deal For Dynamo Stadium

    AEG is in the “advanced stages of negotiating a public-private partnership with the city of Houston that would facilitate the construction of a 22,000-capacity, open-air facility” for the MLS Dynamo, according to Bernardo Fallas of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. The $70-80M facility would be built near downtown Houston.  The agreement would also “likely include the construction of a satellite public soccer complex and training facility” about seven miles south of the stadium. Both sides have indicated that a decision is “expected by year’s end.”  Houston Mayor Bill White said, “There remains a large number of unresolved issues. However, both parties are optimistic that we can achieve a mutually satisfactory conclusion.” Fallas notes, “All signs point to [AEG] bearing the brunt of the stadium cost, and investment that likely would surpass $60[M],” with the city paying the remaining costs (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/26).

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  • Group Led By Hunt Construction Picked To Built New Magic Arena

    Magic Select Group Led By Hunt
    Construction To Build New $480M Arena
    The Magic, pending contract negotiations, have selected a group led by Hunt Construction to build its new $480M NBA arena. Hunt’s resume includes building Charlotte Bobcats Arena, Conseco Fieldhouse and Toyota Center. HOK Sport will design the Orlando facility. Turner Construction is the program manager (Don Muret, SportsBusiness Journal). Magic COO Alex Martins said, "Their experience clearly was a determining factor. Over the last decade in particular, they've been one of the leaders in the number of sports facilities they've worked on." In Orlando, Mark Schlueb reports the city "requires bidders to partner with minority- and female-owned firms," and Hunt's team includes four local companies "that by themselves would likely not have the resources to take on such a big project." The Magic and Hunt will now enter contract negotiations, which Martins "hopes to complete ... within 30 days." If no deal is reached, the Magic would "negotiate with the second-ranked firm," but sources said that is "unlikely" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/26).

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  • Let It Rock: Bon Jovi Opens New Prudential Center

    Vanderbeek (3rd from l) And Booker
    (2nd from r) Help Cut Ribbon At Ceremony
    The Prudential Center opened Thursday night to a crowd of more than 17,000 with the first of ten performances by Bon Jovi, and fans called the show, "and perhaps more important for the city, their trip to Newark -- a success," according to Wang & Mueller of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. Nine minutes into the band's set, Jon Bon Jovi declared, "I'm a New Jersey Devil, and this is my new house." Newark Mayor Cory Booker said without former mayor and current state senator Sharpe James, "we would not be here today." Wang & Mueller note James, who is awaiting trial on corruption, was the arena's "earliest and most ardent booster." He attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony but "was not invited to speak." Electronic signs around the city read, "Welcome to Newark," traffic moved "relatively smoothly" and police reported no problems (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 10/26).

    REVIEWS: In New Jersey, Brennan & Lamb write under the header, "Pru Center Makes Glittering Debut." There was a "red-carpet-and-strobe-light ceremony out front and helicopters hovering overhead," but the celebrity appearances "weren't quite A-list." Fans were "warned to use mass transit or to arrive early by car to avoid potential traffic snarls, and the crowd of fans visible hours before the opening song suggested many heeded the message" (Bergen RECORD, 10/26).  In N.Y., Jim Farber writes the arena "boasted good sounded, by its own clangy standards, ample bathrooms and crack security" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/26). In Newark, Steve Politi notes safety is the “biggest issue facing the arena, and it won’t go away soon.” Molnar and Victoria Fischer had a 15 minute walk from their parking spot to the arena for the  concert. Victoria said, “The police are everywhere,” to which her husband replied, “They should be!” Devils Owner Jeff Vanderbeek said, “I’m very confident it will be unbelievably safe, but people are going to find out for themselves” (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 10/26).

    DEVILS PLAYGROUND: The Devils host the Senators Saturday night at the Prudential Center, their first game in the new arena. FSNY will be telecasting, with Mike Emrick and Chico Resch announcing.  FSNY will hold a one-hour pregame show from 6:00-7:00pm ET and will give viewers a tour of the new arena. The net will have interviews with Booker and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, among others.  Also, Resch will sample the food offered at the arena throughout the season. The postgame show, hosted by Steve Cangialosi, will be held from one of the three bars in the arena - "The Goal Bar" -- which overlooks the ice (THE DAILY).

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  • MLB Facility Notes: Dodgers Looking To Play Game At Coliseum

    Dodgers Contemplating Game
    At L.A. Memorial Coliseum
    In L.A., Bill Shaikin reports the Dodgers “are exploring the possibility of staging one game at the [L.A.] Coliseum next year” as part of their 50th year in the city. Coliseum GM Pat Lynch said that the team “inquired about the availability of various dates during the regular season as well as spring training.” Lynch: “They can do whatever they want, as long as we’re able to play football in the fall.” Shaikin notes the “quirky field dimensions ... make it more likely that [MLB] officials would sanction an exhibition game” at the venue. The team shared the stadium for four years with USC, UCLA and the Rams after relocating from Brooklyn (L.A. TIMES, 10/26).

    BLEACHER CREATURES: In Boston, Scott Van Voorhis notes the Red Sox will open the Bleacher Bar behind the center field wall in Fenway Park in '09. Red Sox Senior VP/Planning & Development Janet Marie Smith said that the restaurant “is just one of four possible locations on the team’s radar screen,” and the team would “prefer to give local restaurateurs a crack at the new locations.” Smith: “I don’t know if it’s a hard and fast commitment to say no [chain restaurants], but it’s certainly not where we have been looking” (BOSTON HERALD, 10/26).

    ORANGE YOU READY? In Ft. Lauderdale, Sarah Talalay reports Miami City Commissioners decided Thursday they “want a full report on the status of ballpark negotiations” at their December 13 meeting, but they also “want a public declaration from the Marlins sooner as to whether the team wants a stadium at the Orange Bowl site.” Miami Commission Vice Chair Joe Sanchez said that the city “has been negotiating with the Marlins long enough and if a ballpark will not be built there, he wants the city to consider options such as a park, soccer stadium or affordable housing” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 10/26).

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