SBD/Jan. 17, 2011/Facilities

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  • Final Phase Of Superdome Renovations To Add Seats, Lounges

    Final phase of Superdome renovations will close the facility for five months

    The final phase of the Superdome remodeling will begin on Jan. 24, a “five-month project aimed at further sprucing up the building that has undergone massive upgrades since Hurricane Katrina wrecked the 36-year-old venue” in ’05, according to Nakia Hogan of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. Workers will make “drastic changes to the lower bowl of the stadium, reconfiguring it to increase seating by 3,500, widening the plaza concourse, building two bunker club lounges and adding additional concession stands.” Also part of the $85M renovation that was “put in place as part of the 15-year lease extension between the Saints and the state, crews will start tearing down the temporary stairs that lead from Champions Square to the Dome, replacing them with permanent steps.” In addition, workers “will complete the installation of express elevators that will taxi coaches and media from the ground level of the stadium to the press box.” The construction will close the stadium “for the next five months,” as Superdome officials said that the “work is scheduled for completion by June 13.” Crews will “move the sideline seats about 10 feet closer to the playing field while squaring off the stands, giving the lower bowl a squared look instead of an oval setup.” Plans also “call for two 7,500-square-foot bunker lounges on each side of the stadium.” The lounges will be equipped with “flat-screen TVs, granite counter tops and full-service bars,” and will “serve 4,500 fans, whose old plaza seats will be upgraded to premium tickets.” The concourses on the plaza level “will be extended, closing in space between the concourse and plaza seating to add new restrooms and concession areas.” Saints co-Owner & Exec VP Rita Benson LeBlanc said, "Phase by phase, this will be a brand new stadium. … Creating these additional club seats will allow us to remain competitive in attracting future Super Bowls” (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 1/16).

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  • MLB Cardinals Set To Unveil Scaled-Back Ballpark Village Plans

    The MLB Cardinals on Wednesday will unveil a "scaled-back version" of their Ballpark Village complex that "includes 100,000 square feet of stores and restaurants and a new corporate headquarters for St. Louis-based Stifel Financial Corp., ready to open by the summer of 2013," according to Tim Logan of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The details were found in a development proposal the Cardinals and partner Cordish Co. "filed with a city agency" last week that is the "strongest confirmation yet of new plans for the high-profile downtown site." The $146M first phase of Ballpark Village is "decidedly more modest than earlier versions," but if the first phase "succeeds, more than $550 million worth of offices, condos and retail space could be built across the 10-acre site over the next decade." However, Ballpark Village "will need the blessing of city and state officials to use an estimated" $35M in tax proceeds from the site to help fund its construction. The approval process is "set to begin Wednesday morning, when representatives from the Cardinals and Cordish are scheduled to make their first public airing of the plan to a city development authority" that, along with the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, "OK'd earlier, more costly, versions of Ballpark Village." Logan noted Stifel said that it "had agreed to underwrite bonds for Ballpark Village, selling them on investment markets to raise money" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/15).

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  • Clemson Unveils Plan For $50M Upgrade To Athletic Facilities

    Half of $50M facilities plan will go toward Clemson's football team

    Clemson Univ. on Friday unveiled a plan "to invest $50 million into athletic facilities in an effort to keep its programs competitive in what has become the latest arms race in college athletics," according to Travis Sawchik of the Charleston POST & COURIER. The initiatives, which "touch nearly every Clemson athletic program," include an indoor football practice facility, completing the West Zone at Memorial Stadium, new offices and locker rooms at the baseball facility and a new basketball practice arena. The projects "will be funded through private gifts and athletic revenue." Clemson AD Terry Don Phillips said that the initiatives are a "continuation of the $120 million in athletic facility projects and upgrades completed since 2002." He added that he "expects all the facilities to be completed within five years." Sawchik noted the football practice facility "is up for approval next month at a board of trustees meeting and is expected to be operational by 2012." Half of the resources "are slated to go into the football program" (Charleston POST & COURIER, 1/15). Phillips said, "We've been very aggressive in building facilities. I believe it's important as we build these things people ought to know what we're doing" (GREENVILLE STAR, 1/15).

