SBD/August 27, 2012/FacilitiesPrint All
USTA officials said that both the 23,000-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium and reconstructed Louis Armstrong Stadium “would one day have covers -- though they provided no timetable,” according to Douglas Robson of USA TODAY. USTA Exec Dir & COO Gordon Smith said that "span and size but mostly poor soil conditions, meant 15-year-old Ashe could not support the added weight of a roof.” But he added that parts of the upper deck “could someday be replaced with lighter-weight materials.” Officials said that plans to rebuild Louis Armstrong Stadium, “which might not be complete until 2018, would likewise be ‘roof ready.’” Smith said, “When the roof design becomes feasible, it will be put into the plan” (USA TODAY, 8/27). In N.Y., Marc Berman notes rain has “been part of the Open the past four years ... forcing the men’s final to Monday instead of Sunday.” USTA President & Chair Jon Vegosen said, “We want a roof, we’re going to have one one day. I can’t tell you when.” USTA officials said it will likely cost them “nine figures.” But they would not "pinpoint the year and admitted a model has not been chosen” (N.Y. POST, 8/27). Smith said, “The amount of money we’ve lost by not having a roof and the amount of money we might make by adding a roof is negligible compared to the cost of adding a roof” (AP, 8/26).
ROOF IS NEEDED: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Daniel Kaplan writes the USTA "has suffered withering criticism" for not having a roof in place. When the group announced in June “a half-billion-dollar redevelopment plan that did not include adding a roof, the media focused on what the effort did not have rather than what it did.” The USTA “plans to press on with its redevelopment plan while it studies the roof option.” In addition to the “engineering obstacles posed by a roof, the USTA must overcome organizational obstacles that have put such a project on hold in the past.” Under the proposal, the shell of Arthur Ashe Stadium’s upper bowl “would remain, but the seats, and the concrete that attaches them to the shell, would come out.” The seats and attached materials account for “about 40 to 50 percent of the upper bowl’s weight.” The idea behind the current proposal “is that the lighter-weight replacement seats, plus a roof, would weigh the same as the portion of the stadium that would be replaced.” Vegosen and Smith “declined to say if a decision is near, saying only that the technological progress in the area is rapid and had speeded the possibilities greatly.” No cost estimates have been released (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/27 issue).
If a proposed 18,000-seat arena near Virginia Beach "moves forward, it will be a group exercise,” and city Mayor Will Sessoms said that the estimated cost of between $275-400M "would require it,” according to Applegate & Walker of the Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT. Sessoms said, "This is something Virginia Beach cannot take on on its own.” He added that the city “could not build it without financial help from” Comcast-Spectacor, the state and the NBA. Sessoms: "I would assume from out of those three, there's got to be some cash." He added that he was “told by Comcast-Spectacor representatives that revenue generated by the arena would pay debt service on any city funding for the project” (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 8/25). Hampton Roads Partnership President & CEO Dana Dickens said that the region’s buying power “should be a net plus as three corporations and the Virginia Beach City Council consider whether to build an arena at the Oceanfront.” He said, “We have the income and population level here to buy the tickets to support a major sports team.” The '10 Census showed that Hampton Roads “has 1.67 million people … compared with more than 1.7 million for Charlotte and 1.3 million for Oklahoma City” (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 8/25). In Virginia Beach, Bob Molinaro wrote it is “premature to broach the subject, but some people naturally wonder if this area can support an NBA franchise.” Molinaro asked, “If it comes down to the Kings, though, the question needs rephrasing to, ‘Can Hampton Roads support a bad NBA franchise?’" (HAMPTONROADS.com, 8/25).
ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT: In Sacramento, Marcos Breton wrote NBA Kings co-Owners Joe and Gavin Maloof “aren’t talking -- and when they do, nobody should trust them anyway -- so Virginia Beach seems plausible even in absence of any facts.” Breton: “These guys will go wherever they can get a city to build them an arena for free, raising the value of their franchise while they retain control of it. They want everything for nothing” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 8/26). Also in Sacramento, Tom Couzens wrote under the header, “Maloofs Owe Kings Fans Real Answers” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 8/26).
The Warriors have selected AECOM and Norway-based Snohetta to design the club's new $500M arena on the S.F. waterfront. AECOM, formerly Ellerbe Becket, designed Barclays Center and is developing upgrades to New Orleans Arena for the Hornets. Snohetta, the Warriors’ lead architect, designed two civic landmarks internationally, the Oslo Opera House in Norway and the Great Library of Alexandria in Egypt. The NBA team, under owners Peter Guber and Joe Lacob, has committed to privately finance construction of an arena proposed for Piers 30-32 on S.F. Bay, south of the Bay Bridge, between the Ferry Building and AT&T Park (Don Muret, SportsBusiness Journal). In S.F., John King wrote the firms were “chosen independently and have yet to begin work on the arena project, which also includes 2.3 acres on the inland side of the Embarcadero.” Snohetta co-Founder Craig Dykers said that he “hopes an initial design will be ready for release within the next two months or so.” King wrote the selection of Snohetta “sends a signal that Warriors owners see the need for architectural creativity at a site that is as visible -- and problematic -- as any in the region.” The team also is “taking a chance on a firm that has made its mark with work in the public and cultural sectors, rather than for private developers” (SFGATE.com, 8/26).
