SBD/June 5, 2012/Facilities

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  • Belle Isle Lays Out Track Repair Plans, Confident In Venue's IndyCar Future

    Pieces of the track were torn up during Sunday's Belle Isle Grand Prix

    Detroit Grand Prix Association Chair Bud Denker said that “work to replace sections of the circuit that came apart at the seams Sunday during the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix and to add a long straightaway on the back of the track will start this summer or early fall,” according to Mike Brudenell of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. Denker said that he “expected the work to patch, replace and extend the 2.1-mile course to take about 30 days once started.” He added that the cost of construction “would have to be shared by the Detroit GP Association, the City of Detroit and the state.” Denker was “confident support events to the IndyCar race would be held again," and that the Izod IndyCar Series and its drivers would "welcome returning to the Belle Isle despite the bizarre circumstances that temporarily shut down the Grand Prix.” Denker said, “I took a few shots this morning," referring to the reaction on talk radio and Twitter. He added, "But I'm still ticking” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 6/5). In Detroit, David Goricki notes Denker had “no way of knowing the Belle Isle track would fall apart” because four races “went flawlessly, as did numerous practice and qualifying sessions.” Denker: “I never spread concrete in my life, but I learned how.” He added, “It was very important to have a conclusion. We were not going to give up. If we had stopped the race at that point and not given it our best effort, we would have been quitters and made a lot of people disappointed.” Denker “doesn't believe a total repave for the Belle Isle track is needed” (DETROIT NEWS, 6/5).

    BOUNCING BACK:
    Also in Detroit, Jamie Samuelsen wrote if nothing had happened Sunday on Belle Isle and Scott Dixon had “won a ho-hum race, most of us wouldn’t be writing nor talking about the race.” Samuelsen: "But because the road disintegrated before our eyes, here we are, playing the role of race expert and road guru." A hole in the road is “not enough to overshadow the work" of race organizer and team owner Roger Penske. The track problem is “not a black eye that can’t be repaired,” but rather “a blip.” Samuelsen: “The drivers will be back. The race will be back. And the conditions will improve. I don’t have a shred of a doubt about that” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 6/4). Dixon said, “I feel bad for everybody that organized the event. They're doing their best, and they did a hell of a job on the weekend.” Dixon added, “It's very important for us to be in the Motor City and Detroit. And we have great fans here. It was a sold-out event today. We've got to focus on the positives. It's something that was just out of everyone's control and I can guarantee you it won't happen again next year.” In Detroit, John Niyo writes, “Clearly, one red-flagged race can't -- and won't -- be the end of this." Niyo notes Chevrolet signed up for a three-year deal as the title sponsor and the three-day event drew attendance more than 100,000, "even on a busy entertainment weekend in downtown Detroit.” Penske said, “It's like everything else in life: The unexpected is what you don't want. ... Obviously, the road hasn’t had much TLC for a long time” (DETROIT NEWS, 6/5).

    CLEANING HOUSE: The DETROIT NEWS' Terry Foster writes Grand Prix organizers “tried to put lipstick on Belle Isle, but the ugliness of a neglected island came out during the race when the track got beat up by the roaring cars.” Race organizers “should be applauded" for getting the event back in Detroit, but that "doesn't mean it should have happened.” Foster writes, "We've ignored Belle Isle for years. ... The smart thing would be to repave the entire track.” If the Belle Isle Grand Prix is “really serious about making this a great race, that is exactly what will happen.” Belle Isle "needs better care, and if that happens, the race will be better. If the race is better, Detroit will look better. It's as simple as that” (DETROIT NEWS, 6/5).