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  • Secondary Ticket Market Has Soared Even As Economy Has Faltered

    Number of tickets sold on sites like StubHub has steadily risen

    In recent years, "attendance has fallen in nearly every league, several franchises declared bankruptcy and a few more were sold for less than expected," but the "online ticket market has bucked the trend," according to Ken Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. Forrester Research VP & Principal Analyst Sucharita Mulpuru estimated that the secondary ticket market is worth $3B a year, and the number of tickets bought on sites such as StubHub "has risen steadily even as the economy faltered." Yet at the same time, "prices have fallen, making it possible for cost-conscious consumers to continue attending games." After "initially resisting resellers, many teams have allied with them in the last few years to make it easier for their season-ticket holders ... to resell their tickets." That has led to a "flood of tickets listed by individuals willing to sell at a loss rather than by for-profit brokers." As a result, the average price of tickets sold on StubHub fell 2.5% last year even as sales grew 26%. StubHub Head of Partnerships & Business Development Danielle Maged said that "just a few years ago, 60 percent of the tickets listed on StubHub were by brokers and 40 percent by individuals, but that the ratio had reversed." And with "empty seats in arenas and stadiums for all but the most popular games and teams," Maged and other ticket industry execs said that "more fans will shop first for bargains online before they pay face value for tickets at the box office." Teams also are "aware that falling prices for high-definition televisions and digital video recorders, and programming options like RedZone TV and NFL Sunday Ticket, have given fans more reasons to stay home." That is a "big reason teams across the country have started to raise or lower the prices of some tickets based on demand, much like the way airlines do with their seats." But dynamically priced sports tickets are a "work in progress." Teams are "trying to determine how many seats in their stadiums and arenas to set aside." Belson: "Too many and you risk creating confusion, too few and fans hardly notice" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/17).

    HOT TICKET: StubHub Corporate Communications Manager Joellen Ferrer said Sunday's Packers-Bears NFC Championship Game "would absolutely have the makeup to become our top-selling conference championship in company history." Ferrer added that she "would expect the price of tickets to soar." Ferrer: "I would expect the 'get-in' price to get to about $500, but we will see fluctuations all week as the market settles" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 1/17). Milwaukee-based Ticket King VP Fred Benz said that the "chance to see a classic Green Bay-Chicago matchup in such a high-stakes game was driving early market demand" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 1/17). In Illinois, Paul Biasco notes a "limited number of tickets for the NFC championship game will go on sale Tuesday afternoon," and ticket brokers "expect the Bears' matchup with Green Bay to bring in the big bucks." StubHub "expects ticket prices to average around $675 a seat" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 1/17).

    Print | Tags: Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, NFL, Facilities
  • Facility Notes

    Cowboys Stadium the first to offer Super Bowl standing-room-only tickets

    NFL Senior VP/Events Frank Supovitz on Friday said that standing-room-only tickets for Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium will be sold for the first time in the event’s 45-year history. The Cowboys have the right to sell 320 SRO tickets inside the building for $350 apiece. Those locations are on stair risers in the corners of the seating bowl. Cowboys season-ticket holders get the first opportunity to buy those tickets. Supovitz said that the Cowboys get about 3,000 regular Super Bowl tickets to offer their season-ticket holders (Don Muret, SportsBusiness Journal). In Sacramento, Victor Contreras notes Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones is "out to break the all-time Super Bowl attendance record of 103,985 fans." The Cowboys will "sell tickets to fans to watch the game on video screens outside the stadium." Contreras: "It's expected the league will allow the total figure -- inside and out" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 1/17).

    TURF BATTLES: In Pittsburgh, Ray Fittipaldo noted the Steelers and Ravens Saturday "played on new sod" at Heinz Field thanks to the NHL, which "paid for the new grass surface after staging the Winter Classic" at the stadium on New Year's Day. There also were "an extra 1,300 seats sold for Saturday's playoff game because the NHL put additional seats behind the end zone in the open end of the stadium," increasing attendance to 64,879 (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 1/16). Meanwhile, Fox' Tony Siragusa reported the turf at Soldier Field for yesterday's Seahawks-Bears game was "really bad." Siragusa: "They had a crew of about 50 people out here trying to fill the holes because where they put the turf together there was a lot of space, so they were trying to put green sand" ("Fox NFL Sunday," Fox, 1/16).

    ON THE HUNT AGAIN: In DC, Jonathan O'Connell reports MLS DC United "has renewed its hunt for a stadium in the District," and team President & CEO Kevin Payne said the club has discussed "at least four" sites with city officials. Payne "declined to name or comment on sites," but city officials said that a "leading contender" is Buzzards Point in Southwest DC, where developer Akridge owns nine acres southwest of Nationals Park. Another area the team "has looked at is the Capital City Market" in Northeast DC (WASHINGTON POST, 1/17).

    HOT TICKET: In Newark, Ted Sherman noted the Prudential Center "was a hot ticket for concerts and shows last year, doing better than the Izod Center in the Meadowlands for the first time since the Newark arena opened four years ago." Pollstar reported that Prudential Center "sold 358,984 tickets, making it the 24th busiest arena in the world." The 30-year-old Izod Center "saw a big decline," selling 251,319 tickets last year, "ranking it 45th" in the world (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 1/16).

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