SBD/Issue 172/Facilities & Venues

NBA Facility Notes: Ellerbe Becket On Board With Barclays Center

FCR Insists Ellerbe Has Been Hired To
Implement Cost-Cutting Measures For Arena
In N.Y., Jotham Sederstrom reports Ellerbe Becket and Forest City Ratner (FCR) yesterday confirmed that FCR hired the architectural firm last fall to "reevaluate the extravagant" Barclays Center design created by architect Frank Gehry. FCR spokesperson Joe DePlasco yesterday insisted that Ellerbe "has been hired to implement cost-cutting measures" for the Nets' planned arena. DePlasco said that a "reevaluation of Gehry's design would be completed by July, at which point Ratner will determine" whether Gehry "will remain on the project." DePlasco contends that Gehry still is the "master architect" of the entire Atlantic Yards development. However, sources suggest that the partnership "could soon change" because of "how Frank Gehry works" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/27). Ratner anticipates Barclays Center "will carry a final price tag of about $800[M], about $150[M] less than previous estimates" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/25 issue).

FLASH DANCE: U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen O'Malley Friday "lifted an injunction in place since last fall that prevented" Cavaliers season-ticket holders from using Flash Seats to resell tickets online. The injunction "did not prevent season ticket holders from continuing to use Flash Seats as a means to transfer tickets electronically" and to enter Quicken Loans Arena without a ticket. Lifting the injunction is "part of an overall settlement" between the Cavaliers, Flash Seats and Ticketmaster (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 5/23).

BRIGHT LIGHTS: The Heat will finally unveil their new "MiamiMediamesh" outdoor LED system tonight at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Heat in January signed a deal with A2a Media, the Boston-based company that markets the flexible, transparent mesh outdoor LED. The Heat are the first U.S. pro sports team to buy the technology, which can display moving text and full color video while hanging permanently on the outside wall of the arena. The Heat are attaching the 3,400-square-foot mesh system on the arena's front-exterior façade (John Lombardo, SportsBusiness Journal).

UNITED WE STAND: Levy Restaurants has signed a deal to acquire the concession and restaurant contract at United Center from Bismarck Enterprises, effective after the NHL Playoffs. Bismarck Enterprises President Peter Wirtz will continue his role as a food and beverage consultant at the major league level, according to company spokesperson Jim DeMaria. Wirtz, who declined comment, has previously worked with the Mavericks, NBA Kings and Yankees to improve their concession operations. Levy’s takeover of Bismarck includes United Center’s retail shop and HawkQuarters, the Blackhawks’ team store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. It is Levy’s 15th food concessions contract for an arena housing an NBA and/or NHL team. Levy is wholly owned by London-based Compass Group, the world’s largest food service provider with $17B in annual revenue (Don Muret, SportsBusiness Journal).

STRENGTHENING THE ALAMO: In San Antonio, Guillermo Garcia reported the Spurs are seeking $10M in Bexar County (TX) bond money for "improvements at the county-owned AT&T Center" in addition to the $75M in bonds that voters approved last year. The request is part of a contract that "would keep the Spurs in San Antonio until 2032," though County Commissioners last week "put off approving" the deal (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 5/24).

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