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Santa Clara leaders on Thursday approved six "last-minute deals needed before" the 49ers stadium project can get under way in coming weeks -- including up to $100M in extra loans, according to Mike Rosenberg of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews said, "This is really a historic night for us because there's nothing now that prevents us from moving forward on the project. It is simply real." The Stadium Authority "approved the final documents for a bank loan" of up to $950M -- more than the prior estimate of $850M "because of increases to the stadium's price tag revealed last week." However, officials think that "upcoming revenues such as seat sales will lower the long-term debt to below" $700M. When the stadium agency "takes out the loan as soon as next week, it must pay" a $14.625M bank fee plus, $80,000 annually for the next few years. Officials also "approved a parking agreement with the 49ers that gives the team the right to reserve" 10,000 parking spots on city-owned land during game days, "in exchange for part of the parking revenue." The Stadium Authority also "inked a legal 'nonrelocation agreement'" with the 49ers. The city council "extended the Niners' lease for its existing training facility and headquarters" from '42 to '74. Stadium leaders also "backed a deal to hand the year-round management of the stadium to the 49ers, which will be responsible for handling financial books, hiring employees and booking non-NFL events such as concerts." The authority will pay the team $200,000 in the first year, increasing 3% annually, "plus booking fees and reimbursement for half its costs" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/16).
Financial services firm Edward Jones on Thursday announced a renewal of its naming-rights deal for the Rams' stadium for 11 more years. The company will pay $42.3M over the course of the deal, which runs from April 1, 2014, through March 31, 2025. The original contract signed in '02 was for 12 years at $32.7M. The rights fee includes signage on the interior and exterior of the building (Edward Jones). In St. Louis, Matthew Hathaway notes the Rams' lease at the Dome "allows the team to keep the lion's share of all advertising generated at the venue, including naming rights." Edward Jones CMO Brad Iversen said that the company "did not receive any assurances the Rams would stay in town through" '25. Noting that the naming-rights deal only remains in effect while the Rams are based at the Dome, Iversen said, "If they were to leave town, or change venues, we'd have to address that if it happens" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/16). Iversen said that the deal was negotiated with Rams Exec VP/Football Operations & COO Kevin Demoff and was "signed last week" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 3/15).
MLS DC United has signed a two-year lease extension with RFK Stadium, and the team will “limit seating to the lower bowl and mezzanine level and attempt to sell sponsorships on tarps covering the upper-deck seating areas,” according to Steven Goff of the WASHINGTON POST. United President & CEO Kevin Payne said, “It’s a great branding opportunity, but it’s more important that our supporters become accustomed to a 20,000-seat stadium, and we expect that limiting the capacity will encourage an increase in season ticket sales.” The team and stadium operator Events DC are “seeking to sell naming rights to the playing surface.” Payne: “I wouldn’t necessarily say we are close (to signing sponsorships), but we are talking to some people.” Goff notes in previous MLS games at the stadium, the upper deck was “rarely utilized.” RFK’s new MLS capacity is 19,647. United averaged 15,196 fans last year and “drew 16,314 for last Saturday’s season opener.” The team hopes that limiting the capacity will “create demand and encourage fans to secure seats in advance.” Meanwhile, Events DC announced it would “improve lighting on the concourse and renovate restrooms” at the 51-year-old stadium. The improvements are “part of a ‘multimillion dollar’ plan” to upgrade RFK and the adjacent DC Armory. A facilities fee of $2.25 is “being applied to tickets purchased for United matches” to pay for the upgrades (WASHINGTON POST, 3/16).
The NFL Giants and Jets are concerned that the American Dream Meadowlands entertainment complex "would intensify traffic around their home field, MetLife Stadium, worsening what is already the No. 1 complaint from fans,” according to Heather Haddon of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. At the heart of the dispute is "an indoor water and amusement park” that the complex' owner and developer, Triple Five, “has proposed in addition to the mall.” Sources said that the teams want developers “to shut down an amusement and water park on the days of their 20 home games during the regular and preseason.” The sources also said that if “that doesn't happen, the teams would consider a legal challenge.” Triple Five VP/Marketing Maureen Hooley Bausch said that the mall's main section “is supposed to open by early 2014 -- in time for the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium.” The developers have said that the 14.7-acre water park “is important to making the complex a regional destination.” However, sources also said that the teams believe an ‘06 Memorandum of Cooperation among themselves, Triple Five and the New Jersey Sports & Exhibition Authority “gives the teams the right to block changes to the project that would have an adverse effect on their business” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/15).
