SBD/Issue 38/Facilities & Venues

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  • MSG Shutdown Not Expected To Affect More Than One Knicks Game

    MSG, Knicks Officials Have Contacted Nearby
    Prudential Center In Case Problem Continues

    MSG is "shut down until further notice" because of asbestos concerns, but Friday's Wizards-Knicks game "will go on," according to sources cited by Marc Berman of the N.Y. POST. The Knicks contacted Prudential Center "as a fallback" for Friday's game after postponing last night's game against the Magic at MSG, but it "does not appear they will need it." The MSG shutdown occurred after "debris and dust fell from the ceiling late Monday night into the arena while a maintenance crew cleaned 'asbestos-related materials' from an attic." Sources indicated that the "cleanup was part" of MSG's planned renovations. A N.Y. city environmental agency official said that the "debris that fell in the arena was found not to contain asbestos." It was the "first cancellation of a Knicks game at the Garden in 14 years," and Berman notes the incident "raises questions on whether the Knicks' ongoing Garden 'transformation' is safe during the season." There has been "speculation about the Knicks using alternate sites during the renovation, such as the Prudential Center, Nassau Coliseum or the empty Meadowlands." But Knicks sources said that "nothing of that nature has been discussed." The NBA as of last night "had no timetable on when it will release a new date for the game" (N.Y. POST, 11/3). An NBA official said that MSG "firmly believes it will resolve the Garden problem 'very soon,' and that last night’s Knicks-Orlando cancelled game will be the only event that requires rescheduling." The official said, "They believe they can get this cleaned up by Wednesday, and they won’t have to move any games -- they'll just have to reschedule the Magic game. But if it gets on past Thursday, the Knicks said they’ll get back to the people in Newark" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 11/3).

    ARENA IS SAFE: On Long Island, Baumbach & Hahn note tests conducted at MSG "later in the day proved the arena to be safe, but the Magic already had headed home." N.Y. Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Farrell Sklerov said, "Basically, it's a false alarm." The NBA was "in full support of the decision" to postpone last night's game, and a league source indicated that the Knicks are "not likely to face any fines for having an unplayable venue." The source, however, indicated that the Knicks "may have to compensate the Magic for a return trip to New York for the rescheduled game" (NEWSDAY, 11/3). In N.Y., Howard Beck notes DEP inspectors "visited the arena and concluded that no asbestos had been released when materials in the Garden attic were knocked loose during overnight maintenance." Sklerov said that "additional sampling conducted by independent air monitors confirmed that finding." Neither the city nor MSG "would describe the nature of the debris or say how much had fallen." Beck notes there are "logistical limits to how many games the Knicks can postpone if the Garden remains closed," and the NBA "would probably push them to move their games to another site" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/3). In N.Y., Isola & Schapiro report the "cleaning of the attic above the ceiling is unrelated to the estimated $850 million Garden renovation that will be completed in three years" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/3). It was "unclear yesterday whether the mini-crisis would affect other Garden events in the next few days, including a Rangers game Sunday night and concerts next week by Roger Waters and the Dave Matthews Band" (N.Y. POST, 11/3).

    WHAT ABOUT US? MSG hosted a Blackhawks-Rangers game Monday night, and Chicago Tribune reporter Chris Kuc asked, "What are they saying -- hockey players, hockey fans and hockey writers can handle it, but you get to the NBA and it's, 'No, we're not going out there?'" Kuc: "That place is a mess. ... There was a lot of debris lying around, so I'm not surprised that they found asbestos" ("Chicago Tribune Live," Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 11/2).

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  • Mesa Voters Approve Proposed Cubs Spring Training Complex

    Spring Training Complex Would Keep
    Cubs In Mesa For At Least 30 Years

    About 63% of voters yesterday approved Mesa's plan for an $84M Cubs Spring Training complex that is scheduled to open in '13 and will "keep the team in Mesa for at least 30 years," according to Garin Groff of the EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE. Supporters said that they "expected a victory but not by such a comfortable margin." Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts: "The Cubs have been in Mesa for close to 50 years. We'd like to stay in Mesa for another 50 years and we look forward to taking what is a truly great spring training experience and turning [it] into the most remarkable spring training experience ever." Groff notes the vote "ends more than a year of uncertainty, as the Cubs had entertained a bid for a new complex in Naples, Fla." Mesa's "effort for statewide funding fell apart at the Legislature this spring, and the plan often changed as the city struggled to find funding." Opponents had "argued the complex could end up costing more than promised, saying there's no legal limit to what the city can spend." The Cubs also "haven't finalized a deal" for the land, which is "tied up until July 2011 for the proposed Waveyard water park." Waveyard officials have "tentatively agreed to scale back their project to make room for the Cubs." Mesa, the Cubs and Waveyard are "working to accommodate each other, with many details left until after the election" (EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE, 11/3).

    FAN FEEDBACK: In Chicago, Paul Sullivan reported the Cubs in a "quality assessment survey" on their website are asking fans if they would approve of a video-replay board at Wrigley Field. The Cubs "aren't planning on a video board for 2011, but say they are gauging fan interest on a number of topics," including whether fans "would like a video replay board that doesn't 'obscure' the current center-field scoreboard, which is protected by landmark provisions." Cubs VP/Business Development Alex Sugarman said that the team "has been doing the survey most of the year, and this is simply an 'extension' of that." The survey "will be available for another month" on the website, and Sugarman said that the results "will be kept internal" (CHICAGOBREAKINGSPORTS.com, 11/2). Also in Chicago, Ed Sherman noted the survey "reveals some of the ideas the Cubs are considering in the renovation of Wrigley Field," including "a video board; applications to see replays on your mobile phone; new premium seating areas and clubs; and the Triangle Building." A disclaimer says the survey "does not imply all or any of these capital projects will take place at Wrigley Field," and adds the concepts are "hypothetical." But Sherman wrote, "Clearly, these concepts are beyond 'hypothetical.' They are on the table" (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 11/2).

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  • Facility Notes

    Red Sox Have Received $11.1M In Credits
    For Fenway Park Renovations To Date

    In Boston, Thomas Grillo reports the Red Sox are "seeking millions of dollars in historic rehabilitation tax credits as the team wraps up a decade-long Fenway Park renovation this offseason." The team has received $11.1M in credits thus far, and "hopes to score another $28.4 million on qualifying renovations" totaling nearly $200M. The state can provide up to a 20% "credit for work approved by the Massachusetts Historical Commission." Brian McNiff, a spokesperson for Secretary of State William Galvin, said that "given the size of the state’s historic credit budget and the competition, the team will not get the full credit" (BOSTON HERALD, 11/3).

    COMING DOWN THE MOUNTAIN: BLOOMBERG NEWS' Doug Alexander cited sources as saying that Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. raised $297M in "an initial public offering after cutting the share price twice." The company, owner of the Whistler ski resort, sold 25 million shares, or a 66% stake, for slightly less than $12 apiece. The company "had planned to sell shares" for as much as roughly $15. Alexander noted the "proceeds will be used to repay debt owed to Intrawest ULC" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 11/2).

    SPANISH ACQUISITION: Valderrama Golf Club in Sotogrande, Spain, has "agreed to be purchased" by the Greg Norman-owned Stripe Group. Soto Properties "will sell the property for an undisclosed sum," and the deal is "expected to close within weeks." The Stripe Group said that it is purchasing the club, a former Ryder Cup venue, "to strengthen its position in the business of golf events in Europe" (GOLFWEEK.com, 11/1).

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