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SBD/June 26, 2014/FacilitiesPrint All
A's co-Owner Lew Wolff yesterday "surprised" Oakland and Alameda County officials with an announcement that the team "has reached a 10-year lease agreement to stay at O.co Coliseum and will consider sticking to Oakland even longer if a new stadium is built at its current site, not on the waterfront," according to Matt O'Brien of the OAKLAND TRIBUNE. Wolff said, "We have agreed we will take another look at Oakland" as a site for a new A's stadium, "but only at the Coliseum site." MLB Commissioner Bud Selig in a statement "threw his support behind Wolff's contention that a stadium site at the Howard Terminal near Jack London Square is not feasible." However, Oakland city Councilman Larry Reid said that the statements "were premature." He added, "Fans should not exhale just yet, but you know, we're getting close." The Alameda County-City of Oakland Joint Powers Authority board is meeting tomorrow and "likely will approve the contract." The authority, city and Alameda County supervisors "must all sign off for the lease to be extended" to '25. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan also "appeared surprised by the announcement." Alameda County Supervisor and JPA Chair Nate Miley said that the authority was "still fine-tuning the details of the agreement but planned to finalize them" today. Oakland leaders had "recently expressed some misgivings about details of the tentative deal," as did Raiders Owner Mark Davis, whose "vision for a new football stadium could be complicated by the long-term A's lease on the site the two teams share" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 6/26). In S.F., Carolyn Jones notes Wolff and the Coliseum board "have been haggling for months over the terms of the lease." The Coliseum authority originally was "slated to vote on a lease last week but postponed any action, saying a few details needed to be worked out." The lease "does not necessarily" mean the A's will stay in Oakland (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/26).
EMPTY PROMISES? CSNBAYAREA.com's Ray Ratto wrote we learned "nothing" from the announcement. It "doesn’t eliminate San Jose if that city wins its suit against MLB." It "doesn’t eliminate Howard Terminal as a potential stadium site." It "doesn’t put the Raiders on notice with Coliseum City." It "doesn’t raise one dime for a new park." It is a "show in which the dog and the pony will be introduced at a mutually beneficial later time." Resolution remains "a distant and almost illusory goal, because a tenant that doesn’t want to stay but has nowhere to go is not exactly a happy guest, and a landlord that talks about building a new high-rise without having the money to rub two re-bars together is not exactly a landlord who provides confidence" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 6/25).
N.Y.-based orthopedic specialist Hospital for Special Surgery has signed a 10-year deal with the Nets to entitle the team's training center, which will be located just over three miles from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The 70,000-square-foot facility, scheduled to open before the '15-16 season, is being built on the eighth floor and rooftop of a rehabbed warehouse in Brooklyn's Sunset Park neighborhood. Sources said the entitlement for the Hospital for Special Surgery Training Center, along with an accompanying package for Nets team rights, totaled in the low seven figures per year. The package includes branding inside and outside the practice facility and signage at Nets games. HSS also gets logo placement on the Nets' practice jerseys, as well as hospitality at the practice facility and Barclays Center. "We're happy to continue and expand our association with what is a world-class health brand and have their help in building deeper community ties in Brooklyn,'' said Nets CEO Brett Yormark. Dr. Riley J. Williams, III, an HSS surgeon who has been the team’s medical director since '05-06, will see his role expanded as the Nets' head orthopedic surgeon. HSS team rights with the Nets start with the upcoming season. The hospital is no stranger to sports marketing, as it also has medical and commercial relationships with the Red Bulls, Yankees, Giants, Knicks, several local universities, the N.Y. Road Runners and the USOC. HSS is the latest health-care provider to brand practice facilities for pro teams. HSS President & CEO Lou Shapiro said, "Taking care of athletes who need their bodies to perform at the highest levels is a validation of what we do, so we're hoping more professional athletes, even outside of the Nets, will come to us for care. From a consumer perspective, we look for a halo effect from the association to help influence awareness and choice." Nets officials would not comment on the cost of the privately-funded project, but facilities of this type typically cost around $40M to build.
HOSPITALS PLAY MUSICAL CHAIRS: HSS has been a business partner of the team and has provided medical care to the Nets for some time. However, when the Nets moved to Brooklyn in '12, the team was seeking local roots, so it signed Maimonides Medical Center as the team's official hospital. Under the new agreement, HSS becomes "the official hospital of the Brooklyn Nets," while Maimonides' new designation is "Hometown Hospital of the Brooklyn Nets.'' Additionally, Brooklyn Hospital has a deal through which it is the "Official Hospital of the Barclays Center." Shapiro emphasized HSS' authentic medical ties as a principal reason behind the entitlement deal. "If you're not actually taking care of the players, it's just like being the official car," he said. The Nets' practice facility has been in East Rutherford, New Jersey, since '98. When that facility is shuttered next year, it will mark the team's last connection to the Garden State, where it moved from Long Island in '77.
