SBD/Issue 111/Facilities & Venues

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  • Cubs Seek To Add Revenue Through More Night Games, Concerts

    Cubs Seeking To Add More Night Games, Concerts
    The Cubs are "talking about adding an unspecified number of night games and about holding two more outdoor concerts in 2008 to duplicate successful shows by Jimmy Buffett and the Police," according to Fran Spielman of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. In '04 the Cubs signed a 12-year agreement with the city of Chicago that allowed the team to "phase in 12 more night games -- to a maximum of 30 per season," but Cubs Chair Crane Kenney is "hoping to amend it after another round of negotiations with community leaders." Kenney said that team officials have "bent over backward over the last four years to build a relationship with the community that we didn't have before." Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney said the Cubs have put "everything on the table." Tunney noted that the Cubs have discussed "more night games and changes to a planned development that requires the team to either build a 400-space parking garage or add more parking" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 2/28).

    COMMUNITY RELATIONS: Tunney said that he is "resigned to a naming rights deal" for Wrigley Field, but he "takes a dim view of changes that would affect the surrounding neighborhood." The Chicago City Council in '04 made Wrigley an official landmark, a designation that "requires special permission for proposed alterations." Tunney said Cubs officials now "want to get out of the landmark (designation), period." Tunney added that the team wants to "increase the density of the proposed commercial project." Cubs VP/Community Affairs Mike Lufrano: "There are a lot of ideas being tossed around while the ownership of the team and stadium are being discussed, but everything we have done here at Wrigley Field of late has been done in a way that is sensitive to the community" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/28).

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  • Plans Unveiled For New 24,000-Seat Ballpark In Omaha

    Omaha Officials Unveil Rendering Of 24,000-Seat
    Ballpark To Host College World Series
    Plans for a proposed 24,000-seat ballpark in downtown Omaha that would replace Rosenblatt Stadium as the home of the College World Series were released yesterday, with the project calling for "certain taxpayers to pick up $59.4[M] of the tab, with private donations and ballpark revenues covering the rest,” according to Karen Sloan of the Omaha WORLD-HERALD. The city's property tax rate "would not increase under the proposal," but rental car and hotel costs would increase to "help pay for the stadium." Nearly a third of the cost ($42.95M) would come from private donations. Some in the hospitality industry "have already indicated they will oppose any attempt to raise the city's hotel tax." Rosenblatt has hosted the College World Series for 58 years. Ken Stinson, Chair of the stadium oversight committee for the new ballpark, "expressed confidence” that details could be worked out that would give the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority (MECA), "management control over the stadium and address its other concerns." The proposed ballpark would be built on two parking lots of the Qwest Center, which MECA operates. In addition to MECA's support, NCAA officials "must agree to extend the CWS contract for a least 20 years" (Omaha WORLD-HERALD, 2/28). 

    STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE: The city of Omaha "originally planned to spend $26[M] to renovate Rosenblatt," but Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey said that the NCAA "steered city officials toward new construction." Fahey said that he is trying to “persuade the seven-member city council to back the new stadium.” Fahey: “We're working with the council to make sure we answer all their questions, and we're confident we'll get there" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/28). Omaha City Councilman Garry Gernandt, a member of the Save Rosenblatt committee, said that he "remains convinced that improving Rosenblatt is the best option" (Omaha WORLD-HERALD, 2/28).

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  • Facility Notes

    In Baltimore, Childs Walker reports the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) yesterday ordered a $70,000 study to "determine whether Prince George's County would be a suitable home" for MLS United. Crossroads Consulting will "examine the county's potential as a soccer market and the potential tax and economic development benefits of attracting" the team. A report is expected to be completed by July. The club has "agreed to reimburse the [MSA] for its effort if the club ends up staying" in DC (Baltimore SUN, 2/28).

    PARK PLACE: DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and DC Department of Transportation Dir Emeka Moneme "reiterated calls for fans to take Metro" to Nationals Park and "outlined a plan that restricts parking in the area almost entirely for residents." As a result, there will be "only 1,000 available spaces in the ballpark area for fans on game days." Meanwhile, a panel of three arbitrators yesterday ruled that the Nationals are liable for $4.2M in "furniture, fixtures and equipment" at the new ballpark. The Nationals had claimed that the city was liable for the costs (WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/28).

    UNDER REVIEW: Essex County (NJ) Exec Joseph DiVincenzo yesterday "called for a thorough review of the Izod Center's finances." DiVincenzo said that he "will ask Gov. Jon Corzine to hire independent auditors to determine whether the state-owned venue makes a profit," and that the arena "should close if it is losing money." DiVincenzo added that he will "drop his calls for the Izod Center to close if the venue is profitable" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 2/28).

    NO RESTRICTIONS: ISC Senior Dir Wes Harris said that there are "no plans to turn Auto Club Speedway into a restrictor-plate configuration or otherwise modify the layout" of the track, despite reports that track President Gillian Zucker would "love" such a change. Harris said that such a makeover is not "even in the discussion phase, nor is it likely to be" (, 2/27).

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