The MLS Earthquakes organization “will break ground on its new privately financed 18,000-seat stadium in San Jose with a public ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 21,” according to Matt Schwab of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. The team will “continue playing at Buck Shaw Stadium next season.” Club seats and luxury suites for the new stadium are “sold out.” General seating “will go on sale on Tuesday, Oct. 23.” Earthquakes President David Kaval said that the club “hasn’t found a naming sponsor for the stadium and that ‘financing is not contingent on that’” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/26). MLSSOCCER.com’s Geoff Lepper noted the Earthquakes “plan on moving into their privately-funded stadium at the start of the 2014 MLS season.” Building the “as-yet-unnamed stadium will end an odyssey that began more than a decade ago.” San Jose’s original MLS franchise “moved to Houston in 2006 after ownership couldn’t work out a stadium deal.” Kaval said that the “stadium financing has been fully subscribed, and that the club is in ‘active negotiations with two or three major, Fortune 100 companies’ regarding naming rights” (MLSSOCCER.com, 8/25).
L.A. sports, government and law enforcement officials today are scheduled to announce “the adoption of a uniform Southern California Fan Code of Conduct,” according to Helene Elliott of the L.A. TIMES. The 10-point code, intended to “promote fans' enjoyment and safety, will be applied at every major pro and college venue in the area.” The “united effort spearheaded” by the L.A. Sports Council will “provide consistency by focusing on key principles that will be in effect at every venue.” The code will be “publicized in various ways, perhaps including public service announcements featuring athletes and celebrities.” The Fan Behavior Task Force “will monitor the effectiveness of the code.” Staples Center Senior VP & GM Lee Zeidman said that “unity and sharing information will be crucial” (L.A. TIMES, 8/27). L.A. Sports Council President David Simon said that the “biggest news to come out of this initiative is that for the first time a vast majority of teams and facilities covering a region of 20 million residents sat down together to share best practices.” Simon said, “We got all the venues singing from the same hymn books.” SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Don Muret notes the task force “has not determined how the code will be spelled out to fans at sports events in Southern California.” Simon said that “most likely, there will be signs displayed at arenas and stadiums, with audio and video messages played over loudspeakers and scoreboards.” But he added that how the venues “enforce the code and whether they increase security forces is up to the individual buildings” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/27 issue). Listed below are activities fans are being encouraged to refrain from, as well as a list of venues that are participating (THE DAILY).SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FAN CODE OF CONDUCT1
Profanity or other offensive language, whether spoken or appearing on apparel.2 Smoking (except in designated smoking areas).3 Intoxication or excessive alcohol consumption.4 Bringing prohibited items into the venue.5 Throwing of items or liquids.6 Entering the playing field or court at any time.7 Fighting or other threatening behavior.8 Failure to retain ticket and/or present it to event staff if requested to do so.9 Resale of tickets at the venue.10 Violation of state or local laws.PARTICIPATING VENUESRose BowlStaples CenterL.A. Memorial ColiseumHonda CenterDodger StadiumGalen Center (USC)Angel StadiumPauley Pavilion (UCLA)Auto Club SpeedwayHome Depot CenterSanta Anita Park
WTSP.com's Noah Pransky noted the Rays "will accept an offer from St. Pete councilmembers to attend a public presentation of a stadium proposal in Carillon, in the city's Northeast corner." Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg in a letter to councilmembers Thursday wrote: "I anticipate that members of the Rays organization will attend." Pransky noted "no meeting date has been set yet, but it is expected that members of the Pinellas County Commission will attend as well" (WTSP.com, 8/24).
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT: Developer Wilbur Breslin said Thursday that he is "not moving forward with his submission to develop the land surrounding Nassau Coliseum." On Long Island, Randi Marshall noted Breslin was "one of four developers to express interest in the site, through Nassau County's request for qualifications process that began last month" (NEWSDAY, 8/24).
KING OF THE BEACH: In N.Y., Bernie Augustine writes Long Beach State Univ. "recently unveiled a new look at the Walter Pyramid arena, a face-lift to the home of the school’s men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball programs that includes palm trees painted onto the court’s surface." The court, "outlined in black, features the school’s nickname 'The Beach' at center court." There are also "our golden palm trees with leaves that reach inside the three-point arc on each end of the court" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/27).