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  • Legends Launches Campaign To Sell Premium Seats For UCLA Football, Rose Bowl Game

    Faced with a fall ’13 deadline to sell premium seating for the renovated Rose Bowl, Legends Sales & Marketing has "formally launched the public phase of its sales campaign,” according to Brenda Gazzar of the PASADENA STAR-NEWS. Club seats for UCLA football games and the Rose Bowl Game are now on sale, "and tours of the seven level premium seating ‘pavilion’... are being offered to prospective clients three times a week.” Legends “has sold just under" $2M of its $9.2M goal since the end of ’10. Legends VP/Sales Cory Shakarian said, “We have to hustle and scrap for the next 15 or 16 months but we’ve got a great start.” Shakarian, who joined the team in January, "acknowledged his predecessor in December exaggerated the number of premium seating products that had been sold.” Shakarian said that the sales team has "now sold 21 out of 54 suites,” while the number given in December was 31. In addition, “only 11 of the 48 loge boxes have been sold, not 14 as previously announced.” Shakarian said that he is “encouraged the team has already sold at least 40 club seats out of 1,180 for the fully renovated stadium in the last few weeks.” He added that “failing to meet their premium sales goal is not an option.” Shakarian said that Legends' strategy “includes mailings, events and phone calls while expanding its focus throughout Southern California.” Since the team “began selling its most expensive products first, it only recently opened up club seat sales.” Gazzar noted loge box seats and club seats “will have access to air conditioned lounges and their ticket prices include food and non-alcoholic beverages.” All premium seating products “will have the option to purchase alcohol” (PASADENA STAR-NEWS, 6/3).

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  • Facility Notes

    Players want French Open lights sooner than the anticipated date of '17

    The AP's Trung Latieule notes tennis player Stanislas Wawrinka and others who are "complaining that the French Open doesn't have lights on its courts are going to have to wait years for an upgrade." French Open Dir Gilbert Ysern said that "change isn't coming until 2017, when a retractable roof and lights are slated to be installed at the main stadium at Roland Garros." Ysern said, "We have a complex that has been approved for competition during the day, not at night. We are not allowed to play at night. That's what the law says." Tennis player Tomas Berdych, who lost a match that was suspended Sunday and finished yesterday, said, "OK, we don't have to play like a night session, but at least to have decent lights (so) that you can finish the match" (AP, 6/5).

    DON'T BET ON IT: In Minneapolis, Jean Hopfensperger writes, "Pulltab and bingo operators are fretting as they scramble to calculate their tax bills under the Vikings stadium plan." Also, charities that hoped the Vikings stadium deal "would bring them tax relief now worry that they may actually wind up paying more." There are "roughly 1,200 Minnesota nonprofits being counted on to generate $348 million in taxes to underwrite the state's share of the cost of a new Vikings stadium." Climb Theater Gambling Manager Laurie Gluesing said, "To reach my same profit level with the new taxes and new higher prize level, I would have to do more than $2 million in gross sales." Minnesota Department of Revenue Research Dir Paul Wilson said that "overall, charity profits are projected to rise from $44 million to $111 million with e-gambling." Wilson: "We project profits as a group will more than double. That doesn't mean there won't be losers." Hopfensperger notes the tax advantages "go to charities with high payback rates for games, which in theory will increase gambling," and that “will pay for the stadium" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 6/5).

    SCORE FOR K.C.: NBCSPORTS.com's Steve Davis wrote Livestrong Sporting Park "was good to U.S. Soccer once before, so officials are returning anew to the Livestrong well." U.S. Soccer announced that its Oct. 16 World Cup qualifier against Guatemala will be held at the K.C. stadium. Getting into “smaller venues like this one is absolutely the right call for U.S. Soccer." Playing at grounds of 20,000 or so "allows U.S. Soccer to more closely control ticket sales, which makes it harder for the passionate opposition supporters to get their hands on tickets (and thereby mitigate the U.S. home field advantage)." It also is "an appreciable reward for communities (and owners) who develop these grounds." Davis: "Atmosphere-wise, it's an absolute home run. Livestrong will be bursting" (NBCSPORTS.com, 6/4).

    RAIN DELAY: In Winnipeg, Paul Wiecek reports there have been "significant new 'challenges' in the construction" of the Blue Bombers' new football stadium going up on the grounds of the Univ. of Manitoba. Officials "are now 'evaluating' whether a promised opening in September is still possible." Stuart Olson Construction VP Rick Graumann said, "We've had some very tough weather conditions the last couple weeks that have shut us down quite literally. Heavy rains and high winds. We're in the process of evaluating the schedule at this stage... We're doing everything we can to accelerate and mitigate some of those issues with weather." CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon said, "What they've told me is they are still on schedule for the Sept. 21 date and they're working hard to see if they can make the Sept. 9 date" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 6/5).

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