SBD/Issue 154/Facilities & Venues

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  • Vikings Create Grassroots Effort To Build Support For Stadium

    Vikings Officials Have Created "Minnesota
    Momentum" Effort To Garner Stadium Support

    No formal Vikings stadium funding proposal has been offered at the Minnesota state Legislature, but that "hasn't stopped the Vikings -- in ways big and small -- from pushing every other button they can in the final weeks" of the Legislative session, according to Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Team officials have "created a grass-roots effort to enlist stadium support that they are calling 'Minnesota Momentum,'" and fans who "become 'recruiters' get a chance to win free game tickets if they sign up by Friday." Vikings DE Jared Allen has "become something of a poster child for the Vikings' stadium push." After a "surprise appearance" at a gathering of legislators Thursday, Allen "trekked on to an even smaller event -- an informal dinner of legislators at an apartment complex after a long day of committee hearings." Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley said Allen is "a supporter of what we're trying to accomplish." Bagley added that the team is "attempting to capitalize ... on the growing interest -- by fans, the business community and legislators -- in finding a way to publicly fund a stadium before the legislative session ends in mid-May." But some legislators said that they are "annoyed by the aggressiveness of a stadium effort that is being conducted largely out of the public eye and too late in the session for thorough debate." Those that "strongly oppose" a Vikings stadium said that "while the odds remain long ... they worry the stadium drive is gaining traction." Minnesota state Sen. John Marty, a "longtime critic of public stadium subsidies," said, "I'm all of a sudden becoming very concerned" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/23).

    BUSINESS MEETING: In St. Paul, Jason Hoppin reports the team's "recruitment of business support has Vikings officials zigzagging the state, making whistle-stops at every chamber of commerce luncheon from Austin to Owatonna." Bagley said that the team "also has visited with the CEOs of some of the top companies in Minnesota, including General Mills, Ecolab, Medtronic and others" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 4/23).

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  • Orlando To Consider Increasing Rental Rates At Amway Center

    New Amway Center Is About Three Times
    The Size Of Current Amway Arena

    Orlando City Commissioners on Monday "will consider a plan to raise rental rates" at the Magic's new Amway Center, according to Mark Schlueb of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. City officials "point out that the rent for ticketed events such as concerts hasn't changed since 2001, and the rate for community events has been the same since 1991." The 800,000-square-feet Amway Center, set to open in October, will "dwarf the Amway Arena." Orlando Venues Exec Dir Allen Johnson noted the new venue is "about three times the size of the current Amway Arena." Johnson: "It's just like if you bought a house that's three times the size your apartment was, you'd expect your utilities and maintenance to be higher." Schlueb notes city officials for ticketed events such as concerts at Amway Arena "start with a base rent that could include a percentage of receipts, but typically negotiate each deal separately with a promoter." That "will still be the practice at the new building, but the minimum base rent will increase from $5,000 to $25,000." Promoters also "typically pay a negotiated maximum amount for many concerts," which is "now about $50,000 and would increase to about $65,000 at Amway Center." The $65,000 is "on target with some other venues, such as" FedExForum, Time Warner Cable Arena and Scottrade Center. The city also "began adding a 'facility fee' to ticket prices in 2005 that is $1 for most tickets," and under the new plan, the fee "would double to $2 for most tickets." Schlueb writes the biggest impact of the proposed rate increase "could be on the high schools that use the arena to host graduation ceremonies." For community events, the city "now charges $5,000 rent plus expenses," but the proposed rate "would triple to $15,000 plus expenses." Eleven Orange County schools will hold their ceremonies at Amway Arena this year, in addition to schools from other districts. Johnson said that the city "will negotiate fair rental rates with the school districts" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 4/23).

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  • Facility Notes

    Qwest Field Could Take On CenturyTel Name
    After CenturyTel Acquired Qwest Communications

    Seattle's KIRO-CBS noted CenturyTel Inc. Thursday announced that it "will acquire Qwest Communications" in a $10.6B stock swap, but it has yet to be announced if Qwest Field "will take on the CenturyTel name." A CenturyTel spokesperson said that the company will "evaluate different naming contracts and sponsorship opportunities as the acquisition moves forward." CenturyTel President & CEO Glen Post said that it "had not been decided which brand" the company would use after the acquisition, but added that he is "leaning toward using 'CenturyLink' for the consumer business and perhaps including the 'Qwest' name when marketing to businesses." The Seahawks in '04 announced a 15-year, $75M sponsorship agreement with Qwest (KIROTV.com, 4/22).

    SCOTTISH CONNECTION: The Red Sox Thursday confirmed that Scottish Premier League clubs Celtic and Rangers "will compete in a July 21 exhibition game" at Fenway Park. In Boston, Thomas Grillo writes the game is "another way for Red Sox principal owner John Henry to squeeze money out of the 98-year-old ballpark and put Fenway on a global stage." Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau President & CEO Pat Moscaritolo said Celtic and Rangers "are extending the Red Sox and Fenway's brand to an international audience" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/23).

    CAUTIONARY STRESS: In Memphis, Marlon Morgan reports "thanks to last year's refinancing of the senior bonds used to finance FedExForum," the Memphis and Shelby County Sports Authority "will have no problem making its May 1 bond payment -- and projections are good for future payments as well." But Public Financial Management Managing Dir Lisa Daniel, whose organization is the MSCSA's adviser, "sees reason for 'cautionary stress' when it comes to the $22.5[M] of subordinate bonds that were bought by a group of unidentified local businesspeople as part of the project funding" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 4/23).

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