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SBD/January 13, 2011/FacilitiesPrint All
The Univ. of Oregon tonight will debut its "latest marketing gewgaw," the $227M Matthew Knight Arena, when the Ducks' men's basketball team hosts USC, according to Bud Withers of the SEATTLE TIMES. The arena includes "two practice courts; a weight room; a pool with an underwater treadmill; and a 36-foot-wide, three-stories-tall scoreboard." There are no suites, but there are two club areas including the Founders Club, which requires a $500,000 "minimum donation over five years." Seats in the arena, which holds 12,364 fans, "will be steeply pitched -- 36 degrees, sharpest allowed without rails." Ellerbe Becket designers indicated that the "trick was to make something unique but somehow capture the intimacy" that was in McArthur Court. Withers wrote if the 84-year-old McArthur Court "could talk, it probably would be dumbstruck at the amenities" in the new arena. The "most striking" feature may be the court, which features "brown-and-tan silhouettes of fir trees [in] homage both to the Tall Firs -- first NCAA champions in 1939 -- and the school's woodsy locale" (SEATTLE TIMES, 1/12). In Eugene, Ron Bellamy reports the arena "represents a state-of-the-art facility for the Oregon basketball programs, a venue for major concerts and other cultural events in the Eugene community, and a statement-making front door for the University of Oregon." UO Exec Senior Associate AD for Development Jim Bartko said, "Everybody's a little anxious, everybody's a little nervous, everybody's a little scared, everybody's a little excited. It's a big night for a lot of people who have put a lot of effort in this for a long time." Bellamy notes the facility will be the "most expensive arena in the Pac-10 Conference, and arguably the most expensive college arena in the nation" (Eugene REGISTER-GUARD, 1/13).
STORMING THE COURT: Gary Gray, Portable Sales Manager for Michigan-based Connor Sports Flooring, which built the court at Matthew Knight Arena, said, "Hands down, it's the most complex court anyone has ever done" (L.A. TIMES, 1/13). In S.F., Jake Curtis wrote the Matthew Knight Arena floor "might come to rival Boise State's blue turf as the most iconic playing surface in college sports" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/12). ESPN.com's Diamond Leung wrote under the header, "Matthew Knight Arena Floor Walks Fine Line." The halfcourt line is "apparently there, and the design is within NCAA rules, but it might take some time getting used to." Oregon coach Dana Altman said, "Hopefully, it doesn't confuse our players" (ESPN.com, 1/11).
DON'T BE LATE: The REGISTER-GUARD's Bellamy reported tonight's game is scheduled to start around 8:00pm PT, and the school is opening the doors two-and-a-half hours early "to give fans plenty of time to explore the new building, sample the food offerings and find their seats." Every fan "will receive a commemorative ticket and a T-shirt." A "special pregame" show, designed by Nike Creative Dir of Global Brand Presentation Mike Doherty, is scheduled to start at 7:40pm. Following a video presentation, there "will be introductions of the Knight family, and brief remarks" from Nike Chair Phil Knight (Eugene REGISTER-GUARD, 1/11). The ceremony will include a "full marching band and a fireworks-and-lights show." Oregon's Duck mascot is "supposed to make a splashy entry" (ARIZONA DAILY STAR, 1/12).
The NBA Kings' new arena naming-rights deal with Power Balance is “raising eyebrows in the sports-business world,” according to Dale Kasler of the SACRAMENTO BEE. It is a “marriage between a major league sports franchise and an up-from-nowhere manufacturer of wristbands that are trendy but not universally known.” For Kings Owners the Maloofs, the contract with Power Balance “extends the family's strategy of catering to the cool, hip and not necessarily mainstream.” Kings President of Business Operations Matina Kolokotronis said, "It's a unique opportunity to brand with somebody young." Kings co-Owner Joe Maloof said, "I have all the confidence in the world in the company. I think they offer a great product." He added, “It's a fine young company and they're on their way." Maloof “wouldn't disclose the deal's financial terms,” but said that it is “more lucrative than the expiring contract with Arco, which pays a reported $750,000 a year.” Maloof: "It starts at a certain amount and it ratchets up. Over the course of the five years, it's considerably more (than the Arco deal)." The deal, effective March 1, allows Power Balance to sell its products at the arena, the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas and "other venues in cooperation with the Maloofs." NBA Senior VP/Basketball Communications Tim Frank noted that Power Balance also is "one of many official NBA ‘product licensees’" But Kasler writes one issue is Power Balance’s “claims about its products' benefits.” Team Services Principal E.J. Narcise said, "It has a gimmicky feel to it. A lot of folks don't take the product seriously. … This could be a very embarrassing situation for the Kings" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 1/13).
