SBD/January 6, 2011/Facilities

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  • Dolphins Seek Help From Neighboring County On Renovations

    Dolphins willing to pay for portion of Sun Life Stadium renovations

    The Dolphins "want Broward County to share its tourism tax revenue to help pay" for a $225M renovation of Sun Life Stadium, which is located in Miami-Dade County, according to Scott Wyman of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Dolphins CEO Mike Dee has been "meeting with area hoteliers, business executives and tourism officials to pitch the idea of rewriting state law to allow Broward to spend its tax money outside the county." Dee at a Miami Chamber of Commerce lunch yesterday said that the Dolphins "want to pursue legislation that would allow counties to increase the hotel tax from the current maximum of 6 cents to 7 cents." Broward County "played host to the Super Bowl headquarters in 2010," and the Dolphins "argue that Broward has benefited heavily from past Super Bowls at the Miami-Dade venue and that a new stadium would help ensure their return in the future." Sun Life Stadium's ability to host more Super Bowls "has been in doubt." Dee said that a renovated stadium "could add about $2.5 billion to the South Florida economy through 2040." Dee: "This is a community decision. This is about the ability to continue to bring big-time events to the community." But Broward Mayor Suzanne Gunzburger said, "There would have to be a lot of sweetener in the pot before I would even think about it." Broward County Commissioner Lois Wexler said that she "opposes any additional use of tourism dollars to support professional sports teams." Wyman noted the Dolphins' plans also are "dividing the region's business community." Sunrise Sports & Entertainment President & COO Michael Yormark said that he "believes the Dolphins intend to turn their stadium into a multipurpose entertainment facility that would then compete" with BankAtlantic Center (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 1/6). Yormark in a statement said, "Their request is, in effect, to use Broward County tax dollars to help a privately owned Miami-Dade facility compete with a publicly owned facility in Broward County" (THE DAILY).

    WILLING TO CHIP IN: Dee said that the Dolphins "would fund a portion of the renovation -- a significant shift from past statements, when Dee cited" Owner Stephen Ross and former Owner Wayne Huizenga's $300M worth of "investments in the stadium." Dee: "We need to dig deeper." He said that "without the partially enclosed roof and 3,000 seats" that are part of the Sun Life Stadium renovation plan, the stadium "would be less competitive for Super Bowls and other big games, including college football championships" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/6).

    NOT ALONE: In N.Y., Ken Belson writes under the header, "Teams And Owners Find Public Money Harder To Come By." Cities that are "short of cash can no longer afford to build stadiums." But in "just as many cities and states, lawmakers, often desperate to appease fans, are finding new ways to help their home teams" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/6).

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  • MasterCard Signs Five-Year Naming-Rights Deal For Beijing Arena

    Wukesong Arena hosted basketball during the '08 Olympics in Beijing

    MasterCard has signed its first naming-rights deal for an arena, the former Wukesong Indoor Stadium in Beijing. The five-year deal, which renames the 18,000-seat facility MasterCard Center, has a value of more than $4M annually, according to an industry source. The terms call for MasterCard to support content and programming by sponsoring top international and regional artists. The agreement is a partnership between MasterCard, the NBA, AEG and Bloomage Int'l Investment Group, a real estate firm tied to several high-profile buildings in China. MasterCard Center served as the basketball venue for the '08 Olympics and is the first Olympics facility in Beijing to be rebranded commercially. It is also the first naming-rights deal in the country's capital. AEG, the arena's operator, and event promoter AEG Live, its sister company, are expected to schedule more than 200 dates during the next five years, including NBA basketball, table tennis and badminton. Concerts by the Eagles, the Black Eyed Peas and Hong Kong singer/songwriter Jackie Cheung are already booked for '11. The MasterCard deal is the second naming-rights deal for a Chinese arena. Mercedes-Benz in '09 signed a 10-year deal valued at $6M annually to put its name on an 18,000-seat facility in Shanghai that opened last year. The partnership plays a key role in MasterCard's campaign to push public awareness of its brand and services in China. MasterCard sponsors a fashion event in Shanghai and runs programs in the country to support female education. The deal, brokered by Todd Goldstein and John Cappo with AEG Global Partnerships, takes effect Jan. 21, continuing through '15. There are options to extend the naming rights beyond that date.

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  • Facility Notes

    Fenway Park bullpen won't be widened after state commission rejects tax break

    In Boston, Thomas Grillo reports the Red Sox have "benched a controversial plan to widen the bullpen at historic Fenway Park by 9 feet this offseason." The project, which "would have shortened the distance from home plate to the right-field fence to 371 feet from 380 feet," was a "hit with the Boston Landmarks Commission, which unanimously approved the team's application in October." But the Red Sox "struck out with the Massachusetts Historical Commission, which determined the project would not score a special tax break." Because Fenway is a "designated landmark, the Red Sox must seek support from the city and state agencies for major alterations to the circa-1912 ballpark" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/6).

    INSURANCE CLAIM: In St. Paul, Charley Walters notes it is "still undetermined whether the Metrodome will end up with a new roof or replaced panels for those damaged by its collapse." But "look for insurance to cover the damage, and don't be surprised, at a cost of about $15 million, if a completely new roof is installed for the Vikings next season" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/6).

    TRACK CHANGES? In Baltimore, Hanah Cho reported Orioles Owner Peter Angelos is "bidding to buy a bankrupt horse-racing track" in Prince George's County (Md.) and "resurrecting a push to allow slot machines there." Angelos' proposal "came as Maryland's second slots casino opened Tuesday at the Ocean Downs racetrack on the Eastern Shore." Under Angelos' proposal, he would pay $9M in cash plus another $5M "if slots are permitted in Prince George's County and a casino is operational at the harness-racing track by Dec. 1, 2012" (Baltimore SUN, 1/5).

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