SBD/November 29, 2011/Facilities

NFL Facility Notes: 49ers' Success Not Accelerating Stadium Progress In S.F.

In S.F., Heather Knight wrote 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh in his first year has led the team to a "surprisingly good season, guaranteed to be its first winning once since 2002." Knight: "So City Hall must be skywriting declarations of love over Candlestick every game day, right? Not so much." S.F. Mayor Ed Lee said, "It's more like, 'Let's keep in touch, let's keep talking to each other and see where our proposals go.' I admit we're a Plan B." Lee is "hoping it's an opening to present 'a more robust proposal' for the Hunters Point stadium plan." The new plan could "include securing private financing for some kind of exchange on Highway 101 to shave 15 minutes off the travel time to the stadium." The city is "also playing up its financial strengths, including its natural clientele for luxury boxes and its potential to draw concerts and other sporting events to a new stadium." Lee said that his staff has "begun talking to the Oakland Raiders about turning the Hunters Point stadium into the homebase for both teams," an idea the NFL has promoted (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/27).

VIDEO GAME: In Charlotte, Joseph Person noted as the Panthers "begin a yearlong study for renovating Bank of America Stadium, experts say fans can expect to see bigger and better videoboards, improved suites and premium seats, and enhanced technology when work is finished at the 16-year-old facility." David Wagner, whose Charlotte-based Wagner Murray Architects is serving as a consultant on the renovation plan, said, "Five years ago nobody brought PDAs to football games. Look around now. How many people are on their BlackBerries? Half of them. They're checking scores." Wagner added, "No one watches the field. It's the craziest thing. They're looking at the videoboards. They're looking at the ribbon boards. They're looking at their PDAs" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 11/25).

SUMMER FOOTBALL: In Baltimore, Jeff Zrebiec noted the Ravens are "currently negotiating with several international soccer clubs with the hope of playing host to two potentially high-profile games in the summer." M&T Bank Stadium was the site of an exhibition game between Serie A club AC Milan and EPL club Chelsea in July '09 that "attracted more than 72,000 fans." The Ravens were "hoping to have a soccer game at the stadium this past summer, but they were unable to secure an agreement" (Baltimore SUN, 11/27).
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