SBD/June 25, 2013/Facilities

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  • Execs Say Calgary Stampede Will Go On As Scheduled Despite Saddledome Flooding

    Stampede officials say the event has never been cancelled in its history

    Flames President & CEO Ken King estimates that "30 million gallons of water was pumped" from the Scotiabank Saddledome yesterday, but "plenty of work remains," according to Brody Mark of the CALGARY HERALD. Mud is "all that remains and because of it, in-depth assessments of damage and the introduction of restoration teams have begun." King went on to "re-affirm that everything from kitchen equipment to hockey helmets to audiovisual equipment was destroyed by the flood, which at one point reached Row 14 of the Flames’ home." His team was "busy ordering replacements for all that was lost on Monday, but no timeline was given for when they will arrive, or where it will be stored while the Saddledome goes through renovations." King said that his team is "working hard to ensure the building is ready to go" for the Calgary Stampede rodeo on July 5. King added that after the Stampede "comes and goes ... only then will they focus on readying the building" for the upcoming WHL Calgary Hitmen and Flames season (CALGARY HERALD, 6/25). Predators GM David Poile, referring back to the Nashville floods in May '10, said, "I knew what it was like -- we’d been through something similar here -- but when I saw the pictures from Calgary ... it’s way, way worse than what we had to go through. You’re talking 10 to 12 feet, 14 rows of your building. That encompasses so many different things, from electrical, to equipment and right on down. That’s a major, major difference. Ours was only between a foot and a half in depth, two feet at the highest point." In Calgary, George Johnson notes the waters in '10 "didn’t actually reach Bridgestone Arena, the way they washed against the Scotiabank Saddledome here late last week, but the sewage system was so overtaxed, the ramifications were inevitable" (CALGARY HERALD, 6/25).

    THE SHOW MUST GO ON: Calgary Stampede CEO Vern Kimball yesterday said that going ahead with the event "is a vital show of defiance in the face of disaster." He added, "We'll deliver the Stampede to take a break from pumping water from their houses." Kimball said that they "fully intend to recover the entire Stampede Grounds in time for the July 5 opening." He added that they are "not ruling out concerts ... at the Scotiabank Saddledome." Kimball said that calling off the Stampede "wasn't an option." He said, "Throughout our entire history, we have never cancelled a show despite two wars and a depression" (CALGARY SUN, 6/25).

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  • Cal-Berkeley Seeking New Revenue Streams To Finance Stadium Renovations

    Premium seating sales at Memorial Stadium fell $120M short of Cal's goal

    The Univ. of California-Berkeley's renovated Memorial Stadium and "glistening new training center opened to rave reviews last fall, but the risky plan to pay for the facilities fared as poorly as the team itself," according to Jon Wilner of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. If the financing plan fails, the most expensive facility upgrades in college sports history -- the total cost is $474M -- "could cripple Cal athletics over time by draining tens of millions of dollars away from the operating budget." The school planned to "finance the projects through the sale of 40- and 50-year rights to approximately 2,900 high-priced seats in the renovated stadium." But with "sales lagging -- only 64 percent of the premium seats have been sold -- the school abandoned its June deadline to secure commitments for the long-term equivalent" of $272M. Cal is $120M "short of that goal." Cal officials "blame bad timing for lackluster sales: The financing plan was devised in 2007-08 and implemented during the heart of the recession." The revised plan "reduces Cal's reliance on selling high-priced tickets and attempts to generate" $5-10M per year from "previously untapped sources, such as renting out empty space in the stadium to the Haas School of Business." But in a "troubling sign, Cal officials have tentatively earmarked for long-term debt service more than" $50M that would otherwise have "gone to athletic department operations over time." The revised financing plan includes $2.5M annually "in television money from the College Football Playoff, which begins in 2014, and millions more from the sale of local media sponsorships." Cal AD Sandy Barbour did "not rule out the possibility of redirecting other revenue streams to stadium financing." One option could be "a portion of Cal's share" of the Pac-12's $3B TV deal (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 6/25).

    CUSTOMER SERVICE GUARANTEE: Wilner noted Cal under the direction of Vice Chancellor John Wilton has "identified new revenue streams to help service" the renovation debt. Cal began by "hiring a dedicated sales staff." The new strategy is based on the Padres' "approach to customer service." Cal COO Solly Fulp said that the eight-person sales staff in the last 14 months has "made more than 60,000 outbound calls." The new approach includes "corporate bundles of two-year seat contracts and discounted 'perk' seats available to owners of the premium plan." Cal planned "all along to sell naming rights to the field," but the school has "combined that effort with an aggressive attempt to rent out empty space in the stadium" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 6/25).

    YOU CAN GO YOUR OWN WAY: Barbour said that she had "no regrets about the scope or the price tag" of the stadium upgrades and new training center. She said the renovation was a "no brainer." But Wilner asked, "Was the project overly ambitious?" Cal's project differs from the Univ. of Washington's stadium renovation "in more than cost." Cal partnered with Stadium Capital Financing Group to "create a high-risk financing plan in which fans purchase long-term rights to premium seats." UW listened to a pitch from Stadium Capital Financing Group, who partnered with Cal on its seat-purchase plan, but "ultimately opted for a more conventional approach" in selling luxury seats "on a year-to-year basis." UW AD Scott Woodward said, "I met with our donor groups and it didn't suit our sensibilities" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 6/24).

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  • The Dark Knights: UCF Unveils Black Paint-Stained Basketball Court

    UCF's court was delivered via police escort on Friday before being installed on Sunday

    UCF yesterday “unveiled its new basketball court,” and large sections of the court “that previously were a shade of gold are now stained with black paint,” according to Paul Tenorio of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. The majority of the floor “appears to range from light gray to dark gray, depending on where a person is seated in the arena.” The lanes are “a darker, glossy shade of black and surrounded by a traditional gold wood color inside the 3-point arc.” UCF men’s basketball coach Donnie Jones said, "I think having this as an emblem and a mark is something kids like, recruits like, fans like. It's something you can point to." The university posted “numerous updates on Twitter and sent letters to members of national and local media outlets teasing ‘#OperationBlacktop.’” The court was “delivered via police escort on Friday before being installed on Sunday evening.” The marketing campaign “drew national attention, as did the ultimate unveiling.” Jones said that the team also will be “getting new uniforms" for the '13-14 season. UCF G Isaiah Sykes hinted that the prospective designs “include a pinstripe look” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 6/25). USA TODAY’s Jasmine Watkins wrote the color scheme “could either be a genius idea because of the nostalgia factor of playing on a real blacktop, or the worst idea since” the Univ. of Oregon installed a Nike-designed basketball court intended to look like a forest of fir trees (USATODAY.com, 6/22).

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