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  • Superdome was mentioned as possible NBA All-Star Game site

    The Dallas Mavericks and Cowboys were not the first to talk to the NBA about having the league’s All-Star Game return to a stadium.

    The Cowboys, in conjunction with the NBA and the Mavericks, recently announced that the 2010 All-Star Game would be played at the NFL club’s new $1.1 billion facility. The event was last staged at a stadium in 1996 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

    But in spring 2006, after the NBA selected New Orleans for the 2008 All-Star Game, local officials brought up the possibility of playing the game in the Louisiana Superdome, said Doug Thornton, senior vice president for dome and New Orleans Arena operator SMG. The game would have taken place after a $210 million post-Hurricane Katrina renovation.

    Instead, all parties decided it would be better to produce the event at the arena to help the Hornets re-establish themselves at their home court. They spent the 2005-06 season and most of the following year in Oklahoma City.

    There were also issues to be resolved that included exclusivity conflicts with Hornets and Saints sponsors and accommodating the Hornets’ season-ticket and suite holders at the dome, Thornton said.

    “It never got to the point where we seriously considered putting it in the Superdome,” he said. “It was more than we all wanted to tackle.”

    The NBA is collecting bids for the 2011 and 2012 games, said league spokesman Mike Bass, but he would not say whether other stadiums were being considered for those events.

    SMG and the Hornets plan to team again for another NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans, possibly in 2014, Thornton said. The Superdome as a game site “is always something we can discuss with the NBA,” he said.

     COWBOY LAND: The Dallas Cowboys are reaching beyond letters and numbers to help fans to find their vehicles after games, working with a graphic design firm that did work for the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center.

    A prototype shows how Cowboys
    hall of famers like Troy Aikman
    will help park fans.

    Selbert Perkins Design, with offices in Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles, has created free-standing and light pole signs for the 12,000 spaces at the team’s new stadium in Arlington, containing images of the eight Cowboys players and two team officials who are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in addition to the lot numbers. In Lot 2, for example, images of Troy Aikman loom large.

    Some parking lot signs will contain only a star logo rather than Cowboy for the 2009 season. Those images can be replaced if other Cowboys are elected to the hall, said Selbert Perkins principal John Lutz.

    Brands of the Cowboys’ five founding partners — Bank of America, Pepsi, Dr Pepper, Ford and Miller — will also be on parking lot signs as part of their new stadium deals, said Stephen Jones, COO and executive vice president.

    Selbert Perkins is also designing about 2,500 directional signs inside the stadium in the team’s silver-and-blue color scheme, some of which have space or additional pieces that can be attached to include the building’s to-be-determined naming-rights holder, Lutz said.

    The Cowboys are paying for all signs inside and outside the stadium, Jones said, but he declined to give the price tag.

     CASH FOR KYLE: Texas A&M will lean heavily on sports architect HKS and marketing consultant CSL International to figure out how to pay for the school’s proposed $75 million renovation to Kyle Field.

    The down economy has dried up the market for the usual high-dollar donations tied to premium seats that A&M relies on to help fund capital improvements to its sports venues, although the school does not anticipate reducing those fees due to higher construction costs, said Kevin Hurley, associate athletic director for construction and facilities.

    So, to meet a potential shortfall, officials will need to search for other sources of financing to pay for new suites, club seats and loge boxes planned for the stadium’s south end zone and on the first deck of the west side, Hurley said.

    There could be opportunities to develop and sell HKS-designed branded spaces within the new premium sections without putting a corporate name on Kyle Field, an idea the school rejected several years ago, he said.

     The school and HKS were expected to sign a contract last week for the architect to complete a feasibility study by early April, Hurley said. CSL is part of the HKS team.

    Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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