SBD/Issue 244/Facilities & Venues

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  • Jones Has No Intention Of Raising Cowboys Stadium Video Board

    Jones Thinks Video Board Important For
    Aesthetics Of $1.21B Cowboys Stadium
    Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones recently "has been quiet about the issue" of the video board at Cowboys Stadium, but in a recent conversation, he "made a couple of things clear: He has no intention of raising the video board, nor does he think he should have to do it under any circumstances," according to Peter King of SI.com. Jones "thinks it's important for the aesthetics of the $1.21[B] stadium, and for the commitment that Jones himself made to build the place, that the video board stay exactly where it is." Jones: "I spent millions of dollars to do exactly what we're supposed to be doing as owners -- create a fan experience that will keep the fans coming back, because you just can't duplicate this anywhere else. I'm maximizing the stadium experience for fans. And I think I have helped advance the ball for the NFL. Once you accept the concept of this stadium, and you've seen it and really experienced, then I think we won't have this discussion anymore [about raising the video board]." Jones added, "We designed our stadium knowing exactly the right place to put the videoboard, and we knew what the league rules were, about it having to be at least 85 feet above the field. We put it 90. And so of course you would be sensitive to any alterations." King wrote, "I'll predict one thing right now: I don't care if 25 punts hit it this fall. Jones will fight to keep the video board right where it is" (SI.com, 9/7).

    MUDDLED SOUND: In Dallas, Jeff Mosier reported reviews of the sound quality at Cowboys Stadium "have been mixed, but loud and frequent criticism by many concertgoers has reverberated." Sound "ricochets off" the glass doors at each end zone and "contributes to a noisy atmosphere." That can be a "plus when the opposing offensive linemen can't hear the quarterback, but annoying for a fan listening to the lyrics of a favorite song." Dallas-based stadium sound engineers and consultants Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams "have been adjusting and tweaking the system for months and listening for the right balance." But "even when the system is fine-tuned, the sound is subject to the skills of the in-house sound engineers and traveling concert crews as well as limitations inherent in hearing clearly in one of the largest indoor spaces on the planet" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/6). Also in Dallas, Mario Tarradell noted Cowboys Stadium is "huge, cavernous and circular -- three acoustic deterrents" -- but the "emphasis of a sporting arena" is sports. Tarradell: "Stadiums are bad places to hear and appreciate music. Period. However, megastars draw massive crowds, which require a colossal venue to accommodate everybody. Let the ticket buyer beware" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/6).

    SUPER EFFORT: In Dallas, Kim & Mosier reported tourism officials banking on Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in '11 to "fill hotel rooms across North Texas have committed more than $2[M] in public and other monies to the effort." About $1.5M of that amount "comes from the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau," but participants also "include communities as far-flung as Denton and Frisco, which are each more than 40 miles" from Cowboys Stadium. Those cities and others are "tapping revenues from hotel/motel tax collections" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/6).

    STAR ATTRACTION: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Mark Yost writes Cowboys Stadium is "simply mesmerizing." Once inside, "what strikes you most is the open design," and it is "clear that the primary focus of this stadium is luxury." Yost: "I believe that 40 years from now ... Cowboys Stadium will be seen as monumental -- the 21st-century equivalent of the opening of Yankee Stadium in 1923" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/9).

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  • First Images Of Revamped Barclays Center Design Released

    SHoP Architects Working With Ellerbe
    Becket To Develop Barclays Center
    Forest City Ratner, parent firm of the Nets, confirmed today that Manhattan design firm SHoP Architects is working with Ellerbe Becket to develop Barclays Center in Brooklyn. FCR also released images of the building's exterior, the first official images released since architect Frank Gehry parted ways with the project. The images bear little resemblance to an image that was leaked to the N.Y. Times in June and drew criticism from the newspaper's architecture critic. SHoP is collaborating with Ellerbe's K.C.-based sports practice on every aspect of arena design, said SHoP founding principal Gregg Pasquarelli. The firm has limited sports design experience. SHoP has worked on another NBA arena project still in development, but Pasquarelli declined to identify the team. In addition, SHoP designed adidas' HQs in Beijing for the '08 Olympics. SHoP was hired sometime in June, team officials said. On June 9, the N.Y. Times published a preliminary image of the arena's exterior that the Nets and Ellerbe say did not come from them. The Times heavily criticized the rendering as a poor substitute for what former Barclays Center designer Gehry had planned for the project. The team would not say whether SHoP was hired after the image was published.

