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The Oilers' new downtown Edmonton arena complex, to be called Rogers Place, is "on schedule to open" for the '16-17 NHL season, according to Gordon Kent of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. The project's total cost will be C$606M, which includes the arena itself, a "Winter Garden pedestrian crossing," Light Rail Transit link, land, pedestrian corridor and attached community rink. The venue will seat 18,641for hockey, and will feature what is being called the "largest high-definition arena scoreboard in the NHL." Katz Group Exec VP/Sports & Entertainment Bob Black said that the scoreboard will be 20% bigger than that of the Pepsi Center, and "five times larger than the Rexall Place scoreboard." Icon Venue Group Senior VP Dan Vaillant yesterday "helped lead the first media tour of the site" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 6/3). In Edmonton, John MacKinnon notes there will be "about 9,000 seats in the lower bowl of the new arena, including more than 1,100 loge-style seats." Vaillant said, "They come in fours and sixes. So, smaller companies or groups of individuals can buy one of these loge boxes, they don’t have to fill a 24-seat suite on a regular basis." He added the initial investment for a loge is "not going to be anywhere near what it is for a suite" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 6/3). Vaillant: "You look back at a lot of the buildings which have been built recently, especially when you top-load a building, the upper concourse tends to be very tight. On this one here, we didn’t cut back on any of that. ... It’s going to be second to none from the standpoint of being a game-changer for NHL arenas. This one has it all" (EDMONTON SUN, 6/3).
AEG Chief Revenue Officer Todd Goldstein said that he is “already talking with prospective buyers” of 45 suites in the $375M arena that his company and MGM Resorts Int’l are building in Las Vegas, according to Alan Snel of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. Goldstein said that 18-22% of the arena’s 20,000 seats will be “unique seating” in suites and clubs, and that suite prices will “range from the low six figures to low seven figures.” He expects that 60% of the suites will be “sold to Las Vegas-area and gaming industry companies.” Meanwhile, Goldstein said he expects a “unique brand with international appeal” to buy the naming rights and eight or 10 "founding partners" to be the arena’s major sponsors. He added that AEG wants to “massage revenue from space on the many outdoor balconies, which could be offered as ticketed spaces for watching music and other events on the plaza that will lead fans from the Strip to the arena entrance." Snel noted the company is “looking at the NBA Summer League as a potential event at its new arena.” AEG Vice Chair and Chief Legal & Development Officer Ted Fikre “envisions an NBA All-Star Game and NBA Draft events at the arena.” Construction “should take 22 months,” setting up a spring ’16 opening. MGM Resorts and AEG are “content to open the new arena in Las Vegas without a major tenant like a sports team.” AEG CEO Dan Beckerman: “We have boots on the ground in Las Vegas. We understand the market. The arena needs to appeal to everyone. (The arena) will be neutral, whether the guest is a local or a visitor." AEG also is "eyeing the National Finals Rodeo, a key revenue-maker that draws about 180,000 fans" to Thomas & Mack Center (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 6/1).
THE GOOD OLD HOCKEY GAME: ESPN.com’s Craig Custance wrote of potential NHL expansion, “Vegas will certainly be in consideration, but an examination of the market suggests there are much bigger risks involved with putting a team in Las Vegas than there are with Seattle. Even if the NHL becomes the first major professional sport in town.” There is “no doubt that the casinos could help pump up season-ticket sales for a Las Vegas NHL team, but that’s not necessarily good for the league.” Custance: “The last thing you want is for the Las Vegas franchise to turn into the Washington Generals, with visiting tourists just rooting for the opposing team every night.” If the city is “ever going to land an NHL team, it’s going to be because the league has been convinced that the demographics show that the local fan base is strong enough for season tickets to be sold to residents and fans of the team, not the casinos” (ESPN.com, 5/30).
David Beckham's MLS ownership group has said that it will “pay some sort of annual rent -- ‘fair,’ ‘market’ or ‘reasonable’ -- to build a stadium on prime public land,” but the $500,000 figure “floated in early talks with the city of Miami is so low that the city manager has called for the two sides to ‘take a breather,’” according to Patricia Mazzei of the MIAMI HERALD. While Miami “has not countered with a figure” of its own, City Manager Daniel Alfonso said that it is “far higher than” $500,000 -- possibly even as high as $12-14M. Alfonso: “We’re just too far apart.” Mazzei reports Alfonso had “initially asked city consultants to take a look at how a potential deal with Miami Beckham United might work financially if the investors filled a deep-water water basin known as the Florida East Coast Railway slip to build a 20,000-seat stadium.” But Alfonso said that he had “called off that request, at least for now” because he “did not want Miami to spend money studying the possibility until the city gets a better sense of how much Beckham’s group is willing to offer” (MIAMI HERALD, 6/3).
DC Mayor Vincent Gray said that before his term ends in January, consummating a $300M deal to build a stadium on Buzzard Point for DC United is one priority that "looms above all the others," according to DeBonis & O'Connell of the WASHINGTON POST. While the plan "has supporters on the DC Council, there are new questions about whether Gray has the political clout as a lame duck to get the deal approved in his final months in office." Gray will "have to navigate political obstacles that include concerns about the deal’s structure, pressure from advocacy groups and the fact that his two possible successors will be weighing in during a general election campaign." DC Council members also "appear to be in no rush to act" ahead of the council's summer recess. Even Gray "expressed only halting optimism that the deal will be done before he leaves office." Gray said, "It’s hard to be confident about anything at this stage." While he expects that he will "take a personal role in pushing the deal through," Gray said that more advocacy "will be needed." Gray: "We think the people in the District of Columbia who care about a soccer stadium -- and there are many, many people -- need to stand up and express their sentiments about this" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/1).