The Univ. of Oklahoma Board of Regents yesterday "approved the massive stadium upgrade plan" for Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, which includes a "new south end zone complex that will fill in the open corners, creating a full bowl, and substantial additions to team facilities below the south stands," according to Jason Kersey of the OKLAHOMAN. Those facilities will include a "new weight room, equipment room, new team areas, coaches’ offices and the relocation of the athletic offices that are currently housed in the north end zone." Other projects include "demolishing the current press box and constructing a new one, expanded fan concourses and new fan plazas, as well as 43 additional restrooms -- the stadium currently has seven -- 69 new concession stands, guest services and team stores." The "huge amount of money needed to complete these projects" -- totaling $370M -- "will come entirely from private fundraising, revenue bonds and other athletics department funds." OU President Dave Boren made that fact "painstakingly clear only two days after the board approved" a nearly 5% increase in tuition. OU AD Joe Castiglione said that the plan was "drawn up to give his department flexibility with its implementation." If forced to "incrementally implement the plan," Castiglione said that OU would "first tackle the south end zone renovation, then the press box and then make smaller changes to the north and east sides of the stadium." Boren said that he hoped the south end zone "would be completed by the start" of the the '16 season (OKLAHOMAN, 6/26). Castiglione said that the upgrades will "not greatly increase the venue’s capacity." It currently holds 82,112, but has "seated crowds of more than 86,000 in the past." Meanwhile, Boren said that the goal is to raise at least $150M "before any construction begins." In Oklahoma, John Shinn notes yesterday's announcement "served as the public kickoff for the fundraising," but privately, OU "has been doing it for months." One of the ways OU will "raise money is with more seating options," as the renovations to the south end zone and west side will "add lots of club seats and luxury seats" (NORMAN TRANSCRIPT, 6/26).
The NFL Panthers yesterday unveiled the "first set of renovations at Bank of America Stadium," which include "new escalator bays and two display screens flanking the field," according to Megan Cassella of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Panthers Dir of Stadium Operations Scott Paul said that the renovations, which began in January and were expected to cost $65M, "came in under budget." Paul "wouldn’t say how much the renovations cost," but added that the remaining money "will be used for future renovations, which will continue over the next two years." Paul said that only "minor projects remain -- tasks such as installing flagpoles, finishing landscaping projects and securing lightning protection for the new display screens" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/26). In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg wrote the Panthers are "upgrading in an effort to compete with high-definition TVs, smartphones and all of the instant video and technology fans can use to watch games, check scores and track their fantasy-league players." Paul said, "We want to try to replicate what they can get at home as best as possible, and these boards are going to do that" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 6/25).
Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts is confident that the team’s $575M plan to renovate Wrigley Field and develop the surrounding area will still "receive the necessary approval from the city," according to Jared Hopkins of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Ricketts yesterday, after speaking at the PartnerConnect Midwest conference, said, "We’re looking forward to just moving forward. Like I said, we’ll just respect the process and follow through." He "did not address the renovations -- or negotiations between rooftop owners or City Hall -- to the crowd of about 100 people." Instead, he "discussed baseball economics and his strategy in rebuilding the Cubs." Ricketts "declined to comment when asked whether the proposal" to add seven outfield signs "was merely to intimidate the rooftop owners." Ricketts: "In the end, we just have to do what’s right for the team, and having the flexibility to generate revenue in our outfield is part of it." Ricketts also "didn’t want to speculate on when construction could start." He added, "We’re just focusing on getting to the landmarks committee and making sure it all goes fine there" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/26).
The Sabres “topped off” the steel framing for construction at the HARBORCenter yesterday with a 40-foot beam “brightly painted in Sabres’ blue and yellow covered with signatures” of construction workers, staff, Owners Terry and Kim Pegula and President Ted Black, according to Jonathan Epstein of the BUFFALO NEWS. A hockey stick, U.S. and Sabres flags, and banners of the contractors and labor union also “were attached.” Sabres Chief Development Officer Cliff Benson said, “For the guys who are out here every day, this is a big day. Fifteen months ago, we broke ground, and here we stand today. It’s nothing short of a phenomenal effort.” The 20-story mixed-use facility that will be connected to the First Niagara Center is now “more than 70 percent complete, although it is slightly late.” M. A. Mortenson Superintendent Ryan Poropat said, “We’re going to finish at the end of October” (BUFFALO NEWS, 6/26).