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SBD/January 16, 2014/FacilitiesPrint All
The Heat and Miami-Dade County are "negotiating a 10-year extension of the deal that lets the team play at AmericanAirlines Arena" and receive about $6.5M a year in "hotel taxes to subsidize operations," according to Douglas Hanks of the MIAMI HERALD. Heat execs yesterday "met at County Hall with Mayor Carlos Gimenez and his top aides about extending the team's original deal in exchange for the Heat launching a major upgrade of the 14-year-old arena." The current deal expires in '29, and a county commissioner is "pushing the mayor" to get an extension "done by March." Miami Deputy Mayor for Finance Ed Marquez said that talks currently "involve what kind of improvements the Heat are willing to make at the facility." He said, "We want to see what kind of an arena we want to have. Then we can start talking about the terms of the contract." The team said that without "significant investments," the arena "will become dated and, eventually, unsuitable, for an NBA team." Heat Owner Micky Arison and the franchise "bankrolled construction" of the $360M arena in the late '90s "in exchange for the current deal." While the Heat organization "pays no rent to the county, its original agreement includes profit-sharing agreements" designed to give the county 40% of all arena profits above $14M. Team profits, "including television revenue, are not part of the agreement" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/16).
The 49ers are "close to securing a total of 31,500 parking spaces -- some, albeit, about a mile from Levi's Stadium," according to Matier & Ross of the S.F. CHRONICLE. The new parking spaces are "about 10,000 more than called for in the stadium deal" approved by Santa Clara voters. The Santa Clara City Council on Tuesday "approved a deal to park as many as 5,000 cars on the fairways at the Santa Clara Golf & Tennis Club, an 18-hole public course near the stadium that is privately run." The 49ers as part of the deal "will pay the city a minimum of $250,000 a year -- a portion of which will be used to reimburse the golf course's operator for any losses." Santa Clara city Public Communications Manager Dan Beerman said that the team "had figured they would have to spend a couple of seasons at their new, 68,500-seat stadium before they worked out their parking problems and could host 'Monday Night Football.'" But he said his "understanding now is we will be able to hold these games" as early as the '14 season. However, the 49ers' parking deal at the golf club "is good for only two years -- because the club site itself is slated for eventual development" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/16).
The Astros following an "outcry from fans" will move the "Community Leaders" billboards that "became extremely unpopular when they were built above the wall in left field” at Minute Maid Park in ’12, according to Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Astros Owner Jim Crane and President of Business Operations Reid Ryan have “decided to relocate the billboards just under the railroad tracks across left field and left-center field.” Fans “no longer will have an obstructed view of the Houston skyline, the train and the Friday night fireworks displays.” Ryan expects that the sponsors will get "more exposure now because the signs will be visible on television after typical home runs and shots to the left-field and left-center walls.” Ortiz noted despite the program’s efforts in the community, many fans "couldn’t get over what they considered an ugly monstrosity above the Crawford Boxes” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/14).
CLOSING THE GARDENS PARTY? MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reported a week after the Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., City Council “directed the city manager to end all work on a proposed Spring Training baseball complex to be shared by the Astros and Blue Jays, the Astros are exploring other options with hopes of breaking ground by the end of the year.” Astros General Counsel Giles Kibbe is “spearheading the team's efforts to relocate its Spring Training operations from Kissimmee, Fla., following the 2016 season.” He said that the team “still hopes to be able to build a complex in Palm Beach County, while acknowledging it's looking elsewhere in Florida and even exploring options in Arizona” (MLB.com, 1/15).
Talks of a new facility that could replace the Carrier Dome have increased in recent days, but Syracuse Univ. AD Daryl Gross said building a new home for the school's football and basketball teams "isn't a 'right now' thing for us at all." Gross yesterday appeared on ESPN Radio 97.7 Syracuse to talk about the recent developments and said, "For years, I've been talking about how we can enhance, or do we need to look forward to a stadium in the future. At some point, you're going to need something new and at some point, if it's not now, you're going to need to enhance. We've done a lot of enhancements since I've been here to the Dome. And now we're talking about taking it up another level, or if a new stadium were to ever be on the table, where it was feasible for us and the community." He continued, "It's not like we just started talking about it the last couple of months. This has been ongoing for years. It's just that now it's at a point where it's being talked about in a lot of circles publicly, and that's good. It makes for good discussion. These types of things go beyond athletics. Obviously, these things have implications for a community." Gross said it has been a "dream of ours for a long time to, if need be, to move into a new stadium, and we're just preparing for it." One idea that has been discussed is building a new facility that features a retractable roof, and Gross said, "When the sun comes out, people want to be outside. I don’t know that they want to be under a roof. So maybe retractable makes more sense than it does in most places, just so people can enjoy and feel like they're outside." He noted the Carrier Dome, which opened in '80, is an "old building, but we've made the best of it and we love it." Gross: "If the Dome is the way we're going to go, then we're going to make sure that it gets better" ("Upon Further Review," ESPN Radio 97.7 Syracuse, 1/15).
