SBD/Issue 128/Facilities & Venues

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  • Neighborly Love: Penguins Arena "Tweaked" To Address Concerns

    Penguins Alter Design Of New Arena To
    Better Fit With Surrounding Neighborhood
    The Penguins have "tweaked the design" of their new arena on Centre Avenue, "slightly reducing its height and refining features to address neighborhood and city concerns," according to Mark Belko of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. Arena architect HOK Sport has "designed a public thoroughfare that will run between two of the main arena entrances" and the Penguins are "considering a similar thoroughfare on the eastern side." HOK yesterday presented the latest changes to the arena during a briefing before the city planning commission, which in two weeks will "hold a public hearing on the project.'' The architect also has placed "more windows on the facade's eastern side'' and added banners along Centre Avenue in an effort to "make the building more appealing and to enliven its street presence." HOK reduced the height of the arena by about 10 feet to 163 feet "at its highest point," and HOK Sport Principal Wayne London said the change was made to "reduce the volume of the building so aesthetically it fit into the neighborhood a little bit better" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 3/26).

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  • Braves Seek To Prevent Naming Rights For Sponsors' Competitors

    Braves Seeking To Block Sponsors' Competitors  From
    Landing Naming-Rights To Minor League Ballpark
    The Braves are "seeking the right" to block Gwinnett County (GA) from selling naming rights for the new Triple-A stadium "to competitors of some companies, like Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, that have exclusive sponsorship deals" with the Braves, according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. Gwinnett has resisted the Braves' efforts, because they could "result in lower naming-rights revenue for the county." While both sides express confidence the issue "will be resolved, both also say it's an important point." Attorney Lee Tucker, who is negotiating the contract with the Braves for the Gwinnett Convention & Visitors Bureau, said, "We're well past any kind of deal-killer stage, if you would ... but I think it's a fair characterization to say this is the biggest issue upon which we are still negotiating." Braves Exec VP/Business Operations Mike Plant said that the team "needs to protect significant, long-standing connections that some companies have with its brand." While Plant mentioned the team's relationship with Coke, he "would not name other sponsors the Braves seek to protect." Plant: "It's a small list and one that we have said to (Gwinnett) we have to protect now that a (minor-league) team is going to be 35 miles north of us." Tucker notes from the county's standpoint, reducing the potential naming-rights partners is "problematic because the county is counting on that revenue stream to help pay stadium debt." Groundbreaking on the $45M stadium is "tentatively planned for next month," and the Braves plan to move their Triple-A affiliate, currently the Richmond Braves, to the stadium next year (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/26).

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  • Edmonton Committee Favors Downtown Arena, Suggests Funding

    Edmonton Committee Favors Downtown
    Arena To Replace Rexall Place
    A committee appointed by Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel released a report yesterday concluding that an "inner-city sports and entertainment facility would be a huge shot in the arm" for downtown Edmonton, according to Frank Landry of the EDMONTON SUN. The 18,000-seat arena, which would host the Oilers, would cost $450M, not including the cost of the six acres on which it would be built. The committee suggested the arena should be paid for through a "mix of public and private participation." The committee also suggests that a "minimum 30% of the construction cost -- roughly $135[M] -- could come from the private sector, including the $100[M] promised by" new team Owner Daryl Katz. The remaining $315M "would have to be borrowed." Details on the specific location of the arena were not released, and the committee did not make suggestions on "what the facility would look like" (EDMONTON SUN, 3/26). In Edmonton, Kerry Diotte writes, "While a lot of people might have thought there'd be more in the way of hard details on a facility meant to replace Rexall Place, this report served mainly to kick off more discussion." Diotte notes the "word is that citizens won't be hit with a tax increase for the building" (EDMONTON SUN, 3/26).

    CALGARY: In Calgary, Kim Guttormson reports the Flames said that they will "continue to plan for a new home at their own pace." Flames President Ken King said that the team has not "settled on a financing model," but Calgary Alderman Ric McIver "called an arena a luxury item he doubts taxpayers -- many of whom can't afford to go to [NHL] games -- would be willing to pay for." McIver added that he would "favour a plebiscite if the Flames were to request civic funding." Guttormson notes a new facility for the Flames, "most likely built on the Stampede grounds," would allow the team to "generate more revenue and design a building that would function better for the fans and to accommodate other events." The Flames' lease at the 25-year-old Saddledome runs until 2014 (CALGARY HERALD, 3/26).

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  • Facility Notes

    The Indians yesterday unveiled a Party Deck picnic area in right field and a Champions Suite in left field at the newly named Progressive Field. The Party Deck holds "about 400 people" and can be rented for group outings at $50 per person. The Champions Suite, which costs $10,000 to rent per game, is comprised of four suites converted into one "high-end area, with indoor and outdoor seating for 60" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 3/26).

    THE GREAT OUTDOORS: The CFL Toronto Argonauts, who play indoors at the Rogers Centre, "might get the outdoor stadium they've been searching for after all.'' Toronto Mayor David Miller yesterday said that he recently met with Argonauts co-Owner Howard Sokolowski and that it is "possible the team could be accommodated at BMO Field at Exhibition Place." BMO Field is configured for MLS' Toronto FC and "would not accommodate a regulation-sized CFL field," but Sokolowski said that "allowances might be made for a pre-season game." The Argos are entering the fifth year of their rental agreement with the Rogers Centre, which includes two additional five-year options (TORONTO STAR, 3/26).

    PARKING PLUS: The Cowboys have added another parking lot for their new $1.1B Arlington stadium. Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones has "purchased more than a dozen parcels within walking distance of the stadium" from Blue Star Development Dir of Stadium Development Jud Heflin. The Tarrant Appraisal District said the land in '07 was valued at about $3.6M (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/26).

    SHORTCUT: The Univ. of Oregon (UO) "plans to use a month-old rule to bypass the state's typical search process so a private firm can hire the architects and builder" who already have been working on the school's new basketball arena. UO General Counsel Melinda Grier said that hiring the firms without an open competition "would save money and promote continuity in planning and construction" of the $200M on-campus arena (Portland OREGONIAN, 3/22).

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