SBD/Issue 150/Facilities & Venues

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  • Washington State Senate Objects To KeyArena Renovation Bill

    If KeyArena Funding Not Revived, Seattle
    Could Lose Out On Potential $30M Payment
    A Washington state Senate bill to help pay for an expansion of KeyArena yesterday was "declared 'dead' by its chief sponsor," Washington state Sen. Ed Murray, but Seattle Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis "vowed to keep trying to revive the proposal in the waning days of the legislative session," according to Jim Brunner of the SEATTLE TIMES. The bill had "passed the Senate Ways & Means committee over the weekend and had appeared poised for a vote of the full Senate" yesterday evening. But Murray said that when majority Democrats "talked about the bill in caucus, too many objections surfaced." Murray: "The bill is dead for the session. Really dead." Brunner notes the bill would have allowed King County to "fund a smorgasbord of projects" in addition to the KeyArena expansion, and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels' office had "hoped the big list of beneficiaries would help persuade lawmakers to approve the plan." But that plan "may have backfired, giving legislators different reasons to dislike the bill." If the KeyArena funding "isn't revived, Seattle stands to lose out on a potential $30[M] payment" from Thunder Owner Clay Bennett's Professional Basketball Club. Bennett is "only on the hook for the money if the Washington Legislature approves KeyArena funding by the end of the 2009 legislative session and then Seattle fails to get a replacement NBA team within five years." Ceis: "I just can't believe the Legislature would leave $30[M] in Clay Bennett's pocket." Meanwhile, Brunner notes the Univ. of Washington is seeking state funds to renovate Husky Stadium, and a plane "trailing a banner reading 'No Husky Stadium bailout tax!' circled" the Washington state Capitol yesterday afternoon (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/23).

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  • MiLB Agrees To Terms To Lease, Operate Dodgertown Complex

    MiLB Plans To Host Both Sports, Non-Sports
    Related Events At Dodgertown Complex
    Minor League Baseball (MiLB) has agreed to terms with the city of Vero Beach, Florida, and Indian River County for a five-year partnership to lease and operate the Dodgertown baseball complex. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. MiLB plans to host a number of events, both sports and non-sports related, on a year-round basis at the complex. MiLB has hired former Dodgers VP/Spring Training & Minor League Facilities Craig Callan to manage the property, beginning May 1. Callan had been the director of the complex for the Dodgers until recently retiring from the organization (MiLB). In Florida, Ed Bierschenk noted the facility "won’t be hosting [MLB] spring training in the near future," but MiLB officials "believe they will still have a major economic impact in the area." MiLB President Pat O'Conner said that he "believes the facility could play host to events for 35 to 40 weeks in the first year of operation alone, which could start as early as spring 2010." O'Conner said that the facility "will be marketed through the 160 different markets where" MiLB has teams (TCPALM.com, 4/22). WPEC-CBS' Allison Bybee reported MiLB "will pay just $1 to the county each year for the facilities," the "same deal the county had with the Dodgers" (CBS12.com, 4/22). O' Conner said that while the "initial commitment is only for five years, he believes that was only because his board members had difficulty with the concept of a 10-year commitment right away with the new venture." He said that the "plans are to be in Vero Beach 'hopefully for a long, long time'" (FLORIDA TODAY, 4/23). The AP's Antonio Gonzalez noted officials had "hoped to lure a major league team for spring training permanently," and they "negotiated for months" with the Orioles. But negotiations "broke down last year, ending when the county rescinded its offer to the Orioles" (AP, 4/22).

