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The next 36 months hold promise for sports facility construction.
Staff writer Don Muret talks about what to expect on the facilities landscape in the next few years.
A partial list of projects compiled by SportsBusiness Journal (see listing) reveals roughly $9 billion in construction deals on the table over the next five years. Some projects are financed and moving forward, and will be finished in the next one to three years; others have longer to go before they are ready to break ground.
In the college space alone, where private money finances most projects, $2.6 billion in construction is in the works, anchored by a combined $571 million in renovations to the University of California’s Memorial Stadium and the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium.
A worker installs seats in the new Marlins Ballpark in Miami.
Photo by:Getty Images
And architects are trying to push along additional work by encouraging teams and facilities to embark on master plans to identify renovations and other changes that could improve the fan experience and generate new revenue streams.
As the downturn begins to subside, the outlook for building new arenas is brighter in Edmonton and Sacramento. In Minnesota, the Vikings and public officials are getting closer to striking a deal to construct an NFL stadium and keep the team in the Twin Cities.
Most important, the sports industry in general has regained the confidence of the financial markets to move ahead with projects. For example, three banks have committed $850 million in loans to help the San Francisco 49ers pay for their stadium deal.
It’s been a long haul to get to this point, and with public funding still scarce for projects, it’s been a slow turnaround. Big picture, 2012 will be “flat” for new openings in sports, about the same as 2011, according to Dale Koger, vice president and general manager of Turner Construction’s sports group.
That is not a bad sign considering last year’s drop of 10 percent in the volume of new construction for nonresidential buildings such as retail, industrial and office space, and sports facilities. It’s a marked improvement over the 25
It will take three years before the general construction industry returns to pre-recession levels, when increases for nonresidential development spiked as high as 10.6 percent from 2004 to 2008, Koger said. Increases over the next two years will range from 2.5 to 3 percent, he said.
In sports, the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets-Giants and New York Mets opened billion-dollar facilities over the past three years, skewing the numbers upward for new construction. Three more billion-dollar NFL stadiums could be built over the next five years — for the 49ers, Vikings and in Los Angeles.
“What was $4 billion to $4.5 billion in construction costs in a good year is now down to $3 billion to $3.5 billion,” Koger said. “Those few $1 billion stadiums push the numbers up by 50 percent. It’s down right now, but there aresome major deals about ready to pop.”
Still, building new facilities remains spotty as the major leagues inch toward full build-out. The new Miami Marlins ballpark, BBVA Compass Stadium (the new home of the Houston Dynamo), and Barclays Center (the New Jersey Nets’ new arena) are this year’s three big league openings.
The list gets shorter in 2013, with the San Jose Earthquakes’ MLS stadium expected to open its doors, as well as the Chicago Cubs’ new $85 million spring training facility in Arizona, part of the Wrigleyville West entertainment district.
A new home for the San Francisco 49ers could be finished as early as 2014 in Santa Clara. Team officials have sold $200 million in suites.
“We’re cranking on the 49ers, accelerating our work to get to a 2014 opening,” said Tim Cahill, vice president and national director of design for HNTB, the stadium’s architect.
Last year at this time, sports architects pointed to labor unrest in the NFL and NBA and the threat of canceling the football and basketball seasons as a primary reason why teams put their projects on hold.
Those obstacles are gone after both leagues signed labor deals, taking the pressure off teams to reinvest operating revenue into future development. Plus, the NFL revived its dormant stadium loan program, breathing new life into projects for clubs such as the Vikings and the 49ers.
Still to be seen is what new projects could develop from master plans under way at existing sports facilities. For example, the Carolina Panthers and Populous will spend this offseason developing ideas to refresh a stadium constructed during the sports facility building boom of the 1990s. At Bank of America Stadium and other venues of a similar age, mobile technology is top of mind for many teams needing to rewire their facilities to keep up with fans’ use of portable devices.
