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Katz Group Wants To Start Construction On
New Arena In January '12 For Opening In '14
Oilers Owner Daryl Katz "made his bid for a new arena official Monday with a zoning application for a large swath of land on the edge" of downtown Edmonton, according to the CP. In addition to a new arena for the NHL team, the proposal calls for a "casino and a mix of hotels, apartments, retailers, broadcasting and movie studios, exhibition and convention facilities and nightclubs." The application, targeting a "6.5-hectare plot near the present Baccarat Casino," does not address the "contentious issues of cost and funding." Development firm The Katz Group in February revealed that it "wants the city to pay for and own" the arena, while Katz himself would "invest in the surrounding entertainment district, the property taxes from which could be used to pay off the arena" (CP, 4/19). The Katz Group Exec VP/Sports & Entertainment Bob Black yesterday said that he "wants construction to start in January 2012 so the facility can be ready for the Oilers to play in 2014." The proposal also calls for a large pedestrian walkway that "would link people to sports-themed shops and restaurants as well as apartments" and an office tower (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 4/20). The application is the "first step" for the project, which will require "public meetings and city council approval." The Oilers then would "have to apply for a development permit." Black said, “This is about much more than an arena. This is about an opportunity to create a mixed-use district, which will change the way the world sees Edmonton”(GLOBE & MAIL, 4/20). Black yesterday reiterated that his group "wants to lead development on the project," with AEG on board as a consultant. Black also confirmed that Rexall Place operator Northlands "will play a role in the project, though that role has not yet been determined." While Black did not provide financial estimates for the entire project, he did note that the "private sector development will be in the order" of about C$1B (EDMONTON SUN, 4/20).
MORE INFORMATION NEEDED: In Edmonton, Paula Simons writes under the header, "Approving Katz's Rezoning Application Would Be A Big Mistake." The proposal is a "grand, ambitious vision for downtown revitalization," but it is "extremely short of specifics." Simons: "What the Katz Group has brought forward this week isn't a plan, so much as the bare framework for a plan. ... There are no design proposals, no time-lines, no budget numbers" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 4/20).
Yum! Brands' 10-Year, $13.5M Arena Deal
Falls Short Of Projections Of $2-2.5M Per Year
Yum! Brands' 10-year, $13.5M deal to name the new downtown Louisville arena the KFC Yum! Center "fell short" of projections of $2-2.5M per year, but Louisville Arena Authority Chair Jim Host said he is "tickled to death with the way it worked out," according to Marcus Green of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. Host: "We have done far better with (other) corporate sponsorships ... than we projected. So if you put the two together, we're in better shape today than we projected we were going to be." Naming rights are "one of several sources of revenue arena planners are counting on to pay off debt" on the $238M facility. To "meet projections over the next decade," about $51.8M is "needed from naming rights and other advertising," and the Yum! deal brings the total to $37.5M. Host said that "other deals in the works would push overall sponsorships to $42[M] and more are expected." Host also said that the arena has about $4M in sponsorship revenue "allocated for debt in 2011, even before the anticipated new sponsorships are announced;" estimates indicated that about $4.3M "is needed." New York Univ. sports management professor Robert Boland said, "Any time you get a deal done in this climate, it's a good deal. This is definitely a buyer-favored market." Boland added that he is "not surprised Yum is paying less than earlier estimates," and he "likened Yum's sponsorship" to Target's naming rights at Target Field. Boland said that in both cases the sponsors are "local and will likely have staying power." Host said that four other firms were "seriously considered for the naming rights." He "declined to name them," but said that they "weren't local companies." Meanwhile, Green notes the naming-rights deal "doesn't include Pizza Hut sales during University of Louisville basketball games," as Papa John's will be the "exclusive pizza provider at U of L games and other university events" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 4/20).
WHAT'S IN A NAME? YAHOO SPORTS' Jeff Eisenberg wrote nobody "should be naive enough to think we can stop the encroachment of corporate America into collegiate athletics," but the name of the new arena "would have been a nice place for Louisville to draw the line." Instead of "shaving a few million dollars off the asking price and going with something like the Louisville Center sponsored by Yum Brands, the school chose money at the expense of class" by naming the arena the KFC Yum! Center (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/19). ESPN.com's Eamonn Brennan wrote the name is "just kind of funny." Brennan: "It doesn't exactly ring like 'Freedom Hall,' does it?" (ESPN.com, 4/19).
