SBD/June 5, 2012/Facilities

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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