In some cases, NFL teams are asking designers what they can do to develop a new VIP experience in stadium parking lots with food and merchandise, said Dan Meis, a senior principal with Populous, a firm that is also working with the Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons on facility development.
“It’s less about revenue and more about enhancing the experience where there hasn’t been a lot of creative thought,” Meis said. “Nobody’s trying to spend $100 million to turn their stadium into something else.”
More work on campus
Aside from construction of new arenas and stadiums, the market for renovations is busier than ever, especially in the college ranks.
Baylor, Houston and Tulane universities are targeting new stadiums and Arizona State and Colorado State are exploring the possibility of building new stadiums on campus over the next few years.
Schools are leaning on donors and tapping into a huge pile of guaranteed money from new conference television deals to fund projects, said 360 Architecture’s Nate Appleman, the designer of a $60 million renovation of Mississippi State’s football stadium.
The flurry of conference realignment is a driving force for many upgrades. Texas A&M and Missouri have plans to expand their stadiums as those two schools move to the Southeastern Conference.
Texas Christian University also is expanding its football stadium. The Horned Frogs move from the Big East to the Big 12, the school’s sixth league in 10 years. Houston, moving up to the Big East from Conference USA, wants to
Photo by:HKS The college market continues to provide opportunities, both large and small. The top rendering shows a new football stadium planned at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania. The bottom rendering shows plans by Ole Miss to expand Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Design trends that began in MLB and the NFL continue to trickle down to the college space. In Seattle, Husky Stadium’s eight “kennel” suites will be built in the east end zone, a spin on the model that started it all 10 years ago at CenturyLink Field, home of the Seahawks.
Multipurpose remains a buzzword for developing flexibility into single-purpose facilities.
Teams have become “more disciplined in their thinking in terms of what these buildings need to be,” said 360’s Brad Schrock. “They’re asking us, ‘How can we take our ballpark and turn it into a soccer stadium?’ You try to be more responsible about how you spend your money.”
To that end, one model is Jeld-Wen Field, the old minor league park transformed into a new MLS stadium for the Portland Timbers. As an urban facility, its multipurpose aspect extends to a sports rehab clinic and a public park setting on non-game days, said AECOM’s Bill Crockett.
Abroad, international development continues to provide opportunities for sports architects. HKS is pursuing business in Brazil, China and Russia, and 360 is working with a large university in Mexico to develop a new arena and stadium.
What would you renovate?
The following are results of the Turnkey Sports Poll taken in December. The survey covered more than 1,100 seniorlevel sports industry executives spanning professional and college sports.
Thinking about North American sports venues, should properties be increasing, decreasing, or leaving unchanged the following areas in their venues?
If you are renovating a sports facility and all of the following areas need updating, what percentage of your budget would you allocate to each?
Stadium technology 27% Food & beverage experience 20% Premium seating area(s) 18% General seating areas 18% Sponsor activation areas 17%
Decrease Keep the same Increase Not sure Number of suites 47% 42% 9% 2% Number of club seats 43% 38% 18% 1% Number of party suites/areas 6% 30% 63% 1% Amount of corporate meeting space 10% 39% 47% 4%
Source: Turnkey Sports & Entertainment in conjunction with SportsBusiness Journal. Turnkey Intelligence specializes in research, measurement and lead generation for brands and properties. Visit www.turnkeyse.com.
LSU Tiger Stadium, south end zone suite/club addition, Baton Rouge, La.
Galaxy Events Center, Macau, China
Texas Christian University, Amon G. Carter Stadium renovations, Fort Worth, Texas
Birmingham Barons, Class AA minor league ballpark, Birmingham, Ala.
Amarillo Civic Center, minor league ballpark, hotel and parking garage, Amarillo, Texas
Youth Education Town, Super Bowl YET Center, Arlington, Texas
University of Texas at San Antonio, soccer stadium and track
Texas A&M University, Olsen Field, Sports Performance Center, College Station, Texas
Texas A&M's Olsen Field (Blue Bell Park)
Kazakhstan Sports Center, events center, Astana, Kazakhstan
FedEx Field, seating bowl renovations, Landover, Md.
