SBD/February 21, 2011/Facilities

Facility Notes

Bettman adamant Oilers will not stay at Rexall Place
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Saturday said that the Rexall Place "is no longer adequate" for the Oilers' needs and that the team "won't stay in the building." Bettman added that he has "already been through one campaign to keep the team in the city, and that he doesn't want to have to go through another one." Bettman: "This building is obviously outdated, and for this city to continue to attract concerts, family shows, conventions, having a new state of the art arena is important. Equally as important is this team. The Edmonton Oilers [have] to have a new arena. There is not a question about it. They are not going to stay in this building." Oilers Owner Daryl Katz "is currently in negotiations with the city to build a new downtown arena" (CP, 2/19).

WILDCAT WAY: Learfield Sports, the sales and marketing rights holder at Rupp Arena, has agreed to a five-year extension on the deal, which now will run through '16. Learfield operates the Rupp Arena property as part of a joint venture with IMG College. The property came into Learfield's possession as part of the acquisition of Action Sports in '08. The new deal includes additional plasma TV monitors that will be placed above the concession stand windows, featuring menu items and advertising, according to Learfield Senior VP Steve Gowan (Michael Smith, SportsBusiness Journal).

LACKING PIZAZZ
: The SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS reported city "watchdogs are barking furiously these days after seeing a new rendering" of the MLS Earthquakes' proposed stadium. The documents submitted to the city by Devcon Construction "show stark and rudimentary sketches of the stadium, not the colorful U-shaped version unveiled by team co-owner Lew Wolff to much acclaim at a September 2009 event." The "bare-bones version ... is alarming soccer fans and skeptics alike," and they wonder whether it "is a sign that Wolff is backing out of his support for the stadium." But Earthquakes President Dave Kaval said that the rendering is "simply a way to show where the 15,000-seat stadium will be placed" on its proposed site (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/20).

COLLEGE TRY: In DC, Mike Jones reported the Redskins "will not be holding training camp at George Mason University as they had hoped." Redskins Exec VP & GM Bruce Allen and George Mason AD Tom O'Connor Friday announced that "despite working to move training camp to the Fairfax campus and away from" Redskins HQs in Ashburn, Va., "for the first time since 2002, the details couldn't be completely resolved this year." O'Connor in a statement said that GMU "wasn't able to give the Redskins the assurance that all of the needed facilities would be available at the time training camp is scheduled to take place." But Allen said that he "still hopes to one day have training camp at George Mason" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 2/18).

WHAT ABOUT BOB? In Indianapolis, Mike Chappell noted former Colts S Bob Sanders, who was released by the team on Friday, remains "one of five players featured on large posters" on the exterior of Lucas Oil Stadium. It is "only appropriate to take down the approximately 35-by-60 foot picture" now that Sanders has been released. But Colts COO Pete Ward said, "We haven't really thought about that yet." Chappell noted QB Peyton Manning, TE Dallas Clark, WR Reggie Wayne and DE Dwight Freeney are the other players featured on posters outside the building (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/19).
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