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Indianapolis' Capital Improvement Board on Monday approved spending up to $1.6M for a new ribbon board at Conseco Fieldhouse to be "installed around the entire upper fascia of the arena between the second and third levels." Conseco and Arco Arena are the only two NBA arenas "without that type of signage, which typically is used for advertisements and other announcements." In addition, the "four panels atop the scoreboard in the center of the fieldhouse that scroll messages will be replaced with LED lamps." That message board will be paid for by the $3.5M the CIB allotted the arena "as part of its agreement with Pacers Sports & Entertainment" (IBJ.com, 9/14).
HELPING A NEIGHBOR IN NEED: Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn indicated that he is "optimistic that if Missouri doesn’t find a way to help build a new stadium for the St. Louis Rams in the next decade, his state could become a player." Quinn said, "I think it's important for Illinois and Missouri to work together for the betterment of the region." Previously, Illinois state Sen. President John Cullerton and Collinsville State Rep. Jay Hoffman said that "keeping the Rams in the region is a priority" (KMOX.com, 9/13).
RAZE THE ROOF? SI.com's Jon Wertheim wrote the USTA might "be correct in their claims" that Arthur Ashe Stadium is "too big and that a roof would be prohibitively expensive." But do not "insult us with the assertion that building a roof would divert funds from our grassroots programs." Wertheim: "That's a false dichotomy" (SI.com, 9/14).
WILDCAT FORMATION: MLS Philadelphia Union President Tom Veit said that "preliminary discussions with Villanova University have taken place regarding the possibility of PPL Park becoming the home of Villanova football." Villanova, an FCS school for football, is said to be "considering an invite from the Big East Conference" to join the FBS (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 9/13).
Cal Expo consultant Andrew Plescia “has concluded it is not in the state’s best interest to move the State Fair to the current Arco Arena site -- advice that, if followed, would undercut plans for a new sports and entertainment arena” in downtown Sacramento, according to Tony Bizjak of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Plescia said that “selling 125 acres of the existing 350-acre Cal Expo site to developers likely would generate enough money for incremental improvements at the outdated 43-year-old fairgrounds.” But he wrote in his report released yesterday that “a complicated land swap -- designed to also finance a new arena in the downtown railyard for the Sacramento Kings -- is based on an optimistic market analysis that could expose the state to substantial financial risks.” Plescia’s report was “immediately countered by a dramatically revamped proposal from the development team that has been pushing to move the State Fair to the Arco site and to use the proceeds from selling and developing Cal Expo to help finance a new Kings arena.” Plescia in his report “lays out a series of suggested requirements for Cal Expo to follow should it consider a business arrangement with” Sacramento developer Gerry Kamilos, who is proposing the land swap. Plescia concluded that “the Arco site, as is, falls short on parking and multiuse outdoor space, and that Arco Arena is not usable as a State Fair expo hall.” The Cal Expo board is scheduled to review Plescia's report at a Sept. 24 meeting. NBA officials, “who have backed Kamilos’ land-swap plan, have said it's up to Sacramento officials to make it work” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 9/15).
The appearance of empty seats during the Giants' and Jets' regular-season home openers at New Meadowlands Stadium "echoed what occurred in 2009, when steep prices were imposed for the best box seats at the new Yankee Stadium, a strategy that did not work in the midst of a deep recession," according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. The "high prices of the top tickets at Yankee Stadium and the introduction of personal seat licenses at New Meadowlands have raised the possibility that sellouts will not be that easy to achieve in either place." At New Meadowlands Stadium, the club seats "have proved to be the hardest to sell, with Jets fans required to pay $5,000 to $30,000 in licenses for those seats and Giants fans $7,500 to $20,000." Added to that are "per-game ticket charges that cost hundreds of dollars." Giants President & CEO John Mara said that the team's 1,200 unsold club seats "were a consequence of the economy, and that he was not worried that they would eventually sell." Mara: "Some people are trying to paint this as a negative, and we're not used to seeing pockets of empty seats. But we had over 77,000 people on a rainy day. The best way to get people into the building is to play games. We've only played one." Sandomir notes the Giants in January said that they "had 1,500 club seats available, which means they have sold only 300 since then," and the Jets "still have 1,500 club seats to sell." Mara: "You have to look at the time we're living in. No question, price is a big factor" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/15).
TELEVISION KILLED THE STADIUM STAR? CNBC's Darren Rovell noted part of the reason neither the Giants nor the Jets have sold out their stadium this year is “basically the television product.” Rovell: “We've seen record television ratings for games that frankly haven't been that good to open the season. … This is really the big problem that the NFL and some other sports are dealing with -- that the warm couch and the cold beer and the car in the garage is pretty good right now and you're comparing it against, not only a ticket price, but that personal seat license which could go up to $25,000 to buy" (“ESPN First Take,” ESPN2, 9/15).