JOINING FORCES: In New Jersey, John Brennan noted Gov. Chris Christie Thursday announced that the NJSEA “would become part of the Department of State, which is overseen by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, with the lieutenant governor gaining a seat on the sports authority board.” The plan would “merge the state Division of Travel and Tourism in Trenton and the Motion Picture and Television Commission in Newark into the sports authority’s jurisdiction.” The changes would come as NJSEA “is in the process of turning over Monmouth Park to private interests on May 1.” The last facility to “go private would be Izod Center, which sports authority President Wayne Hasenbalg said could happen later this year” (Bergen RECORD, 3/16).
The Barclays Center yesterday announced a deal with online and social media language services company Ortsbo Inc. to translate content for fans around the world. Through the partnership, the Nets' new venue will house the Ortsbo Media Room, where pre- and post-game press conferences will take place. The content will launch when the arena opens on Sept. 28. Utilizing Ortsbo’s Live & Global platform, Barclays Center will offer live webcasts and chat participation before and after various arena events using an online video stream “Barclays Center TV” (Nets). In N.Y., Ali Elkin noted Ortsbo is a “Toronto-based technology company that specializes in instantly translating text, often for Tweets, chats and live blogs.” Ortsbo will “lead Barclays Center's global social media push by instantly translating spoken or written text on the arena's website into more than 50 tongues.” Ortsbo will also have “personnel at the arena who will generate content for the Barclays website, such as live chats with coaches or updates from concerts.” Ortsbo and Barclays Center marketers “are still working out the specifics of what content will go on the site” (CRAINSNEWYORK.com, 3/15).
Residents near the new Marlins Park complained Thursday evening that a "newly unveiled parking plan for the neighborhood will make their lives miserable," according to Beasley & Sanchez of the MIAMI HERALD. The plan "sets aside a few blocks near the ballpark where area residents can park." But the plan also "bans residential parking on many more stretches -- to accommodate baseball fans." People who "live on those banned blocks will have to find somewhere else to park on the 81 times a year -- mostly night games -- when the Marlins play at home." Thursday’s town hall-style meeting was "intended to soothe neighborhood concerns, although it may have done the opposite." Beasley & Sanchez note with "less than three weeks before the new stadium’s first regular season game, parking -- or the lack of it -- remains the biggest headache facing the neighborhood and the Marlins." The team also began "widely selling single-game parking passes to Marlins Park’s garages and surrounding lots -- after saying for months they would be reserved for season-ticket holders, players, staff and members of the media." Marlins Dir of Business Communications Carolina Perrina de Diego said, "There were some spots left over, and we’ve opened them up to everyone" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/16).
In Las Vegas, Richard Eng writes the Betfair-Hollywood Park naming-rights deal is an "interesting marriage that makes sense on many levels." The five-year deal "brings certainty to the Southern California racing calendar and relief to the California Horse Racing Board and the TVG network." If Hollywood Park "were to close, its dates potentially would have been allocated among Santa Anita, Del Mar and, possibly, Fairplex." Now there is "certainty for five years." Eng writes, "I suspect Betfair would not be making this commitment without the understanding that exchange wagering will be moving forward" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 3/16).
CAPTAIN'S QUARTERS: The MLB Rangers and Diageo Thursday announced they have reached a multiyear deal that includes the naming of the new restaurant and sports bar at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The two-level, over 9,000-square-feet Captain Morgan Club will offer table and bar seating for approximately 230 guests. The club will be open to all ticketed fans before, during and after Rangers home games. FS Southwest and ESPN Radio 103.3 Dallas will have studios in the club, with live pre- and post-game programming. The club will be operated by the Rangers Ballpark concessionaire Sportservice. The club is expected to be open for select non-gameday events and will also be available for special event rental when the team is on the road and in the offseason (Rangers).
GET YOUR HOT DOG! In K.C., Mike Hendricks noted "bowing to criticism from vendors and City Councilman John Sharp," MLB has "relaxed language in two proposed ordinances that would have outlawed non-MLB-approved street vending within a mile of a 'major sporting event district.'" Under the revised proposal, "nonfood vendors would still be prohibited in those zones before, during and after All-Star week, July 6-10." MLB said that it "needs the restrictions to better police the sales of counterfeit fan merchandise." But "new language says established food vendors -- those who now have all the required permits to operate in Kansas City -- would be exempt from the ban under a pair of substitute ordinances approved Wednesday by the council’s Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee" (K.C. STAR, 3/15).
KNIGHTS LOOK TO QUEEN CITY: In Charlotte, Steve Harrison reports the Triple-A Int'l League Charlotte Knights asked the city on Thursday for $11M to "help build a minor-league stadium uptown." The team has "tried to move uptown from Fort Mill, S.C., for at least" six years and still "faces a number of county-imposed deadlines." Mecklenburg County has "already pledged" $8M for stadium infrastructure and $24M in uptown property. If the city approves the $11M, taxpayers would "pay for more than half the project’s" $78M cost, including land. The Knights currently "draw only" 300,000 fans and lose money in Fort Mill" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/16).