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  • SMA Bankruptcy Trustee Charging For Return Of Memorabilia

    After the Sports Museum of America (SmA) last month declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy, its assets were seized and "may face the auction block" if not claimed promptly, which "doesn't sit well with many of the athletes and organizations that lent the items with the understanding they'd eventually be returned," according to Reed Albergotti of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Roy Babitt, the court-appointed trustee overseeing the return of the items, in a court document before bankruptcy proceedings began said that "some memorabilia had been sent back to the wrong owners." Babitt said that in order to "make sure no more mistakes are made," 2-5 hours of attorney work are "required per item to confirm proper ownership." Babitt noted that these legal costs "should be covered by the owners, not the museum's creditors." The National Soccer HOF "lent out several items" to the SmA, including a ball signed by the U.S. women's national soccer team that won the '99 World Cup, all of which would cost "$1,500 to get back -- a significant expense for the non-profit museum." Soccer HOF Dir of Museum & Archives Jack Huckel: "We're being held up." Other items to be claimed include WPS FC Gold Pride F Brandi Chastain's sports bra from the '99 World Cup, skateboarder Tony Hawk's childhood skateboard, Richard Petty Motorsports co-Owner Richard Petty's trademark sunglasses, a gold medal won by late U.S. Olympian Jesse Owens, yellow jerseys worn by cyclists Lance Armstrong and Greg LeMond in the Tour de France and a hockey jersey worn by former U.S. Olympian Mike Eruzione. Hawk wrote on his Twitter page, "The court wants $1,500 to give me my stuff back" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/23).

    STEEP PRICE TO PAY: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir notes Babitt "has asked a federal bankruptcy court judge to charge fees to those who provided [SmA] with artifacts that start at $250 per item and rise to $2,500 for more than 20 pieces, plus $750 for every 10 items above 20." Babitt's lawyer, Schuyler Carroll, said that the fees "apply to the artifacts' owners who go through the trustee; others can consult their own lawyers." Heisman Trophy Trust President William Dockery: "I don't know how he has the audacity to demand a fee so people can go down and get their own property. Why doesn't the trustee cut his fees?" Sandomir notes the deadline to "file objections to the fees" is tomorrow at 4:00pm ET and a hearing "will be held Wednesday before Judge Robert D. Drain of the Federal Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan" (NYTIMES.com, 4/22).

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  • Facility Notes

    Penguins Will Seek LEED Gold Certification
    For New Consol Energy Center
    In Pittsburgh, Mark Belko notes the Penguins for their new Consol Energy Center "will seek a LEED Gold certification," the "second-highest of the four possible certifications under LEED." The LEED Gold rating would be the "first for any major sports venue in the country." The team "won't know for sure until after the arena opens whether it achieved the designation," but Penguins CEO Ken Sawyer said that he is "'pretty comfortable' that there will be more than enough points available to earn the rating" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 4/23).

    DIGGING FOR GOLD: In S.F., Cote & Knight report city documents indicated that the 49ers owe the city "more than $500,000 in miscalculated game-day parking payments." The parking issue is the "central item in a new draft audit report of the team's Candlestick Park lease deal with the city." The team "argues that they pay for all 7,000 spots they use in a city lot, but not more." However, the city "contends that parking rent must be paid on a percentage of all spaces sold, not on the lot size." 49ers VP/Stadium Operations & Security Jim Mercurio in a letter to the city also noted that the audit claims the city "may have lost thousands of dollars from repair work the team did at the city-owned stadium in exchange for rent credit" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/23).

    EXECUTIVE ORDER: New York State Supreme Court Justice John Egan Jr. is "ordering the Yankees to give him financial records sought by state lawmakers investigating the use of public funds to help build the team's new stadium, or prove the data should remain private." Two Assembly committees "subpoenaed the records in January in the escalating fight with the team, but the Yankees withheld some key documents involving ticket prices and why some city officials received luxury box tickets" (AP, 4/22).

    TWO FOR THE MONEY: In New Jersey, John Brennan reports eight North Jersey Democratic lawmakers yesterday "backed the idea of a 'modernized Izod Center' in a letter to" New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine. New Jersey state Sen. Paul Sarlo said that if the Nets are "unable to achieve a planned move to Brooklyn, it would be a 'no-brainer' for the franchise to remain in the Meadowlands." Sarlo said that the Devils' status as chief tenant at the Prudential Center "would lead the NBA to frown on a Nets shift to Newark" (Bergen RECORD, 4/23).

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