SBD/Issue 235/Facilities & Venues

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  • NFL Competition Committee Set To Discuss Cowboys Video Board

    Conference Call Set For NFL Committee
    To Discuss Cowboys Video Board Today
    Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones "didn't initially fear NFL interference" regarding the height of the video board at the new Cowboys Stadium after Titans P A.J. Trapasso hit the board during Friday's preseason game, but NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello confirmed that a conference call is "set for today" for the league's Competition Committee to discuss the issue, according to Jeff Caplan of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. NFL Exec VP/Football Operations Ray Anderson is "leading the review of the video-board controversy." Jones was not available for comment yesterday and Cowboys Exec VP & COO Stephen Jones declined to take questions about the video board. Cowboys Dir of Corporate Communications Brett Daniels: "We believe in a competitive game situation, the height of the board will not be a factor." Caplan notes the Cowboys "will temporarily disconnect and raise the board for the U2 concert Oct. 12 to accommodate the band's 100-foot stage," though Daniels said the board will "return to its standard height of 90 feet above the playing field" after the concert (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/25). ESPN's Ed Werder reported the conference call will tackle "what adjustments might be mandated and who will pay for them." However, the league also must keep in mind the Cowboys "positioned the scoreboard at an optimum viewing level for season ticketholders paying the highest prices" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 8/24).

    ISSUE TO BE RESOLVED BEFORE REGULAR SEASON: In N.Y., Judy Battista writes the NFL "will not go into the regular season with the situation unresolved because it does not want games that count affected by what amounts to a large television." Anderson: "Competitive issues and integrity of the game is the primary focus. If there is interference with a key play of a game, we have to have a response to how we deal with it" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/25). NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reported the league does not want "to have one stadium where you have something a little bit fluke-ish that you don't have anywhere else." La Canfora: "The idea of do-overs, which is what they're doing now, isn't something that really is going to hold long-term. ... I think by the time the Cowboys play at least their second regular-season game, we're going to see this issue resolved" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 8/24).

    Jones Adamant About Keeping Video Board At
    90 Feet, But Several Cowboys Players Disagree
    OUTDATED REGULATIONS? In Dallas, Todd Archer notes the Cowboys "exceeded the 85-foot minimum for a center-hung scoreboard set by the NFL." But Aiello in an e-mail said the 85-foot minimum "has been there many years." Aiello: "This is the first time a board has been hung over the field, I believe. The punters are apparently much stronger today" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/25). Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision in a statement yesterday said it built the video boards "to the specifications of the Cowboys and the NFL," and the "structure was in place and the height determined before" the boards were installed (N.Y. TIMES, 8/25). WQXI-AM’s Doug Stewart said Jerry Jones "isn’t going to pay for it out of his pocket because the NFL stated that it had to be 85 feet high and it’s actually 90 feet high. The NFL is going to have to foot the bill to fix this thing" ("ESPN First Take," ESPN2, 8/24).

    CAN YOU TAKE ME HIGH ENOUGH? While Jones is "adamant about keeping the video board at 90 feet," several Cowboys players yesterday said that the team "probably should consider raising" the board. Cowboys WR Patrick Crayton: "We can't have games going on for three and a half hours because we're re-kicking all the time" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 8/25). ESPN’s Mike Hill said, “What I don’t understand is Jerry Jones is basically saying he doesn’t want to move it. But they can! They can move it. They’re moving it for a U2 concert. They can move it for Bono, but they can’t move it for the NFL?” (“Mike & Mike in the Morning,” ESPN2, 8/25).

    IMPRESSIVE ACHIEVEMENT: A DALLAS MORNING NEWS editorial states fans should give Jones "credit for a real achievement, that new retractable-roofed pleasure palace in Arlington, the most impressive structure of sport in the nation and possibly the world." The "overwhelming consensus is that you get what you pay for," and when the "only substantive criticism is how high (or low) the world's largest video board hangs over the field, you know the other million things that could have gone wrong didn't" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/25). But ESPN's Jeremy Green said, "They've had nothing but issues with this stadium … and they said that they thought the stadium was jinxed" ("Football Today," ESPN.com, 8/24).

