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SBD/Issue 64/Facilities & VenuesPrint All
Metrodome Roof Has Collapsed Four
Times During Its 28-Year Existence
Vikings President Mark Wilf yesterday said that it is "premature to discuss" whether the collapse of the Metrodome roof yesterday "changes the debate over a new stadium," according to Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Snow and high winds deflated the Metrodome roof, forcing yesterday's Giants-Vikings game to move to Detroit's Ford Field and to be played tonight. Wilf yesterday said, "We're focused on the Giants game tomorrow. There will be a proper time to discuss such things." Kaszuba notes while the roof collapse is "likely to add fuel to the stadium debate," state legislators indicated that the episode "should not leapfrog the state's numbing $6.2 billion budget deficit in importance." Minnesota state Rep. Greg Davids said that the "collapse didn't change the fundamental issue: Though the team remains important to Minnesota, no workable plan exists to raise tax money for a new stadium that avoids using direct state aid" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/13). Yesterday marked the "fourth time in the Metrodome's 28-year history" that the roof collapsed. The roof gave way at 5:00am CT when "three fabric panels tore under the weight of more than 24 inches of snow in places." Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Dir of Facilities & Engineering Steve Maki said that officials from Birdair Structures today "will arrive in Minneapolis to assess damage and start repair work." It is unknown "how long repairs might take" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/13).
A BLESSING IN DISGUISE: In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman writes the roof collapse was a "blessing in disguise for the Vikings," who may also be forced to move next week's home game against the Bears. Even people "against a new stadium will have to see that the team can no longer depend on the Dome to be its home." MSFC Chair Roy Terwilliger said, "This will make people aware, all the more aware, that the facility is nearly 30 years old and needs to be replaced" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/13). FANHOUSE.com's David Steele wrote, "It's an awful, and potentially tragic, reason for seeing the Vikings go after 50 years. But it's still leverage to owner Zygi Wilf and the supporters of a publicly-funded replacement for the Metrodome." Vikings fans should "feel entitled to some pessimism." The idea of "using a natural disaster as cover to spirit a franchise out of town is not exactly new (as Saints fans would like to forget)." Steele: "Mother Nature may have made the decision for everybody -- sealing the deal that Father Time couldn't" (FANHOUSE.com, 12/12). SI.com's Don Banks wrote, "It's hard to believe the Metrodome roof-collapse was real. ... Could Vikings owner Zygi Wilf have asked for a better visual than that in his quest to get his team a new stadium in the Twin Cities?" (SI.com, 12/12). Fox' Howie Long said, "You think they need a new stadium in Minneapolis? I think so" ("Fox NFL Sunday," Fox, 12/12). CBS' Charley Casserly said of Zygi Wilf, "This has to strengthen his argument in the need for a new stadium in Minnesota or guess what, maybe we just ought to move on" ("The NFL Today," CBS, 12/12). Bloomberg TV's Michele Steele: "You can't help but think that they're going to reference this when they lobby for some new digs" (Bloomberg TV, 12/13). In San Diego, Matthew Hall writes, "A gaping hole in the roof of the Metrodome that could cost team owners a lot of money? Nah, that would never be used in negotiations. The grass in Los Angeles, where snow exists only on Hollywood sets, may be greener already" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/13).
ALL OPPOSED? Prior to the roof collapse, the STAR TRIBUNE's Kaszuba noted a new poll shows "considerable resistance" among Minnesotans to publicly financing a new stadium. The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, "generally reflected other polls regarding the stadium and found that 61 percent of Minnesota voters opposed using tax dollars for the project." The poll reported that 49% "would rather have the team move to California than get public subsidies in Minnesota." Minnesota residents, however, "were receptive to using proceeds from racino ... to build a new Vikings stadium." Sixty-two percent "favored raising money from gaming to build a new stadium, and only a quarter of those asked opposed it." The poll surveyed 949 Minnesota voters on Dec. 4-5, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.2% (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/11).
Semcken Believes AEG Stadium
Would Cost Between $2.3-2.5B
Majestic Realty VP John Semcken said AEG's proposed downtown stadium designed to attract an NFL team is a “pipe dream in Los Angeles that is confusing people,” according to Scott Reid of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. Semcken's company has a competing stadium proposal in City of Industry, Calif., and the “race between former allies turned rivals … turned personal” last week with Semcken “pointedly criticizing” AEG’s plans. Semcken during a meeting with the Orange County Register "criticized AEG chief operating executive Tim Leiweke's credibility." Semcken said of the man he once "worked side-by-side with to create" Staples Center, “Tim's a bad guy. He can't build the building." Semcken “originally wanted to shop around for a firm to secure a naming rights deal” for the City of Industry stadium. But Semcken said that Majestic Realty Chair & CEO Ed Roski said "just give it to Tim.” Semcken added that Leiweke "recently pressured the Roski group to rent a suite at The Home Depot Center, and Roski agreed to 'as a sign of good faith.'" Semcken: "Now he's competing with us. After we gave them everything we had. ... I'm never going to figure it out." AEG VP/Communications Michael Roth said that the group “has no interest in responding to any of Semcken's statements” Semcken and Majestic Realty Group “question a number of factors about AEG's plans starting with the price tag.” Semcken maintained that the “cost of a retractable roof, earthquake proofing the site and the restraints of building downtown would put the price tag” at between $2.3-2.5B, “citing estimates by contractors involved in building the recently completed New Meadowlands Stadium.” Citing "congestion problems on the 10 and 110 freeways, the reduction of convention space and construction costs and issues," Semcken added a stadium in downtown "doesn't benefit anybody in the greater Los Angeles area." Semcken: “At the end of the day, I don't know why they're doing it. It can't be done. We can break ground tomorrow." Semcken said of the competition between Roski and AEG, “I think it's smart what the NFL is doing.” But he added that the league is “misguided in its belief that a stadium needs to be close to Los Angeles’ affluent Westside communities” (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 12/11).
