SBD/August 27, 2013/Facilities

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  • Dolphins Sell Sun Life Stadium Club-Level Naming Rights To BankUnited

    Branding rights to Sun Life Stadium's club level had never been sold before

    The Dolphins have "sold the naming rights to their club level to BankUnited" at Sun Life Stadium, which is their "most valuable chunk of real estate," according to Adam Beasley of the MIAMI HERALD. The newly named BankUnited Club Level is a 10,000-seat "stretch of premium stadium seats with the best views of the field." It is the "first time the team has sold branding rights to that section" of the stadium. Financial terms of the agreement were not available, but it will "run between five and seven years." The Miami Lakes-based bank "also has owned the naming rights" for the Univ. of Miami's on-campus basketball arena since '05. This deal "comes at a time when the franchise's finances are on an apparent upswing." Dolphins Senior VP & Chief Revenue Office Jim Rushton said that club level ticket sales are up 20% "over this time last year, and the Dolphins have sold the most new suites of any NFL team" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/27).

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  • Renovated Husky Stadium The "Golden Egg" For Univ. Of Washington Athletics

    UW said fans wanted the old tradition of Husky Stadium, but in a modern facility

    Revenues from the Univ. of Washington's renovated Husky Stadium "should help the UW athletic department keep up with rivals in the ever-ballooning budgets of major college football programs," according to Adam Jude of the SEATTLE TIMES. UW AD Scott Woodward said, "Football is 85 percent of our revenue and obviously this football stadium is the goose laying the golden egg." The athletic department is "projected to generate" $95.6M in revenues for '13-14. The two-story 83,000-square-foot football operations center, built as part of the west end of the stadium, should "also help with the all-important goal of attracting the attention of high-profile recruits." Woodward said, "You wanted the old tradition of Husky Stadium, but you wanted it in a modern facility. And that's a hard thing to do, but I think the contractors and the architects and developers delivered just that." He added that the north-side roof and upper-deck bleachers are "all that remains of the old stadium, but they did get a face-lift with new paint and new speakers." But Jude noted what remains after the $280M renovation is "what has made it one of the most iconic venues in college sports since it was built for $600,000 in 1920: the views of Lake Washington and the Cascade and Olympic mountains" (SEATTLE TIMES, 8/25).

    COUGAR TOWN: In Seattle, Bud Withers noted under construction at the west end of Washington State Univ.'s Martin Stadium is a $61M "edifice that gathers all WSU football functions under one umbrella and brings those elements into the 21st century." The building is "being backed by 30-year bonds and paid for with the proceeds of the league's fully-shared TV contracts that took effect" in '12-13. WSU AD Bill Moos said, "We were way, way behind at a critical juncture. When we expanded the Pac-12, people were building like crazy, and we had to get ourselves in the game." Withers noted WSU last year unveiled its "new south-side complex, including luxury suites, club and loge boxes and a new press box." The fact that structure went up first "isn't typical of Moos' playbook." Moos: "The ideal plan would have been to build the football-operations building first. My philosophy has always been, build the facilities that are going to attract and benefit the student-athlete." Meanwhile, there will be "some inconveniences" in '13. Moos said, "This is going to be a construction zone this fall" (SEATTLE TIMES, 8/25). In Spokane, Christian Caple noted WSU also announced that a new scoreboard "more than double the size of the old one will be added in the east end of Martin Stadium before the Sept. 14 opener against Southern Utah." Additionally, an LED ribbon board "is being constructed on the facade of the stadium's premium seating structure" (Spokane SPOKESMAN-REVIEW, 8/24).

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  • Vikings To Provide More Financial Data For Audit Of Wilfs As Stadium Concerns Grow

    Vikings officials have "agreed to provide analysts with more financial information" on team co-Owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, but "fears continue to grow that construction of a new football stadium in downtown Minneapolis is falling behind schedule," according to Richard Meryhew of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said, "I’m really concerned right now that 2 1/2 years ahead of the opening, we’re already looking at potentially a one-month delay." An attorney working on an audit of the Wilfs said despite "multiple requests" for the information, the Wilfs had, to date, "refused to provide us with any personal financial information." Kelm-Helgen yesterday said that Vikings attorneys "relented over the weekend, pledging to provide that paperwork." Kelm-Helgen added that as of yesterday afternoon, authority attorneys "had yet to receive the information." But she said she is "cautiously optimistic" it will be delivered. Kelm-Helgen said that Mark Wilf told her yesterday that the Vikings have "no intention of returning to the negotiating table to hammer out the lease and development agreements until the audit is complete, which could push back the construction timeline by a month" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 8/27).

