SBD/Issue 52/Facilities & Venues

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  • West Coast Custom: Sports Museum of L.A. Set To Open Doors

    The Sports Museum of L.A. (SMLA) Friday will celebrate its grand opening, offering the largest known collection of sports memorabilia and collectibles in the world. The 32,000-square-foot museum contains more than 10,000 pieces, which will be housed in 30 different galleries. Items include Baseball HOFer Lou Gehrig's warm-up jacket, worn on the day he ended his consecutive games played streak in '39, and the record-breaking ball from Baseball HOFer Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak. Admission costs $17.50 for adults aged 13-59, $14 for seniors and students and $11 for children aged 5-12. Admission is free for guests under the age of 5 (SMLA). In L.A., Tom Hoffarth wrote the SMLA's opening has been the "most anticipated for Southern California sports history buffs since the eventual disappearance [of] the Helms Athletic Hall of Fame some 30 years ago." Not all of the memorabilia, which SMLA CEO Gary Cypres estimated at more than $30M, will be "able to be put on display because of the space limitations." Cypres, a former college basketball player at Hofstra Univ., "made his fortunes from investment banking." Cypres said of the museum, "Too often I think today kids don't have a sense of history or understand the importance of Jackie Robinson or Bill Russell. I hope it spurs interest in going back to what sports has meant to America, to see how sports has mirrored what happened in society" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 11/24).

    ROOM TO GROW: In L.A., Greg Johnson noted Cypres has spent more than $1M "bringing the building up to city code." Cypres is operating the SMLA as a "for-profit business, but has begun paperwork to convert it to a nonprofit." Johnson noted the museum offers "no soccer or hockey memorabilia," and "little evidence that women have played sports." But Cypres "sees such deficits as ways to grow" (L.A. TIMES, 11/24). Cypres already is in the "process of planning an expansion." Cypres said that he has "enough material -- including a replica of a circa 1900 boxing gym -- to fill at least another 12,000 square feet" (L.A. DOWNTOWN NEWS, 11/24).

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  • Facility Notes

    Miami-Dade Official Feels Delay In Start Of
    Marlins Ballpark Should Not Affect Overall Price
    Miami-Dade County (FL) Manager George Burgess said that he believes the new 2012 opening date for the Marlins ballpark "won't add to the stadium's" $515M projected cost. Burgess said that the housing market slowdown "should lower the bid prices submitted by construction contractors, and the longer timeline may allow the stadium to avoid accelerated-construction fees that were necessary to achieve the 2011 opening." Meanwhile, the Marlins' lease with Dolphin Stadium expires after 2010, but Marlins President David Samson said that he and Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria have spoken with Dolphins co-Owner Stephen Ross and "expect the lease will be extended through 2011." In Miami, Vasquez & Jackson note the Marlins also may need the Univ. of Miami's (UM) "blessing for another year at the stadium that the UM football program now calls home" (MIAMI HERALD, 11/26). In Ft. Lauderdale, Sarah Talalay wrote, "There's still a lot of work to be done, including completing definitive agreements spelling out the stadium's construction and financing details and then presenting them to Miami-Dade County and Miami city commissioners, expected next month, and putting them to a vote of commissioners, expected in January" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 11/25).

    BANK SHOTS: On Long Island, Wallace Matthews writes of Citigroup's 20-year, $400M naming-rights deal for Citi Field, "The Mets should be embarrassed to emblazon their new park with the name of an outfit whose players performed even worse than the team did last year." With the bank receiving a financial bailout from the U.S. government, the Mets "should be ashamed of using your money to advertise their (worthless) services." If the Mets had "any ethics, they would cancel the deal now and start looking for a sponsor that can actually pay its own bills." This is "just the latest chapter in two sorry histories, the first being that of the U.S. banking industry and the second being that" of the Mets (NEWSDAY, 11/26). Taxpayers For Common Sense VP Steve Ellis said Citi Field should be called “Taxpayer Field.” Ellis: “It’s really a lot about the ego of the company and whoever’s got the biggest stadium or the biggest sports event tied to them” (“Happy Hour,” Fox Business, 11/25).

    SOMETHING TO BUILD ON: In Pittsburgh, Ron DeParma reports despite the current credit crunch, a "group of local banks is lending" $107.5M to help build Dick's Sporting Goods new HQs in Findlay, Pennsylvania. The project "will put a 730,000-square-foot complex on 116 acres in Findlay." The project is "expected to be completed by January 2010." Dick's employs about 950 people at its HQs in Findlay, and the project is "expected to add about 700 jobs over the next five years." The site "could expand to 1 million and possibly 2 million square feet of space, with a total of almost 2,000 jobs" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 11/26).

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