Fans Frustrated By Cell Phone Service
At Reliant Stadium During Games
Texans fans are "grumbling about mobile service" at Reliant Stadium, according to David Barron of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. A request for comments on cellular service at the stadium, "posted Friday afternoon on the Chronicle's website, produced about 80 responses in two hours, and reviews were generally negative." Fans who "brought smartphones or iPads to the game to watch other games on DirecTV's Sunday Ticket said they were so frustrated by poor service that they may opt to stay home next season." Verizon customers "were generally more satisfied that customers of Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T, some of whom suggested the antenna system at Reliant was rigged to provide preferential service to Verizon because of its sponsorship agreements with the team and the NFL." Reliant Park officials said that the stadium is "configured along the lines of virtually every other stadium or arena, with a distributed antenna system that provides access to customers of all mobile providers." Reliant Park GM Mark Miller said that the system at the stadium and at Reliant Center "is designed to handle traffic for the more than 100,000 people who visit the area during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and for technology-heavy events such as the Offshore Technology Conference." Miller: "Everybody works off one set of antennas, and I know that they are looking at a 4G upgrade to the system. I don't have a recollection of a lot of issues coming to our customer service people involving cell phone service. We work with the carriers to provide the best possible service" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/13).
ISC Headquarters Uses 15-20% Less
Energy Than Similarly Sized Buildings
ISC Friday announced that its headquarters in Daytona Beach has secured Gold-level LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The 180,000-square-foot building was completed in '09. It was designed to meet LEED standards, but ISC execs spent a year working to secure the LEED certificate. The building uses 15-20% less energy than office buildings of the same size and has many environmentally friendly components like windows with special coatings that transmit less heat than clear glass. The building also was structured with 10-20% recycled material. ISC VP/Corporate Development Brian Wilson said it was fairly tough to get the certification, but it was always a goal. Wilson: "This fits in with our company's green initiatives. ISC and NASCAR are demonstrating that we're good corporate citizens" (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).
TESTING AT DAYTONA THIS WEEK: In Daytona Beach, Godwin Kelly reported Daytona Int'l Speedway is "prepared to host two days of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series testing on Wednesday and Thursday." After "decades of racing over a rough, bumpy surface, the blacktop has been certified pool table-top smooth by the North American Testing Co.," ISC's engineering arm. Lane Construction Project Manager John Rauer, whose company has overseen the repaving project at the track, said, "We were right on schedule. To do this volume of work in just six months (was busy)" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 12/12).
In Baltimore, Hanah Cho reported MI Developments and Penn National Gaming, the owners of Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, "proposed Friday to run 77 days of live racing next year" at the tracks "that would conclude after the Preakness Stakes in May." MI Developments and Penn National "had sought approval to operate a 47-day racing schedule next year at Laurel Park and Pimlico, or about one-third of this year's racing schedule of 146 days." But the Maryland Racing Commission "unanimously rejected that plan late last month." The new racing schedule "needs the approval of the racing commission, which is expected to meet Dec. 21." Penn National also said that it "would pursue slots at Laurel Park" (Baltimore SUN, 12/11).
HITTING THE BRAKES: SCENEDAILY.com's Bob Pockrass reported the NASCAR HOF "has a tentative plan to cut at least $4.1 million -- nearly 30 percent -- in planned expenses from its original 2010-2011 fiscal year budget that runs through June in hopes of keeping its operating deficit under control." The plan was sent to the Charlotte City Council Friday night. The HOF "would slash its sales and marketing budget by $1.2 million, including reducing by $500,000 the amount it spends on advertising and promotions." Another $1.2M "would be cut from exhibit management, which would include less rotation of exhibits designed to be changed periodically." Also "potentially eliminated would be community sponsorships, travel of personnel to industry events and not filling open positions -- to the tune of another" $1.2M. Another $500,000 "would be cut in reducing part-time staffing, security and supplies" (SCENEDAILY.com, 12/11).
Prudential Center Floor Will Transition 12
Times During An 11-Day Time Frame
REVOLVING DOOR: The 400 employees at Prudential Center in Newark will transition the arena's floor 12 times in the 11-day span between Thursday, Dec. 9 and Sunday, Dec. 19. The arena hosted the Vinny Maddalone vs. Tomasz Adamek heavyweight card on Dec. 9, followed by a concert by musician Usher, a Devils hockey game and a Nets basketball game. The arena will host three more Nets games, two more Devils games, two Seton Hall Univ. basketball games and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra before having the night off Monday, Dec. 20. According to an arena spokesperson, employees will accrue 25,000 total hours of overtime pay during that stretch (Fred Dreier, SportsBusiness Journal).
PLANNING AHEAD: In S.F., Matier & Ross reported Pro Football HOFer Joe Montana and an investment group that includes former 49ers Owner Eddie DeBartolo are "looking at following the team to Santa Clara to build a hotel, restaurant, sports bar and entertainment center right across from the planned stadium." Montana and his backers are "seeking an exclusive, 18-month negotiating agreement with Santa Clara." Assistant City Manager Ron Garratt "called the Montana-DeBartolo proposal 'very preliminary,' and said Santa Clara would consider its options for developing the city-owned property -- including whether to put it out to bid -- after the holidays" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/12).