Cowboys Stadium, Hall of Fame concessions, Arlington, Texas
Central American Games, master planning and feasibility study, Veracruz, Mexico
Franklin & Marshall College, football stadium, Lancaster, Pa.
Virginia Commonwealth University, athletics master plan, Siegel Center renovations, Richmond, Va.
2014 Youth Olympic Games, master plan, Nanjing, China
Youth Olympic Games planning
Chicago Cubs, spring training facility, Mesa, Ariz.
Quebec City Arena, design for potential NHL tenant.
University of Arkansas, master plan, Fayetteville, Ark.
Baylor University, football stadium,Waco, Texas
Bank of America Stadium, master plan (Carolina Panthers), Charlotte
Time Warner Cable Arena, study, Charlotte
Coastal Carolina University, baseball and softball improvements, Conway, S.C.
Fort Myers Hammond Stadium, renovation and expansion study, Fort Myers, Fla.
Penn State, lacrosse stadium, Phase 1, University Park, Pa.
Boise State University, training facility, Boise, Idaho
Buffalo Bills, master plan, Buffalo
University of San Diego, ballpark renovation
New Orleans Arena, master plan
Butler University, Hinkle Fieldhouse renovation, Indianapolis
2016 Olympics, Brazil, master planning
Kansas State University, Bill Snyder Family Stadium renovation, Manhattan, Kan.
University of Illinois, Assembly Hall renovation, Urbana-Champaign, Ill.
Cumberland Civic Center, renovation, Cumberland, Maine
Memorial Coliseum, renovation study, Portland
Arena Pernambuco, economics, master plan and interiors, Brazil
University of Mississippi, arena and stadium renovation study, Oxford, Miss.
Park University, campus master plan, Parkville, Mo.
Maine Red Claws, new arena, Portland, Maine
Rice University, new tennis center and football administration building, Houston
San Antonio Spurs, AT&T Center renovation study
San Francisco, America’s Cup planning
Southern Methodist University, Moody Coliseum renovations, Dallas
SMU's Moody Coliseum
Mississippi State University, football stadium expansion, Starkville, Miss.
University of Nebraska, Devaney Center renovation, East Campus Recreation Center, Lincoln, Neb.
Two, 30,000-seat stadiums, Iraq
Rancho Cucamonga, ballpark renovations, Dodgers Class A team, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Vancouver, Wash., minor league ballpark
BankAtlantic Center, renovations, Sunrise, Fla.
United Center, renovations, Chicago
Source: Design firms
Sports architects’ workloads increased substantially in 2011 after a three-year stretch in which the recession put the brakes on development of arenas and stadiums. Here is a list of active projects in the professional and college markets.
■ Bank of America Stadium: The Carolina Panthers hired Populous to complete a master plan for stadium renovations over the next 10 years. The 16-year-old facility falls in line with other middle-age NFL facilities in need of tech upgrades.
■ Barclays Center: The renamed Brooklyn Nets open their new $1 billion arena Sept. 28 with a series of concerts by Nets co-owner Jay-Z. It will be the first new major league arena to open in New York City in 44 years.
■ BBVA Compass Stadium: The Houston Dynamo christen their new $80 million MLS facility May 12, their first
BBVA Compass Stadium
n Farmers Field: AEG is moving expeditiously to develop a $1 billion NFL stadium in Los Angeles. Officials expect to have final plans in place to present to the city council by midsummer for a 72,000-seat stadium. AEG still needs an NFL team to relocate to Los Angeles.
■ Lambeau Field: The Green Bay Packers broke ground in mid-December on a $143 million expansion of the stadium’s north end zone. The project will add 6,600 seats and a rooftop viewing platform. It will be completed in time for the 2013 NFL season.
■ Lincoln Financial Field: The Philadelphia Eagles, looking ahead to upgrading their nine-year-old NFL stadium, are exploring a master plan for future improvements. To this point, the team has not hired an architect.