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  • San Diego Implements Smoking Ban Inside Qualcomm Stadium

    Qualcomm Stadium Manager
    Says Change Was Needed
    Chargers fans are "fuming over San Diego's decision to eliminate the designated smoking areas" at city-owned Qualcomm Stadium, according to a front-page piece by Matthew Hall of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Qualcomm Stadium Manager Mike McSweeney said that a change was needed because "so many people were using the restricted area outside Gate E that they would spill into the stadium's plaza level." McSweeney said that conversations about a ban "came up during the offseason and that a decision to do away with the designated areas was made jointly by stadium management, the mayor's office, the San Diego Police Department and the team." McSweeney said that it was the Chargers' "preference that the venue be made smoke-free." Hall notes violations of the new smoking ban "may result in $136 fines and game ejections." McSweeney said that the city attorney's office "advised him last week that this latest change does not require a public hearing or a council vote because a ban already exists and there is no requirement to have designated smoking areas." McSweeney noted that the city "toyed with the idea of allowing Chargers fans to smoke at the top of eight ramps on the upper deck this year, but decided against that approach." He said that the city and the Chargers are "planning more publicity at a news conference before the team's second home preseason game Sept. 4." McSweeney said that the issue "won't be reconsidered" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/25).

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  • City Decides To Sell Beer At Univ. Of Memphis Football Games

    Memphis Chief Administrative Officer Believes
    Beer Sales Would Net The City $200,000
    The city of Memphis yesterday announced that beer "will flow this football season" at Univ. of Memphis (UM) home games in a "move to reduce anticipated operating losses at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium," according to Marlon Morgan of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. The stadium -- which the city recently spent $5M to upgrade -- was "projected to lose $261,000 in general operating costs." Memphis Chief Administrative Officer Jack Sammons said that the sale of beer "would net the city $200,000, helping to reduce that deficit." Sammons: "We're in a hole and we're trying to dig our way out." UM AD R.C. Johnson said that he "understands why city officials are selling beer," but he is "not sure the estimates of netting $200,000 are realistic." Johnson: "Football is built so much around tailgating, and getting there early. ... I think if it was the cure-all for everything, most schools would do it, and not all schools do do it." Tennessee State Univ., which plays home games at LP Field, is the only other school in Tennessee to "play in a stadium where beer is sold." In Conference USA, the Univ. of Houston and Tulane Univ. are the "only other schools serving beer." Johnson: "My preference, certainly, would be not to have it at football because of tailgating, and also the length of the game." Sammons said that the city has "taken the necessary precautions to prepare for beer sales, which will begin with the Tigers' Sept. 6 season opener against Ole Miss." Sammons said that security "will be substantially increased." Beer "will be sold in clear, plastic cups, and sales will be cut off at the end of the third quarter." UM "will get no revenue from alcohol sales" at the stadium (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 8/25).

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  • Facility Notes

    In DC, Tarik El-Bashir cited sources as confirming that discussions for a November 28 Capitals-Canadiens game at Montreal's Olympic Stadium "are dead," and the teams instead will play the game at Bell Centre as scheduled.  Plans for the game at the 70,000-plus-seat stadium reportedly were nixed because of the possibility of the CFL Alouettes "playing deep into the postseason." If that were to happen, the NHL "would not have enough time to properly prepare the stadium" to install a rink (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 8/24).

    Giants Likely Will Return To Training Camp At
    Albany Next Year, But May Shorten Their Stay
    SUMMER CAMP: In N.Y., Paul Schwartz notes the NFL Giants "have no contract for next year" to hold training camp at the Univ. of Albany, where they have held camp since '96. There is a "good chance the Giants will come back to Albany, but shorten their stay to two weeks before breaking camp and concluding the preseason at their brand-new training facility in New Jersey." Giants President & CEO John Mara: "We haven't agreed yet as an organization as to where we're going to go. It will happen soon enough. It doesn't necessarily have to be four weeks" (N.Y. POST, 8/25).

    OFF TRACK: In San Diego, Tanya Mannes reports California state officials yesterday "decided to postpone a decision on awarding a new contract to operate the Del Mar Racetrack, citing the recession and turmoil in the horse racing industry." State Sen. Christine Kehoe "suggested the delay, saying taxpayers might get a better deal by waiting." Kehoe also cited "uncertainty about the future of the Del Mar Fairgrounds, which came up during discussions about selling off state property this year" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/25).

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