Final "Friday Night Fights" Tonight Louisiana Passes Sports Event Bidding Bill Miami May Get Football/MLS Stadium MLSE Close To Naming New CEO Sources Deny Report On Rams To L.A. St. Paul Saints Open Ballpark Michigan Approves Athletics Project NHL Salary Cap Expected To Grow 5% Figo, Van Praag Pull Out Of FIFA Race
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Majestic Realty's plans to build a 60,000-seat off-campus UNLV football stadium "have been scrapped," according to Paul Takahashi of the LAS VEGAS SUN. After UNLV "nixed its partnership with Majestic" in March, the L.A.-based developer "entered into an exclusive agreement with Wells Fargo Bank to purchase 40 acres of privately-owned land at the corner of Koval Lane and Tropicana Avenue." Because Majestic "failed to win public funding for its stadium proposal during this past legislative session, it was forced to automatically terminate its agreement to purchase the land from Wells Fargo." The property is "now up for grabs to any developer looking to build another project near the Strip." Majestic point person Craig Cavileer said, "We're not in pursuit of a stadium at this time." However, Majestic "may still be able to help develop the UNLV Now stadium project backed by the university." Majestic has the "right of first refusal" under its termination agreement with UNLV. That means the university "must present any new stadium plans to Majestic, which has the right to build the project or pass it on to another developer." That termination agreement "expires after two years, however, which makes it unlikely Majestic will be able to utilize its right of first refusal." UNLV now is "working with an 11-member planning committee to craft new plans for its stadium." Majestic's alternative stadium idea "became a casualty of casino competition, bad timing and politics" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 7/18).
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME? In Las Vegas, Ray Brewer notes UNLV last college football season only had "about 4,000 season ticket holders," and there "weren't nearly enough fans at Sam Boyd Stadium to make an impact." But UNLV interim AD Tina Kunzer-Murphy said, "We want people to come out and make a difference." She said that "nearly 80 percent of the season ticket holders from last year have been renewed." In addition, another 250 "have been purchased, helping them reach 96 percent of their revenue from last year." UNLV last season "ranked last out of 10 teams in the Mountain West in averaging 15,208 fans per game, or 41 percent of Sam Boyd's 36,800 capacity." UNLV "needs more fans to help create a true home-field advantage, but locals traditionally won't support struggling programs regardless of the team or sport." They will "jump on the bandwagon once a team starts winning." UNLV "isn't the lone Mountain West program faced with poor attendance." In following the "same pattern as Las Vegas, league teams struggling at the box office also struggled on the gridiron" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 7/19).
The city of St. Paul "cleared two major hurdles" on Thursday in its effort to build a $63M downtown ballpark, laying out a plan to close a $8.8M funding gap and agreeing with the independent American Association St. Paul Saints on operation costs and sharing revenues, according to Kevin Duchschere of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The project is "scheduled to be finished in time for opening day of the Saints’ 2015 season." The City Council on Wednesday will be asked to approve $2M in city funding and a $6M loan" that it hopes to repay with environmental grants from state and regional sources." Officials said that next month they expect to "finalize a preliminary development and use agreement under which the Saints assume responsibility for operations and everyday maintenance at the ballpark." The agreement includes a "revenue sharing arrangement that will give St. Paul a share in the Saints’ net ballpark proceeds and what the team would make should it be sold within seven years" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/19). The Saints have agreed "in principle" to increase their $10M stake by $1M and "cover ballpark operations and day-to-day maintenance costs, which can reach into the millions of dollars" (ST. PAUL PIONEER-PRESS, 7/18).
The Nebraska Board of Regents took "significant steps Thursday toward big additions to athletic facilities on both its Omaha and Lincoln campuses," according to Julie Anderson of the OMAHA WORLD-HERALD. The board first approved an "inter-local agreement with the City of Omaha that marks the next move toward a proposed $76 million complex for the University of Nebraska at Omaha that would include a new hockey arena and homes for the basketball and volleyball programs." The city under the agreement slated to go to the Omaha City Council will "be asked to contribute" $6.3M toward the project. The regents via a separate vote approved a $20.4M "new home for the University of Nebraska’s soccer and tennis teams." That complex will be "located on the edge of what was State Fair Park." Donations to the athletic department "will cover the entire cost of the project" (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 7/19).
FIELD PASS: The DETROIT FREE PRESS reported the Univ. of Michigan Board of Regents approved a $13.5M "field hockey complex." The concept of the project was "approved by the regents in May, but the athletic department was asking for approval of the schematic design." The new facility will "be 13,000 square feet, with locker rooms, coaches' offices, training facilities and meeting space." There also will be a "new grandstand to seat 1,500 spectators, plus a concessions building with public restrooms" (FREEP.com, 7/18).
ALL EYES ON IOWA: In Des Moines, Andrew Logue reported the Univ. of Iowa's Kinnick Stadium is getting a $9M "video and sound upgrade." Iowa Senior Associate AD Jane Meyer said that the project "could be complete in time for Iowa's annual Kids Day on Aug. 17." The south board is "120 feet wide and 31 feet tall, with high-definition capabilities." Two video walls on the north side "measure approximately 38 feet wide and 21 feet tall." A video ribbon board will "stand 8 feet tall and stretch 400 feet" (DESMOINESREGISTER.com, 7/17).
THE COWBOY WAY: In Oklahoma City, Gina Mizell reported Oklahoma State Univ. has completed its 92,000-square-foot "sparkling indoor practice facility." The $19M Sherman E. Smith Training Center will "immediately become another recruiting asset" for OSU. There is a "full artificial-turf football field that can also be expanded into a full soccer field." The ceilings are "high enough for punting and kicking drills and for the baseball and softball teams to field pop-ups" (OKLAHOMAN, 7/16).
In Green Bay, Charles Davis notes thousands of Packers fans on Thursday "attended the unveiling of about 7,000 new seats in the renovated south end zone section at Lambeau Field." Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy "took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony." Of the 7,000 new seats, about "5,400 are general spots and the other 1,600 are premium seats for season-ticket members and sponsor partners." Packers officials said that they "wanted to preserve the iconic feeling of the stadium and build upon it." Fans said that the renovations were "seamless as they walked around the stadium to check out the upgrades." They "gushed over the 14 viewing platforms, which allow fans to stand while watching the game" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 7/19).
BALL'S IN YOUR COURT: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon during a luncheon featuring St. Louis-area business leaders said that he is waiting on Rams Owner Stan Kroenke to "propose improvements" to Edward Jones Dome and "perhaps other ways for the team to make money off a stadium and surrounding properties." In St. Louis, Tim Logan noted Nixon has "emerged as an apparently key figure in the stadium talks" after the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Committee "formally rejected the team's proposal for an estimated $700 million in stadium upgrades earlier this month" (STLTODAY.com, 7/18).
UNDER REVIEW: STYLE WEEKLY's Edwin Slipek noted the new $10.8M Redskins training center was "designed by 3north Architects, with the Timmons Group as civil engineer and landscaper, and Hourigan Construction as the contractor." It is a "low-slung and sprawling new two-story, unabashedly modernistic building." The first floor "reads as a podium for the glass-enclosed floor above." Its "dark beige, concrete-block outer walls are given a hint of rustication by the intermittent injection of lighter-colored blocks." The second floor, the "glory of the handsome building, is a thing of expansive and beautiful transparency." Its high outer walls are "lined with double-paned glass." Three "designated areas await future tenants." Two open balconies on the building's west side "overlook a drill and twin practice fields" (STYLEWEEKLY.com, 7/16).