SBD/Issue 5/Facilities & Venues

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  • Cowboys Stadium Hailed As Model For Future NFL Stadiums

    Cowboys Stadium Will Host Its First
    Regular-Season Game Sunday
    Cowboys Stadium will host its first regular-season game Sunday when the Cowboys play the Giants, and the venue "raises the bar for future stadiums and provides a model for how the nation's most popular sports league might try to persuade fans to continue flocking to stadiums," according to Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY. There is "no disputing the lavishness of the stadium," as it "personifies the everything-is-bigger-in-Texas idea and the football-crazed culture." There also are "cutting-edge amenities -- starting with the world's largest" HD screen. Meanwhile, the stadium's 120-foot-high glass doors at the end-zone entrances are "retractable -- adding to the open-air ambiance." Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said of the stadium, "This is about making sure that you've got something here that you can't replicate in front of a TV set." Jones added of opening the stadium, "This is on par to a Super Bowl week. You might get a chance to do another Super Bowl, but you'll never get another chance to open a stadium" (USA TODAY, 9/18). Jones believes the stadium, "more than his three Super Bowls and numerous marketing breakthroughs, ... will be his legacy." Meanwhile, ESPN.com's Matt Mosley wrote until people "see it in person, you can't truly appreciate" the team's HD video board. It is a "surreal experience to look up there and see this monstrous scoreboard." There is a "lot of wow factor associated with the stadium, but the scoreboard is the most memorable feature." Meanwhile, Mosley wrote fans "have to love the Party Pass approach," as the team's offering of a $29 Party Pass ticket that allows an additional 20,000 fans to have standing-room only tickets seems to be the "feature that excites Jones the most" (ESPN.com, 9/17).

    ASK THE EXPERT: N.Y. TIMES architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff writes Cowboys Stadium's design "mercifully avoids the aw-shucks, small-town look that has become common in many American stadiums over the years." However, the stadium "suffers from its own form of nostalgia: its enormous retractable roof, acres of parking and cavernous interiors are straight out of Eisenhower’s America, with its embrace of car culture and a grandiose, bigger-is-better mentality." The result is a "somewhat crude reworking of old ideas, one that looks especially unoriginal when compared with the sophisticated and often dazzling stadiums that have been built in Europe and the Far East over the last few years." And "worse for fans, its lounges and concourses are so sprawling that I suspect more than a few spectators will get lost and miss the second-half kickoff." Ouroussoff wrote the "idea is to evoke, through the architecture, the relentless flow of movement up and down the field." But Ouroussoff added of the stadium, "Walk around to either side of the structure and you're confronted with what looks like a conventional suburban office park" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/18).

    Jones Hopes Sunday's Game Tops League's
    Regular-Season Attendance Record Of 103,467
    EXCITEMENT BUILDING: In San Antonio, Tom Orsborn noted Jones for Sunday's game "has his sights set on topping" the league's regular-season attendance record of 103,467, set by the 49ers-Cardinals game played in '05 at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. The stadium "seats about 72,000, including suites and club seats, but it can top 100,000 for special events" and has a maximum occupancy is 111,947. Meanwhile, stadium workers throughout this week have been putting the "finishing touches on the stadium," including removing the "bronze statue of Tom Landry that was at Texas Stadium the past eight years" and placing it at Cowboys Stadium (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 9/16). In Dallas, Jeff Mosier noted Cowboys officials "wanted to reserve some surprises for the first regular-season game" at the stadium, including the team's star logo, which has been "missing from the turf for its two preseason games in Arlington." The team's Ring of Honor around the seating bowl of the stadium also has been "covered to keep visitors, employees, and fans taking tours from getting a sneak peek" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/13).

    STRONG DEMAND FOR TICKETS: The MORNING NEWS' Mosier Friday reports tickets for games at the stadium are "changing hands at a furious rate -- some at huge markups but many at amounts not much above face value, thanks to a weak economy." StubHub estimated that 10% of all seats for Sunday's game "have gone through its site," and StubHub Corporate Communications Manager Joellen Ferrer said that the game is the "highest grossing [regular season NFL] game in the company's nine-year history based on the dollar amount of tickets sold." Meanwhile, Mosier notes a review of tickets for sale on StubHub and Craigslist found that "less expensive seats" for Sunday's game "were on sale anywhere from close to face value to about double face value" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/18).

    OPEN SESAME: In Dallas, Todd Archer reports the stadium's roof "will be open Sunday." A decision on whether the roof is open or closed "has to be made 90 minutes before kickoff, and the decision for this week has been made -- although the game officials could call for it to be closed under weather conditions that threaten fan and player safety." The end zone doors "will also be open, which could create some wind currents." The NFL "does not have rules regarding the possibility of opening and closing the end zone doors during the game" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/18). In Ft. Worth, Jeff Caplan notes the doors "will remain open, along with the roof, throughout the game, barring inclement weather, in which case the Cowboys can close both" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 9/18).

