North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee President & CEO Bill Lively yesterday said that future host committees "should have a voice in preparations at Cowboys Stadium" in the wake of the seating debacle at this month's Super Bowl, according to Pete Alfano of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. Lively "did not learn" that temporary seats "might not be finished on time until 11:30 the night before the game, when he received a call from a staff member." Lively: "We should have been more informed than we were. ... The last time I was in the stadium was Jan. 19, for a Host Committee and Council of Mayors meeting. We expressed concern (about progress on the seats), but we had nothing to do with the stadium." Lively added that "plans are on fast forward to create a North Texas sports commission to help the region bid for the 50th Super Bowl, among other major events," and he "hopes it will be in place by the summer." Lively said that "the 'enormous' revenue that Cowboys Stadium generated for the NFL will earn the region a second chance." Lively: "The (NFL) owners will look at the revenue yield, and I think we'll get another game. When that will be, I don't know" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/17).
ADDRESS FROM THE OWNER: Lively yesterday said Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones "was devastated" by the negative reaction to the Super Bowl in North Texas. Jones addressed the host committee, and Lively said, "It was emotional for them and him. And he said, 'You all did a tremendous job here, you could have done no more' and was sorry for the temporary seating thing. 'Guys, you have set new standards, you made a brand new day for host committees, and we will always be grateful.' They felt like they failed, and they didn't fail." In Ft. Worth, Jennifer Floyd Engel writes the "problem with the Super Bowl was bigger than just weather or seats." It was the "need to be bigger than the huge it already is." But she adds, "Nobody failed. In fact, Lively and Co. did a fantastic job" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/17).
Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley Tuesday said that the team "probably would have to play three seasons" at the Univ. of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium if a "new stadium is built on the site of the Metrodome," according to Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. TCF Bank Stadium seats "about 13,000 fewer fans than the Metrodome," so playing three seasons there "would be less than ideal for the Vikings." Bagley said, "We know now, as we had our game there against the Bears on Dec. 20, that that's not an NFL stadium. It's a good college stadium, but TCF Bank doesn't really work for the Vikings long term. It might be a nice stop gap, but the loss of revenues have to be factored in. So while the infrastructure is all there at the Metrodome site, having to play at another location for two or three seasons is also a revenue issue that needs to be addressed." At the same time, Bagley "spoke optimistically Tuesday about the potential of a stadium being built in Arden Hills and made it clear that this is no bluff by the team." He said, "Ramsey County is a great site and there's a willing partner." Still, with a "plan to put a new roof on the Metrodome, Bagley knows some will try to say that facility should continue to be the Vikings home." But he said, "The issue is it's not a long-term facility. The roof collapse underscores that" (STARTRIBUNE.com, 2/15).
HITTING THE TARGET: The UM baseball team has been displaced by the Metrodome roof collapse, and in St. Paul, Charley Walters reports the university and the Twins are "closing in on a deal to use Target Field for Minnesota's Big Ten schedule." Some doubleheader dates "might need to be tweaked," and the Twins "will charge rent, which the Gophers don't mind" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/17).
In L.A., Zahniser & Connell reported AEG has "offered to kick in lease payments for use of city land as part of a financing deal" for Farmers Field, the planned NFL-ready stadium in downtown L.A. AEG lists rent from a proposed ground lease as "part of the revenues that would be used to repay" the $325-350M in city bonds that would be issued for the project. A three-page document submitted by AEG to city negotiators last night "does not indicate how much would be derived from a long-term lease" (LATIMES.com, 2/16).
SPRINGING TO LIFE: In Boston, Nick Cafardo noted there is "lots of work left to be done" on the Red Sox' new Spring Training complex in Ft. Myers, Fla., but the ballpark and surroundings "should be beautiful." Lee County Project Manager Bob Taylor "anticipates a completion date of January, 2012, more than a month before spring training is scheduled to begin next season." The 11,000-seat ballpark will have 3,500 parking spots, and there also will be a "few soccer fields which will be used for local amateur teams and double as extra parking." Cafardo noted there "should be a Patriots Place type feel to it when all is said and done, with lots of space to have a substantial retail presence" (BOSTON.com, 2/16).
MAKING PLANS FOR A SKI VACATION: In London, Jacquelin Magnay reported under a proposal from Acer Snowmec, a "snowdome might be the exotic legacy for the London 2012 international broadcast and media centre at Olympic Park." Acer Snowmec Managing Dir Malcolm Clulow said that the firm's "snow-in-the-city plan for the Olympics broadcast and media centre is for a large area incorporating five artificial indoor ski slopes." Clulow added that the "proposed 28,500 sq metre snow sports and leisure complex included other retail outlets and a hotel and he envisaged at least a million visitors a year" (London TELEGRAPH, 2/16).
ON SECOND THOUGHT: ESPN.com's Stephen Tignor wrote the French Tennis Federation "should have moved" the French Open because the Grand Slam tennis event "has outgrown" Roland Garros. It is "difficult to appreciate and enjoy the atmosphere amid the crowds that pile into each side court and jam every walkway." While the FFT elected to keep the tournament in Paris, Tignor wrote Versailles "would have made a spectacular location, and it isn't an overly long distance from the city." Roland Garros "is a wonderful spot, but the French Open would flourish anywhere in France" (ESPN.com, 2/15).