SBD/October 17, 2013/Facilities

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  • Cubs Drop Bridge From Wrigley Renovation, But Delay Project Sans Rooftop Agreement

    Cubs officials have nixed plans for a Clark Street pedestrian bridge

    The Cubs yesterday at a Chicago City Council meeting "agreed to drop a proposed pedestrian bridge over Clark Street" from their $500M Wrigley Field renovation plan, in exchange for city Mayor Rahm Emanuel giving the franchise "more flexibility on scheduling night games," according to Hal Dardick of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The Cubs under the new measures "would be allowed to play up to 43 regular-season night games instead of the 46 approved a few months ago." Thirty-five night games "would be scheduled prior to the start of the season and another eight would be games that national TV broadcasters ask to be shifted from day to night games." Emanuel's proposed change also would "remove a requirement that the Cubs get city approval to change the game times after Cubs officials said those provisions could be a deal killer." Emanuel additionally is "proposing the Cubs get to put up already-approved new signage with minimal further red tape." The Cubs also would "get city land to push back the exterior right-field wall by seven feet and the left-field wall by 16 feet." Emanuel's Dir of Communications Sarah Hamilton yesterday said that he has agreed to accept $4.75M in "previously pledged neighborhood investments as compensation" for being allowed to move the wall back. Despite steps taken by Emanuel to "get the stalled project moving, Cubs officials indicated they still have no plans to start work." The team has "opted not to start construction without getting an agreement from rooftop club owners not to sue over blocked views" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/17).

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  • NFL Cardinals Provide Deaf Fans With Video Board Captioning Following Lawsuit

    The NFL Cardinals and the Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority "have devised a new strategy to accommodate deaf and partially deaf fans" at Univ. of Phoenix Stadium this season, according to Paul Giblin of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The organizations are "providing text captioning on video boards so that football fans who have difficulty hearing the public-address system can read the play-by-play information as games are in progress." The system is the "result of a year’s worth of planning and refinement, shaped in large part by a lawsuit brought by Michael Ubowski, a Mesa resident and advocate for the deaf." The Cardinals initially "provided a deaf seating section that featured a limited number of seats with small monitors that displayed text captioning." Ubowski in an e-mail wrote that a second system "involved hand-held devices that featured captioning, but that system had a number of problems." Cardinals VP/Stadium Operations John Drum said that the franchise late last season "installed two text screens that display real-time captioning under the northern and southern scoreboards" at a cost "exceeding $100,000." He said, "A good amount of time was spent developing the system. It’s not something you just pull off the shelf and say, ‘Here’s what we want to do.’ A lot of effort was involved." Ubowski and the Cardinals "reached a settlement on June 28." Drum said that the captioning system "does an excellent job of keeping fans abreast of game-time chatter." Drum: "That text will continue to scroll throughout the game. That’s anything from the announcer reporting on the plays to anything the referee says over the PA system or any of the other programming that we have." Drum said that the team "still offers smartphones that have captioning for fans who prefer them" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 10/17).

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  • Facility Notes

    A ST. CLOUD TIMES editorial stated of the Vikings' plan to use PSLs in their new stadium, "While many fans and even a few politicians claim outrage, the PSL details simply reiterate some points all Minnesotans have known for months, even years and decades." Neither the Vikings' PSLs "nor the accompanying prices are a surprise." The editorial: "Ultimately, though, the real message behind the Vikings’ PSLs is that attending NFL games is becoming more and more unaffordable for average Minnesotans" (SCTIMES.com, 10/14).

    NORTHERN LIGHTS: In Vancouver, Larry Pynn reported Rogers Arena "expects to switch to LED lighting soon as part of a larger strategy to reduce the venue’s environmental footprint and reduce waste." The switch "could involve the replacement of up to 300 1,000-watt bulbs." The NHL "would also be involved to ensure the lighting is suitable for broadcasting and to monitor the amount of reflection on the ice surface" (VANCOUVERSUN.com, 10/16).

    RAM JAM: In Colorado, Trevor Hughes reported Colorado State Univ. has "withdrawn its request that on-campus football stadium contractors make cash donations to the project after the state’s top building official called the proposal 'concerning.'" CSU is instead "asking whoever builds the stadium -- along with their subcontractors -- to donate materials to the construction effort." The university said that encouraging private contractors to "donate will help them meet fundraising goals." CSU officials "liken the donation requests to the partnership struck between the state and contractors rebuilding the Colorado State Capitol Dome." However, they "refused to discuss why the initial request was worded the way it was, or why it was withdrawn" (COLORADOAN.com, 10/14).

    RULING ON THE FIELD: In Hartford, Jeff Jacobs wrote "there are some icy feelings at UConn right now" about poor conditions at Rentschler Field. School officials "are extremely frustrated, to the point where there are questions about safety." Global Spectrum, which took over management of the XL Center and Rentschler Field this past summer, said that "a process of removing sod in the center of the field began Tuesday and re-sodding will take place" today and tomorrow (COURANT.com, 10/16).

    HOUSE HUNTING: In San Diego, Nick Canepa writes the Chargers, who are looking to build a new stadium, were "aware all along what they were proposing downtown never would be a slam dunk" and are now considering building on 166-acre site of Qualcomm Stadium. Chargers Special Counsel to the President Mark Fabiani said, “The Qualcomm site drawing board always was there. ... A major international company, which I can’t name now, also is interested in partnering with us for stadium naming rights. The site is perfect for private development, for building an urban village.” Fabiani: "We can’t just sit around and wait while the next mayor is campaigning" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 10/17).

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