The city of Las Vegas "plans to continue working with Cordish Companies to develop" a $390M downtown sports arena, with the city paying $239M raised "in part by a special tax on downtown businesses," according to Benjamin Spillman of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. The terms are "attached to a proposal to extend by four months a three-year-old exclusive negotiating agreement with Baltimore-based Cordish," which would contribute $151M to the deal. It is scheduled to "go before the city council Jan. 22." If approved, Cordish and the city "would have until June 1 to finalize a development agreement based on the proposed terms." If the development agreement "isn’t finalized by then, Cordish would walk away" with about $2.4M based on the initial agreement from '10. If the council "rejects the extension, the city’s existing negotiating agreement with Cordish would expire by the end of the month." The proposed terms show the city would "fulfill its end" using $187M from "bonds backed by arena revenue, nearly $52 million from a special improvement district ... and $3 million from a tourism improvement district funded through sales tax." City Manager Betsy Fretwell said that "aspects favorable to the city include a provision that the city would be repaid for its contribution before the developer and that the city would own it." The downtown proposal is "one of several local arena projects in varying stages of development" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 1/15).
The Kansas Board of Regents yesterday approved a Univ. of Kansas proposal to build a $17.5M apartment complex that "would house as many as 32 of the school’s men’s and women’s basketball players," according to Rustin Dodd of the K.C. STAR. The facility, "to be located south of Allen Fieldhouse on Naismith Drive, is tentatively scheduled to open" for the '16-17 school year. KU officials said that the project is partially an "investment in the school’s tradition-rich men’s basketball program, specifically in the area of recruiting." KU basketball players "currently live in the Jayhawker Towers apartments, and Kansas coach Bill Self said last week that KU’s current housing setup was far behind its biggest recruiting competitors." KU officials added that the Fieldhouse Apartments "will be financed by private donors and bonds that will be paid off by revenues from the new complex." To comply with NCAA rules "against exclusive housing for athletes, at least half of the residents of the proposed project will have to be non-athletes" (K.C. STAR, 1/16). KU Chief Business & Financial Planning Officer Theresa Gordzica said that the price "may seem high, but it also includes a commons area, a kitchen, parking lot and a half-court basketball court" (LAWRENCE JOURNAL-WORLD, 1/16).
Angels Owner Arte Moreno said that he is “'very optimistic' about his chances to secure a long-term lease at Angel Stadium." He said that discussions with the city of Anaheim are "ongoing about a deal that would extend into the 'mid-2030s.'” Moreno said that the "main components" include the team putting in "capital for various infrastructure improvements to the stadium; then the Angels would recoup some of their investment with revenues from redevelopment on city-owned land surrounding the ballpark" (FOXSPORTS.com, 1/16).
THE GOOD OL' HOCKEY GAME: In N.Y., John DeMarzo notes the NHL is beginning to "construct an ice rink" at Yankee Stadium for the Coors Light Stadium Series. The Winter Classic at Michigam Stadium was played before 109,901 people, and Yankee Stadium "can hold less than half of that number (50,291)." But NHL Senior Manager/Facility Operations Mike Craig said that in "terms of setting up, there’s no real difference." This is the "first time that there will be multiple games at an outdoor venue, and Craig acknowledges it could pose a new set of logistical questions." Craig: "I don’t think that’s going to affect us too much -- it’s really just a matter of keeping on top of the weather patterns and making sure we’re able to maintain things where it’s great ice shape out there" (N.Y. POST, 1/16).
CLEVELAND ROCKS: In Cleveland, Andrew Tobias reported the Cuyahoga County Council on Tuesday night "introduced legislation that would ask voters in May to approve a 20-year renewal of the county's tax on alcohol and cigarettes." The money, which projects to $260M "over the next 20 years, would pay for maintenance for FirstEnergy Stadium, Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena." The proposal would "renew the county's tax on cigarettes at 4.5 cents a pack, 16 cents per gallon on beer, 32 cents per gallon on wine and mixed beverages, 24 cents per gallon of cider and $3 per gallon of hard liquor." The proposal "still needs 'yes' votes from eight of council's 11 members before a Feb. 5 filing deadline to make it on the May ballot" (CLEVELAND.com, 1/14).
BREAKING TRADITION: In San Diego, Ed Zieralski noted Del Mar Thoroughbred Club's "traditional Wednesday opener will be moved to Thursday this year due to the San Diego County Fair’s later than usual closing date." Del Mar "starts its 75th season on Thursday, July 17," and track officials said that the "extra day will allow the staff to prepare the grounds and racing surface and horses will get more time to acclimate to the new grounds and artificial Polytrack." The summer meeting will run July 17-Sept. 3 (UTSANDIEGO.com, 1/15).