    OUT WITH THE OLD: In Dallas, Brandon Formby reports the Irving City Council is "expected to consider awarding a $5.8[M] demolition contract next week that would allow a Dallas excavation company to implode Texas Stadium." Irving "owns the stadium and the land on which it sits," and the implosion is "expected to take place early next year" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/18).

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  • NBC's "Today" Focuses On Cowboys Stadium During Friday's Show

    Lauer's Interview With Jones Part Of Live
    "Today" Broadcast From Cowboys Stadium
    Much of Friday's episode of NBC's "Today" focused on the new Cowboys Stadium, which plays host to its first regular-season game Sunday with Giants-Cowboys. NBC's Matt Lauer and Al Roker reported from the stadium throughout the first three hours of the show, including Lauer interviewing Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones during the opening half-hour. Jones said the stadium is "certainly about the fans," but also "about perception." Jones: "We probably could have built this stadium for about two-thirds of what we spent, but how it's perceived ... was very meaningful to us." Jones said of opening the $1.2B stadium during the economic downturn, "We are all sensitive to the times that we're in, but at the end of the day, the way that we're going to get out of this is to sell our way out of it." Lauer: "So this is a stimulus package in some ways?" Jones: "In a way. Obviously, it brought great economic benefit to this region just the building of it. But that's small in comparison to the businesses -- the services -- that are going to want people to be aware of them (through) advertising." Later in the show, NBC's Al Michaels discussed the Giants-Cowboys "SNF" broadcast and said, "In every stadium that I've been to in the past few years, you could always tell where they've cut a corner here and there, saved a little bit on the budget. I haven't seen anything like that here. This is unbelievable."

    MORE THAN JUST FOOTBALL: Lauer in a taped report was given a tour of the stadium by former Cowboys RB Emmitt Smith. Lauer: "As the saying goes, 'Everything is bigger in Texas,' and for the new Cowboys Stadium ... that saying has never been more true." Smith added, "If you're a player and you cannot get fired up to play at this venue on this stage, you don't deserve to be on the Dallas Cowboys." Lauer during the tour touched on the field-level luxury suites, concession stands, bathrooms, the size of the stadium itself and seating before opening the retractable roof. Meanwhile, Roker noted fans are "going to get not just great football, but a little culture as well," as there are 14 "contemporary art installations from renowned artists around the world" throughout the stadium. Cowboys Exec VP/Brand Management and President of Charities Charlotte Jones Anderson: "We really wanted this to be more than just a sports stadium and we wanted to be able to offer our fans something unique." The broadcast also featured segments focusing on Cowboys Stadium Chef de Cuisine Juan Garrido, the pro shop inside the stadium and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders ("Today," NBC, 9/18).

    WHAT'S IN A NAME? Jones Friday morning also appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box," and he said of opening the stadium, "I've had Super Bowl weeks, three of them, but never will I get to be a part of an opening of a stadium. This is on par with that. I'm excited. I can't sleep." CNBC's Darren Rovell noted AT&T at one time was rumored to be interested in the stadium's naming rights in a deal worth around $300-400M. Rovell: "Do you still think you can get that type of money and how long are you willing to wait?" Jones: "Our concept is 'sensitive to the times we're in.' These aren't exactly naming right times. From the standpoint of the long-term association, for instance, AT&T is the kind of partner you want to be with. ... I feel like as we move along, the economy moves along, we're going to easily be one of the most visible buildings there is in this country and if so, I think that will come" ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 9/18).

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  • Wasserman Calls New Stadium The "Ultimate Issue" For NFL In L.A.

    Wasserman Believes Team
    In L.A. Could Be Successful
    Wasserman Media Group (WMG) Chair & CEO Casey Wasserman appeared on ESPN's "The BS Report" with Bill Simmons and said a new stadium is the "ultimate issue for getting the NFL back to L.A." Wasserman: "It requires everybody involved ... to do something they have never really done before. ... The traditional model of rich guy buys team, moves to L.A., spends more money to build stadium is not happening." Since NFL teams share revenues and media rights, Wasserman notes the "economics from a media perspective being in L.A. is no different than being in Green Bay or Houston or Phoenix." Wasserman: "The theoretical value of the market of L.A. is almost 50% driven by the media value. The other value would be what you could charge for things in a stadium. ... The fact that you take 50% of the value of being in a big market off the table is a huge issue." He added, "To gain the benefit of that other 50% of being in a market like L.A. and what you can sell naming rights, boxes, seats, all that stuff, for, you have to take more financial risk than any other NFL owner ever has to get just 50% of the benefit to being in this market." Wasserman contends an NFL team in L.A. could be "wildly successful," but noted an owner would incur "more risk and only gain half the benefit." Meanwhile, the Chargers, Raiders and 49ers also have been trying to build new stadiums, and Wasserman said, "It's not a coincidence that four of the problems for the league in terms of facilities are all in the same state. ... It's a problem which permeates sports in the state of California and with our state economy the way it is I'm not sure that's going to change anytime soon" ("The BS Report," ESPN, 9/16).

