SBD/Issue 20/Facilities & VenuesPrint All
Minute Maid Park Renovation Centered Around
Nearly 7,000-Square-Foot HD Video Board
The Astros "have set about an overhaul" of 11-year-old Minute Maid Park, and the renovations "will enhance what is already among the most visually and especially aurally stimulating displays in baseball," according to Zachary Levine of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. The renovation plans are "centered around a nearly 7,000-square-foot high-definition video board" in right field. Plans also call for the "addition of a video board high above left field and a space at the back of the first level behind home plate designed to be a trendier offshoot of the elite Diamond Club level." To make room for the club seating, the writers' press box -- which also houses the official scorer, PA announcer and some Astros staff -- will "relocate to the second level," adjacent to the broadcasters' area. The Astros also will add a 175-seat "young-adult-oriented section," as well as "roughly 1,000 feet of continuous ribbon board will be laid out around the stadium." The ribbon board "will take the place of what is now roughly 100 feet on the first base side and 100 feet on the third base side." Astros President of Business Operations Pam Gardner said that the projects "will begin in the next couple of weeks ... and should be ready for the start of the 2011 season." Levine notes the Astros "will take on all the cost of the project, which internal estimates peg anywhere from $10 million to $13 million, from the asset renewal and replacement fund." The changes are "coincidental with efforts to work out a new television deal as the Astros can opt out of their arrangement with Fox Sports in 2012." Astros Owner Drayton McLane "has said on multiple occasions that he would listen to offers to sell the team, and stability including a favorable lease on Minute Maid Park, which lasts through 2029 with possible extensions, could help foster that" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/8).
NESV Visited Liverpool To Study Stadium
Options, Including Plans For A New Venue
New England Sports Ventures is "on a collision course" with the Liverpool City Council "over plans to redevelop" Liverpool's Anfield stadium, according to Hunter & Conn of the GUARDIAN. Liverpool Chair Martin Broughton confirmed that NESV "will consider upgrading Anfield" if its offer to buy the EPL club from Tom Hicks and George Gillett "is accepted in the high court next week." A commitment from new ownership to put US$158M toward a "new stadium had previously been a condition of the sale." However, Liverpool City Council member Joe Anderson insisted that a "U-turn on the stadium would be unlikely to gain approval." Anderson: "I would discourage them from redeveloping Anfield and would encourage them to stick to the commitment that is already in place because I think that is the best solution for everyone -- for the club and the city." Sources indicated that the "same planning obstacles that prompted" former Liverpool Chair David Moores and former CEO Rick Parry "to propose relocating across Stanley Park still exist, leaving NESV facing the potentially greater expense of a new build." Hunter & Conn note "considering upgrading Anfield represents a radical departure from the past decade of club and council policy." The city council believes that the policy "has not changed, and with much of the present stadium landlocked in a residential area NESV would have to overcome major obstacles to increase Anfield's capacity to its desired figure of 60,000-plus." NESV members have "paid several visits to Liverpool in recent weeks but, with control of the club not yet sealed, have not reached the negotiating stage with the council" (GUARDIAN, 10/8).
OLYMPIC MOVEMENT: EPL club Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday denied that London's Olympic Stadium "had become their preferred new home, insisting they remained fully committed to building a ground to replace White Hart Lane." Tottenham earlier this month "submitted a late bid to take over" the Olympic Stadium after the '12 Games, "just hours before they received planning permission from Haringey Council to construct a new stadium." That bid was "initially believed to be merely a fall-back option," though AEG, Tottenham's partners in the project, on Tuesday insisted that the proposal "was far more serious than that." The club on Wednesday clarified the situation, saying, "We are aware that coverage of comments made by AEG (has) been interpreted in various ways concerning the club's position in respect of the Northumberland Development Project and the Olympic site." The team added, "We have registered an interest in the Olympic Stadium site in order to keep our options open going forward. This is a very preliminary stage and a pre-qualification questionnaire was completed jointly with AEG in order to meet the deadline for registration" (London INDEPENDENT, 10/7). Meanwhile, West Ham United co-Owner David Gold Thursday said that the EPL club will make Olympic Stadium "the 'most stunning' sports arena in the country" if it secures rights to the venue. Gold indicated that West Ham's bid is "far superior to their north London rivals." While AEG said that it "would not be willing to keep the running track," Gold noted that West Ham "would keep it" (London INDEPENDENT, 10/8).
Charlotte Motor Speedway will collaborate with Time Warner Cable and ESPN to offer fans attending the Oct. 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Bank of America 500 a day-long college football tailgate. The event, which will be called the Speedway Pigskin Bash presented by Time Warner Cable and ESPN, will allow fans to watch up to 20 different college football games in a special area near the Smith Tower and hospitality village. There will be a mobile party bar and food vendors. CMS partner Best Buy will provide 20 flat screen TVs and Coca-Cola will display autographed merchandise from colleges the company is affiliated with in the area. It is the first time the speedway has offered a college football tailgate on raceday, and it illustrates the speedway's effort to make it more appealing for fans to attend the night race. CMS Senior VP/Corporate Sales Dan Farrell said, "We've always talked about doing something with college football and we finally have the partners to pull it off. Fans are going to love it. Now they don't have to miss their favorite team if they want to come out to the race early and beat traffic."
Consol Energy Center Is The Fourth New
Facility To Open In Pittsburgh Since '01
In Pittsburgh, Kevin Gorman writes the debut of Consol Energy Center Thursday night for the Penguins' regular-season opener "completes this Pittsburgh sports renaissance, one that witnessed the Pirates move into PNC Park, the Steelers and Pitt football into Heinz Field and Pitt basketball into Petersen Events Center.” All four facilities are “among the best buildings in their sport, and it doesn’t hurt that the three pro sports venues are within walking distance of Downtown.” Not only have the new arenas “changed the city’s infrastructure, they also should put to rest the perception of Pittsburgh as a small-market sports town” (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 10/8).
NEW HOT SPOT: In Toronto, Joe Warmington writes Maple Leaf Square is the “new place to watch a Leafs game,” and “hundreds did” Thursday night as the Maple Leafs hosted the Canadiens in the season opener for both teams. Warmington: “With the giant LG jumbo screen, and the sounds of Hockey Night in Canada jacked up, this was the place to be. It’s part tailgate party and part urban picnic -- complete with lawn chairs and the Moultons’ Maple Leafs blanket” (TORONTO SUN, 10/8).
WILL YOU ACCEPT THIS ROSE? The Rose Bowl Operating Company on Thursday endorsed a $152M renovation plan for the Pasadena stadium, “clearing the way for final City Council approval Monday.” The agency that manages the facility “unanimously voted to recommend the renovation project and financing plan of the historic stadium, including 30-year lease extensions with UCLA and the Tournament of Roses” (PASADENA STAR NEWS, 10/8).
SHOWCASE SHOWDOWN: Lagardere Unlimited announced Thursday a new college basketball event titled “The Showcase,” to be played this year at Americans Airlines Center in Dallas on Dec. 18. The doubleheader will feature Texas A&M-Arkansas in the opening game followed by Baylor-Gonzaga. The event is the first of what is planned as an annual college basketball event in Dallas each season. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN2 and Westwood One radio (Lagardere Unlimited).