Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf "doesn't think the NFL lockout will become another issue" that derails the team’s push for a new stadium, according to Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Wilf, speaking from the NFL owners meetings in New Orleans, said, "We realize that it's an important asset to the community and that it's to everyone's interest to making sure that we get a stadium that would serve not just football but all the other events the Metrodome served proudly for the last 30 years.” It was the “first time Wilf has spoken publicly since Jan. 3.” The Vikings' lease at the Metrodome expires after the '11 season. While “work has started to replace the building's collapsed roof, the franchise has made it clear that in order to achieve financial success it needs to vacate” the building. There are “at least four possibilities believed to be in play for a stadium, including the current Metrodome site, and a long-awaited bill could be introduced this week.” Wilf “did not express a preference for a particular site,” and he does not “feel that not having a set site picked should stop a bill from being introduced.” But Zulgad writes there is “little doubt the lockout could cause legislators to question whether approving a stadium is a wise idea,” and “actual work, assuming a bill passes, might only begin once a new CBA is in place” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/22). ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert noted as of yesterday, “no stadium bill had been introduced in the 2011 session of the Minnesota state legislature.” But Wilf said, “I’m optimistic” (ESPN.com, 3/21).
In the wake of a man with a knife entering Staples Center before Saturday's Cavaliers-Clippers game, NBA Senior VP/Basketball Communications Tim Frank in an e-mail said the league is "undergoing a thorough review of the situation." Cavaliers Senior VP/Communications Tad Carper “expressed confidence in the team's security operation” at Quicken Loans Arena. Carper: "We take security and the safety of everybody in the building very seriously. Our procedures already exceed the NBA's high standards. We take extra precautions and have a constant review of the current landscape and any special concerns that warrant consideration" (CLEVELAND.com, 3/21).
PARKING SPACE: In San Jose, Mike Rosenberg reports Santa Clara leaders yesterday gave the 49ers $4M “to begin prepping part of the Great America parking lot” for the team's proposed $937M stadium. The Santa Clara City Council in a 5-2 vote “approved the deal, even though council members had only received a copy of the contract two hours before the meeting.” The 49ers will get $4M “now, and can spend up to $36 million more knowing the city would repay the team later when it gets the money through future property tax revenue.” Overall, the city has pledged $114M “in public money toward the stadium” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/22).
STEPPING INTO THE RING: In California, Leighton Ginn notes the Indian Wells Tennis Garden “doesn’t get much use after” the BNP Paribas Open concludes, and PM Sports Management President Raymond Moore said that he “welcomes the idea of holding boxing at the venue.” Moore: “I think our arena is perfect for boxing.” The 16,100-seat stadium in the past has hosted musical acts The Who and The Eagles, as well as a Suns exhibition game. But Moore said that “having more music acts in their stadium will be tough,” and the Suns “returning this October is unpredictable.” He added that with the NBA’s CBA “set to expire after this season, and the possibility of a lockout, no exhibition games have been scheduled” (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 3/22).
CONDITIONS APPLY: In North Carolina, Laura Graff reports Winston-Salem “would likely sell Joel Coliseum for no less" than $8.8M. Documents reveal that the entity that “buys the coliseum -- most likely Wake Forest University -- would have the right to rename it but would have to 'agree to retain the Lawrence Joel Veterans names in some significant manner.'” Wake Forest and Winston-Salem State Univ. “have approached city officials about buying Joel Coliseum and Bowman Gray Stadium.” Graff notes, “Selling the facilities could save the city money -- between the two, Winston-Salem has lost a total of about $850,000 a year for the past five years” (WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 3/22).