SBD/Issue 98/Facilities & Venues

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  • Mets Sought Fair Dimensions For Citi Field, Could Tweak In Future

    Mets Debate A Pitcher-Friendly Or
    Hitters' Ballpark
    The Mets "set out to build a challenging, but fair, replacement for Shea Stadium, a noted pitcher-friendly park, and Citi Field’s spacious, asymmetrical dimensions and noticeably high outfield walls seem to support their goal," according to Ben Shpigel of the N.Y. TIMES. Mike Sabatini, Senior Designer for Citi Field’s architect HOK Sport, said, “We’ve had clients say that they want a hitters’ ballpark with a lot of home runs, if you will. And we’ve had a lot of ballparks go the other way, where they don’t want that to happen. They want it to be more playable. In working with the Mets, I know they’ve thought about this a lot, and they want it to be as neutral as possible.” Mets COO Jeff Wilpon: “I want the balls that are hit well to go out. I didn’t want this to be a bandbox. As long as it doesn’t play like a bandbox Day 1, we’ve got plenty of tweaks we can make to make it play fairer.” Shpigel noted regardless of how the ball carries in ’09, the Mets “would wait at least one more season before mulling those tweaks.” Wilpon said of the ballpark, “All the pitchers want it to be big, and all the hitters want it to be small -- that’s just how it is. We decided to just build it big, thinking we can always change it later” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/7).

    STOP PAYMENT? NEWSDAY’s Brand & Baumbach reported Citigroup is in the last year of a 10-year, $2.3M naming-rights deal for the independent Atlantic League Long Island Ducks’ ballpark, and the chances of keeping the bank’s name on the facility "might not be as good" as retaining the rights to the Mets' Citi Field. Ducks Owner Frank Boulton said that Citi has “not only canceled [its] seats but sponsorship of the pocket schedule holder, both expenses incurred on an annual basis” (NEWSDAY, 2/7).

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  • A's To Alter Proposed Ballpark Location Despite Resident Protests

    700+ People Protest Site Change For
    A's Proposed Ballpark In Fremont
    A's officials said the team plans to "submit paperwork within the next two weeks changing the preferred location of their proposed stadium to an area adjacent to the future Warm Springs BART station," according to Matthew Artz of the Fremont ARGUS. The "prospect of a ballpark in Fremont's Warm Springs district has met fierce opposition from residents who came out en masse Thursday night to protest the plan." Police estimated that "more than 700 protesters ... lined the street" outside a local elementary school, "holding up anti-A's signs and chanting, 'No stadium.'" A's officials "agreed to allow 500 protestors to enter the school's multipurpose room to ask questions about [the] proposal." A's co-Owner Keith Wolff said that the team "would reduce the number of weekday afternoon games to prevent traffic jams when parents are picking up their children from the local elementary school." Wolff added that the A's "will continue to seek a deal at Pacific Commons," the original planned site for the ballpark. But ProLogis, the real estate trust that owns the ballpark site near Pacific Commons and has veto power over the A's project, has come out "against the [Pacific Commons] project, citing traffic and parking concerns from three major retailers” (Fremont ARGUS, 2/7).

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  • London's O2 Arena Put On The Market For A Cost Of US$52.1M

    London's O2 Arena Sold 1.8 Million Tickets In
    '08, 500,000 More Than MSG
    London's O2 Arena "has been formally put up for sale by" landlord Meridian Delta Dome Limited (MDDL), according to Mark Kleinman of the London TELEGRAPH. MDDL, a joint venture between property companies Quintain Estates and Development & Lend Lease, "has had a [US$52.1M] price-tag placed on" the arena. Property agents Savills and Michael Elliott also "have been appointed to market the site," and initial offers "are due this week." A sale document indicated that the "maximum annual rent for the arena is just under" US$2.4M. AEG "owns the long-term lease on the O2 Arena and surrounding leisure space" (London TELEGRAPH, 2/8). In London, Matthew Goodman notes the arena "has become the world's most successful live-music venue, selling 1.8 [million] tickets in 2008 -- 500,000 more than Madison Square Garden in New York, now the world's second-most-popular destination." MDDL "has a 999-year lease on the site," which is owned by the government (LONDON TIMES, 2/8).

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  • Facility Notes

    Bruce Ratner May Lobby For Federal Stimulus
    Funds To Help Support Atlantic Yards Project
    In N.Y., Rich Calder writes the future of the Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn "could hinge" on President Obama's $827B stimulus plan. New York state and N.Y. city officials expect Forest City Ratner CEO and Nets Owner Bruce Ratner to "lobby hard for a piece of the federal pork to help bail out" the Atlantic Yards project, which includes the new Barclays Center arena for the Nets and 16 residential and office buildings. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz yesterday said that "funds from the stimulus bill should go to offset arena construction, and especially aid Ratner in a revamp of Long Island Rail Road's Vanderbilt rail yard." Calder notes although stadium projects "don't qualify to receive money through the stimulus bill, arenas are not mentioned in the document" (N.Y. POST, 2/9).

    BUD OUT: In St. Petersburg, John Romano wrote Rays ownership at "some point in the not-too-distant future ... is going to grow frustrated with local bureaucracy and public antipathy" in its attempt to build a new ballpark, and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig will "make himself available to play the role of bad cop." But Romano wrote, "Don't do it." It is "unseemly" that Selig, who earned more than $18M in FY '07, "should be pimping for public funding" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 2/8).

    DARK HORSE: In Las Vegas, Steve Carp reported with Nevada's blackout of Santa Anita and "four other TrackNet racetracks in its second week," handle is "down statewide." TrackNet, which reps Churchill Downs and Magna Entertainment Corp., and the Nevada Pari-Mutuel Association failed to reach a new deal by January 28. Race book operators have offered replacements "to fill the void," but they are "drawing minimal play." However, some race books reported that business has increased on "racing from Aqueduct in New York and the Fair Grounds in Louisiana." Las Vegas Hilton Dir of Race & Sports Jay Kornegay: "Our players have adjusted. They're not playing as much, but they're playing other tracks" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 2/7).

    A SOFTER APPROACH SHOT: In Hartford, Tom Yantz reports the PGA Tour Travelers Championship's operating budget will be cut by 8-10% for this year's event, scheduled for June 25-28. In addition, there is "no increase in ticket or concession prices, free concerts will be offered and one price category on Corporate Row" has been reduced (HARTFORD COURANT, 2/9).

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