SBD/January 18, 2011/Facilities

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  • Anschutz On Board With L.A. Stadium Plan, But Wants Conditions Met

    Anschutz sets four conditions before he'll fully commit to stadium project

    AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke last week said that Chair Phil Anschutz is "now on board" with the company's proposed events center in downtown L.A., though he "wants some conditions met before he plunks down the cash," according to Howard Fine of the L.A. BUSINESS JOURNAL. Leiweke said that Anschutz "has been involved in many of the key decisions about the plan, including selection of the three stadium design finalists." Leiweke: "He's very enthusiastic about the project." However, Leiweke said that Anschutz "won't sign any checks until four conditions" are met: 

    • Agreements with "various corporations for naming rights and other sponsorships that would bring in tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue."
    • A commitment from L.A. city officials for "speedy approvals and $350 million in bonds to replace the West Hall of the city-owned Los Angeles Convention Center that would be torn down to make way for the stadium."
    • A "commitment from an NFL team to move to Los Angeles."
    • A commitment from the NFL to "approve an L.A. team."
    Leiweke said that AEG is "trying to meet three of these four conditions by a self-imposed March deadline," and that the agreement from the league "would likely have to wait for the owners to conclude negotiations with players" over a new CBA.

    FINANCING PLAN: Leiweke "did not confirm or deny" reports that Farmers Insurance is close to a deal for naming rights to the facility. He "would only say that a deal for naming rights and several deals for 'founding partner' sponsorships would be announced in the coming weeks." Leiweke said that the stadium project "will be entirely financed by AEG in order to avoid controversy." Leiweke: "The important thing here is that this is our money, so it shouldn't matter to anyone else whether it's $1 billion, $1.2 billion or $1.5 billion. We're going to pay for the stadium -- whatever it costs. Period." Leiweke also noted that Majestic Realty's $800M proposal for a stadium in City of Industry, Calif., "still lacks a team despite" Chair & CEO Ed Roski's efforts, and that NFL owners "don't seem to want a team" in that city (L.A. BUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/17 issue).

    Print | Tags: AEG, Football, Facilities
  • Bears Will Not Replace Soldier Field Sod Despite Criticism

    Several opposing players have complained about surface at Bears' Soldier Field

    Soldier Field GM Tim LeFevour yesterday said that the Bears and the Chicago Park District "have no plans to replace the sod in advance" of Sunday's NFC Championship game against the Packers, according to Don Walker of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Players for both teams "agree that the natural grass surface at Soldier Field is among the worst, if not the worst, in the league." But LeFevour said, "We talked with the Bears and we think there's good, firm footing. We will keep the sod." An NFL source indicated that league officials "would review field conditions throughout the week and work with the field manager to get a sense of field conditions leading up to Sunday." The source added that if the league officials "determine steps need to be taken to replace all or some of the sod, the league will have final say." Packers WR Greg Jennings said, "It's probably one of the worst -- probably the worst in the league. But at the same time, you have to go out before the game, pregame, and kind of get a feel of what you're working with." Jennings watched Sunday's Seahawks-Bears game and noted, "I know it affected those guys on a couple of routes that I saw -- couple guys slid. But that's going to happen regardless of what field you're on, if you're in that type of climate" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 1/18). Packers LB A.J. Hawk: "The field, you never know what you're going to get. It kind of depends." But Packers C Scott Wells said, "I have no concerns. It's equal field. It's the same for them as it is for us" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 1/17). Packers CB Tramon Williams: "Chicago’s field has always been like that. So it’s nothing different. It’s something that we’re prepared for, and you just got to have the right cleats or whatever. It shouldn’t really be a problem" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 1/18).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, NFL
  • Vikings Pushing For Minn. Legislature To Consider New Stadium

    New Vikings stadium to replace Metrodome could be on legislative agenda this year

