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SBD/June 26, 2013/FacilitiesPrint All
O.co Coliseum reopened yesterday after last week's sewage overflow and new carpet was "put down in significant areas of the visiting clubhouse and umpires' room and was also installed in the hallway between the two clubhouses," according to Carl Steward of the OAKLAND TRIBUNE. Carpet was "not only replaced but dry wall and tile was removed up to a foot in the damaged areas." The A's had "carpet tiles in storage from when the clubhouse was originally renovated several years ago and those were used to replace the damaged carpets in the manager's office, training room and hallway." The A's "did their own testing after the hazmat company completed its work looking for possible harmful bacteria." Everything "checked out clear." A's VP/Stadium Operations David Rinetti confirmed that a "large mass was found to be clogging a pipe and caused the overflow." Several A's officials, including Rinetti, were "asked about the cost of the repairs, but claimed they did not know." AEG, which manages the Coliseum, "did virtually all of the work" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 6/26). Rinetti said, "We basically stepped back and let the facility do the work to repair everything that had to be repaired" (MLB.com, 6/25). A's Visiting Clubhouse Manager Mike Thalblum said of the work crews, "They went above and beyond. They did absolutely everything to make sure it was spick-and-span" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/26).
REED BETWEEN THE LINES: San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said of why his city sued MLB in an effort to get the A's to move to the market, "We have to knock these so-called territorial restrictions out of the park so we can get back to the possibility of getting a team." Reed, appearing on ESPN.com's "Behind the Dish" podcast, said the end game of the lawsuit is to "knock the territorial restrictions out so that a future mayor, a future council could have an opportunity to get a baseball team without having to worry about the territorial restrictions." Reed said he requested a meeting with MLB's Blue Ribbon Panel handling the A's issue, but the panel said that "we have nothing new to tell you." Reed added the MLB league office "refused to say anything." Reed: "I just finally concluded we're never going to get an answer, this is going nowhere and I need to look out for the rights of the people of San Jose so four-and-a-half years of waiting was just a little too much" ("Behind the Dish," ESPN.com, 6/25).
The California Science Center & Exposition Park BOD yesterday "approved a sharply debated deal" that grants USC control of L.A. Memorial Coliseum and "nearly all of the revenues from the taxpayer-owned stadium for the next century," according to Lin & Pringle of the L.A. TIMES. The board voted 7-0 to "adopt the basic terms of the lease agreement," which will "become effective after the state Department of General Services and the California Natural Resources Agency approve a final document and the Science Center board ratifies it." USC also has the "option to tear down the neighboring Sports Arena and replace it with a soccer stadium or amphitheater." The school has talked with MLS about "building a stadium on the site, possibly for Chivas USA." Critics have labeled the agreement a "giveaway to USC that fails to guarantee the public enough money." Key opposition to the deal had "come from trustees of the Science Center's fundraising foundation, which is separate from the governing board." The trustees said that the museum "would be hurt by a provision that allows the school to take over Science Center parking for USC football games and other major events." An earlier version of the 98-year lease "gave USC the right to claim museum parking for 25 big events annually," but that was "reduced to nine or possibly 10 after fierce opposition." The lease requires USC to spend at least $70M on upgrades "during the first decade." The school also will pick up the Coliseum Commission's $1M yearly rent payment to the state, an amount that rises to $1.3M in '16 and then "adjusted afterward for inflation." USC "must pay the state 5% of the proceeds from the sale of naming rights." The school will "retain all ticket and concession revenues from football games and other Coliseum events" (L.A. TIMES, 6/26).
Bigger crowds at this year's College World Series "could put TD Ameritrade Park in the black for the first time" since it opened in the spring of '11, according to a front-page piece by Erin Golden of the OMAHA WORLD-HERALD. The stadium last year made $4.5M during the series, but "once the bills had been paid -- to bondholders, to the NCAA, to the people and companies that keep the park running -- the venue had a net loss of $122,668." It was "an improvement from the park's first fiscal year loss of $803,000 but still not the result the city and the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority wanted." It is "too soon to tell exactly how this fiscal year, which ends June 30, will shake out." But MECA President & CEO Roger Dixon said that the "combined boost of February's hockey double-header and higher attendance at the CWS is 'promising' for the park's year-end financial situation." Total attendance at this year's CWS was 341,483, up from last year's 326,734 -- "which even had one more game." Omaha City Attorney Paul Kratz said that the "debt service on the park is the first responsibility." The city so far has "paid down" $2.9M of the balance. If it "keeps to the planned payment schedule, the park will be paid off in 2036." The venue was "built for the CWS, and it's the series that covers the park's expenses." However, making a profit "requires a successful stream of cash from other events." TD Ameritrade Park next year will host the Big Ten conference baseball tournament, and MECA officials "have been talking with Creighton about hosting the Big East Conference tournament" (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 6/26).