■ LP Field: City officials in Nashville recently approved $28 million in financing for improvements to the sound system, video screens and LED boards at the Tennessee Titans’ stadium. The stadium was built in 1999.
■ Madison Square Garden: This summer, “The World’s Most Famous Arena” undergoes phase two of a three-year,
The Madison Club planned at Madison Square Garden.
■ New Orleans Arena: Facility manager SMG and the NBA-owned Hornets hired a group of architects, including AECOM, to develop a master plan for upgrading the 13-year-old arena. Their intent is to develop new sources of revenue to attract a new owner for the team.
■ Ralph Wilson Stadium: The Buffalo Bills hired Populous to map improvements to 39-year-old Ralph Wilson Stadium, the NFL’s third-oldest venue. The master plan, tied to a 10-year lease extension, could result in $100 million in county-funded renovations.
■ Wrigley Field: The Chicago Cubs are working behind the scenes with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to help finance a $200 million to $300 million overhaul of the “Friendly Confines.” A large portion of the cost would pay for structural improvements to the 98-year-old ballpark.
■ New Atlanta Falcons stadium: The Falcons, in tandem with Georgia Dome officials, plan to issue a request in the first quarter of 2012 to design a new outdoor stadium to replace their 20-year-old indoor facility. A Populous study reported a new stadium could cost $700 million. Financing has not been approved.
■ New Edmonton Oilers arena: The NHL club is $100 million short of financing a new $450 million downtown arena, but local officials continue to move forward with the project. In early December, the province of Alberta issued a request for qualifications for a construction manager.
■ New Miami Marlins ballpark: The $515 million MLB stadium opens this season with a retractable roof, two 450-gallon fish tanks behind home plate, and a marketing strategy in which sponsors are tied to the club’s new color scheme.
■ New Minnesota Vikings stadium: Officials in Ramsey County, Minn., the Vikings’ preferred site, issued a request
Proposed Minnesota Vikings stadium
■ New Quebec arena: Multimedia conglomerate Quebecor hired Populous to design a $400 million arena with all the amenities required to attract an NHL team. Target opening is fall of 2015. The city has not had an NHL club since 1995 when the Quebec Nordiques relocated to Denver.
■ New Sacramento Kings arena: Sacramento officials have approved a plan to use parking revenue to pay for about half the cost of a new $400 million NBA facility. The city selected a group with Populous, Turner Construction and Icon Venue Group to develop the project.
■ New San Francisco 49ers stadium: The city of Santa Clara has approved a plan to finance construction of the
New San Francisco 49ers stadium
Photo by:San Francisco 49ers
■ New San Jose Earthquakes stadium: The Earthquakes are developing a $60 million MLS stadium expected to open in 2013. Its designer, 360 Architecture, is also the architect for Cisco Field, the ballpark the Oakland A’s want to build in San Jose.
■ Arizona: Heery designed a $57 million north end-zone expansion of Arizona Stadium, featuring new loge seats and a premium club, that opens for the 2013 season. The project is similar to the Blue Zone at North Carolina’s Keenan Stadium, another Heery design.
■ Arizona State: The school wants to create a tax-increment finance district around campus to pay for a new football stadium or complete a major renovation at Sun Devil Stadium. Former NBA executive Steve Patterson, now ASU’s chief operating officer, is in charge of the project.
■ Arkansas: The Razorbacks unveiled a $320 million athletic facilities master plan in October that covers 14 projects, with upgrades to Walton Arena and Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Populous was hired to complete the plan.
■ Baylor: The Big 12 school hired Populous to study building a 50,000-seat stadium in Waco that could cost $250
Baylor's proposed football stadium
■ California: The school’s $321 million reconstruction of 89-year-old Memorial Stadium is going full throttle in a race to complete the job by Labor Day weekend for the Bears’ first home game against Nevada. HNTB is project designer.
