SBD/Issue 14/Facilities & Venues

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  • Orioles Ready To Explore Some Renovations At Camden Yards

    Orioles Will Enter Planning Stages Next Week,
    But Any Significant Changes Are A Year Away

    Orioles officials yesterday said that they "will enter the beginning stages of planned renovations" to Oriole Park at Camden Yards when the MLB regular season ends on Sunday, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore SUN. Orioles VP/Planning & Development Janet Marie Smith said that "discussions about Camden Yards enhancements are still in the 'conceptual stage' and the team will likely meet with Maryland Stadium Authority officials in late October to go over the plans." Smith, who presided over the original design and construction of the 18-year-old ballpark, added, "We've got some ideas that we are working on, and we're kind of getting them priced out. We got some very conceptual ideas. We want to test them and make sure the cost of doing them will make sense before we take it any further." Any "significant renovation will wait until after" the '11 season. Smith acknowledged that she and Orioles Owner Peter Angelos "meet once a week and have regular discussions about improvements that can be made at Camden Yards." She noted that the "discussions have included potentially adding restaurants or bars in the stadium that will allow fans to dine or drink while still watching the action on the field." Smith: "We're not planning to do anything radical -- just some tweaks. We don't want to lose any of our prime seating, and we don't want to lose any of the picturesque quality that makes Camden Yards stand out. We're looking at things we can to upgrade, particularly the concession stands." Zrebiec notes a "big part of the attraction is how the stadium has stayed true to its classic ballpark roots, something that Oriole fans have long appreciated while resisting significant change to the facility." Smith asserted that the team is "very mindful of that while discussing any major changes to the ballpark" (Baltimore SUN, 9/30).

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  • Georgia Dome Remodel Could Cost $400M; New Stadium May Be $800M

    Falcons Want Open-Air Stadium To
    Replace 18-Year-Old Georgia Dome

    Georgia World Congress Center Authority Exec Dir Frank Poe yesterday told the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau BOD that "renovating the Georgia Dome would cost" $400M, while "building a new open-air stadium would cost up to" $800M, according to Jacques Couret Jr. of the ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE. Poe: "We're meeting about every three weeks with the Falcons. One of the key position points for them is really understanding when. When is that point in time that they need to have a new facility available for them." The Falcons "want an open-air stadium as a replacement to the 18-year-old Georgia Dome, and they have a site in mind on property just north of the Georgia World Congress Center." But the state authority that "owns and operates the 71,000-seat Dome and the nation's fourth-largest convention center has insisted it must have an enclosed venue to support the city's powerful tradeshow industry and remain the hub of SEC Championship football, as well as compete for other blockbuster sports events such as the NCAA Final Four." The authority "wants to keep the Falcons downtown." Falcons Owner Arthur Blank and President Rich McKay previously have said that a site "at the corner of Simpson Street and Northside Drive fits the team's priorities for an outdoor venue with tailgate-friendly parking they say will help improve the fan experience." The Falcons' lease "ends when the original bonds for the facility are repaid -- which could be in 2018 or 2019 depending on hotel/motel sales tax revenues." Team officials "oppose a Dome overhaul." Couret noted a "new stadium or extensively renovated Georgia Dome could make Atlanta a viable bidder again" for the Super Bowl, which Atlanta has not hosted since '00 (BIZJOURNALS.com, 9/29).

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  • Facility Notes

    New Two-Level Miller Lite Power Play
    Suite Features Seating For 48, Wet Bar

    The Blue Jackets yesterday announced a multiyear renewal of their corporate partnership with MillerCoors, which signed on as a sponsor of the team starting with the '08-09 season. The primary component of the new deal is the creation of the Miller Lite Power Play Suite, a private two-level suite in Nationwide Arena's south Party Tower. The area features seating for 48 guests, a lounge with wet bar and opportunity for custom catering. The agreement also includes in-market retail promotions (Blue Jackets).

    MILWAUKEE'S BEST: Bradley Center officials yesterday unveiled the arena's new $3.2M center-hung scoreboard, which "features 12 high-resolution video panels and three times the display space of the old scoreboard." The scoreboard is 29 feet tall and 32 feet wide, weighing about 50,000 pounds. The video displays "contain 3.5 million pixels; the old scoreboard had 229,880 pixels." Bradley Center officials said that the scoreboard is as "good as or better than the vast majority of scoreboards" in the NBA (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 9/30).

    THE NEW DEAL: In Phoenix, Gary Nelson reports Mesa city officials have "released a new 'term sheet' spelling out details" of the city's Spring Training agreement with the Cubs. For the first time, there is a "solid estimate of what the city will pay for infrastructure, in addition to the $84 million it will spend for a stadium and practice facilities." Mesa City Manager Chris Brady maintains that the bill "will be no more" than $15M. Nelson notes that "puts the total bill at no more than $99 million, far less than numbers being used by some critics of the deal" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/30).

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