Sunoco Debuts "Essence Of Racing" Campaign Executive Transactions Isiah Thomas Expected Backlash Over Hiring FanDuel Brings On Most Of Zynga Sports Team Georgia Approves Increased Athletic Budget Kentucky Adding Ribbon Boards At Rupp IndyCar Ponders How To Attract Fans Long Term Jeff Gordon Hired As Full-Time Analyst For Fox Danica's Sponsorship Status To Be Telling For NASCAR Classified Advertisements
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With just over a week to go before Super Bowl XLV, the NFL "can’t say yet how many will get to see the Super Bowl in person -- and how many seats won’t have a view" of Cowboys Stadium’s signature video board, according to Jeff Mosier of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. NFL Dir of Event Operations Bill McConnell said, “Capacity will be over 100,000. Exactly how many will be here, we won’t know until game day.” Many fans in the temporary seats behind the 200-level sections “won’t be able to see the center-hung video board.” Those fans will have “a clear view of the field -- and of the underside of the seating decks.” McConnell said that “someone would sit in the temporary seats to analyze the view,” and “some obstructed-view seats could remain as long as buyers are aware of their limitations.” Some seats already in place “could come out before Super Bowl Sunday.” The temporary seats are "similar to the permanent ones" at the stadium. McConnell this week said that “about 500 standing-room-only tickets would be sold.” Those fans “will stand on landings in the end zone deck stairs.” The NFL is also “increasing the number of standing-room-only tickets for suites.” The league recently announced that it has sold out of its 5,000 tickets for an outdoor Party Plaza, and Mosier notes if the Packers-Steelers game breaks the Super Bowl attendance record, the Party Plaza tickets -- "an NFL first -- will likely be what pushes Cowboys Stadium over the top" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/28).
BUILT FOR THIS: USA TODAY’s Jarrett Bell notes “about 15,000 seats have been added by filling open spaces behind the end zones that are standing room plazas during Cowboys games and by removing armrests from thousands of other seats that slide along rails to make room for more seats.” The record Super Bowl crowd of 103,985 was set at the Rose Bowl in '80. Cowboys Stadium drew 105,121 for the Cowboys' home opener against the Giants in ’09. The stadium “will be configured for about 95,000 seats for the Super Bowl, with $200 standing room tickets to view the game on large screens on adjacent plazas.” Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said, "This stadium was built to have a Super Bowl. ... I know the stadium can handle it, relative to restrooms, space and concessions. You want to do something that's never been done before" (USA TODAY, 1/28).
MAKING ROOM: The DALLAS MORNING NEWS’ Mosier notes the NFL On Location hospitality program is “taking over the Miller Lite Club and other indoor space for its game-day entertaining.” Cowboys Dir of Corporate Communications Brett Daniels said that “some large party tents weren’t needed outside because of the amount of club space.” The Cowboys also “cleared out the turf storage area to use as a work space for Super Bowl Sunday, and post-game interviews can happen inside the stadium.” Daniels said that the NFL is “taking advantage of the stadium’s signature video board.” The board will “feature pre-game programming not normally seen by fans inside the stadium” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/28).
Majestic Realty VP John Semcken Wednesday predicted that an NFL team "will be playing in Los Angeles by September 2012," according to Mike Sprague of the SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE. Semcken said that work will begin on Majestic's proposed 75,000-seat, $800M stadium in the City of Industry "when they attract a team." Semcken: "There's a chance that a team will come this September. It's not a good one. (But) there's a 100 percent chance that in September 2012 a team will play here. ... Then, in September 2014, we'll move into the new building and then in 2016 we'll host the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl." He added that the "delaying factor in acquiring a team right now is the NFL's potential labor issues with its players." Semcken said that he "isn't concerned" about AEG's proposal for a downtown L.A. complex, "in part because they are asking for the city to float $350 million in bonds that would be paid back with revenue from its stadium." He said that he "doesn't think the city of Los Angeles will approve public money for the stadium" (SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE, 1/28). But in Minneapolis, Sid Hartman writes after visiting with AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke, "you get the impression the stadium will not only be built, but will attract an NFL team." Leiweke said that he and Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf "are friends." Leiweke: "Zygi came down and looked at L.A. Live. I think Zygi really wants to figure this out in Minnesota. I personally think he will. ... We would prefer and hope that he solves his problem there and that still leaves us with another half-dozen teams that, I think, (are not) going to solve their problem in their current local marketplace." Leiweke added of AEG's proposed stadium, "We're not going to be up and ready until 2015. It would mean that if a team moved here early, they're going to have to play at the Rose Bowl or the Coliseum. Both of those work short-term, they don't work long-term" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/28).
