SBD/Issue 84/Facilities & Venues

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  • Poll Finds Most Minnesotans Oppose Public Money For Vikings

    Survey Shows 65% Of Minnesota Residents
    Oppose Public Funds For Vikings Stadium
    Minnesota residents by a more than 2-to-1 ratio "strongly oppose using their tax dollars to pay for a new Vikings stadium," according to Bill Salisbury of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. A survey by Decision Resources Ltd. found that 65% of those polled "opposed public funding for a pro football stadium, while 31[%] favored it." Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley yesterday said that he "wasn't surprised by the result." Bagley: "If you were to poll the (Minneapolis) Convention Center, the Guthrie Theater, the Twins ballpark, light rail and a myriad of other projects, you'd get the same result." Bagley added that the poll "asked the wrong question." Bagley: "You've got to ask: Are the Vikings worth retaining for the next generation of Minnesotans?" Decision Resources President Bill Morris said that he "surveyed 625 adult Minnesotans Jan. 4-10 for an annual presentation on the pulse of the state that he makes to city managers." The poll "had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/14).

    STARTING THE CHARGE: In San Diego, Matthew Hall reports the San Diego Centre City Development Corp. (CCDC), the city's downtown redevelopment arm, yesterday "secured the first approval in a series it needs to spend larger amounts of money repairing blight downtown," and "chief among the beneficiaries of the effort would be" the Chargers. The CCDC's Budget/Finance & Administration Committee yesterday voted 5-0 "to embark on a process that could take 15 to 18 months." CCDC Chair Fred Maas said the effort is "about a stadium" downtown for the Chargers, but also is "about things bigger than a stadium" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/14).

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  • Cubs Expected To Pick Spring Training Site By End Of Next Week

    Cubs Choosing Between Arizona And Florida
    For New Spring Training Facility
    The Cubs "have received what they believe are the final proposals" from Mesa, Arizona, and Naples, Florida, for a new Spring Training facility, and the team is "expected to pick a site by the end of next week," according to a source cited by Bruce Levine of ESPN CHICAGO. Cubs President Crane Kenney yesterday said, "We're hopeful of making a choice in the very near future." Kenney "met with the city manager and city attorneys of Mesa on Wednesday to discuss two sites in East Mesa." A source indicated that the Cubs are "seeking an $80[M] state-of-the-art spring training facility." The team "also wants a Wrigleyville atmosphere around the park that features new restaurants, hotels, bars and retail outlets." The Cubs are "looking for a stadium with a capacity between 15,000-18,000, making it the largest spring training park." After choosing a site, the Cubs "will ask the second choice to stand by and keep its offer viable in case their first choice isn't able to secure funding." Cubs ownership is "hopeful to be able to move into a new facility by 2012 or '13" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 1/13). Kenney declined to tip his hand after months of effort on the issues, but it is strongly expected the team will remain in Arizona, where they have been a local spring training fixture for nearly six decades and routinely draw sellout crowds. Kenney: "It's time to kind of put something concrete in front of our board and get their opinion" (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

    WILDCAT FORMATION: In Chicago, Teddy Greenstein reports the "most significant hurdle has been cleared" in Northwestern Univ.'s (NU) "quest to host a football game at Wrigley Field: The dimensions, it has been determined, can accommodate 22 players and two sidelines." Sources said that with the "safety issue resolved," both NU AD Jim Phillips and Kenney are "working toward making the game a reality." A source said that "Big Ten issues, NCAA issues, TV matters and finances still need to be sorted out" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/14).

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  • Could Glazers Sell Old Trafford As Part Of ManU Refinancing?

    Analysts Suggest Glazers Could Secure An
    Immediate $488M From Old Trafford's Sale
    EPL club Manchester United Owner the Glazer family "have raised the prospect of selling Old Trafford in the prospectus circulated to potential investors from whom they are seeking [US$814M] to refinance" the club, according to Ian Herbert of the London INDEPENDENT. The Glazers in the document state the legal contract governing the bond "will not prohibit us from selling certain key properties" and these include "our training ground facilities and our stadium." This statement "introduces the possibility of United selling and leasing back the most iconic asset they have," the stadium. Some analysts yesterday suggested that the Glazers "could secure an immediate [US$488M] from the ground's sale -- a figure which would almost halve their astronomical" US$1.1B debt. The Glazers in the prospectus stated that "anyone acquiring either the 75,797-capacity stadium or United's Carrington training ground 'will be required to enter into a long-term lease with us to enable us to continue to have substantially the same access to such property as we currently do'" (London INDEPENDENT, 1/14). In London, Ian Ladyman notes the Glazers "had steadfastly refused to consider such a controversial move since they plunged the club into debt when taking it into private ownership in 2005." But "ever since the Glazers bought their club, United supporters have suspected that the ground would one day be sold or, at the very least, renamed." Meanwhile, industry experts yesterday "stressed that using Old Trafford as security in this latest round of refinancing does not offer the stadium any particular protection against its sale in the future" (London DAILY MAIL, 1/14).

    POSITIVE TALKS: The London TELEGRAPH reports EPL club Everton has "held 'positive' talks with Liverpool City Council over plans for a new stadium." The two sides met Monday "following the Government's decision last year to reject a planning application for a new stadium in nearby Kirkby." The US$650M development for a 50,000-seat stadium, "in partnership with Tesco, collapsed in November with Liverpool City Council one of the opponents" (London TELEGRAPH, 1/12).

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  • Facility Notes

    Pipe Sewer Line Posing Problems
    For PGE Park Construction
    In Portland, Anne Saker notes as "time grows short for construction to begin if PGE Park is going to be ready" to host MLS games in '11, "one problem holding up a final agreement" is the Tanner pipe sewer line that runs underneath the stadium. Negotiators are "talking about how to construct the new soccer field without damaging the pipe and, if there is damage, who would pay the tab." Portland Mayor Sam Adams last week said that he "wanted the final papers to be ready for the Jan. 20 City Council meeting." In order to meet that deadline, the papers "must be put on the meeting agenda" by tomorrow (Portland OREGONIAN, 1/14).

    VIP TREATMENT: Churchill Downs yesterday said that it "will continue its Infield Club area" during this year's Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. The club "debuted last year as a way for infield race-goers to pay extra for special accommodations." But "unlike last year, when there were seats for about 20[%] of the ticketholders at any one time, each ticket sold will have a first-come, first-served place to sit." Churchill Downs is also "adding a VIP Lounge to the club area, which will have added amenities" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 1/14).

    SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED: In S.F., John Cote reported Santa Clarans for Economic Progress, a group of civic and community leaders backed by the 49ers, Tuesday submitted a "petition with about 8,000 signatures to put the stadium proposal on the ballot." The group, which needed 4,500 signatures, "finished a week earlier than expected." The plan is for the "measure to go before voters in June" (SFGATE.com, 1/12).

    ------------------------------- AWARDS NOTIFICATION -------------------------------

    Two Days Left to Enter Your Facility in the Sports Business Awards.

    Which facility was the most impressive in 2009? Where was the best place to see an event? Let your voice be heard for the Third Annual Sports Business Awards. Submit your entry today for the best Sports Facility. Go to www.sports-business-awards.com. We are accepting entries through Friday, January 15.

    ------------------------------- AWARDS NOTIFICATION -------------------------------

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