SBD/Issue 15/Facilities & Venues

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  • Vikings Stress Need For New Stadium To State Legislature

    Vikings Will Not Renew Metrodome Lease,
    Which Expires After 2011 Season
    Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley Thursday told Minnesota state legislators that the team "would not renew its Metrodome lease, which expires after the 2011 season," according to Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Bagley said that Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf is "increasingly battling pressure from other" NFL owners. Bagley: "They don't ask how's Adrian Peterson doing. They ask how is the stadium doing, because the NFL is subsidizing this market to the tune of [$15-20M] a year." Bagley said that the Vikings were "not exploring leaving Minnesota, but continued to draw interest from other cities interested in having a pro football team." Kaszuba notes many legislators have "remained cool toward backing a heavily-remodeled Metrodome that could cost up to $954[M], two-thirds of which the team wants the public to pay for," and team and stadium officials conceded that there "remains scant evidence that public subsidies for a new stadium have gained traction among legislators." The '10 legislative session is "still four months away, and with a state budget deficit and upcoming gubernatorial race likely to dominate its proceedings, Thursday's presentation by the Vikings seemed to stir little emotion." State Rep. Joe Atkins said that he "did not know whether a Vikings stadium would be pushed during the 2010 legislative session." Kaszuba notes a "major remodeling" of the Metrodome "would take up to three years and require the team to temporarily play elsewhere" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/2).

    Metrodome Will Be Called Mall Of America
    Field At Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
    LIVING IN THE MOMENT: In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman notes beginning Monday, the Metrodome will be called Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, per a three-year naming rights deal that runs through February 28, 2012. The team also has signed Caribou Coffee and the Minnesota Army National Guard to "sponsor exterior gate signs." But the Vikings have "given orders to all of their executives not to sign any type of contract that expires after the lease does." Vikings CFO and VP/Sales & Marketing Steve LaCroix said, "The Vikings' and the NFL's frustration is growing that our state leaders won't even engage in a dialogue on this issue. (Gov. Tim Pawlenty and state lawmakers) cannot just sweep this issue under the rug." Bagley noted that the Bears, Packers and Lions all "generate more than $30[M] more per year than the Vikings at the Metrodome." The Vikings get "about $20[M] a year in revenue sharing," and Hartman notes without that money, the team "would lose money" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/2). Also in Minneapolis, Scoggins & Zulgad note LaCroix "declined to divulge any of the specifics of the financial figures," but said the agreement with Mall of America has "a variety of different partnership components.'" LaCroix noted that the mall will have "exterior and interior signage at the Metrodome" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/2).

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  • American Airlines Center's New Video, Audio System Unveiled

    Stars Owner Says He Was "Blown Away" By
    New $15M Video And Audio System At AAC
    American Airlines Center (AAC), Mavericks and Stars officials Thursday unveiled a new $15M video and audio system, which offers "picture quality unequaled even by the big screen" at the new Cowboys Stadium, according to Michael Young of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Stars President Jeff Cogan: "People say, 'Aren't you just keeping up with the Joneses?' But we started working on this three years ago." Stars Owner Tom Hicks said that he was "'blown away' when he saw the images the new screens could produce during tests last month." Young notes the new screens "hanging down at the center of the AAC, along with a couple of 72-foot-by-24-foot 'stadium size' screens at either end of the building and a ribbon board circling the main seating area, are designed to further enhance fans' game experience" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/2). Center Operating Co. President & CEO Brad Mayne, whose company manages AAC, said that the new system, which is the "first 1080-pixel high-definition display at an NBA or NHL venue, has the technology in place to show a 3-D motion picture." Mayne said that the facility's "state-of-the-art video screens, produced by Lighthouse Technologies and TS Sports, can also broadcast a 3-D NBA or NHL game as the technology continues to evolve for sports." Meanwhile, SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Don Muret reports Center Operating Co. is "talking to two NBA clubs about buying American Airlines Center's original Daktronics eight-sided unit." AAC VP & GM Dave Brown said that officials are "asking $200,000 for the main board" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/28 issue).

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  • Levy, Buckhead Life To Operate Philips Arena General Concessions

    Levy Restaurants, BLRG To Operate
    Concessions At Philips Arena
    Levy Restaurants and local Buckhead Life Restaurant Group have expanded their presence at Philips Arena by signing a 12-year contract to operate general concessions at the home of the Hawks and Thrashers. Levy and Buckhead, an organization that runs several fine dining establishments in Atlanta, have a joint venture that has operated premium food service in the clubs and suites at the arena since it opened in '99. Regular concessions have been managed in-house during that period. But as Levy's reputation and list of big league clients has grown over the past 10 years, it made sense to have the joint venture take over concessions and consolidate the operation, said Philips Arena President Bob Williams. Levy operates in 17 arenas housing NBA or NHL teams. The contract is structured as a revenue sharing agreement with Levy-Buckhead paying Atlanta Spirit a percentage of profits that vary depending on the product category, Williams said. The change in food service is tied to arena improvements including new digital menu boards. Atlanta Spirit officials are shopping the market now and expect to install those flatscreen displays during the season, he said. The terms of the contract prohibited Williams from disclosing whether Levy is paying for those upgrades that also include a new point-of-sale system. The improvements will update the Hawks and Thrashers arena to '09 standards, he said.

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  • Facility Notes

    Wang, Rechler Say They Are No
    Longer Willing To Change Plans
    Islanders Owner Charles Wang and RXR Realty Chair & CEO Scott Rechler Thursday said that they are "no longer willing to change their plans to develop the land around Nassau Coliseum." Wang: "This is not the point to start negotiating anything." On Long Island, Marshall & Laikin note Wang, Rechler and Nassau County Exec Thomas Suozzi "pointed fingers at Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and the town board for delaying the project and not trying to meet Wang's Oct. 3 deadline for significant progress on the project" (NEWSDAY, 10/2).

    GERMAN IMPORT: In DC, Tim Lemke noted the ESPN Zone at FedExField "has been replaced by a new club sponsored by luxury carmaker Audi." The new Audi Club is "about the size of an end zone, and features a large window wall with two Audi cars on display and 16 flat screen televisions." As part of a five-year sponsorship deal, Audi has a "new 50-foot x 50-foot sign at the entrance to FedEx Field, as well as 61 parking spots set aside for drivers of Audi vehicles." Audi also "will sponsor the Redskins use of Twackle, an application that allows for the combining of team-related Twitter messages into a single feed" (, 10/1).

    NOTICE OF TERMINATION: Dover Motorsports Thursday said that it has "terminated its sale" of Memphis Motorsports Park (MMP) to Alabama-based Gulf Coast Entertainment. In Memphis, Craig Wack notes Gulf Coast "agreed to purchase MMP in January as part of a larger plan to construct" a $200M-plus racing facility in Alabama. But after a "couple of deadline extensions, Gulf Coast wasn't able to raise enough capital to meet the terms of the Memphis sale." Dover "will keep its $165,000 deposit on the sale and retain 2[%] interest in Gulf Coast." If Gulf Coast "gets the financing to move forward with the project, it must renegotiate the terms of the sale" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 10/2).

    GOOD EATS: The Cavaliers and Aramark have teamed up with Food Network personality Michael Symon to serve his signature food at Quicken Loans Arena. Two Symon-branded concessions will be open at the arena for all Cavaliers games and most other events. Customized catering packages from Symon's signature menu will be designed for suite holders (Cavaliers).

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