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SBD/August 1, 2014/FacilitiesPrint All
Sounders-Earthquakes on Saturday will mark the "first official Levi's Stadium sporting event," and "as many as 45,000 fans -- or two-thirds of the stadium capacity -- are expected to be in attendance," according to Mike Rosenberg of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. The Santa Clara Police Department is "deputizing an additional 100 part-time cops from other cities to patrol for drunk and disorderly fans." City and team officials are "fine-tuning traffic and parking plans to prevent log-jammed roads." In addition, transit agencies led by the Valley Transportation Authority are "sending out an army of ambassadors to guide new riders" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/1).
TECH SPECS: In San Jose, Troy Wolverton writes thanks to "a new app and a technological infrastructure that many analysts say will be second-to-none," the smartphone "will be an indispensable game-day tool" at Levi's Stadium. With a "high-capacity network and an in-stadium antenna system, fans will be able to use their phones to check sports scores from around the league, get updates on their fantasy football teams and message selfies to their friends." Befitting a team "based in the heart of Silicon Valley, the 49ers devoted a sizable chunk" of their $1.3B stadium budget to technological features. The 49ers "declined to say exactly how much they spent on particular items, but last year estimated they would spend" about $125M on technology, up from an initial $50M budget. Much of the tech "will be hidden from view in a state-of-the-art computer network that would make many a tech startup jealous." The network includes "about 680 Wi-Fi access points -- one for every 100 seats in the stadium." It also includes "a superfast 40-gigabit-per-second fiber-optic cable 'backbone' that connects the stadium's network to the broader Internet." That is 10,000 times "faster than what federal regulators classify as broadband." Niners officials said that with the app, the team "hopes to eliminate some of the biggest frustrations fans face in attending live sporting events" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/1).
While the Indianapolis 500 "ranks at or near the top of the most attended races" in motorsports, IMS President Doug Boles is "convinced he can win his race to bring more fans to the track" for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 and other events, according to Michael Marot of the AP. Boles "keeps looking for ways to fill seats," but every year, the challenge of "keeping racing fans engaged gets a little tougher." Still, Boles "is sticking to his master plan." He said, "Our focus last year and more so this year was how do we make the fan experience really great. We want to make sure it’s a great experience, and we believe that if we can deliver that, we can deliver on putting fans in the seats." Boles "points to the uptick in infield ticket sales on a rainy weekend" for this year's Brickyard 400, "even though those tickets are cheaper and allow children 12 and under to get in for free with a paying adult." Attendance at the Brickyard 400 was 85,000, and some argue that making the event a night race "would help" draw bigger crowds. Boles: "Everyone agrees that Indianapolis Motor Speedway under lights would be really cool. But it’s hard to make that case from a business sense. It would take an estimated $20 to $25 million to do it and that’s on the low end." Boles also "is looking to add bigger concerts and more races to Indy’s already busy schedule" (AP, 7/30).
In West Palm Beach, Bob Ferrante noted Florida State football players will "enjoy a remodeled locker room and lounge areas" this season. The new lockers "feature iPads for each player," and the locker room will have "large statues of FSU players that have had their numbers retired." The coaching staff also has "renovated offices, and walls in entry areas." Seminole Boosters VP/Marketing & Communications Jerry Kutz said that the cost is "expected to be between" $5-6M (PALM BEACH POST, 7/31).
LOUISIANA FAST: In Baton Rouge, Luke Johnson noted construction at Louisiana-Lafayette's "new-look" Cajun Field is coming along as planned, and the stadium "should be ready to go" for the Aug. 30 season-opener against Southern. Additional seating brings Cajun Field's "unofficial capacity to the 38,000 range." The expansion also includes "additional restrooms and concession areas in the south zone." LLU AD Scott Farmer said that the stadium's new video board, which has a 30-by-54-foot high HD screen, will be "three-times the size of the old board" (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 7/31).
THE MAC DADDY? In Toledo, Donald Emmons wrote the $5.5M renovation of Toledo's Larimer Athletic Complex will be a "dramatic upgrade that will rival any football complex in the Mid-American Conference." The locker room has been "enlarged and improved with wider, state-of-the-art lockers" and next to it is a "lounge area" for the players. The weight room has been "significantly expanded to comfortably fit the 105 players" (TOLEDO BLADE, 7/31).
OWL BE THERE FOR YOU: In Houston, Joseph Duarte cited sources as saying Rice received a $12M lead gift "toward construction of the new end zone facility" at Rice Stadium. The name of the donor was "not immediately available." Rice Senior Exec AD Rick Mello said that the school has 80% of the nearly $30M needed to "begin what will eventually be a multi-phase renovation" of the stadium (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 7/31).
In Cincinnati, Shannon Russell reports Xavier's Cintas Center is "undergoing a facelift, and the finished product will feature the Cincinnati skyline." Designs unveiled Thursday were inspired by "elements of fan submissions" in May. Xavier Associate AD/External Relations Brian Hicks said that the school received about "50 fan designs through social media and email, and the cityscape was a common theme." Work began on the court July 23 and is expected to be completed "before volleyball competition starts Aug. 29" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 8/1).
FIT FOR A QUEEN CITY: In Cincinnati, Bill Koch reports the Univ. of Cincinnati is investing $1.3M to build what it says will be "state-of-the-art locker room facilities for its men's basketball program." UC coach Mick Cronin said that the project will be paid for entirely with "private donations." Construction is "scheduled to begin in November," with completion set for March '15 (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 8/1).
REBEL WITH A CAUSE: Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork on Thursday announced that the school's new basketball arena, set to open in December '15, will be named "The Pavilion at Ole Miss." In Mississippi, Hugh Kellenberger notes Ole Miss has raised $112.5M, which "remains short" of the $150M goal for the facility. But Bjork acknowledged that securing a naming-rights sponsor for the arena will "go a long ways towards bridging" the $37.5M gap (Jackson CLARION-LEDGER, 8/1).