SBD/Issue 56/Facilities & Venues

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  • Vikings Confirm L.A. Talks, But Remain Focused On Minnesota

    Vikings Eyeing Four Sites
    In Minnesota

    Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley yesterday confirmed that the team "has been approached by groups that want to bring the team to Los Angeles, but he stressed that the team wants to find a stadium solution in Minnesota," according to John Vomhof Jr. of the MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL BUSINESSS JOURNAL. Bagley during a "stadium-focused chat with fans on Vikings.com" said that the Vikings "have been approached by the two main groups behind the efforts to bring the NFL to Los Angeles" -- one led by Majestic Realty Chair & CEO Ed Roski and the other by AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke. Bagley: "We've told those groups that we are focused on resolving the issue in Minnesota. We feel solid momentum and feel we're well-positioned with the new Legislature and governor." Bagley said that the team is "considering multiple Minneapolis sites and one suburban site." The team is currently "focused on funding proposals that center on user-based revenue, such as lottery games, a surcharge on NFL merchandise and various hospitality-related taxes." Using "racino" or "other gaming revenue also could be an option." Bagley said that if a stadium deal is finalized next year, the Vikings "will commit to signing a lease that will keep the team in the new facility until 2045." If the team "decides to build on the current site of the Metrodome, it would talk to the University of Minnesota about playing games at TCF Bank Stadium during the construction period" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 11/30).

    HATCHING A PLAN: Bagley yesterday said that the team hopes to "have a plan for a publicly owned stadium, including site, costs and a financial partner, to present to state lawmakers within 30 to 60 days." Bagley said that the team is "'doing due diligence' on four sites: three in Minneapolis and one in a suburb." One site "likely is where the Metrodome stands on the east side of downtown Minneapolis." The "estimated cost of a fixed-roof stadium" is $791M, but Bagley said that construction costs "would vary by site" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 12/1). Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, Kevin Duchschere notes Minnesota state legislators and Vikings fans "alike are worried about how a lockout could affect a publicly financed stadium deal." A lockout "could give cover to pro-stadium legislators worried about the issue's political risks, and ammunition to those already indisposed to helping fund a new stadium" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/1).

    DRAWING THE LINE: In Atlanta, Bob Barr notes NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during a recent visit to the city "made it quite clear that if Atlanta ever wants to host another Super Bowl, city leaders and the state first will have to construct a brand new stadium." Barr writes Goodell's "demand on Atlanta and Georgia in these tight economic times is particularly galling." City and state leaders "have more than enough fiscal problems on their plates than to worry about appeasing the NFL or one of its clubs." Barr: "They should say 'no' to corporate sports welfare, even if it means temporarily disappointing some sports junkies" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 12/1).

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  • Facility Notes

    Pocono Completing Safety Upgrades To Track,
    Including New Catch Fence On Front Stretch

    The AP's Dan Gelston reported Pocono Raceway renovations "should be finished by the end of this year with significant safety upgrades that include a soft-wall barrier and catch fence." The new fence "will run from the end of the front stretch and connect with the existing catch fence in Turn 2." The SAFER barrier "will run on the entire length of the inside of the track from the exit of Turn 1 to the entrance of Turn 3 for a total of 5,516 feet" (AP, 11/30).

    CLOCK IS TICKING: Officials yesterday said that the N.Y. OTB "will shut down Friday unless the State Senate joins the Assembly in adopting a bailout plan." In letters to union leaders and N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, OTB Chief of Staff Sylvia Hamer said the agency "will have exhausted all unrestricted funds available to continue its operations beyond" Friday without passage of the rescue plan. Hamer said that 1,034 employees "would be laid off and betting parlors closed throughout the city" (NEWSDAY, 12/1).

    ONLY A MATTER OF TIME? A PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE editorial stated last week's nomination of Civic Arena for historic status "will only drag things out." The editorial: "Trouble is, the dark and empty building sits on a 28-acre site. That's a big space for real development that can help the neighborhood and the city. But first the arena, which no longer serves as an arena, would have to go. And at $50,000 a month to mothball, the Sports and Exhibition Authority will be forced to waste good money that instead could be put toward development. The sooner Pittsburgh gives up this ghost, the sooner it can get on with the future" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 11/28).

    PROVEN COMMODITY: In Austin, John Maher reports Dallas-based HKS Inc. "has been hired to design much of the proposed $250 million Formula One complex on a 900-acre tract southeast of Austin, although not the circuit itself." HKS is "perhaps best known for its work on" Cowboys Stadium. German engineering firm Tilke GmbH is "designing the 3.4-mile circuit at the site" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 11/22).

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