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SBD/January 24, 2011/FacilitiesPrint All
The U.S. Open is "losing ground to its rivals on the Grand Slam circuit and might request financial assistance" from the city of N.Y. "to improve its facilities," according to Tom Perrotta of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Arthur Ashe Stadium, the largest stadium at the National Tennis Center, "can't support a roof because of the soft ground beneath it," and the USTA is "reluctant to build a roof over a smaller stadium, which wouldn't seat enough fans if rain interfered with the singles finals." Rossetti President Matthew Rossetti, whose firm designed Arthur Ashe Stadium, said its site is the "equivalent of Jell-O." Rossetti: "We've analyzed it dozens of times. Because of the soil's condition, (a roof) requires its own structure -- it wouldn't touch the stadium at all. Once you get into that, you're talking huge dollars." Estimates put the cost of a canopy roof at $175-225M. Perrotta notes the combination of "poor land quality and ambitious remodeling plans by the other Grand Slams in Melbourne, Paris and London has forced the USTA to consider asking New York City, which owns Flushing Meadows Park, for aid." The USTA said that "in dire circumstances," it would "contemplate moving to another venue, including outside New York." USTA Chair & President Jon Vegosen: "Our preference is to remain in New York. However, we are in a hyper-competitive marketplace, and to remain the No. 1 tennis event in the world, we will need significant investments in the tournament's infrastructure. The National Tennis Center is an aging facility, significant upgrades are needed, and we'll have to consider all options to maintain our position." The USTA "hasn't approached the city with any plans." Andrew Brent, a spokesperson for N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said the city's "budget issues are well-known," but the city will "work with the USTA to help it continue to thrive in New York" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/24).
Quebecor Media Inc. President & CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau yesterday said that he is "willing to pour 'tens of millions of dollars' into building a new multipurpose arena in Quebec City," according to Sean Gordon of the GLOBE & MAIL. Péladeau cited the "return of NHL hockey to the city as his priority." But he declined to "elaborate on how much he's prepared to spend because 'we want to keep these talks private.'" Gordon reports it also "seems Quebecor, which recently won regulatory approval for a 24-hour sports channel, would be interested in managing the arena; there is considerable speculation in Quebec that other partners in the venture will shortly be announced, possibly including" Celine Dion's husband, René Angélil. Péladeau’s announcement "will surely ratchet up the pressure on the Conservative government in Ottawa -- as a possible federal election looms -- to kick in its share." Federal officials, however, said that their "position has not changed and that the ball remains in the hands of the municipal government." The province and the city have already pledged C$200M, and Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume "has repeatedly said the project will go ahead with or without federal funding" (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/24). Quebec City Exec Committee VP Richard Cote on Friday said that the city will have a "new NHL-calibre arena and the official announcement will come within a month." Cote told CHOI-FM that the "municipality is going ahead with a plan to finance the construction of the arena without a significant investment from Ottawa." He added that local officials "still hope Ottawa will eventually foot part of the bill for a proposed 18,000-seat arena." Cote said that the city is "working out details of the financial plan which is likely to include more funds from the municipality as well as investments from the private sector -- notably by selling the arena’s name" (NATIONALPOST.com, 1/21).
The "hallowed grounds of one of the most iconic venues in sports was the center of the action sports universe" Saturday, when the third leg of the '11 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series took place at Dodger Stadium, according to Chris Palmer of ESPN L.A. It was a day "unlike any other in the sport's 39-year history," as Ryan Villopoto beat James Stewart "in front of 41,107 enthusiastic fans at the inaugural race at Chavez Ravine." Supercross writer Eric Johnson: "I've never felt this kind of electricity in the air. ... Being here at Dodger Stadium is a transcendent moment in the sport." It had been 14 years since L.A. last hosted a supercross event, and "whether supercross will return to Dodger Stadium remains to be seen." The show "will go to Oakland next week and eventually to the season finale in Vegas," but "conjuring up this kind of magic will be tough." The stars "aligned to make the inaugural race at Dodger Stadium one of the most memorable" (ESPNLA.com, 1/23). In L.A., Jim Peltz noted Dodger Stadium's seating capacity is "about 56,000, though a few thousand seats along the foul lines, which were next to the track, were blocked off for safety reasons" (L.A. TIMES, 1/23).
DODGERS SELLING OUT? In L.A., Tom Hoffarth wrote Supercross "crossed the line," as Dodger Stadium was "transformed into a giant truck stop." Hoffarth: "We shouldn't assume the Dodgers, first-timers in this undertaking, sold their souls to a lime-green energy drink/transmission fluid. ... We have no ballpark figure on what the Dodgers ownership stands to gain from this self-infected wound. We just now realize that, having seen it all unload, we doubt we'd have done this if we owned the place." Hoffarth added, "We can only wonder how low this could go from here" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 1/23).
Rangers Managing General Partner & CEO Chuck Greenberg on Saturday at the team's Fan Fest addressed a possible roof for Rangers Ballpark, saying, "When it comes to a roof, the reality is that there just isn't the technology to do a roof or a shading system or a cooling system on that ballpark right now that would make sense. The way we look at it is that we need to make that part of our home field advantage. We believe it's an advantage for our guys over our competitors because it's like playing football in Green Bay in December." Greenberg added, "There's been a lot of myths over the years. One of them was that because of the heat the pitchers would wear down, the players would wear down, that the whole team would wear down and the fans wouldn't come to the ball game when it got real warm. ... The reality is that after the all-star break we averaged over 38,000 fans per game. It's the highest attendance in any period of time in the history of the franchise" (DALLASNEWS.com, 1/22).
SIGNED, SEALED, DEPARTED? In San Diego, Tim Sullivan noted California Gov. Jerry Brown is "trying to eliminate redevelopment agencies as a source of public financing." If Brown "gets his way, he might detonate the Chargers’ proposed downtown stadium before it gets off the drawing board." Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani on Friday said, "We’re done, finished (if Brown’s proposal becomes policy). Redevelopment money is an essential part of the downtown concept and without it, the project is dead." Darren Pudgil, a spokesperson for San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, said, "We will look at every other possible option if the redevelopment dollars go away. But that certainly doesn't bode well for a new stadium" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/22).
FINDING IT ON THE MAP: Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents Chair James Dean Leavitt said that a "proposed new 40,000-seat domed football stadium at UNLV would sit between the Thomas & Mack Center on campus and Paradise Road." Leavitt said that if the facility is "ever built, the stadium complex would include a hotel, campus housing, restaurants and retail space." Developer Craig Cavileer said that he was "not ready to release more details yet," adding that he "expected to hold a formal news briefing" this week. The plan is "scheduled to be presented to the Board of Regents at a special meeting set for Feb. 11" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 1/22).
WHAT'S DONE IS DONE: The U.K. Government will "waive its right to overturn the decision this week to hand over the Olympic stadium" to either West Ham United or Tottenham Hotspur after the '12 London Games. West Ham is the favorite to "win the dispute over the future of the 80,000-seat venue when the board of the Olympic Park Legacy Company meets on Friday." After Friday's vote, "with a simple majority winning," the OPLC is "expected to recommend a preferred bidder." A final decision is expected by March 31 (LONDON TIMES, 1/23).