SBD/May 4, 2012/Facilities

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  • Cardinals, Univ. of Phoenix Stadium Suing City Of Glendale Over Lost Parking Revenue

    The NFL Cardinals and the Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority, which operates Univ. of Phoenix Stadium, on Wednesday “delivered a notice of claim" to the city of Glendale "seeking up to $66.7 million to replace the lost parking with garages, unless an acceptable solution is found,” according to Lisa Halverstadt of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The claim, a “precursor to a lawsuit, follows two April letters to the city that laid out the team's and sports authority's concerns that parking demolished in February to build the 38-acre Tanger Factory Outlets complex could not be replaced.” Glendale had a deadline of Tuesday “to provide assurances that parking spaces at Westgate City Center would be replaced,” and the claim stated that the city “never responded.” The Cardinals began playing at Univ. of Phoenix Stadium in '06, and an agreement “signed four years earlier required Glendale to provide 6,000 spots for football games and other stadium events at Westgate.” City Attorney Craig Tindall said that the parking agreement “requires the 6,000 spots be available only about two months before the first football game.” He said that the first Cardinals game is set for Aug. 17, and the city “is working to have an answer for the Cardinals within weeks” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 5/3). In Phoenix, Dan Bickley writes some think the Cardinals organization is “acting like a bully,” but Bickley “can't blame the Cardinals on this one.” They have “evolved from a bungling franchise to a team that has sold out 63 consecutive games in Glendale,” and along the way, “they've become pioneers in consumer relations” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 5/4).

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  • Watkins Glen Int'l Signs On For Wind Farm Project With NextEra Energy Resources

    Watkins Glen Int'l President Michael Printup Thursday announced that the track "has signed on" for a proposed $200M wind farm to be developed by Fla.-based NextEra Energy Resources, according to Jason Whong of the Elmira STAR-GAZETTE. Printup said that track owner ISC "already works with NextEra for clean energy credits and marketing opportunities" at its Daytona Int'l Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway facilities, but that "this deal takes the companies in a new direction." Printup said that if the project is built, several turbines "will be placed at high points and ridge lines on the 1,832 acres of the track." He added that WGI "is not the first landowner to sign on, but it is the largest." NextEra Development Dir Ross Groffman said that the proposed wind farm "could bring 50 to 75 turbines" to the towns involved in the plan. WGI "can't tap into any turbines for power, which would be sold to the local power substation." Printup said that WGI "has not considered putting ads on the turbines, especially since it's unknown if the turbines will be in good advertising locations." The turbines "won't be near the track, and there are rules about how close they can be to roads and buildings" (Elmira STAR-GAZETTE, 5/4). Printup said, "I think there’s nothing like clean energy that can move the little needle, and with us and the popularity of NASCAR, and we have 5 or 6 million people watching us on TV, that’s the crux of this relationship." In New York, Derrick Ek notes race officials said that the "huge turbines will likely be visible from the grandstands during races." As to whether NextEra plans to advertise at WGI, Printup said, "We would expect to sit down and talk once they have a project, but at this point, it’s only a land lease. But of course we would like to expand that relationship to include something else down the road." Groffman "didn't say if NextEra would consider sponsoring" the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the track in August (CORNING LEADER, 5/4).

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  • Facility Notes

    The renovation of Jeld-Wen Field, the home of the MLS Portland Timbers, has won the Merit Award for Excellence in Architecture by the S.F. chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The $40M renovation, completed in time for the Timbers’ inaugural season in '11, was praised for “balancing contemporary architecture with the historic character of the iconic downtown stadium.” The stadium was originally built in '26. AECOM was the architect of the project. ICON Venue Group served as project manager and Turner Construction was the general contractor. The Timbers have sold out every game at Jeld-Wen Field (Christopher Botta, SportsBusiness Journal).

    TEXAS HOLD 'EM
    : In Dallas, Robert Wilonsky reported the Univ. of Oklahoma “has agreed to keep playing the University of Texas at the Cotton Bowl through 2020.” Dallas Parks & Recreation Department Facilities Manager Louise Elam said that OU has “sent the contract to the State Fair of Texas.” State Fair of Texas Sports Committee Chair Pete Schenkel said, “They’ve both indicated we’ve got a deal, I’m just waiting to get them signed up.” Wilonsky noted the city “is about to spend $25.5 million on rehabbing the Cotton Bowl, yet again, in an effort to keep the Red River Rivalry in Dallas.” UT and OU’s current deal with the State Fair of Texas “expires in 2015” (DALLASNEWS.com, 5/3).

    TRACK MEET: In London, Tom Cary reports an American consortium financed out of New York and working with partners including Virgin Group “is back in the running to take over a long-term lease" at the Silverstone Circuit, site of the F1 British Grand Prix. The British Racing Drivers' Club, “which owns the circuit, agreed [to] a period of exclusivity last autumn with a mysterious group, believed to be Qatari-backed, and a deal was expected to be concluded over the winter.” Cary notes that deal “appears to have fallen through, however, with the BRDC releasing a statement yesterday saying the period of exclusivity was over and it was keen to speak to ‘interested parties’” (London TELEGRAPH, 5/4).

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