■ Duke: The ACC school is in the midst of a $100 million fundraising campaign to upgrade Cameron Indoor Stadium and Wallace Wade Stadium. HNTB is working on a concept for both venues in which basketball and football donors could share a new premium-seat experience.
■ Houston: The Big East-bound school has raised $60 million toward building a $120 million football stadium to replace 70-year-old Robertson Stadium. Houston hired AECOM to design the stadium, plus a $40 million renovation of Hofheinz Pavilion, the school’s arena.
■ Illinois: The Big Ten school hired AECOM to design major renovations to Assembly Hall, a 49-year-old arena. The $140 million project covers construction of 20 suites, 1,000 club seats, loge boxes, courtside seats and two clubs.
■ Kansas State: AECOM and Heery are designing a $75 million addition at Bill Snyder Family Stadium tied to a new press box/premium-seat structure. The timing is right, considering the man for whom the stadium is named has led the Wildcats back among college football’s elite.
■ Kentucky: City officials in Lexington decided last month to pursue a major renovation of Rupp Arena. A feasibility study reported it could cost $130 million to improve 36-year-old Rupp and $325 million to build a new arena.
■ LSU: The SEC football powerhouse hired HKS to study the cost to build an upper deck in the south end zone at Tiger Stadium. If the project moves forward, the expansion could add 35 to 45 new suites and 3,000 to 5,000 club seats, with total capacity for the stadium overall of 100,000-plus.
■ Mississippi State: 360 Architecture is designing a $60 million renovation of Davis Wade Stadium. The project covers 22 mini-suites, 1,100 outdoor club seats and loge boxes with a total of 250 seats, plus a field-level lounge in the north end zone.
■ Missouri: The school’s master plan developed by 360 Architecture calls for adding 1,200 to 2,500 outdoor club seats at Memorial Stadium. Mizzou joins the SEC this year, and the stadium’s 71,000 seats after expansion would still rank among the conference’s smallest football venues.
■ Nebraska: The Cornhuskers are tied to three major sports projects: the $63 million expansion of Memorial Stadium, a $20 million retrofit of Devaney Center for women’s volleyball, and the $180 million, city-owned Pinnacle Bank Arena, future home of Nebraska’s basketball teams.
■ Ole Miss: The SEC school has embarked on a two-phase, $150 million capital campaign to finance a new arena and an expansion to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium to increase seating to 70,000-plus. AECOM is designing both projects.
■ Rice: The Conference USA school hired AECOM to design a two-story, $40 million building in the south end zone at Rice Stadium that will feature eight suites, a hall of fame, plus sports medicine facilities and football operations offices.
■ South Florida: Populous designed a $35 million renovation of the Sun Dome, the school’s 32-year-old basketball arena. The project includes building an event-level, students-only club on the arena’s west side. Construction will be completed by May.
■ Texas A&M: The school’s plan to reduce capacity at Kyle Field by adding more premium seats was scratched after the Aggies moved to the SEC. Now, the intent is to expand seating. Design proposals were due in early January. HKS designed previous renovations.
■ Texas Christian: The two-year, $142 million renovation of Amon G. Carter Stadium will be completed this
TCU football stadium
■ Tulane: The New Orleans school has raised $40 million to build a new $60 million stadium to open in 2014. The Green Wave has played home football games at the 73,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Superdome since the building opened in 1975. The on-campus facility would seat 30,000.
■ UCLA: Pauley Pavilion, the historic home of UCLA basketball, is going through a $185 million makeover. NBBJ designed the renovations to the 47-year-old arena, which is scheduled to reopen this fall.
■ Washington: Husky Stadium in Seattle is in the midst of a $250 million reconstruction at one of college football’s
Husky Stadium reconstruction
Photo by:University of Washington
■ Washington State: The school recently broke ground on an $80 million renovation of Martin Stadium after hiring new coach Mike Leach to turn around the football program. Separately, the school will hire an architect to complete a master plan to upgrade all sports venues on campus.
