SBD/Issue 202/Facilities & Venues

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  • CDI's Evans Spars With State Senate President Over Horse Racing

    CDI Exec Says Kentucky's Thoroughbred Industry
    Is Dying, Alludes To Failure Of Lottery Bill
    Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) President & CEO Bob Evans yesterday "took on" Kentucky state Senate President David Williams during a panel discussion on the future of the state's horse racing industry, according to Gregory Hall of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. Evans said that Kentucky's thoroughbred industry is "dying, while states where expanded gambling boosts purses are faring better, and alluded to the failure of a bill to put video lottery terminals at racetracks." Evans said Williams and his supporters, by failing to pass the bill, "have put Kentucky racing on the 'do not resuscitate' list." However, Williams said Evans' comments were "false and misleading." He also argued that Evans "'has very little authority to make such vitriolic statements' when Churchill offers a free shuttle from Louisville for horsemen to ship horses to the company's Chicago-area track." Williams said that his proposal to "tax lottery sales and out-of-state betting on Kentucky races would have provided enough of a boost for purses and breeding incentives." Evans was "one of four panelists who focused largely on whether slot machines or the terminals, which are similar, could assist Kentucky's industry or actually would hurt it." Evans after the forum said that he "isn't worried that a track with slots-boosted purses would try to compete with the Kentucky Derby." Evans: "You can't rule anything out. Maybe somebody wants to come along with something else to do on the first Saturday in May, and bring it on. We'll take it on. We'll beat it" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 7/9).

    STOP & SMELL THE ROSES: The AP's Will Graves noted a dozen states, including Indiana, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, "already have expanded gaming at their tracks," which gives those states "another revenue stream to fatten purses and lure horsemen away from non-gaming states like Kentucky." But the Kentucky Derby "appears to be safe," despite Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo claiming that there is a "chance another race could replace" the Derby as the first race in the Triple Crown (AP, 7/8).

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  • Chicagoland President Rust To Re-Evaluate Track Operation

    Rust Wants To Make Speedway
    More Prominent Presence In Auto Racing
    Chicagoland Speedway President Craig Rust said that after Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup LifeLock.com 400, he "expects to take a step back, observe how everything operates and figure out a way to make the Speedway a more prominent presence in auto racing," according to Brian Hamilton of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Chicagoland is expected to be below-capacity for this weekend's race, and Rust said NASCAR "should be selling out" at the 75,000-seat track. Rust: "We're properly sized. The place by no stretch is overbuilt, which I think some of the other facilities around the country are. The first goal is (to) get the Cup race consistently sold out." Rust added, "We need to brand our facility properly, we need to establish strong partnerships whether it's sponsors, whether it's with other sports teams. ... There is a lot of potential to grow the profile of this race track in this market." Meanwhile, Rust noted there is a "lot of acreage around that race track." Rust: "What else can we use the facility to do? ... The facility is busy six months out of the year. That's another thing I want to take a look at -- are we maximizing the potential of the facility?" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/9).

    READY AND WILLING: Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear yesterday held a "ceremonial signing" of House Bill 3, an "incentives bill designed to help attract a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race" to Kentucky Speedway. The bill, which Beshear officially signed into law on June 26, includes a "provision that offers Kentucky Speedway as much" as $36.7M in sales tax credits over the next 20 years. The tax break "would help SMI pay for what could be" a $100M expansion, but is "contingent on Kentucky Speedway hosting" a Cup race. Beshear: "I think this sends a very strong message to NASCAR that Kentucky is ready, willing and able to step up and do everything possible to make this track a success and to make a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race here a big success." SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith, whose company owns the track, said that the bill "represents a 'huge commitment' from the state" (KENTUCKY ENQUIRER, 7/9).

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  • Staples Center Switching To Coca-Cola Products In September

    Staples Center will switch from Pepsi to Coca-Cola products starting September 1, said Lee Zeidman, the arena's Senior VP & GM. Coke signed a 10-year contract with arena owner and operator AEG two years ago as a founding partner for L.A. Live, the entertainment district across the street developed by AEG, and the arena will be folded into that deal for the remaining eight years, Zeidman said. Coke will have branding elements on the building's concourses. Pepsi has been a founding partner and had the soda exclusive since the arena opened in '99.

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  • Facility Notes

    Roberts Says Saratoga Needs Significant
    Investments To Stay Competitive Globally
    Saratoga Race Course consultant Paul Roberts yesterday "outlined general track needs" and said that the "aging facility needs significant investment to stay competitive globally." NYRA has retained Roberts to "develop a master plan for each of its venues, starting with Saratoga," and he is "expected to make specific recommendations later this year." Roberts "believes the property has room for new, concrete-block barns," but he "criticized the grandstand's rooftop press box, and interior infrastructure such as exposed pipes, ducts and electrical apparatus." Upgrades and improvements "won't be possible until NYRA gets the funds needed for such work" (THE SARATOGIAN, 7/9).

    CITY VS. COUNTY: In Oakland, Chris Metinko reported Alameda County has filed suit against the city of Oakland for enforcing its 18.5% city parking tax on "spots on the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum property," which is jointly owned by the county and city. The new enforcement of the tax "will have an immediate effect on baseball fans," as the A's said that parking fees "will go up $2 at the Coliseum starting with the next homestand" that begins on July 16. County officials said that the tax "should not be imposed on land owned by the county and would cost the county money" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 7/7).

    MISSED PAYMENTS: In Colorado Springs, Rich Laden reported Colorado-based OZ Architecture "has filed a $185,498 mechanic's lien against LandCo Equity Partners," the developer of the planned downtown USOC HQs. Liens are "legal claims brought by contractors and subcontractors who haven't been paid or who question a payment." Three other companies "had filed liens or notices of liens on more than $200,000 in work on the building" (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 7/8).

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