    COMPLETELY DIFFERENT LOOK: Three months later, the Barclays Center exterior looks nothing like that initial drawing. It contains three rust-colored horizontal steel bands that curve and swoop around the building, creating a cantilevered structure 30 feet high and 80 feet long, Pasquarelli said. The arena's glass walls enable pedestrians walking the plaza outside the arena and motorists driving along Flatbush and Atlantic streets to peer into the seating bowl and see the center-hung scoreboard. It is a transparent look Nets Owner Bruce Ratner desired for the building, Pasquarelli said. In addition, the design team plans to use new lighting technologies to illuminate the arena's interior and exterior, creating a halo effect at night. "We will be looking at cutting-edge LED and sustainable strategies for power consumption," he said. The scaled-down project stands at about $800M, about $200M less than Gehry's plan. FCR fired Gehry late last year after Ratner determined his design was too costly to finance in a distressed economy.

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  • Sources Say Citi Field Suffering From Water Damage, Mold

    Citi Field Plagued By Water Damage To Luxury
    Suites, Flooding In Outfield Seats, Mold
    Citi Field has been "plagued by water damage to several luxury suites" as well as "mold, falling signs and concrete, flooding in outfield seats, faulty electrical wiring and shoddy tile work," according to sources cited by James Fanelli of the N.Y. POST. A source said that "perhaps the biggest bungle is a water leak the sprang in early August ... creating mold" in four suites. Other issues include a "nonworking elevator last week that forced Mets owner Fred Wilpon to climb four flights to his office;" an outfield section "flooding in a rainstorm three months ago because drains were clogged;" a four-by-six foot illuminated sign "falling in the field-level promenade during an off day;" electricity in the kitchen "above the ticket booths near the rotunda shorting out;" a piece of the concrete "breaking off;" and air conditioning and heating in the maintenance crew's locker room "that hasn't worked since Day 1." Mets Exec VP/Business Operations Dave Howard "acknowledged some of the problems, but called them minor and not unexpected." Howard: "Any suggestions that Citi Field is less than an elite, world-class entertainment facility is flat-out inaccurate and unfounded. When you open a building with 1.2 million square feet, you're going to have issues like this." Howard "confirmed luxury-suite leaks but said the walls were mold-resistant." He said that Wilpon's elevator had "not failed but was momentarily unusable while technicians tested its backup generator." Howard also "denied that the air conditioning in the maintenance crew's locker room was on the fritz" (N.Y. POST, 9/6).

    FLIP THIS HOUSE: In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro wrote if there was "supposed to be one source of solace for the Mets, no matter what else befell them, it was going to be their ballpark, Citi Field." But the facility "has been a lightning rod." Fans were "furious that the place was bereft of Mets history," and for a brand-new ballpark, there "seemed to be an awful lot of seats with obstructed views." People have also "screamed about parking logistics." Now comes the news "no homeowner wants to hear: that your brand-new dream house has a leaky basement and a drafty attic" (N.Y. POST, 9/6).

    WITH HONORS: In N.Y., Jack Curry noted the Mets yesterday "dedicated the Plum Room in honor of Jim Plummer, a longtime employee of the club." Plum, who died last year at age 57, worked for the Mets for 31 years. Instead of having a Green Room "for visitors to use, the Mets decided to have a Plum Room that would honor Plummer" (NYTIMES.com, 9/8).

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  • Debate Over Proposed Oilers Arena Likely To Center On Funding

    The debate over a new arena for the Oilers has "now begun in earnest, raising questions about cost, spinoffs, identity and, most important, who pays," according to David Staples of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. While some Edmonton citizens are "already sold" on the arena, "no small number of Edmontonians are fixated on who will be paying for this megaproject." Some believe in the "notion that the right kind of megaproject can be a magnet for other outstanding redevelopment in Edmonton's downtown." But others "can't see any reason to have the public put money into a project that's going to cost" C$400-500M, meaning Oilers Owner Daryl Katz, the team and the "pro-arena lobby have their work cut out for them." Staples: "Can they come up with such a compelling design that it ignites the imagination of this city? And even then, can they find a way to fund their plans that doesn't enrage the tax-hating, anti-public project faction?" Staples noted public money for "mega-projects is the norm for NHL arenas and for Edmonton projects," as 24 out of the league's 30 teams have had "some public money going into the construction of their arenas," while in seven cases the public paid 100% of the cost. Univ. of Alberta sports management professor Dan Mason said that a city's self-perception "comes into play when it comes to public funding," as smaller cities, "such as Edmonton, might be more likely to provide arena funding because there's a stronger link between the city and the team." Mason said that one method to "privately help the arena is to introduce personal seat licenses." Meanwhile, Mason noted that in "any discussion of funding for arena projects, it's not always easy to tell what is public funding and what is private funding," as in some cases the city will "finance the project, taking out a massive loan to get it built, but the debt payments will be made out of arena revenues, in whole or in part" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 9/6). The following lists the amount of public and private money in U.S. dollars used to finance the NHL's arenas.

