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Backers of a new downtown arena for the NBA Kings "took a virtual victory lap through the city Tuesday -- and plunged into the nitty-gritty details of a $387 million endeavor that still has as many questions as answers," according to a front-page piece by Kasler & Bizjak of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Council members were focusing on "two key areas of the proposal: a still-evolving plan to pull $200 million-plus in upfront cash from the city's parking operations, and details of the 'term sheet' governing the arena development." The term sheet, to be released to the public tomorrow, "will spell out who provides how much money toward construction -- and how revenue from NBA games, ice shows and other events will get divided among the Kings, the city and arena operator AEG." Many of the "fine points of the term sheet were still being committed to paper Tuesday, and some of the principal stakeholders in the deal were waiting for details to be spelled out." Kings co-Owner George Maloof said, "We have a framework of a deal; we don't have a term sheet yet." Sacramento-based developer David Taylor said that to get the new arena ready for the '15-16 NBA season, "design work needs to begin within five weeks." The county Board of Supervisors yesterday "voted 4-1 to move ahead on a plan to help the city finance the project." Under the plan, the city "would get to use three county-owned downtown lots for arena parking -- and keep the estimated $2.5 million in annual revenue produced during arena events." The city would also get $1M a year in "county taxes that would be generated by the presence of the arena," for a total of $3.5M (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/29).
MARKING THE MOMENT: In Sacramento, Matt Kawahara notes at the first timeout of yesterday's Jazz-Kings game, co-Owners Gavin and Joe Maloof "walked to center court amid a standing ovation." Gavin then "addressed the crowd." He "thanked Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, the NBA, commissioner David Stern and arena operator AEG, before addressing the crowd directly." He said, "Thank you for all you do, thank you for the love that you've shown our family. We still love you, we always loved you, and we always will love you. Thank you" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/29). Asked how the arena deal was finalized, Gavin said, "Stern wanted it. We wanted it. Everybody stretched. AEG gave more. We gave more" (SACBEE.com, 2/28).
CAUTION FLAG: In Sacramento, Marcos Breton writes, "We've reached a dangerous portion of this saga because while almost everyone is celebrating and thinks it's over, we still don't know what 'it' is." This is where cities such as Sacramento "can get in huge trouble by agreeing to as-yet-undefined deal points that risk financial exposure." Breton: "We need specifics. How is the revenue at the new arena going to be split? How will the city replace the $9 million in parking revenue that will be funneled into the arena? Shouldn't someone raise concerns about the viability of Kings owners who already had a lot of debt and seemingly will take on even more to remain Kings owners? Going forward, do the Maloofs have the capacity to put a good product on the floor?" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/29).
A ground lease for the 49ers' proposed new stadium "was approved by the Santa Clara Stadium Authority" last night, according to Stephanie Lee of the S.F. CHRONICLE. The authority voted 5-2 to "approve the first of two parts of a 40-year ground lease, which authorizes use of the site to allow construction to start by July" on the 68,500-seat stadium. The "cash-strapped city is projected to receive about" $40M in revenue from football games over 40 years, "starting with the opening of the stadium" in '14. Other revenue would "come from naming rights and seat licenses." The lease also "mandates the city receive annual rent that is roughly equal to half the net income from non-NFL events." The team is "expected to pay" $30M a year to use the stadium. If a second team, such as the Raiders, were to "move into the stadium, the city would also receive more than" $1M in additional annual rent. At the next council meeting, March 13, there "will be a vote on an agreement between the Stadium Authority and the 49ers governing the team's rent for playing in the stadium." That would "allow construction to kick off within 120 days and require the stadium to be completed within three years" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/29).