    The Vikings "aren't content to just move to the back of the line this year, waiting for the Legislature to finish other, more pressing business -- like the budget -- before discussing" a new stadium, according to John Vomhof Jr. of the MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL BUSINESS JOURNAL. Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley: "The budget is going to be an all-session, all-consuming donnybrook. If we wait till that's done, then we're going to be down to the final weeks of the session like we were last year. We can work on both issues simultaneously. Perhaps you don't vote on a stadium proposal until the budget is done, but to say you can't talk about it doesn't make sense." Vomhof writes early signs "have been encouraging," as Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders "have indicated the issue will be on their agenda this year." Dayton "has said he supports getting a deal done, as long as the public benefits outweigh the public costs." Bagley: "This is the first time in at least 12 years that we've had a governor who supports a stadium, so we're optimistic that we can move the issue forward this year. It's time to resolve this issue." Vomhof notes it is "up to the Vikings to present a stadium plan that includes a specific site and funding model for the Legislature to consider," and Bagley said that this is "something the team plans to do within 30 to 45 days of the start of the session." Minnesota Business Partnership Exec Dir Charlie Weaver said of a stadium, "It's not the top priority, but it's important for Minnesota to retain the Vikings. It's a quality-of-life issue" (MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL BUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/14 issue). Minnesota state Rep. Greg Davids, the new Chair of the House Taxes Committee, said that he "opposes using state tax money to build a new" Vikings stadium. Davids said that "residents of his southeastern Minnesota district would not benefit from having a new stadium in the Twin Cities, so he won't ask them to pay for it." Davids added that it is "possible some money for a new stadium could be raised by a ticket tax or some other kind of user fee" (AP, 1/17).

    ENCOURAGING MESSAGE: A Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE editorial states Dayton "sent an encouraging message with last week's appointment of Ted Mondale" as Chair of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission. Mondale, "seasoned as a policymaker, politician, executive and entrepreneur," is "exactly the sort of pick a governor would make if he's serious about keeping the Vikings in Minnesota on the best possible public terms." It is too soon to "offer a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on a 2011 stadium plan," but Dayton and Mondale "both conveyed a useful message last week." Mondale said, "If it's doable, this is the year we do it." The editorial: "We hope the Legislature pays heed" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/18).

    ROLLING ON: In St. Paul, Elizabeth Mohr reports Metrodome officials Friday announced that Rollerdome and indoor running events are "back on track" at the stadium, even though the roof "has yet to be fixed and events involving the field are still called off." MSFC Exec Dir Bill Lester said that on-field events "will have to wait for further testing and analysis of roof panels." MSFC spokesperson Darin Broton said that "part of the ongoing analysis includes the field's turf, replaced last year" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/16).

    Print | Tags: Minnesota Vikings, Facilities
  • Ridgewells Inks Three-Year Deal To Cater U.S. Open Golf Tournament

    Ridgewells, an established Bethesda, Md., catering and event company, has won a three-year contract to provide catering services to the U.S. Open golf tournament. The event will be held at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda in June, followed by The Olympic Club in S.F. in '12 and Merion Golf Club near Ardmore, Pa., in '13. Ridgewells executives project that the contract will generate $7-10M in gross revenue for the caterer. The contract calls for Ridgewells to provide catering services to the tournament’s corporate hospitality clients, media and USGA hospitality. Ridgewells expects to hire 400-700 people for each of the championships it will cater. Since '93, the firm has catered 14 U.S. Opens, the most recent in '09 at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, N.Y.

    Print | Tags: Facilities, Golf
  • TD Garden Leftover Concessions Being Used To Feed Homeless

    TD Garden since October has been donating its unsold food to the Boston Rescue Mission as “part of a nationwide initiative to help feed the hungry with leftovers from major arena events, rather than simply discarding the food,” according to a front-page piece by David Filipov of the BOSTON GLOBE. TD Garden Concessions Manager Peter Zettel said that “all leftovers used to be thrown into a cardboard box on the floor, along with broken buns or pretzels and food that had been burned or otherwise deemed inappropriate for sale.” Some “25 tons of Garden food each year used to go to compost.” SportService GM Mike Zielinski, whose company oversees all food and beverage operations at the Garden, said that now “more than 16 tons could be saved and served at the mission.” Filipov “went behind the scenes to follow” the concession food from a Jan. 6 Bruins game to the "plates of the homeless the next day." Zielinski estimated that “about 150 pounds" of food "went into a steel container on a two-shelf metal cart." The next morning, Boston Rescue Mission Kitchen Supervisor Joe Benjamin “rolled out the cart” as BRM Head of Housekeeping Anthony Dabney “loaded it into a minivan.” Dabney said that he “will take any food that is properly wrapped and refrigerated and will not spoil during the approximately 10-minute ride from the Garden to the mission on Kingston Street -- a half-hour in traffic.” Dabney estimated that the “haul from the Garden would make up about 50 percent of what would be served to the roughly 250 people expected to eat lunch or dinner at the shelter that day.” He added that “food from the TD Garden is as well-preserved as any donations the mission receives” (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/18).

    Print | Tags: Facilities
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