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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Thursday was "pitching the idea" of Soldier Field hosting a Super Bowl to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during a private meeting, according to Spielman & Jensen of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Emanuel joked, ‘‘I found out a secret -- that is, the commissioner’s in-laws live in the Chicago area, and I’m holding them hostage until that happens." Emanuel: "Obviously, they’re gonna have their first (cold weather) Super Bowl in another city. We’ll see how that goes. But we talked about why (not) Chicago?" Goodell mentioned Super Bowl XLVIII set for MetLife Stadium and said, "If we can do it successfully there, that opens up doors that we’ll all be looking at. Obviously, [Chicago knows] how to host great events. The mayor just mentioned several. And you’ve got a great stadium." Soldier Field's seating capacity of about 62,575 is the smallest in the NFL. Goodell said that the number of fans "who could be jammed into Soldier Field -- and the number of tickets sold -- isn't the most important issue." SportsCorp President Marc Ganis said that the concern "isn’t about the gate receipts but rather the ticket commitments from the NFL and conference champions to corporate, network and other stakeholders" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/1). In Chicago, John Byrne notes Lucas Oil Stadium's 63,000 capacity for football games makes it the second smallest NFL stadium behind Soldier Field, "but that was increased to about 68,000 for this year's Super Bowl." One notable difference between the two stadiums is the retractable roof at Lucas Oil Stadium. Goodell said that is important for a Super Bowl host site "to be able to host the many people who come into the city just to be a part of the event without attending the game" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/1).
HINDSIGHT IS 20/20: In Chicago, Dan Pompei notes if the city “wanted to be host to a Super Bowl, it should have done two things differently in 2001 when the city decided to rebuild Soldier Field.” It should have “made the capacity significantly larger, and it should have put a dome over it.” The average face value for a Super Bowl ticket “is about $1,000,” meaning a Super Bowl at 80,000-seat Cowboys Stadium “would be worth considerably more than a Super Bowl at Soldier Field in ticket sales alone.” And while the NFL will play Super Bowl XLVIII outdoors at MetLife Stadium, Chicago "in February makes New York feel like Honolulu” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/1). The Chicago Tribune's Fred Mitchell noted when Soldier Field was renovated, the team "actually reduced the capacity of the stadium and it did not meet the minimum requirements ... to host a Super Bowl." There would have to be "some structural changes made in order to accommodate that many people.” Comcast SportsNet Chicago's Dave Kaplan: “In addition, you would have to get a field because you can't play on painted dirt” ("Chicago Tribune Live," Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 5/31).
EPL club Liverpool is “expected to announce within weeks they intend to stay at Anfield, not build their long-planned new stadium on Stanley Park,” according to David Conn of the GUARDIAN. Under plans drawn up by the Liverpool city council and revealed to local residents, “houses would be demolished to enable the club to expand Anfield's main stand.” City council Assistant Dir of Regeneration Mark Kitts said that “homes would be given ‘an open market valuation’ -- which he suggested could be upgraded to reflect an area in better condition -- plus a 10% ‘home loss payment’ and removal costs.” Conn notes Liverpool "will not have to negotiate directly with residents or buy their houses.” Kitts said that the council “has the option of applying for compulsory purchase powers, to force residents to sell, if necessary.” Liverpool's "principal physical obstacle is not enlarging Anfield's footprint -- their plan is understood to involve adding an extra tier, plus corporate facilities, to the Anfield Road and main stands." Doing so, however, "would block the ‘right to light’ of those neighbouring houses.” Kitts said he believed the demolitions would “solve the right to light issues.” He added that the council “hopes to begin work as soon as this summer.” Conn notes the council “still favours” a new stadium, but Liverpool Owner Fenway Sports Group has “made it clear since it bought the club that it would prefer to enlarge Anfield, mainly because it is cheaper” (GUARDIAN, 6/1).
A Miami-Dade inspector general’s audit of the AmericanAirlines Arena operating agreement with the Heat “blasts the county for ‘poorly performing’ administrative oversight and paying little attention to the Heat’s annual budget,” according to Rabin & Mazzei of the MIAMI HERALD. The 60-page document released Thursday “faults Miami-Dade for having ‘little idea’ about whether the team has met financial benchmarks that would trigger profit-sharing from the county-owned arena.” Inspector General Christopher Mazzella in the audit wrote, “The county’s hands-off approach to an operation that now generates more than $60[M] a year is perplexing, especially an operation that has yet to produce sufficient profits to result in profit-sharing." Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s office said that the audit “covers a timeframe that pre-dates his tenure, and he is working to fix any problems.” Heat execs “disagreed with the audit’s conclusions.” A “key provision” in the ‘97 accord “stipulates that Miami-Dade is to receive 40 cents of every dollar of profit after the team" earns $14M in profits. The Heat “maintains it has never come close to that magic number.” Rabin & Mazzei note the figure has never been reached “because despite some profitable years, the contract allows the Heat to pay off all of its losses before declaring profitability.” The Heat remains “well below the threshold of sharing profits with Miami-Dade,” despite F LeBron James’ decision to sign with the team during the ’10 offseason, a $13M “windfall from increased ticket sales, a giant spike in food and drink concessions last year, and $72.2 million the county poured into operating the arena.” Mazzella suggested that the county “learn how the team makes money from lucrative concessions and ‘premium’ ticket sales, including suites.” He also wrote that the county “should know more about non-basketball events at the arena, since those revenues impact potential profits” (MIAMI HERALD, 6/1).