    TEAM
    ARENA
    BUILT
    TOTAL COST
    PUBLIC MONEY
    PRIVATE MONEY
    Anaheim
    Honda Center
    '93
    $120M
    $120M
    $0
    Atlanta
    Philips Arena
    '99
    $204M
    $159.1M
    $44.9M
    Boston*
    TD Garden
    '95
    $144M
    $0
    $144M
    Buffalo HSBC Arena
    '96
    $122M
    $54M
    $68M
    Calgary Pengrowth Saddledome
    '83
    $100M
    $100M
    $0
    Carolina RBC Center
    '99
    $154M
    $134M
    $20M
    Chicago United Center
    '99
    $175M
    $30M
    $145M
    Columbus Nationwide Arena
    '00
    $175M
    $0
    $175M
    Colorado Pepsi Center
    '99
    $180M
    $4.5M
    $175.5M
    Detroit Joe Louis Arena
    '79
    $57M
    $57M
    $0
    Dallas American Airlines Center
    '94
    $380M
    $155M
    $225M
    Edmonton Rexall Place
    '74
    $69.7M
    $69.7M
    $0
    Florida BankAtlantic Center
    '98
    $212M
    $184.7M
    $27.3M
    Los Angeles Staples Center
    '99
    $400M
    $70.5M
    $329.5M
    Montreal Bell Centre
    '96
    $400M
    $0
    $400M
    N.Y. Islanders Nassau Coliseum
    '72
    $28M
    $28M
    $0
    N.Y. Rangers Madison Square Garden
    '68
    $200M
    $0
    $200M
    Nashville Sommet Center
    '96
    $144M
    $144M
    $0
    New Jersey** Prudential Center
    '07
    $467.5M
    $311.5M
    $156M
    Ottawa Scotiabank Place
    '96
    $146M
    $0
    $146M
    Philadelphia Wachovia Center
    '96
    $217.5M
    $32M
    $185.5M
    Phoenix Jobing.com Arena
    '03
    $225M
    $180M
    $45M
    Pittsburgh*** Consol Energy Center
    '10
    $321M
     
     
    St. Louis Scottrade Center
    '94
    $170M
    $34.5M
    $135.5M
    Minnesota Xcel Energy Center
    '00
    $130M
    $95M
    $35M
    San Jose HP Pavilion
    '93
    $162.5M
    $132.5M
    $30M
    Tampa Bay St. Pete Times Forum
    '96
    $139M
    $124M
    $15M
    Toronto Air Canada Centre
    '99
    $174.9M
    $0
    $174.9M
    Vancouver GM Place
    '95
    $116.5M
    $0
    $116.5M
    Washington Verizon Center
    '97
    $260M
    $60M
    $200M

    NOTES: * = Arena paid for by team owners, but with $16M in land donated by government. ** = $467.5M redevelopment around arena with $311.5M in public funds. *** = see below.

    MODEL ARENA: Oilers President Patrick LaForge said that the Pittsburgh model for developing the Consol Energy Center, "which includes city ownership and casino funding for the construction, is on the table" for the Oilers' proposed arena. The EDMONTON JOURNAL's Staples noted that Penguins' arena is being built with a $31M combined down payment from the team and the local government. Payments on the $321M balance will come from a local casino, a state economic development fund and the Penguins. Edmonton under this model "would own" the arena. LaForge: "I love the Pittsburgh model. It's terrific. We're looking at a number of different options and that would be one for sure." Staples noted LaForge is "studying the model used to fund the horse racing industry in Alberta, which got [C$35M] in 2008 from its take of gambling revenues generated at three casinos located at Alberta horse racing tracks" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 9/6).

