SBD/Issue 37/Facilities & Venues

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  • Renovated BC Place Stadium Expected To Reopen For '11 Grey Cup

    BC Lions Owner Expects Team To Play At
    Renovated BC Place Before November '11

    BC Pavilion Corp. Chair David Podmore said that the roof reconstruction project at BC Place Stadium "will be done in time" for the Grey Cup in November '11, but he "also made it clear" that the CFL B.C. Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps "will play next year at Empire Field," according to Lowell Ullrich of the Vancouver PROVINCE. Podmore: "We have a fundamental rule we don't open a building until it fulfills our requirements. We'll get them in as quickly as we can but we're not bringing in any events until it's totally complete, and the building will be complete in the fall of 2011." Lions Owner David Braley confirmed reports that the move to Empire Field for the '11 season will "cost him 1,600 season tickets and that the club will finish the season with an operating loss" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 11/2). In Vancouver, Bruce Constantineau notes Braley "expects his club will play under the new retractable-roof stadium 'long before'" next November. Braley said that BC Pavilion Corp. has "already overcome the first of three major construction hurdles with the successful installation of 36 steel beams that will support the roof." Braley said that the Lions "budgeted for less revenue and a break-even season this year because of the move to Empire Field, which is roughly half the size of BC Place." Braley added that the Lions "have been profitable for several years and expects the team will either break even this year or be within about $100,000 either way" (VANCOUVER SUN, 11/2).

    OPEN AND SHUT CASE: In Vancouver, Andy Ivens reports the new C$458M cable-and-fabric roof "isn't designed to open and close in heavy wind and rain." BC Place GM Howard Crosley: "The process of opening and closing it would be something that we couldn't do if all of a sudden a storm came upon us without any warning. But we anticipate that, with the weather services we subscribe to, we will have lots of advance warning." Ivens notes even if the roof is open, the "fabric in the permanent portion of the big top will cover all of the seats." Crosley: "The fans will still be protected with roof. It will cover all the fan areas" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 11/2). The roof "can be opened or closed in 20 minutes multiple times through a day" (VANCOUVER SUN, 11/2). 

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  • M&T Bank Stadium Not Likely To Book Concerts For Next Few Years

    M&T Bank Stadium More Likely To Pursue
    Sporting Events Than Rock Concerts

    M&T Bank Stadium officials said that with “strong regional competition and weak sales for concerts nationwide, the stadium isn’t likely to book musical headliners when the Ravens aren’t in season for the next few years,” according to Erik Maza of the Baltimore SUN. Pop acts are now “more likely to settle for smaller arenas, which cost less and sell faster.” Booking a show at M&T “is a complicated dance that involves many players: Live Nation, the nation’s biggest tour promoter; regional competition from FedEx Field near Washington D.C. and Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia; and the Ravens and Orioles, with whom M&T shares parking space.” The Maryland Stadium Authority runs M&T Bank Stadium, but the Ravens “book the shows.” U2 is scheduled to play at the stadium next year after a deal to play in ’09 “fell apart because the fall date promoters Live Nation wanted conflicted with the Ravens schedule.” The “same thing happened with Sting’s The Police” in ’07. Maza notes FedExField “has been more successful at booking headliners than Baltimore.” When M&T “couldn’t accommodate U2 last year, the band instead played at FedEx, which also hosted Paul McCartney in the same year.” Ravens VP/Stadium Operations Roy Sommerhof said that the “cost of a stadium concert means they can only book artists who can sell all 70,000 seats, or they won’t make a profit.” He noted that is “why M&T hasn’t had a concert since 2008’s Kenny Chesney show.” M&T instead of booking concerts “has pursued sporting events,” hosting an AC Milan-Chelsea match as part of the World Football Challenge and the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships. Sommeroff “hesitated” when asked when the next U2-like event would happen. He said that the “stadium has a few feelers out, but didn’t know if something similar was possible in the next two years” (Baltimore SUN, 11/2).

