SBD/March 8, 2011/Facilities

Facility Notes

Target Field capacity will approach 40,000 with standing-room tickets for Opening Day
In St. Paul, Charley Walters reported the Twins "will sell standing room-only tickets for Opening Day that will increase attendance" at Target Field from 38,500 to the 40,000 range. Single-game tickets go on sale March 19. Meanwhile, starting with the Twins' April 8 home opener, Target Field "will begin a daily countdown" to Bert Blyleven's Baseball HOF induction date. There also "will be a 'countup' to 600 home runs for DH Jim Thome," who enters the season with 589 career homers (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 3/6).

PUBLIC OPINION: In Las Vegas, Alan Choate reports city voters are "lukewarm about the idea of a sports arena downtown, except for senior citizens, who strongly oppose the idea," according to a phone survey of 600 likely municipal election voters conducted last week. Overall, 44% of respondents said that the city "should pursue construction of a downtown arena," while nearly 48% "opposed the plan." Nearly 8% "were unsure or had no opinion." Almost 57% said that "no tax or other public incentives should be offered," compared to 37% "who said they should be." The survey "had a margin of error of plus or minus" 4% (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 3/8).

DOME DESIGN: Harris County (Texas) Judge Ed Emmett Friday said that the county "should move this year to renovate the Reliant Astrodome into a special events arena." Emmett said that he "favors a 'minimalist' approach that would see the Dome's roof replaced, its seats removed, its shell intact, and grass laid down." He "did not have a cost estimate for the idea." Emmett: "I think we owe it to future generations to preserve the Dome as a gathering place for special events." In Houston, Mike Morris noted an estimate last year "put the cost of razing the structure at" $128M (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/5).

DON'T GET YOUR HOPES UP: In Seattle, Chris Grygiel reported a measure approved by the Washington state House late Friday "would allow the extension of a raft of taxes now being used to pay off the late Kingdome, Qwest Field and Safeco Field, with the money going to fund an expansion of the convention center in Seattle and to support arts and culture." But sports fans "hoping for a new place for an NBA team to play would be out of luck." House Bill 1997 specifically prohibits any of the tax money from being used "for acquiring or constructing a stadium used by a professional sports franchise" (SEATTLEPI.com, 3/5).

RESTRICTED ACCESS: The CP reported the Canadian government "has blacked out documents detailing discussions over whether to fund an NHL-calibre arena in Quebec City." Nearly "half of the roughly 60 pages handed over" to the CP "are blacked out" (CP, 3/6).
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