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  • MLS Union May Have To Play Some Games At Lincoln Financial Field

    Union Might Have To Play At Eagles' Field If
    Soccer Stadium Under Construction Not Finished
    MLS Philadelphia Union President Tom Veit indicated that the team "might have to play the first home game in its existence at Lincoln Financial Field next year," according to Kerith Gabriel of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. Veit confirmed that the team has "explored the option in case the 18,500-seat soccer stadium under construction on Chester's waterfront runs behind its completion date." Veit noted that talks with Lincoln Financial Field officials have "gone smoothly and they are willing to accommodate the team if need be" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 9/18). In DC, Steve Goff noted MLS Wednesday had "hoped to announce pairings and dates for every club's home opener" next season, but will "wait until next week in order to address issues in at least two cities." With the Union's stadium under construction and "no certain date for completion, an alternate location for at least one game has been discussed with league officials." Goff noted Lincoln Financial Field, which opened in '03 and seats approximately 68,000 fans, has hosted the Women's World Cup, Gold Cup and int'l friendlies (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 9/16).

    BUILDING BLOCKS: EPL club Liverpool co-Owner Tom Hicks said that "too much money has already been spent for the Premier League team's proposed new stadium not to be eventually built." The AP's Rob Harris noted construction on the new site was "frozen in August 2008 just before the world sank into a deep economic depression, and Hicks acknowledges he doesn't know when the stadium will be completed." Hicks said the team can begin building again "when we get to the point where the global market settles down and we bring pieces together to finance the stadium" (AP, 9/17).

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  • Facility Notes

    In New Orleans, Ed Anderson reports the Louisiana State Bond Commission "gave its blessings Thursday to the issuance of as much as" $60M in bonds to "help the family of Saints owner Tom Benson finance the purchase and renovation of the former Dominion Tower property near the Superdome as the new home for state agencies and private businesses." Commission Exec Dir Whit Kling said that the approval is "preliminary and that the project must return for final approval when more paperwork is finished, probably next month" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 9/18).

    No Resolutions Have Been Reached About
    Proposed Football Stadium In Industry
    PROGRESS REPORT: Former Los Angeles County DA John Van de Kamp, the arbiter of settlement talks around the proposed football stadium in Industry, California, Wednesday said Majestic Realty Co., City of Industry, neighboring city Walnut and a citizens group have been "trying to work their way through the issues" concerning the stadium. But thus far "no resolution has been reached." Van de Kamp said that "all parties have been meeting behind closed doors since Monday, spending 'long hours' hammering out their concerns under his supervision." Van de Kamp said that the meetings "are confidential" (PASADENA STAR NEWS, 9/17).

    NAVIGATING THE MAIZE: In Detroit, Angelique Chengelis reports the Univ. of Michigan (UM) Board of Regents Thursday approved designs for UM's new 5,700-square-foot basketball practice facility, "which will be adjacent to Crisler Arena." The designs "were developed by Jickling Lyman Powell Associates, assisted by Sink Combs Dethlefs." The building "will have two practice courts, and locker rooms for players and coaches." Construction on the $23.2M project is scheduled to be completed in the fall of '11 (DETROIT NEWS, 9/18).

    HISTORY LESSON: In Portland, Mark Larabee reported the National Park Service earlier this month placed Memorial Coliseum on the National Register of Historic Places. The city earlier this year "considered demolishing the coliseum to make way for a new baseball park" for the Triple-A PCL Portland Beavers, but Portland residents "sought historic status while defending its preservation" (Portland OREGONIAN, 9/16).

    FITTING TRIBUTE: Late Pro Football HOFer Walter Payton's family is set to meet with the Chicago Park District about a possible Payton statue outside Soldier Field, and family rep Kelly Woods said, "We reached out to each other and we will get things worked out, one way or the other." Payton's widow, Connie Payton-Strotter, said, "We want to put this statue somewhere so people can view it" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/17). Payton's son Jarrett said, "When you think of the Chicago Bears you think of my dad. To me it's just fitting if the statue was at the stadium" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/17).

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