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  • Florida Mayors Mum On Stadium Proposal Calling For Taxpayer Share Of MLS Team

    One stadium propsal calls for a taxpayer stake in an Orlando MLS club

    Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs have "remained silent so far on a proposal to require Orange County taxpayers get a share" of any Orlando MLS expansion franchise if the public "subsidizes a new $85 million stadium for the team," according to David Damron of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. Jacobs has "taken no stance" on Orange County District 3 Commissioner Pete Clarke's proposal. Clarke "wants Orange to be a long-term financial partner with the team and get a share of its annual revenues or any sale of the team -- if county taxpayers invest $20 million in its facility." Dyer's spokesperson  said "our legal department is reviewing if that concept is legal or not." Jacobs and USL Pro club Orlando City "have also not weighed in on another proposal" by Orange County District 4 Commissioner Jennifer Thompson, which asks the team to provide $1.5M in "public soccer fields in return for any county stadium subsidy." The team under the current plan "would put in $30 million, and a ticket fee that fans would pay could leverage another $10 million, with the last $5 million coming from other sources, including nearby local governments." Clarke said, "I want a better deal for taxpayers. I want some kind of return on our investment" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 8/24).

    BOWLED OVER: In Orlando, Mark Schlueb noted city commissioners yesterday in back-to-back presentations "heard why a renovated Citrus Bowl will be able to compete for major events and why Orlando City Soccer Club couldn't play there." Supporters of a $95M sports and arts funding package "made their pitch for public money to the City Council." The package, which Dyer dubbed "Venues 2," would "provide tourist-tax dollars for a professional soccer stadium, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, the Citrus Bowl stadium and travel and event marketing." Florida Citrus Sports President Steve Hogan said that the "extra money to renovate the Citrus Bowl would give the facility an edge in securing major events." Orlando City Soccer Club Owner Phil Rawlins "explained why his team won't be playing there if it becomes the next" MLS franchise. He said, "We would love to play in the Citrus Bowl. It would save us $30 million … (But) it is not an option." Rawlins said that MLS "requires new league members to play in smaller soccer stadiums with covered seats" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 8/26).

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  • Facility Notes

    The AP's David Porter reported the Federal Aviation Administration during Super Bowl XLVIII will "create a temporary flight restriction over MetLife Stadium." The FAA "didn't offer details on that this week, but judging by previous Super Bowls, it figures to include a no-fly zone restricting all private, non-commercial aircraft from flying within several miles of the stadium beginning a few hours before the game and lasting for a few hours after." Scheduled commercial flights "haven't been disrupted during previous Super Bowls and likely wouldn't be this time." Unlike Newark Liberty Airport, Teterboro Airport "handles mostly private jets and could be the most affected, both by the increased traffic leading up to the game and the restrictions after the game that could create a bottleneck of flights getting out of town" (AP, 8/24).

    JERSEY BOYS: In Newark, Thomas Zambito reported, "Angry contractors, upset to find themselves on the hook for millions laid out for services essential to the Prudential Center’s day-to-day operations, turned to the courts to get the Devils to pay up." Pritchard Sports and Entertainment, which cleans Prudential Center "got dragged into litigation, as did the team’s primary food and beverage provider." Centerplate said that the Devils "'fabricated' accounting disputes to avoid paying its bills" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 8/26).

    ON THIN ICE: In Toronto, Simon Kent noted the fate of the controversial 20,000-seat, $325M arena proposed for Markham "may now be just a few weeks away" with a council vote. GTA Sports and Entertainment Chair & CEO Graeme Roustan said the GTA Centre is "not just about the hockey possibilities, it’s about a range of entertainment options." Supporters claim that the center "can be financially viable without a professional hockey league tenant" (TORONTO SUN, 8/21). Also in Toronto, Steve Simmons wrote, "Sure is sounding like it’s all over for a Markham Arena and by extension the supposed dream of a second Toronto NHL team. Still think, Toronto could and should have two NHL teams, and you can play both of them out of the Air Canada Centre" (TORONTOSUN.com, 8/24).

    SUITE LIFE: In Dallas, Eddie Sefko reported the Mavericks are "creating new 'theater suites' on one end of the suite level at American Airlines Center." Team Owner Mark Cuban said that it is an "attempt to give smaller parties the suite treatment." He said, "Rather than seating 12 or 24, these will sit four or eight" (DALLASNEWS.com, 8/22).

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