The NASCAR HOF “had its budget cut by nearly $4.8 million on Wednesday as the board that oversees its performance opted to base its budget on a worst-case scenario of 250,000 visitors from July 2010 to June 2011,” according to Bob Pockrass of SCENEDAILY.com. For the first five months of the FY, the HOF has “had 119,576 attendees and is running a deficit of $509,703, $342,871 from royalties due to NASCAR that NASCAR agreed to defer until” the HOF turns a profit. For the full year, the new budget “projects a deficit of $1,288,383, which will be covered by the reserves” of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, the city board that operates the HOF. The HOF originally was “projected to make $792,839 -- making the new bottom line more than $2 million less than the original budget.” The “biggest spending cuts will come from exhibit contract services, which will be cut by nearly $1.3 million, and marketing and promotions, which will be cut $826,292 and will include less radio, television and billboard advertising.” The HOF will “still have rotating exhibits in its ‘great hall’ area and will change the exhibits in the inductee area as five new members are inducted each year.” But HOF Exec Dir Winston Kelley yesterday said that it “won’t update the ‘race week’ area and other areas that would have been updated to correlate with industry changes.” NASCAR also has “dropped its $100,000 required donation to the NASCAR Foundation.” Kelley said, “We had a couple of staff positions that we will not be filling, but we won’t be laying off any full-time staff. We identified opportunities as we’ve been open, where we can reduce the number of part-time staff.” Pockrass noted the HOF, beginning last Saturday and lasting through tomorrow, has been offering free admission from 4:00-6:00pm ET in an “attempt to generate more local interest.” More than 1,500 people “attended the first day the offer was available” (SCENEDAILY.com, 1/12).
While Minnesota state lawmakers "appear likely to insist that a roof be part of any public deal for a new Vikings stadium, the team is sticking with its offer to pay about a third of the bill -- minus whatever a roof would cost," according to Condon & Campbell of the AP. Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley yesterday said that the team "would prefer an outdoor stadium, but understood that might not win legislative approval when lawmakers in February take up the team's request for a stadium funded in part by taxpayers." Bagley: "A roof does not provide any benefit to the Vikings. It also costs a couple hundred million dollars more in capital costs, in addition to the operating costs that are much higher for a covered facility." But Minnesota state Sen. Julie Rosen, likely lead sponsor of the stadium bill, said that "most lawmakers want a facility like the Metrodome that can host not just NFL football but also dozens of high school and college tournaments and other public events." Rosen: "If you're going to put this much capital, this much sweat and tears into it, you're going to need a 365-day facility like the Metrodome." Both Rosen and Bagley indicated that the "funding proposal would in some ways mimic a previous plan to in part tap stadium users directly through taxes on football jerseys and similar items." Bagley would not address "what would happen if the Legislature failed to act on the Vikings' request this year" (AP, 1/12).
YOUR NAME IN LIGHTS? The Vikings are "one of a handful of teams around the league with unsettled stadium situations," but AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke said that "his conversations with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf have not focused on selling or moving the team." Leiweke, whose company is leading the charge to build an NFL-ready stadium in L.A., said yesterday, "Zygi made it real clear he'd like to solve his problems there and get a stadium built. We do business there, and we're going to be very careful not to do anything to harm the process. So from a personal standpoint, I hope they figure it out." Leiweke yesterday also reiterated that he is "confident AEG's plan can come to fruition." He said, "We wouldn't be sitting here talking about a billion-dollar project if we didn't think the NFL worked in L.A." (AP, 1/12). The HUFFINGTON POST's Joel Epstein wrote if a "pro football stadium must be built in LA, then it should be built" at L.A. Live., just as AEG has proposed. Public transportation, including the Metro Blue Line and a "soon-to-open Expo Line," will "bring people there." By comparison, "how is anyone supposed to take transit to a stadium" in nearby City of Industry, where Majestic Realty wants to build an NFL facility. A new Event Center in downtown, along with Staples Center, L.A. Live, "new condos and restaurants in South Park and the new Broad Museum, will make downtown more happening" (HUFFINGTONPOST.com, 1/12).
WILL AEG'S PLAN COME TO FRUITION? During an SBJ/SBD roundtable discussion in December titled, "Blueprint for the Future," several facility experts discussed AEG's stadium plan. HNTB VP Joe Diesko said, "It really depends on traffic. They gotta figure out how to get people in and out of there." Rossetti President Matt Rossetti: "I think they are already used to it now. Staples Center has created an epicenter. L.A. had no depth to it and now it’s there." Populous Senior Principal Earl Santee said, "It’s Southern California, they live and die by the car. It’s not like the East Coast. Mass transit is not that crucial, even though it’s there." Diesko added, "It’s all about time, it’s not really about how far everything is. ... And it will take a lot less time for the big-money people to go to a game in downtown L.A. than it would be in City of Industry" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/10 issue).
