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SBD/Issue 179/Facilities & VenuesPrint All
Red Wings Likely Will Sign New Multiyear
Lease To Play At Joe Louis Arena
The Red Wings likely will sign a multiyear agreement with Detroit to "play at Joe Louis Arena," according to Michael Rosenberg of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. Ilitch Holdings' Tom Wilson would not disclose details, but said a new lease "should happen." Red Wings Owner Mike Ilitch has expressed his desire to build a new arena, and Wilson said Ilitch "is on record as saying he would like to have one, and sooner rather than later. But it is extremely complicated." Wilson stressed that the Ilitch family is "committed to downtown." He said, "That's certainly where the focus is. You could look other places, but I think with the dedication and commitment to downtown that everybody has, that's where we're looking." Rosenberg notes when the Ilitches hired Wilson from Palace Sports & Entertainment in February, the "public perception was that Wilson was hired to help the Wings get a new arena." But Wilson this week said that he has spent about 10% of his time "on arena issues -- and almost all of that was negotiating a new lease for the Joe" (DETROIT FREE-PRESS, 5/28).
BROKEDOWN PALACE? In Detroit, Tom Walsh notes the Pistons and PSE since Bill Davidson's death have been "trying to navigate a chaotic economy, an ownership transition and leadership change" at once, but "business is decent, all things considered." The Palace of Auburn Hills had its "best concert month in 14 years" in March, while the Pistons "ranked eighth in NBA attendance" despite their 27-55 record. PSE President & CEO Alan Ostfield said, "Yeah, we've had some change, and leadership during a transition is tougher. So what? It's also exciting. We're not in limbo. So what if we're being sold? They haven't put restrictions on how we run the business." Ostfield is "not ignoring the grim realities of what's happened to the Detroit region's economy and jobs these past few years." The Pistons cut ticket prices 10-50% last month, and Ostfield said, "The market has taken a hit for sure, but I don't think it's as bad as it's perceived to be outside of our community" (DETROIT FREE-PRESS, 5/28).
Deadline For Dynamo Stadium Architect
Proposals Set For Friday
The firm managing the development of a new MLS stadium for the Dynamo has set today as the deadline for five architects to resubmit proposals to design an $80M downtown facility. Icon Venue Group, co-owned by Dynamo owner AEG, re-issued the stadium design RFP on Monday with the quick turnaround, repeating part of the process from two years ago when architects first bid for the job. The initial process was suspended, however, after the Dynamo and city and county officials could not agree on a finance package to build a 21,000-seat stadium in Houston, said Icon Senior VP and Project Exec Charlie Thornton. The three parties recently resolved the issue, with the Dynamo committing $60M and the city and county agreeing to pay the remaining $20M. As a result, the RFP was sent out again Monday to Houston Sports Consultants, HKS, Ellerbe Becket/Kirsey, Populous and Rossetti to collect updated information from each firm on staffing changes and modifications to their subcontractors' list since their original submissions in '08. "Our intent is that AEG needs to be made aware of how things have changed since the [original] interviews so that we can move forward," Thornton said. "There are no more interviews scheduled based on those initial conversations." Populous, the K.C.-based firm that designed Houston's three major league facilities -- Minute Maid Park, Reliant Stadium and Toyota Center -- was the Dynamo's initial choice before the project got sidetracked by disagreements over financing, according to industry sources. No contract has been signed, confirmed Populous Brand Manager Gina Leo. "Populous, more than anybody else, has helped us provide guidance and helped us get to this point," said Dynamo President & GM Oliver Luck. "They have nosed ahead, given their knowledge of the project. The final call is up to Icon and AEG." The architect selected for the job will be notified by next Friday, followed by the process to select a builder by July 15, according to the RFP. The plan is to start work on the site Dec. 1 with the stadium targeted to open on April 1, 2012.
49ers' Santa Clara Stadium Campaign Could Be
Biggest For Local Election In Silicon Valley History
The 49ers appear to be "on the verge of taking a title in the political arena -- biggest campaign spenders in Silicon Valley history for a local election," according to a front-page piece by Howard Mintz of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Campaign finance reports filed Thursday indicated that ahead of the June 8 Santa Clara vote on the proposed 49ers stadium, the team-backed campaign behind Measure J has already spent $3.6M, and 49ers President & CEO Jed York "has cut the bulk of the checks to fund that campaign." The amount is "180 times more than stadium opponents have spent to fight Measure J." The 49ers' spending has gone "primarily to pay for television and radio spots in recent months," and with "no more than about 25,000 Santa Clara residents likely to vote in the special election, the spending amounts to about $150 per voter." 49ers VP/Communications Lisa Lang: "TV and radio are expensive, but the team agreed to step up and write the checks as requested." Mintz notes while the 49ers' campaign has spent more than $2M on TV and radio ads, Santa Clara Plays Fair, an opposing group, "has had to resort to YouTube to broadcast its messages against the stadium." Stadium supporters "appear poised to surpass the amounts spent on three other major political campaigns to build pro sports facilities in the Bay Area, including the 1988 vote in San Jose to approve an arena for the Sharks and the unsuccessful 1990 vote in five Santa Clara County communities to back a ballpark" for the MLB Giants. Those campaigns "raised less than half of what the 49ers are spending to win the hearts of Santa Clarans" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 5/28).
NJSEA Spent Almost $1M To Secure Season
Tickets At New Meadowlands Stadium
BLOOMBERG NEWS' McNichol & Satariano reported the NJSEA "spent almost $1 million to lock up season tickets" for the Giants and Jets, seats that "will be used by VIPs including elected officials." The authority "secured 142 season passes" at New Meadowlands Stadium, and NJSEA VP/Public Affairs & Communications John Samerjan said that business partners, politicians and others associated with the NJSEA "will be able to buy the tickets from the authority, which plans a service fee to recoup costs." But New Jersey state Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono said, "These are the kind of shenanigans we need to guard against. It seems not only an unnecessary and unwise expense, but wholly inappropriate" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 5/27).
LET'S MAKE A DEAL: In Minneapolis, Steve Brandt reported the city and Hennepin County (MN) "may be on the cusp of a tax-sharing agreement that would allow the city to go ahead with new financing for Target Center's debt and citywide neighborhood programs." The city and county have "agreed to a deal in principle but have hung up on a clause the county wants: a cap of $180.1 million on the amount from the tax-increment proceeds, much of which would go toward the arena debt and neighborhood revitalization." A recommendation headed for the City Council "would have the city agree to the deal with the county cap but not agree with the county's right to require it" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/26).
THIS LANS IS MY LAND: The GLOBE & MAIL's David Naylor notes a proposed stadium at Lansdowne Park for Ottawa's CFL expansion team "boasts part of the stands built below ground, with a construction largely made from wood to reflect the city's history as a lumber town." The north-side stands "include a curved shape," and "will have first-rate amenities for fans and players." The city's "final vote on the stadium project and the overall redevelopment of the Lansdowne Park area, including retail, residential and service areas, is scheduled for June 28" (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/28).
TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE? In Boston, Donna Goodison notes NESN Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy has a "handshake deal with the Cronin Group to open a 200-seat" Jerry Remy's Sports Bar & Grill at Liberty Wharf, "the $43 million waterfront development in South Boston." The 5,000-square-foot restaurant "will be patterned after the larger Remy's that opened in March on Boylston Street, in the shadow of Fenway Park, with Sox memorabilia, huge high-def TVs and upscale comfort food" (BOSTON HERALD, 5/28).