SBD/Issue 90/Facilities & Venues

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  • Paulson Reaches Final Agreement To Make PGE Park MLS Friendly

    Proposed Final Agreement To Convert PGE Park
    To MLS Stadium Expected To Pass Next Week
    The proposed final agreement to convert PGE Park to an MLS stadium goes before the Portland City Council next Wednesday "with enough political muscle to pass and with new guarantees from franchise owner Merritt Paulson to cover the costs of the renovation," according to Anne Saker of the Portland OREGONIAN. The 25-year deal that would clear the way for the USL Portland Timbers to join MLS in '11 was completed Thursday. Paulson promised that if his Peregrine LLC company "cannot complete the city-owned ballpark's reconstruction, he and his father, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, will pay to finish it." Construction has "already started at the stadium under a waiver that the City Council granted two weeks ago because time is running short" for the reconfiguration. The financial details of the final deal "are not significantly different from the preliminary agreement that the city and Merritt Paulson reach in July." In addition to covering all cost overruns on the project, Paulson also "committed to keeping the team in Portland for the life of the contract, which runs through 2035." Saker notes the agreement appears to have "at least three" votes of approval from the five-person City Council. Peregrine will operate the venue for the city. Portland State Univ. starting in '11 also will host its football games at the stadium, but the reconfiguration leaves the ballpark's current tenant, the Triple-A PCL Beavers, "homeless at the end of this season." Portland Economic Development Policy Advisor Skip Newberry said that Mayor Sam Adams and Paulson are "still talking about places to build a new baseball diamond" (Portland OREGONIAN, 1/22).

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  • Cubs Reach Preliminary Deal For New Spring Training Park In Mesa

    Cubs Have Reached Tentative Agreement For
    New $84M Spring Training Facility In Mesa
    The Cubs will retain their Spring Training home in Mesa, Arizona, "under a tentative agreement reached" for a new $84M facility, according to Dave van Dyck of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The Cubs decided "against moving to Naples, Fla., instead opting for a 25-year lease for the new ballpark, which will include a 15,000-seat stadium, offices, training rooms and expanded practice fields." The Mesa City Council will approve the proposal "in a Monday night meeting, then the Cubs board of directors will sign off on it, perhaps by late next week." The team in a statement said, "The Cubs are interested in reading through Mesa's proposal and having our board take it under review." The Cubs will have final say in the design of the ballpark, which has not yet been approved, and they also will "manage the stadium, have naming rights for a sponsor and control of signage." One idea is to "build a park that looks like Wrigley Field." The site will include "training facilities and four full-sized practice fields, something the Cubs currently lack," and the proposed ballpark capacity would "make it the largest of all spring training sites" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/22). In Phoenix, Walsh & Nelson note once the city council approves the deal, it still needs voter approval from Mesa residents and the Arizona state Legislature would "have to approve the funding mechanism." The complex would be publicly owned. Under the agreement, the Cubs would buy about 100% and "deed it to the city." The team would be responsible for "operating and maintaining the facility and also would pay any costs exceeding" the $84M ceiling (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/22).

    AIN'T OVER 'TIL IT'S OVER: In Ft. Myers, Glenn Miller reports Naples-based Project Home Run, a group formed to recruit the Cubs, said that it "wasn't giving up." Group spokesperson Loren Faye in an e-mail said, "The Cubs have given Mesa an extension on their proposal so that it is complete. They have not made a decision." Sterling Ivey, a spokesperson for Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, said, "We understand that a final decision has not been made and Florida will continue to show that this is the best place for spring training." But Collier County Tourist Development Council Dir Jack Wert conceded that the Cubs "may have used Collier as leverage to get a better deal in Mesa." Wert: "I'm certain that is a negotiating tactic that every team used on a periodic basis. I would guess it was certainly part of the whole process" (Ft. Myers NEWS-PRESS, 1/22).

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  • Facility Notes

    Amway Center Awards Its Food Service
    Contract To Orlando Foodservice Partners
    Orlando Foodservice Partners, a group that includes Levy Restaurants and a local minority firm, was awarded the food service contract at Amway Center in Orlando pending contract negotiations, according to a public document linked to the city’s Web site. Orlando Foodservice Partners already manages concessions and premium dining at Amway Arena, the Magic’s current NBA facility. A committee of city and team officials ranked Orlando Foodservice Partners first, followed by Aramark, Centerplate and Ovations Food Services. Delaware North Sportservice did not submit a proposal, confirmed Sportservice President Rick Abramson. The bid process started in November for the $480M arena opening in October (Don Muret, SportsBusiness Journal).

    LOCAL FOCUS: Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley Wednesday said that Majestic Realty officials "haven't recently spoken" with the team about moving to their proposed L.A. stadium, and that the team's focus is "working with the Minnesota legislature to get a new stadium deal." Bagley: "Our owners have indicated that they are not willing to sign a lease extension without a stadium deal. Our deal is coming down to the wire. I think it's clear that in order to retain the Vikings for the next generation in Minnesota, we have to resolve our stadium issue." In California, James Wagner notes Majestic VP John Semcken Tuesday said that the company "resumed talks with NFL teams within the past two weeks" (SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE, 1/22).

    THINKING AHEAD: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Thursday said that the "future success of the Calgary Flames hinges on the team competing in a new arena." In Calgary, Tamara Gignac notes the Pengrowth Saddledome, which opened in '83, is "now one of the oldest in the league," and Flames officials said that the building is "showing the wear and tear of almost three decades." Bettman said that a "modern rink will benefit the Flames and hockey fans, but also provide an economic boost to the city itself." Bettman: "Arenas have a certain shelf life. A new facility can be used to rejuvenate a certain area of the city that may not attract people on a regular basis" (CALGARY HERALD, 1/22).

    GRAND OPENING: SOCCER BY IVES' Ives Galarcep reported the MLS Red Bulls "will open their new stadium, Red Bull Arena, on March 20 with a friendly against legendary Brazilian club Santos FC." The Red Bulls "had been scheduled to open play at Red Bull Arena in their MLS season opener, on March 27 against the Chicago Fire, but the friendly vs. Santos should provide an enticing first match for the large Brazilian population that lives in the area near Harrison, New Jersey" (, 1/21).

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