Sources: SportsBusiness Journal research, architects
We asked executives in the sports facilities industry to identify the trends they’re watching and to give their predictions on where the industry is headed. The following are highlights of what they had to say.
Aramark Sports & Entertainment
■ Fans become foodies: Fans’ tastes have become more sophisticated, which will lead to expanding the presence of specialty foods, like ethnic cuisine, street food, food trucks, gluten-free and allergen-free items, and healthy fare, to ensure menus have something for everyone. Look for an elevated dining experience, where simple comfort foods have been turned into premium quality fare.
■ Going local beyond the farm: Fans are also more mindful of where their food comes from and greater emphasis is being placed on connecting with the local culinary scene by working with local farmers and featuring microbrews and craft beers. PNC Park’s pierogi stacker sandwich in Pittsburgh is a local culinary specialty and there are growing opportunities to partner with local restaurateurs and celebrity chefs.
Vice president of retail
Delaware North Companies Sportservice
For stadiums and arenas, that will mean maximizing retail space to enhance fans’ emotional connection to the game. Teams and their partners become mainstream retailers and not simply concessionaires. It will be increasingly important to follow fashion and retail trends and provide customers with a targeted selection of merchandise.
To provide the space needed, some venues are already developing large, iconic stores for a more exciting and memorable shopping experience. The large stores feature dramatic décor with eye-popping visuals and lighting. … In addition, leveraging licensed partners to create brand- or item-specific shops and portable kiosks will create a more personal shopping experience.
Targeted marketing programs and new e-commerce technology and mobile applications will increasingly be used to reach fans beyond the gates of the venue. Customized merchandise will be available throughout the stadium, and on non-game days, to offer the convenience fans will look for.
Venue Research and Design
The fan is expecting the visual of the living room with the communal vitality of the event. This will be a two-way experience with an unrestricted social media experience and an enhanced and memorable event. Fans are the early adopters of technology. They will also be the early exit if the brand is unable to deliver. The fans will be both a consumer and creator of content.
Using a remote method to order food, the fan base is asking for greater convenience. Removing the human interaction of a cashier translating your order to a register and then filling that order while you wait is desired. The implications are to design outlets that are not relying on the standard queues. Facilities will also have to deal with the fact of BYOD such as battery life and where does the fan set the device.
A key element of new experiences is technology integration. It has increased dramatically in recent years, and we believe it will be integral to the future of sports design. Likewise, sponsors and corporate partners are looking for fresh alternatives to static advertising. Populous is helping integrate sponsors into facility design with sponsor-activated fan zones, interactive media and new kinds of experiences that are tailored to engage fans and express strong brand personalities.
Lastly is the growing importance of urban planning. The substantial community and private investments required by these large structures demand greater justification than simply a suitable place for watching a sporting event. Going forward, existing stadiums and arenas must include a much broader community vision for benefiting the surrounding area with economic growth and regeneration opportunities.
Vice president of sales
Rose Bowl Revitalization Project
■ Product trends: All inclusive pricing is here to stay on club seating and the wave of the future for suites on both the consumer and building side of the sale. Value-added selling is prevalent in every aspect of the economy now. Adding food, access to special events that once were incremental, is the wave of today and I cannot see that changing. Product diversity is also critical; the one-size-fits-all mentality [has] passed us by. … The placement of the products has not changed too much, closer is better in almost all cases, but exclusivity to lounges and special events is more important than ever — people need more of a reason to buy than they ever have in the past. Season-ticket selling and packaging today, especially in the indoor sports and baseball, is so competitive with club-seat selling, it has become a real challenge to differentiate to the buyer where the value is in these seats. The smaller club-seat buyer has to be made to feel extremely special these days.
■ Things to do: Pricing appropriately and packaging and locating the products effectively are the key to the success. Additionally, creating that sellout, high-demand mentality is critical as well. If the buyer senses the demand is soft or supply is high, one will be in a tough position to get sales in this economy.