HIGH-PROFILE OPENER: In Louisville, Michael Grant reports the Univ. of Louisville men's basketball team "will face Butler on Nov. 16" in the first regular-season game at the KFC Yum! Center. Two exhibition games are "tentatively scheduled against Northern Kentucky and Kentucky Wesleyan" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 4/20).
Cubs Will Only Have To Move Illuminated
Toyota Sign A Few Feet To Satisfy City
The Cubs Friday "gained city zoning approval of the controversial" illuminated Toyota sign the team is planning to install at Wrigley Field by "changing the proposed location" by only a few feet, according to Dizikes & Kamin of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The new plan "places the sign directly behind the bleacher seats, rather than on the back wall of the bleachers -- a difference of about 3 to 6 feet depending on the angle of the wall." Chicago officials said that the change "means that the sign is considered an interior feature rather than an exterior one that might interfere with the 2005 development agreement." The plan also "specifies that the visible structure around the red 'Toyota' lettering and logo will be painted green to match the bleacher seats." Some owners of rooftop seating venues around the ballpark have "objected to the proposed sign, saying it would disrupt the clean lines of the stadium's exterior, which are protected by the city landmark ordinance." But Cubs Senior Dir of Facility Management & Information Technology Carl Rice said that the new plan "raises the sign 3 feet to improve views of the ballpark for rooftop partners beyond left field." Dizikes & Kamin note the sign will not be installed "just yet," as the Cubs "still must gain clearance from the landmarks commission, which meets May 6" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/20).
MASTER PLAN: Preservation group Landmark Illinois yesterday said that the Cubs "should not be permitted to put up" the Toyota sign "without a 'master sign program' for the entire ballpark." Landmark Illinois President Jim Peters said that the '04 ordinance that "landmarked the ballpark's 'historic elements' required a master sign program that has not been delivered." Interior signs at the ballpark "have been approved on a piecemeal basis," but Peters said, "If you do it piecemeal, you have no idea what's next or where. You could be left with a series of signs that wouldn't be compatible with the ballpark." Cubs Senior VP/Community Affairs & General Counsel Mike Lufrano said that the piecemeal approach "was not the team's call," and that the Cubs are "'willing to discuss' a master sign program." But Lufrano added, "That's a longer-term discussion that should not stand in the way of this sign" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/20).
In San Diego, Nick Canepa notes the idea of putting a "soft, retractable roof" on a new downtown Chargers stadium is "starting to enter the picture." Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani: "The idea is a good one. You've got to make people come in year-round." Canepa wrote the stadium "would have to be multi-purpose," and Fabiani noted there "has been some discussion about a retractable roof, creating an event center." Fabiani: "It could hold big conventions that require a lot of flat space our convention center doesn't have. It could host a Final Four." Fabiani added a soft roof is "not hugely expensive" and is "much less expensive in a good climate." Fabiani: "It's not going to cost $200[M] to put on a roof" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/20).
Target Field Described As
Greenest Ballpark In America
GREEN WITH PRAISE: In K.C., Kevin Collison notes Populous officials were "popping with pride last week at the great reception" Target Field received. The ballpark is being "described as the greenest in America after earning a Silver LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council," and Collison notes "besides being well served by mass transit and bicycle routes, green features include a massive cistern system buried under the warning track to contain storm water that will be filtered and reused to wash down the seating bowl and for irrigation." Additionally, more than 30% of Target Field's installed materials "contain recycled content." Populous has designed 17 MLB ballparks, and its 18th "will be the Florida Marlins ballpark scheduled to open in 2012 in Miami" (K.C. STAR, 4/20).
READY BY AUGUST: In K.C., Michael Mansur reports Arrowhead Stadium's renovations are "right on schedule." Jackson County (MO) Sports Complex Authority Exec Dir Jim Rowland yesterday said, "We are on target with everything at Arrowhead." Rowland said that through March 20, nearly $347M "had been spent on Arrowhead improvements" (K.C. STAR, 4/20).
PERFECT '10: In Albany, Carol DeMare reports it was a "good first quarter for the Times Union Center." Earning figures were not available, but arena officials said that "a total of 48 events from January through March drew more than 260,000 people." The officials noted the Times Union Center in '09 made a $1.75M profit, the "second highest in the arena's 20 years and nearly double the 2008 profits" (Albany TIMES UNION, 4/20).