NO FOREGONE CONCLUSION: ESPN L.A.'s Arash Markazi wrote the problem facing an NFL stadium in L.A. is that "virtually every new sports venue in the country includes some form of public financing, which is almost impossible to achieve in California." Former California Gov. Gray Davis: "Even in boon times, Californians are very suspect of allocating public money to build a stadium. In bad times, it's simply impossible. The state has a tradition of not spending public money on stadiums or arenas. For example, 1999 and 2000 were good years in California and even in those good times there was no appetite in spending public money." Markazi wrote the "biggest misconception when discussing Los Angeles' attractiveness as a market is thinking every NFL owner would salivate at the prospect of having a team in the second biggest media market in the country and the entertainment capital of the world." That is "simply not the case in the NFL's egalitarian model, in which all national revenues are equally divided among the 32 teams." In the NFL, the "amount of money a team can generate from its stadium with as little risk as possible is what NFL owners are after." If they "can get their state, city or county to completely subsidize the stadium while giving 100 percent of the revenue to the owner, as is the case in many NFL cities, that's the best possible deal." That "would never happen in Los Angeles." Also, the "age-old belief that the NFL needs Los Angeles more than Los Angeles needs the NFL has been debunked over the years." The league's TV contracts "went from $900 million per year when they had to two teams in Los Angeles to $3.1 billion per year with no teams in the market," and that figure is "expected to double after the current contract runs out following the 2013 season." Still, Davis said of the NFL's return to L.A., "I think it will happen someday. Whether it happens in my lifetime or your lifetime, I don't know, but I think one day it will happen" (ESPNLA.com, 1/27). ESPN L.A.'s Markazi broke down AEG's proposal for an NFL stadium in L.A. (ESPNLA.com, 1/27).
In St. Petersburg, Bill Varian notes a “majority” of Hillsborough County (Fla.) commissioners said that they are "willing to consider freeing up future tourist tax dollars to pay for renovations" to St. Pete Times Forum. Five commissioners reached for comment Thursday “noted the importance of the Times Forum as a tourist and entertainment draw,” and added that as a “publicly owned venue, it needs to be kept in good shape.” Varian writes a “common theme among them was noting” that the Lightning, whose parent company, Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment, leases and runs the building, are “willing to front the money without making any demands” (ST. PETE TIMES, 1/28).
TAX DECLINE: In Green Bay, Richard Ryman writes January sales tax distributions -- representing November sales -- were “a disappointment to the Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District.” Sales taxes came in at $1.59M for January, compared with $1.64M in January '10 and $1.66M in December. The district “had been hoping that sales taxes for 2010 would equal those for 2009,” but so far, '10 taxes are “about 1 percent less” (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 1/28).
GOVERNMENTAL REVIEW: The GLOBE & MAIL’s Bill Curry reports the Canadian government is “confirming its willingness to fund an NHL-calibre arena in Quebec City but says it wants a clear accounting of private-sector involvement.” The Quebec City government said that it “will spend the next six to nine months studying the accuracy of its [C]$400-million price estimate for the new facility.” Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume recently said that he had “written off support from the federal government and was moving on to ‘Plan B’” (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/28).
360 VIEW: In St. Louis, Tim Bryant notes “full construction is scheduled to begin next week” on Three Sixty, a rooftop bar at the St. Louis Hilton at the Ballpark. The $7M, 275-lounge will feature views of Busch Stadium from "atop the hotel's 25-story east tower at Market Street and Broadway, two blocks north" of the ballpark. The hotel hopes to open the bar by July 1 (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/28).