LSU AD Joe Alleva said Monday that plans for a south end zone expansion of Tiger Stadium "have cleared their first hurdle ... with unanimous approval last week by the Tiger Athletic Foundation board to proceed with the project," according to Scott Rabalais of the Baton Rouge ADVOCATE. Alleva said that the plan "calls for building what will essentially be a freestanding structure that will wrap around the south end of Tiger Stadium and connect the existing east and west upper decks." He said that the addition would include "a lower level containing 4,000 club seats, two levels of suites totaling 60 in all with seating for 24 people in each, and a 1,500-seat upper deck topping the entire addition." If the expansion "goes as Alleva described, Tiger Stadium would grow by 6,940 seats to a total capacity of nearly 99,500." That would make Tiger Stadium the "seventh-largest facility in the country." Alleva: "I don’t know when we would put the first shovel in the ground, but I’d love to have it available to use for the 2014 season. That will take some hustle to have all the approvals in place for then, so hopefully 2015 for sure." Alleva "did not divulge a total projected cost for the project, but said LSU and TAF officials are confident the project will pay for itself." This would be the "third major expansion of Tiger Stadium, which first opened in 1924, in the past two decades." Alleva said that the trigger for the south stadium expansion plans "was the discussion over what to do about replacing the large scoreboard above the south end zone." He added that instead of replacing it where the current scoreboard sits, LSU "will put in two large video boards in the corners above the existing south end zone stands." He also noted that they will be "similar to ones in the corners of Bryant-Denny Stadium but larger" (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 2/28).
PRIORITY SEATING: In Detroit, Eric Lacy notes less than a week after the Univ. of Michigan men's basketball team finished 15-1 at the renovated Crisler Center, athletic department officials "unveiled a seat-reconfiguration plan designed to give priority seating privileges to longtime season-ticket holders and donors." Season-ticket holders "will have to pay anywhere from $50-$7,500 per seat in what athletic department officials call a 'personal seat donation' to secure their spot for the 2012-13 season and earn points for priority seating." Season-ticket holders will be "awarded one priority point for each year of consecutive ticket purchases" dating to '92-93 (DETROIT NEWS, 2/29).
Sun Life Stadium today will test the early phases of an IBM analytic software package when “several thousand fans show up for an international soccer match between Mexico and Colombia,” according to Mike Clary of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Dolphins Senior VP & Chief Technology Officer Tery Howard said that the cloud-based technology, called Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities, is “designed to allow stadium staff to better monitor and anticipate potential problems related to parking, crowd control and concession stand sales.” Eventually, Dolphins marketers “will begin collecting personal information from ticket holders, other football fans and concert-goers.” Howard said, “If we know the route you take to the stadium, we could tell you where to park, the best gate to enter, and if you are socializing (with other registered fans) where your friends are." IBM VP/Global Business Partners & Midmarket Marketing Mike Gerentine said that the Dolphins are the “first team to employ the Smart Cities technology that is being used in New Orleans, London and other cities.” Although he “declined to reveal the exact cost of the system, Gerentine said it was in the ‘several hundred thousand dollars’ range.” Collaborating on the project with the Dolphins and IBM “is Flagship Solutions Group, a technology company based in Boca Raton” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 2/29). The SOUTH FLORIDA BUSINESS JOURNAL's Ashley Torres noted access to this real-time data “enables stadium staff to plan for concession and merchandise needs for specific events, which can help to increase business profitability.” In addition, security personnel “can utilize geospatial intelligence and audiovisual notifications to shift the flow of fans and minimize crowding” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 2/28).
Cleveland's three major professional sports franchises along with the city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County could "come together to win an extension of a cigarette and alcohol tax that would pay for the future upkeep of the city's sports palaces to extend the life of those structures," according to Jay Miller of CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS. The team effort will be needed because "renewing or replacing the so-called sin tax, which now runs only through 2015, will be a come-from-behind challenge." The "biggest challenge will be changing the minds of state officials and overcoming the tobacco and alcoholic beverage lobbies, which in 2008 slipped into a budget bill language that forbids counties from levying local sin taxes." The charge to extend the sin tax "is led by" the Browns. Execs from the football team "went before Cleveland City Council earlier this month to ask for a $5 million loan from the city for repairs that would be repaid later this year and in 2013 from future sin tax proceeds." Team officials said that the 13-year-old stadium "needs a variety of work." Browns General Counsel Fred Nance said, “We anticipate a collaborative effort among the three teams." Miller notes the Cavaliers and Indians "are aware of the Browns' moves but are staying on the sidelines for now." At the end of '15, the bonds Cuyahoga County and the city of Cleveland "issued to pay for their shares of construction of the Gateway buildings and Browns Stadium, respectively, will have been repaid." The teams have 30-year leases "that put the onus of capital repairs on the city and county governments." The city, the county and the Browns agree they need a secure revenue stream that will be dedicated to paying for major capital repairs" (CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS, 2/27 issue).