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  • Univ. Of Minnesota Still Trying To Sell Seats At TCF Bank Stadium

    UM Has Not Had Buyers For Nine Premium
    Suites That Sell For Over $40,000 A Season
    The Univ. of Minnesota (UM) is "still hawking some of the priciest seats in its new" TCF Bank Stadium, "long after it hoped to have sold out the first season," according to Chris Williams of the AP. Ahead of this Saturday's home opener against Air Force, UM "hasn't had season buyers for nine of 37 premium suites that sell for over $40,000 a season and about half of the 259 indoor club seats that sell for more than $2,000 a year." The school's efforts were "hurt when alcohol was banned in the stadium in June." UM Associate AD David Crum said, "If the economy was better and we had alcohol, I have no doubt we would have it all sold out." UM has "sold virtually all the regular seats in the general admission and student sections," as well as the "pricier outdoor club and box seats that look down on the middle of the field" (AP, 9/7). In Minneapolis, Chip Scoggins noted the alcohol ban will cost the school at least $1M annually and “potentially more depending on fan fallout.” The alcohol issue “put a dent in expectations and left” UM AD Joel Maturi with a “significant hole in his budget.” Maturi: “We submitted a budget expecting we’re going to have $1[M] more. We have a challenge. We’re going to have to raise more money or be careful how we spend or (get) a one-time assistance from campus or whatever. … I think in the end, it was an easy decision (to eliminate alcohol), but it’s going to be a costly one.” Since the ban, "two of the sold suites were dropped," and a “small number of indoor club seats also were lost.” Still, Maturi hopes that the new facility “will enable the Gophers to move to the middle” of the Big Ten in football revenue. Annual expenses for the stadium will be $6.7M, which is “about $825,000 more than early projections.” Senior Associate AD Liz Eull said the increase is “mostly security.” The stadium’s operating income is projected at $11.2M compared with about $9.7M in the final season at the Metrodome (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/6). Meanwhile, also in Minneapolis, Kent Youngblood noted TCF Bank Stadium is "in line to become the first LEED-certified football stadium in the country" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/6).

    ONE FOR ALL: In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman wrote, “No doubt for $288.5[M], the school got one of the great stadiums in the country.” The facility will be an “attraction for its first three or four years, and its 50,805 seats will be sold out for that time.” But after that, it will be the “same story as old Memorial Stadium, where there were a lot of empty seats when the Gophers didn’t win.” Hartman: “I still believe there should have been one stadium for both the Gophers and the Vikings. … And we might lose the Vikings because there wasn’t one stadium” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/6). Also in Minneapolis, Roman Augustoviz noted most days the stadium will be open to students for intramural sports and, “for special events, to the public” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/6).

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  • College Facility Notes

    In Akron, Bill Lilley noted Univ. of Akron's (UA) new $61.6M InfoCision Stadium opens Saturday, and UA Exec Senior Associate AD Hunter Yurachek and President Luis Proenza are "downright giddy" about the new facility. Lilley wrote the stadium "projects majestically and renders a feeling of a bigger edifice." The landscaping "gives a dynamic green feeling with two banked gardens in the corners of the north end zone and a full lawn in the south end zone." The sightlines are "dramatic and effective, giving a potential 30,000 fans perfect viewing" of games. The $1.5M scoreboard, manufactured by Mississippi-based Capturion Network, "features a video board 22 feet by 39 feet, receives HD-quality inputs and has a ribbon board underneath for messages." The stadium's suite level has 16 20-person suites, "which cost $20,000 a year with a five-year commitment, that quickly sold out" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 9/7).

    Appalachian State Will Debut New $38M
    Football Complex Saturday
    MOVE INTO THE BIG TIME: In Charlotte, Ron Green Jr. notes Appalachian State Univ. will debut its new $38M Kidd Brewer Stadium complex on Saturday when the school hosts McNeese State. The 120,000-square-foot facility has given the school a “significant upgrade comparable to athletic programs at larger universities.” The new venue will include the “football locker room, team meeting areas, the coaches’ offices, a 9,000 square-foot weight room for all students, a 9,000-square-foot training/hydrotherapy room for students, study hall space, 18 luxury suites,” a 600-seat club suite and a new press box (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/9).

    UPGRADES IN THE DESERT: In Arizona, Greg Hansen reported a $2.4M scoreboard "could be in place at Arizona Stadium next season." It would cost a projected $7.2M to put the scoreboard into place on the south end of the stadium and trigger an $82M building plan at Arizona Stadium, "most of it in the north end zone." Univ. of Arizona AD Jim Livengood "hopes to break ground on the north end project as early as December 2010 and complete it in time for the 2013 opener." The ongoing construction "would eliminate about 4,500 end zone seats for two seasons, dropping capacity at Arizona Stadium to about 53,500" (ARIZONA DAILY STAR, 9/6).

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