MISSING ROSENBLATT: In Raleigh, Luke DeCock wrote what was "once a showcase for the best of college baseball has become a grueling tableau of the worst of it thanks to Omaha’s new TD Ameritrade Park, where the wide-open spaces leave hitting and pitching trumped by bad defense." The ballpark was built with fences and power alleys "designed to contain the old ping-happy, ball-launching aluminum bats." The same season the venue opened, the NCAA "debuted a less-powerful bat that mimics its wooden counterpart." TD Ameritrade Park was "obsolete" before it ever hosted a CWS game. It is a "beautiful ballpark, but it’s bad for college baseball." The venue's dimensions are "better fitted for a national park than a ballpark." Univ. of North Carolina OF Chaz Frank said, "To make it more interesting for the fans, it'd probably be cooler to move the wall in. But they probably won’t do that." Going into the finals, there were "a total of three home runs hit in 12 games" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 6/25).
An $86M expansion of Nippert Stadium is “essentially paid for" after the Univ. of Cincinnati "secured buyers for 18 private suites and hundreds of club seats," plus $10M in private donations, according to Cliff Peale of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. Those buyers will “provide enough money to pay off the bonds UC will issue to pay for construction.” The expansion effort will “start in December, immediately after the 2013 season ends, and will be done in time for the 2015 season.” UC is “talking to the Bengals about playing at Paul Brown Stadium for the 2014 season.” Tuition dollars “won’t be used for the project.” The new pavilion will include “the boxes and club seats, plus a skywalk into Tangeman University Center.” The project also includes “an expanded concourse, restrooms and concessions on the east side.” The club seats committed so far, "with access to an indoor club room," will bring in about $2.5M per year over the 20-year bond payoff, while the 18 suites will bring in nearly $2M a year. UC AD Whit Babcock said that the school “will sell naming rights to the new pavilion.” But he added the stadium "will always be Nippert Stadium" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 6/26).
The NFL said that fans in Buffalo and Green Bay, who "must contend with many metal bleacher-type seats and tough winter weather, will be allowed to bring in Styrofoam seating pads and portable seat backs, as long as neither has covers or pockets," according to Gene Warner of the BUFFALO NEWS. NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy said, "The traditional seat cushions still won’t be permitted." Warner notes it is an issue that has "brought surprisingly little outcry in Buffalo or around the league, perhaps because the reference to seat cushions was buried in the league policy." Fans have suggested "several options, including offering seat cushions for rental inside the stadium, attaching a cushion to each season-ticket holder’s seat or even allowing much smaller cushions." However, the Bills are "waiting to hear more from the league and plan to share many of the new guidelines with fans as the preseason opener approaches." Bills VP/Event Operations & Guest Experience Andy Major said, "They understand the bag policy, and they understand the public-safety aspect, but they’re expressing some concerns about the cushions. We’re very open to all ideas and suggestions on improving the fans’ experience. It’s part of our normal routine" (BUFFALO NEWS, 6/26). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Don Muret notes the Lambeau Field, which opened in '57, is an exception to the policy in part because it "has 66,000 hard metal bench seats." McCarthy said, "We spoke to the Packers about that item. It will be permitted due to the special circumstances with bleacher seating." Packers fans for about 10 years have been "able to rent seatbacks they can attach to bench seats." Packers PR Dir Aaron Popkey said that the 7,000 seatbacks "sell for $6 a unit, and most are rented for every home game" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/24 issue).
IN THE CLEAR: The Chiefs yesterday announced they will provide season-ticket holders with free clear plastic bags that are in compliance with the NFL's new stadium bag policy. Each season-ticket holder will receive one complimentary bag. For season-ticket holders with more than four seats, the team will provide one free bag for every four seats on the account. Each bag is branded with a Chiefs logo (Chiefs).