SBD/August 11, 2011/Facilities

Facility Notes

Upgrades to the Superdome include new and refurbished seats
The AP’s Mary Foster noted Louisiana and New Orleans officials yesterday “showed off” the Superdome’s newly completed upgrades, “touting the improvements as having ‘all the bells and whistles’ of a new facility.” Seats have been “replaced or refurbished, and new ones added; there are new club facilities and restrooms, and new video systems and scoreboards installed.” Luxury suites have been added and the Saints' locker room “expanded to twice its old size.” The multi-phase $336M project began after Hurricane Katrina “wrecked the building” in ’05. Saints Owner Tom Benson said, "This is a brand new stadium. It's got all the things we wanted. I haven't seen a finer stadium in the country" (AP, 8/10).

FULL HOUSE? SCENEDAILY.com’s Kenny Bruce noted Bristol Motor Speedway, which “once boasted a streak of 55 consecutive sell-outs” for its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, may be “ready to embark on another run of full stadiums beginning later this month” when the track hosts the Irwin Tools Night Race on Aug. 27. BMS GM Jerry Caldwell said the track, which seats approximately 150,500 in the grandstands, is “going to be close” to a sellout. An estimated crowd of 138,000 turned out for last year’s spring race, “bringing the sell-out streak to a halt, while the announced attendance for the August race was 155,000.” Caldwell: “Ticket sales are good. We’re very encouraged. We’re probably going to announce soon a couple of sections are selling out ... everything is filling up nicely” (SCENEDAILY.com, 8/10).

ENGINE TROUBLE: In Charlotte, Steve Harrison notes the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which owns the NASCAR HOF, yesterday said that the facility “lost $138,000 in June, the last month of fiscal year 2011.” For the full FY, the HOF “lost $1.42 million, more than the CRVA’s amended midyear budget’s estimated loss of $1.24 million.” The CRVA “will pay for the deficit out of its reserve funds this year” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/11).

MUM’S THE WORD: In Las Vegas, Joe Schoenmann cites sources as saying that Int’l Development Management President & CEO Chris Milam, who “has failed to get deals done in Las Vegas and unincorporated Clark County, is now courting Henderson officials in an effort to build a $2 billion stadium complex near the M Resort.” The sources said that Henderson officials “have signed confidentiality agreements” and are “keeping quiet about the talks over worries that word of a lengthy construction project might draw opposition from residents near the proposed arena site.” One source described the project as “a done deal” (LAS VEGAS SUN, 8/11).

CHAMPAIGN WISHES: Univ. of Illinois officials have selected Aecom to design the Assembly Hall renovation, according to industry sources. The same firm designed new Matthew Knight Arena at the Univ. of Oregon, among other college projects (Don Muret, SportsBusiness Journal).
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