EPL club Tottenham Hotspur yesterday "revealed their plans to rebuild the Olympic Stadium as a football-only venue" following the '12 London Games, according to Hart & Burt of the London TELEGRAPH. Club officials "made public their ambitious plans to demolish the existing structure in Stratford, east London, and replace it with a new 60,000-seat venue capable of hosting Premier League football and concerts staged" by AEG. The club has confirmed that there "will be no place in the new stadium for an athletics track." Instead, "to honour the promise" made by the London bid team to the IOC in '05 to provide an athletics legacy, the Tottenham-AEG consortium "has offered to pay for an upgrade of the Crystal Palace athletics stadium, providing 9,500 extra permanent seats to raise its capacity to 25,000 with the option of adding a further 15,000 seats to stage a World Championship." The consortium "has also offered to complete the stadium bowl to improve the atmosphere and to provide a permanent four-lane warm-up track near the venue." But U.K. Athletics Chair Ed Warner, "who has publicly backed West Ham's alternative plan for a multi-use stadium in Stratford complete with a running track," described the Crystal Palace option as a "minimal consolation prize." Warner: "They've come up with the bare minimum that they hope will pass muster with the legacy company when the decision is made, but it's nothing like the sort of legacy that was envisaged in 2005 in the London bid." Architect David Keirle, who is advising Tottenham, said that the Olympic Stadium site "would need substantial alteration if it were to be used for football." Keirle: "This stadium is designed for an athletics event. It's not like a football stadium. There are no permanent toilets, no suites or boxes. It's 80,000 bums on seats to watch athletics" (London TELEGRAPH, 1/13).
COMPARE & CONTRAST: The GUARDIAN's Owen Gibson reports it is believed that it will cost Tottenham around $395M (all figures U.S.) "to tear down the Olympic Stadium, build a new one and refurbish Crystal Palace." The cost of rebuilding Tottenham's White Hart Lane stadium is estimated at around $710M. West Ham's bid would use around $63M "raised from the sale of Upton Park" and about $63M borrowed by Newham Council "but underwritten by the club." West Ham officials are "confident their proposal ... stacks up financially even if they are relegated" from the EPL after this season (GUARDIAN, 1/13). In London, Ashling O'Connor reports this is the first time Tottenham officials "have outlined their offer for athletics in the teeth of growing opposition from athletes ... to their plan to demolish two thirds of the Olympic arena and construct a purpose-built football stadium." Tottenham and West Ham are "in the final stages of submissions" before a Jan. 21 deadline. A "preferred bidder could be selected" at an Olympic Park Legacy Company meeting on Jan. 28 and "contracts with the new tenant signed by the end of March" (LONDON TIMES, 1/13).
TRACK SHOULD STAY: IOC Athletes' Commission Chair Frankie Fredericks yesterday said that the athletics track at London's Olympic Stadium "should be kept after the Games." Fredericks said that the "idea of the track being ripped up left him with the same 'empty feeling' as the transformation of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics stadium ... into a baseball venue." Fredericks: "Being an Olympian I would say that I would like that they continue to keep the legacy and hopefully that the track can stay" (AFP, 1/12).
In Buffalo, Mike Harrington notes the Triple-A Int'l League Buffalo Bisons yesterday announced upgrades to Coca-Cola Field that include “installing the largest HD scoreboard in the minors as well as a new energy-efficient lighting system.” The Bisons TV HD Board will be 80 feet long by 33 feet high, “more than triple the size of the current video board installed” in ’99. The team is “funding the entire cost of the $2.5 million project, including the board, HD cameras and control booth updates needed” (BUFFALO NEWS, 1/13).
PARKING FEES: In Phoenix, Rebekah Sanders noted a Walker Parking Consultants analysis estimated that “in a good scenario Glendale in the next 25 years could recoup $89 million by charging for parking at Jobing.com Arena, something for which the city plans to pay $100 million.” Under the city’s “latest hockey deal, Glendale must pay $100 million as soon as possible to Phoenix Coyotes buyer Matthew Hulsizer for the arena parking rights, plus $97 million over the next five years to Hulsizer for arena management” (AZCENTRAL.com, 1/11).
FAST TRACK: In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel cited a source as saying that TCU has “plans in the works to fast track some work on aging Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.” The school, which is scheduled to move to the Big East in '12, is “looking at ways to widen the concourse, put more restrooms on the main level, and perhaps increase concessions.” TCU also will explore making the exterior of the building “a bit more pleasing to the eye.” The plans “had been in the discussion phase for a while, but the move to the Big East has put them up the priority list” (STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 1/12).
HEATING UP: In Milwaukee, Don Walker noted the Packers are “testing a special heating system that melts snow in seating areas” at Lambeau Field. The test “is all part of the planning process for possible expansion plans in the south end-zone area” (JSONLINE.com, 1/10).