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The Virginia Beach City Council yesterday voted 9-2 "in favor of continuing negotiations for a proposed arena that could attract a major league sports franchise to the area," according to Anne McNamara of Portsmouth, Va.-based WAVY-NBC. It was the council's "first formal vote on the project." Sources said that the "anchor tenant is the NBA's Sacramento Kings." Virginia Beach Vice Mayor Louis Jones at yesterday's work session "definitively said the anchor tenant is an NBA team." However, the "entire proposal depends on how much money the city can get from the state." Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms maintains the $426M arena "cannot be built without help from the state." The "most recent term sheet" showed the city contributing $195M, arena investor Comcast-Spectacor contributing $35M, borrowing costs of $46M and $150M in state funds. In order for Virginia Beach to get a budget amendment, the city "will have to get a commitment, on paper, from all the players, including Comcast-Spectacor and the anchor tenant." Sessoms said that he "plans to get this 'term sheet' done before the legislative session convenes Jan. 9" (WAVY.com, 12/11). In Norfolk, Aaron Applegate notes the "nonbinding vote signals support for the framework of the current proposal." Comcast-Spectacor, which would "lease and operate the arena for 25 years, is negotiating with the team to move to Virginia Beach." City officials said that for the "project to move forward, a deal will need to be in place by the start of the General Assembly session in early January." So far, legislators "have had mixed reactions to the plan." Applegate notes the $426M arena cost includes $80M to "help the team relocate" (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 12/12).
USL club Phoenix FC is "adding upwards of 4,000 seats" to Arizona State Univ.'s Sun Devil Soccer Stadium, Phoenix FC's home for its inaugural '13 season through '15, according to Odeen Domingo of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The club "signed a three-year deal" with ASU and "has a five- to six-year goal of becoming a MLS club." BDR Sports, which owns Phoenix FC, has "invested $600,000 to revamp Sun Devil Soccer Stadium's amenities and increase the stadium seating" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/12). Phoenix FC President Tim Thomas said that the "goal is to have the stadium ready on Feb. 10." He said of possible matches, scrimmages or practices with MLS clubs, "I don't know if we have enough time to schedule things with MLS. There are some discussions out there." Arizona State AD & VP/Athletics Steve Patterson said, "One of the things we want to do is to open up the campus to people who don't necessarily come here every day" (AZCENTRAL.com, 12/12).
VEGAS, BABY: In Las Vegas, Laura Carroll noted for the first time, the MLS Challenge and Int'l Classic is "coming to Sam Boyd Stadium." The Feb. 15-17 event will be presented by rugby event organizing group USA Sevens. The tournament is being "organized by the Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club, and will incorporate the 10-year-old Las Vegas Mayor's Cup into the weekend events" (LVRJ.com, 12/11).
BROTHERLY LOVE IN FLORIDA: Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown yesterday said that the MLS Union have "committed to playing one preseason game at EverBank Field in each of the next three years." Brown added that it is "another momentum-building step in a lengthy process to bring an MLS club to Jacksonville" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 12/12).
In Green Bay, Richard Ryman reports a gateway-style structure downtown “that will be part of the Packers Heritage Trail” was approved yesterday by the city Redevelopment Authority. The structure “will be 56 feet wide, flanked by lighted glass and brick walls, with two 27-foot goal post-like stanchions in the middle.” The glass in the walls will be “etched with photographs from the Lombardi era on one side and the Lambeau era on the other.” Packers Heritage Trail Foundation Treasurer Scott King said that the foundation would “like to begin work in April and have the structure completed" by Packers training camp in late July (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 12/12).
CROSSTOWN TRAFFIC: Mariners and Amtrak reps yesterday while speaking to a city design-review board said that the proposed plans for a new sports arena in Seattle's Sodo neighborhood “jeopardize pedestrian access and safety.” Mariners attorney Melody McCutcheon said that an agreement between the team and arena investor Chris Hansen to limit simultaneous events at Safeco Field, CenturyLink Field and the new arena "could minimize conflicts with traffic and pedestrians.” The Mariners have “previously opposed the arena's Sodo location on grounds that it could worsen traffic congestion on game days” (SEATTLE TIMES, 12/12).
OLYMPIC PROPORTIONS: In London, Nathalie Thomas wrote British firms involved in the construction of the city's Olympic Park are being “taken out to Korea on government trade missions in an attempt to win lucrative contracts" ahead of the ‘18 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Douglas Barrett, head of trade and investment at the British embassy in Seoul, said that he expected PyeongChang '18 organizers "to be interested in replicating some of the temporary structures in Stratford -- such as the basketball arena -- to keep costs down” (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 12/11). Meanwhile, EVOLO.us reported Populous, architect of the London Olympic Stadium and ‘14 Sochi Olympic stadium, has "been selected as designers of the new Rostov Stadium" in Russia. It will be the fourth stadium that Populous has designed in Russia to be used for the ‘18 World Cup (EVOLO.us, 12/8).