SBD/October 29, 2013/NBA Season Preview

NBA Facility Notes: Pelicans Hoping Renovated New Orleans Arena Marks Dawn Of New Era

In Baton Rouge, Jaquetta White wrote the Pelicans' opener tomorrow against the Pacers at New Orleans Arena "will be more than just the debut of a rebranded team in a renovated facility." Team officials also hope that it is the start of an era in which the Pelicans and Saints "no longer need to rely on annual cash payments from the state to keep them afloat." The arena underwent a $35M renovation this offseason, the first of a two-phase, $50M improvement "aimed at relieving the state of having to pay annual subsidies to the team." Many of the changes were "made to the arena's club and suite level, which now feature expansive common areas and more diverse dining options." Pelicans President Dennis Lauscha said that the team hopes to cover the $7-10M annual payment that the state "formerly made to the team." He added, "I'm fairly confident these improvements are going to sell the naming rights" (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 10/27).

MAGIC THE GATHERING: In Orlando, Mark Schlueb wrote the $1.7M that the Magic could receive from the city to build a sports-and-entertainment complex "will ensure downtown Orlando gets something it badly needs: conference space." Magic sister company SED Development is "negotiating to buy city-owned property across the street" from Amway Center for $12.7M. The company "plans to tear down the buildings" and erect a $100M entertainment complex "with office space, bars, restaurants, retail space, a parking garage and an outdoor-festival plaza." The Magic's plans "already include a hotel and conference center as well." The conference center would be "about 40,000 square feet, able to accommodate at least 1,000 people." The tax money has been "approved by a city advisory board, but it still requires a City Council vote." The overall purchase agreement with the Magic is "expected to go to before the council" Nov. 25 (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/27).

BRIDGE THE GAP: On Long Island, Nick Klopsis reported the "much-anticipated Chase Bridges" at MSG were a "hit with Knicks fans" during Friday's preseason game against the Bobcats. Fans in the section had "nothing but praise for their new seats." Knicks fan Dan Wood said, "It's a great perspective. It's basically a TV perspective, but slightly higher up." Tickets to the bridges range from $110-150 per seat. The North Bridge is "devoted entirely to fan seating; the South Bridge is split between media and fans" (NEWSDAY, 10/27).

GO LOCAL: In N.Y., Jeanette Settembre reported Barclays Center has "expanded its Brooklyn Taste food program just in time for the Nets’ Nov. 1 home opener, upgrading to 55 Brooklyn-based vendors from last season’s 37." Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said, "We want people to come in and taste the best of Brooklyn. Wherever they sit, we want them to be treated like celebrities, whether they’re in a $15 seat or a $1,500 seat." Barclays Center chef Lisa Brefere has worked in conjunction with arena food operator Levy Restaurants to "implement new vendors and selections bringing Brooklyn pride to the palates of hungry ticket-holders" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/27).
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