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  • Bobcats May Revamp Luxury Seating At Time Warner Cable Arena

    Changes To Time Warner Cable Arena
    May Result In More Lower-Level Seats

    Bobcats executives are "stepping up to the table with a move to revamp some of the luxury seating at Time Warner Cable Arena," according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. Bobcats President & COO Fred Whitfield said that the team "plans to hire an outside consultant soon to study potential changes to the arena’s royal boxes and terrace tables, now priced from $23,000 to $86,000 per season." Some of the seats to be studied are in "areas suitable for watching basketball, but not concerts and other staged events, limiting their sales appeal." Whitfield: "We’re definitely going to look at what we can do with that. Quite honestly, that’s been a tough product for us, primarily because of location, having the right amenities." He added that if the team "wants to make changes, it would work closely with the city and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority before taking any action." The Bobcats "have not requested any CRVA or city action yet." Whitfield: "Before we begin anything, we work with our partners at CRVA to discuss what any proposed changes may be. Because it won't just be for us, it will be for the entire use of the facility." Whitfield and Bobcats CMO Peter Guelli said that one option would be to "take out the royal boxes and terrace tables and replace them with more lower-level seating" (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/29 issue).

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  • Texas Motor Speedway Hopes Garage Party Boosts Season-Tix Sales

     

    Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage at Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 will unveil the No Limits Garage Party for season-ticket holders, according to Cheryl Hall of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. The 350-foot-long garage "will switch from tending race cars Saturday afternoon to tending bar and offering food for fans on Sunday." A swimming pool "the size of a football field will be built overnight on the lawn and filled with 35,000 gallons of water for wakeboard demonstrations," and NASCAR's "top drivers will take to the stage for a fan Q&A session." Gossage "hopes those left out and looking in will opt to become season-ticket patrons when the 2011 season and the No Limits club revs up in April." Gossage: "I'm drawn to the art of creating that 'I-gotta-go-buy-a-ticket to see that.' There's certain psychology, marketing, promotion and advertising sense that you have. Those things excite me." Gossage said that season-ticket sales are "running 50 percent ahead of last year's pace." Gossage: "We'll probably wind up 18 percent ahead, which is something to be exceptionally proud of." Hall noted a "total of 400,000 race fans are expected" at TMS for the four-day race weekend that begins Thursday (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 11/1).

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  • Facility Notes

    Inclusion Of Sports Clinic At PGE Park Will Offset
    Timbers' Rent Payments By More Than Half

    In Portland, Brad Schmidt reported the "inclusion of a new sports clinic at PGE Park will offset by more than half the rent payments Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson makes to the city of Portland." Paulson in his February deal to renovate PGE Park "agreed that costs for the sports clinic would be his alone and would not be included" in the $31M project budget. Costs for the clinic, not including tenant improvements, are thought to be about $1.7M. Details of Paulson's "sublicense agreement" with Providence Health & Services go to the Portland City Council tomorrow. Providence's tab with Paulson: $450,000 the first year, increasing to $526,436.40 by year five (OREGONLIVE.com, 11/1).

    LAW REVIEW: McCathern Mooty LLP attorney Levi McCathern, who is representing Cowboys Stadium LP, said that the Arlington-based limited partnership "has settled more than half of $130 million in lawsuits it filed in the past two years for nonpayment of luxury suite leases." In Dallas, Candace Carlisle reports the settlements "have allowed the stadium to put valuable suites back on the market and, in many cases, move nonpaying leasees to other seats in the stadium." The 18 lawsuits totaled nearly $130M in 20-year contracts ranging from $3-42M each. Stadium officials "did not release the amount recovered from the 11 settled lawsuits." McCathern said that Cowboys Stadium "will likely continue to file suits against fans in breach of suite lease contracts" (DALLAS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/29 issue).

    OFFICE SPACE: In K.C., Kevin Collison reports MLS Wizards Owner OnGoal LLC is "now kicking around in an interim headquarters in the Crossroads Arts District." The team "has relocated its 74-employee operation to 210 W. 19th Terrace and plans to remain there for the foreseeable future." An 18,500-seat stadium project "being built at Village West near the Kansas Speedway and scheduled to open next June does not include office space" (K.C. STAR, 11/2).

    CAMPUS CONNECTION: Univ. of Alabama-Birmingham President Carol Garrison yesterday said that she "has instructed administrators to research the possibility of building an on-campus football stadium." Garrison "did not commit to a firm timetable for the decision but said steps have been taken to study the feasibility." In Birmingham, Steve Irvine notes the UAB football team "has played nearly every one of its home games at Legion Field since beginning as a Division III program in 1991," and the school is "under con­tract until 2013 to continue playing its home games at Legion Field." UAB, Tulane and Memphis are "currently the only C-USA football programs not play­ing in an on-campus stadium" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 11/2).

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