SBD/Issue 96/Facilities & Venues

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  • Al Davis Discusses New Stadium, Raiders-49ers Relationship

    Davis Says Reported Icy Relationship
    Between Raiders-49ers Is Misconception
    Raiders Owner Al Davis yesterday said it is a "misconception that there's some unhappiness with the Raiders and the 49ers" that would prevent the teams from possibly sharing a stadium in the Bay Area, according to Jason Jones of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Davis said, "We have to have a new stadium. We want to win. We want our fans to do great. The will to win is the fire that burns brightest in this organization and if a new stadium can help us, then we'll look at a new stadium." Davis added 49ers President Jed York is a "very bright young man," and he said of Raiders Chief Exec Amy Trask, with respect to pursuing a stadium, "I'm not sure how far she's gone but we have to do something." Davis said he would "have to know what the stadium is and who's going to pay for it" before sitting down with the 49ers to discuss sharing. Davis added he would not want to be a majority in a shared stadium. Davis: "I wouldn't think anyone could have that. The Giants had it over the Jets and I wouldn't want that. I'm not looking for that." When asked where he sees the Raiders playing the '10 season after the team's lease expires at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Davis said, "I'd like to be playing in a stadium or some new stadium that's started. I like the present location very much. I think it's a helluva location but I'd like a new location" (SACBEE.com, 2/4). In California, Lowell Cohn notes Davis "never actually answers the question: Would he share a stadium with the Niners?" Cohn: "Let me see if I have this right. Davis is absolutely open to sharing a new stadium with the 49ers if the Niners contact him first, if the Niners travel to Alameda, if the Niners do all the preliminary work and show Al the numbers make sense for him, if the new stadium is where the current Coliseum stands. ... Aside from that handful of minor considerations Al is committed to sharing, to finding common ground, as it were, with the 49ers" (Santa Rosa PRESS DEMOCRAT, 2/5).

    NO CHANGES COMING: In Oakland, Monte Poole notes Davis in September said that the Raiders would "benefit from another authoritative voice" in the front office. But as Davis yesterday introduced Tom Cable as head coach, he said he is "just not ready" to bring in a new exec. Poole: "It has to be downright discouraging for those who wanted to think Al was ready to share high-level authority in hopes of forming a brain trust capable of leading the Raiders out of the NFL wilderness. It means the Raider Nation likely will be fed another bowl of what it has been served for years. It may not be what's needed or wanted, but it's what Al decides to give." The Raiders "have not addressed their biggest issue," they have "simply changed their appearance." The team has "put a different suit on a seriously ill man" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 2/5).

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  • Viagogo Secures $15M In Funding; Agassi, Graf Sign On As Investors

    Secondary-ticketing company Viagogo has secured $15M of additional funding to support its global expansion efforts. Former ATP Tour player Andre Agassi and Int'l Tennis HOFer Steffi Graf are among the new investors contributing to the funding (Viagogo). Viagogo said that Agassi and Graf "have invested a seven figure sum" and "will sit on the advisory board" (REUTERS, 2/4).

    Viagogo Feels Graf (l), Agassi (r) Can Help
    Company Expand Into European Markets
    HIGH ROLLERS: In London, Ian King reports Agassi and Graf "join several high-profile investors to have backed Viagogo, which has raised" $70M since its launch in August '06. Other investors include U.K.-based investment banker Lord Jacob Rothschild, Lastminute.com co-Founder Brent Hoberman and venture capitalist Danny Rimer. Viagogo is the official secondary ticketing partner of EPL clubs Manchester United and Chelsea, and the company has struck similar deals with European soccer clubs Everton, Bayern Munich, Heart of Midlothian and rugby clubs Leicester Tigers, London Wasps and Harlequins. Viagogo also "signed a deal last May with Madonna" to become the official premium and secondary ticketing partner for her European concert tour. Viagogo Founder & CEO Eric Baker said that the funds raised "would enable the company to continue signing such partnerships and to expand into other European markets." Baker said that "obtaining the support of [Agassi and Graf] was central to Viagogo's future expansion plans." Baker: "We will be pushing more into tennis and you cannot get two better people to get you into that market. Germany is becoming a major market for us, in particular, and Steffi is just about the most popular female athlete in the history of Germany." Baker "declined to give details of Viagogo's recent financial performance," but said, "Our turnover is not quite at $100[M] but it is getting really close. We are not measuring our growth rate in percentages but multiples" (LONDON TIMES, 2/5).

    PRICE CHECK: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Ty McMahan cited a source as saying that the new funding "values Viagogo at more than $300[M]." McMahan noted Viagogo charges buyers a 10% fee and sellers a 15% fee on each confirmed transaction and handled $100M in transactions in '08. Baker "expects total sales to double or triple this year, though he didn't provide specific figures." Baker said that the company "was on a clear path to profitability without the extra funding, but wanted to push into new markets, particularly Western Europe" (WSJ.com, 2/4).

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  • MLB Facility Notes: Should Citi Field Be Named For Taxpayer?

    Writer Feels Citi Field Should Instead
    Be Named For A Random Taxpayer
    In N.Y., Michael Daly writes Citigroup is "right to honor" its 20-year, $400M naming-rights deal for the Mets' new Citi Field, "even if the bank is receiving billions of dollars" in bailout money. But "that does not mean the bank has to stick with the name Citi Field." Instead, the bank could "make a random pick of one individual out of the millions of beleaguered taxpayers chipping in to bail out Citigroup and all the other bungling financial institutions" and name the field after them. In doing so, Citigroup "would acquire something its own name could never generate amidst the current crisis, something as rare as a clean balance sheet for a big financial institution these days." Daly: "This rare something is goodwill" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/5). FORBES National Editor Mike Ozanian wrote if the naming-rights deal is nixed, the Mets "would raise ticket and concession prices, punishing Joe Six Pack and his family." Ozanian: "Humiliating Citi might get [President Barack] Obama some political runs, but it's a losing game for the average taxpayer" (FORBES.com, 2/3).

    ON THE RISE: In Milwaukee, Don Walker cites new data from the five-county Miller Park stadium district as indicating that $26,689,753 in total stadium sales-tax collections were made in '08, which was "3% higher than the previous year." Miller Park Stadium District Exec Dir Mike Duckett said that the January sales-tax distribution from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue "totaled $2,089,529," a 21% increase over the January '08 distribution (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 2/4).

    COMMUNITY'S TEAM: The SILICON VALLEY/SAN JOSE BUSINESS JOURNAL's David Goll reports A's officials "hope to defuse concerns ... over traffic, light and noise" from residents near the team's proposed Cisco Field in Freemont, California. The team is "even willing to limit the number of weekday home games" at the ballpark "to mitigate their impact on a local school." A's co-Owner Keith Wolff said that the team "will offer to play only four midweek day games during any given season to minimize ballpark-generated traffic during school hours" (SILICON VALLEY/SAN JOSE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/30 issue).

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