Redskins officials said that the recent "removal of thousands of seats from the upper deck of one end zone" at FedExField is "part of a multimillion dollar renovation project that ultimately will include two 'party decks' and other amenities for fans similar to those provided at newer NFL stadiums," according to Mike Jones of the WASHINGTON POST. Sources said that the party decks will allow fans to "participate in pregame and postgame festivities and buy standing room viewing tickets." One team source "declined to disclose the precise number of seats being removed, except to say it would be in the thousands." The work to the 14-year-old FedEx Field, the oldest stadium in the NFC East, "will reduce the stadium’s capacity to about 85,000, from its current 91,704 this season." One source indicated that the construction, "scheduled to be completed before the 2012 season," means that "no fans on the Redskins’ season ticket waiting list will be able to buy tickets this year" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/7). A team source said that the project is "about 'enhancing the fan experience' and unrelated to any possible decrease in demand for tickets." In DC, Rich Campbell notes thousands of "season-ticket holders whose seats are affected by the renovation will enter the Redskins' auto-relocation process." The source said that fans will have the "option to upgrade their seats to the lower level at an increased price, or they can relocate in the upper level at no additional charge." The Redskins are "attempting to match features of other" NFL facilities, such as Cowboys Stadium and Raymond James Stadium (WASHINGTON TIMES, 6/7).
At sporting events “across the nation, and in the NBA in particular, noise has become a part of the show,” according to a front-page piece by Alan Schwarz of the N.Y. TIMES. Owners like the Mavericks’ Mark Cuban “have turned hosting a game into producing an event -- with ‘assisted resonance’ and ‘crowd enhancement.’” Sixty “mammoth speakers hanging above the court” at American Airlines Center in Dallas “thunder music and clamorous sound effects louder than a jumbo jet engine.” Schwarz writes it is “hard to tell if the Mavericks’ favorite machine during these playoffs is Dirk Nowitzki, their star player, or their sound system.” After tip-off of a recent Western Conference Finals game against the Thunder, microphones in the backboard “amplified rim clangs, sneaker squeaks and the occasional player profanity, while devices dangling above the crowd … could redirect courtside crowd sounds into the distant upper mezzanine.” The Mavericks “have received a few complaints about the cacophony, which lasts through most two-hour games at decibel levels between a power mower’s 90 and a rock concert’s 110,” but “few seem to be boycotting games.” The proliferation of luxury suites has “put greater emphasis on the size and clarity of sports sound systems.” American Airlines Center acoustic engineer Jack Wrightson said, “All of the owners are interested in crowd noise. But the size of the buildings today makes that a real problem you have to solve” (N.Y. TIMES, 6/7). In Boston, Nick Cafardo wrote, “Feedback from recent column about having less noise at major league games: almost 100 percent in favor” (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/5).
In San Diego, Ed Zieralski reported the Oak Tree Racing Association "wants to run a fall meeting" at Del Mar Racetrack in '12, a move that "could lead to the Breeders’ Cup coming to the seaside track within four to five years." OTRA Exec Dir Sherwood Chillingworth said that his organization “would loan $2 million to $3 million” to Del Mar and California's 22nd District Agriculture Board “so it could expand Del Mar’s Jimmy Durante Turf Course to attract a future Breeders’ Cup.” He said that the fall Del Mar meeting “would run at the end of September through the early part of November to ‘pick up the Breeders’ Cup.’” Chillingworth “plans to apply for the 2012 fall dates this summer at a California Horse Racing Board meeting” (SIGNONSANDIEGO.com, 6/6).
ROSES ARE RED: In California, Brenda Gazzar reported Legacy Connections, a "private fundraising group created to close a $12 million gap in the Rose Bowl's $152-million renovation project," has raised more than $3 million in gifts and pledges since January. Among the donations is a "$500,000 gift from Pasadena residents Carolyn and Charles Miller." Officials said that the couple will "have their names placed above one of the historic stadium's tunnels, Tunnel 19" (PASADENA STAR NEWS, 6/5).
NOTES: In Illinois, Ashok Selvam notes the expansion ECHL Chicago Express have “entered a three-year deal to play their homes games at the Sears Centre.” Team Owner Craig Drecktrah said that “season ticket sales are high.” Drecktrah: “We’re very pleased at what’s happening, the same thing with sponsorships” (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 6/7)....N.C.-based marketing and developing firm Sports & Properties, Inc. has completed a naming-rights sponsorship valuation analysis of The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga., for the Gwinnett Convention & Visitors Bureau. The 13,000-seat venue plays host to the ECHL Gwinnett Gladiators and the AFL Georgia Force (SPI).