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Volume 24 No. 156


Nassau County "would receive 11.5 percent of all revenue from a new Nassau Coliseum -- or a minimum of $14 million a year -- under the agreement between County Executive Edward Mangano and the Islanders" to be announced today, according to Marshall & Brodsky of NEWSDAY. The deal would give Islanders Owner Charles Wang a "30-year lease beginning in 2015 over the entire 77 acres surrounding the Coliseum, but would not grant him development rights." Wang would have to pay the county $14M annually, “regardless of how much the team takes in.” Officials said that the Coliseum’s first year would “bring the county more than $28 million in total.” The agreement focuses solely on the “new arena and a surface lot that would provide 6,500 parking spaces,” but the county could “issue a request for proposals for other development.” The agreement comes six weeks before the planned Aug. 1 referendum on “whether the county should borrow up to $400 million to finance the construction of a new hockey arena and a minor league ballpark.” Homeowners would pay more than “$50 more per year to cover the $26 million in annual debt service in the two years before the Coliseum is completed.” But county officials predicted that the “revenues would offset tax increases in future years.” Islanders Senior VP Michael Picker said that the county would “receive its share of money from all Coliseum activities and revenue streams, even though Wang himself does not profit from concert ticket revenue.” That means Wang “would have to pay the county’s portion, even when he doesn’t directly benefit.” Pickler said, “He is paying for this arena” (NEWSDAY, 6/22). On Long Island, Aisha Al-Muslim reports the Town of Hempstead Board yesterday unanimously passed a zoning plan for the 77 acres around the Coliseum and the Marriott Hotel, hailing the plan as “flexible.” The board approved a “new mixed-use zone district for the site following a public hearing.” Officials said that the zoning provides “a framework for development of the 5.4 million square feet surrounding the Coliseum.” The rezoning “has nothing to do with the lease and revenue-sharing agreement to be announced” today (NEWSDAY, 6/22).

High Point Solutions and Rutgers Univ. yesterday formally announced their 10-year, $6.5M naming-rights agreement for the school's football stadium, and for a "program that proudly declares itself as the birthplace of college football, giving up the naming rights to Rutgers Stadium was a bold step," according to Tom Luicci of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. By agreeing to the sponsorship, Rutgers "lost a little piece of its football history," something that AD Tim Pernetti "doesn't dismiss easily." Pernetti said, "Whenever you do something like this, you run into traditionalists. Tradition is what’s great about college sports. At the same time, the business is evolving. We have all of these great pieces of real estate that we haven’t maximized." Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano said, "I have no issue with leveraging this asset, this stadium, to create revenue." Pernetti noted that the deal "includes escalating clauses near the end that can raise the value $50,000 annually." Combined with Audi’s sponsorship of the stadium club, Rutgers "has generated $1 million in additional revenue in the past year, with all of it earmarked for football" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 6/22). Pernetti said, "There is a master plan on naming. But we’re not done. There’s pieces of Rutgers Stadium, parking lots on the outside, there’s the RAC, there’s other athletic facilities. It is all part of a bigger plan." He said the Rutgers Athletic Center has the "highest probability of being the next thing” branded with corporate sponsorship (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 6/22). Schiano said, "In these really challenging times financially, we have to be aggressive to find new revenue streams, and I think Tim and his administration is doing a great job of that” (N.Y. TIMES, 6/22).

CAN YOU TAKE ME HIGHER? High Point Solutions President Mike Mendiburu admitted that his New Jersey-based Internet hardware supplier "was largely unknown until news broke" yesterday about High Point Solutions Stadium. Mendiburu said, "High Point’s not exactly a household name. When we started High Point, we really had none of this in mind." The Marketing Arm Managing Dir Bill Glenn said, "For companies like High Point, marketing with the NFL or NBA might not be financially feasible. They took a regional approach and named Rutgers Stadium where they’ll get national exposure on ESPN, but generally speaking, they’ll have a more affordable deal." In Newark, Stacy Jones notes High Point works with the Nets as an IT consultant, and negotiations about the Rutgers deal began after High Point co-Founder Tom Mendiburu, "in London with the Nets at the time, was approached by Brooklyn Sports CEO Brett Yormark." Rutgers hired Brooklyn Sports and IMG last year to find a naming-rights partner (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 6/22).

M&T Bank Stadium will host U2 tonight and the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam on July 9, and if the Ravens "remain sidelined in the NFL's three-months-and-counting lockout, these special events will prove to be a reprieve," according to Ken Murray of the Baltimore SUN. In '08, the Kenny Chesney country music festival drew 38,000 fans to M&T Bank Stadium, generating "more than $1 million in tax revenue for state and local government." Tonight's U2 concert "can reasonably be expected to double those figures." M&T Bank Stadium hosted the NCAA men's lacrosse final four in May, and Ravens President Dick Cass said that the "goal is to hold three or four significant events at the stadium, other than Ravens games." Murray notes there is "no guarantee a deal will be reached in time to save" the '11 NFL season, and "no one wants to see the venue, which was completed in 1998 at a cost of $220 million, sit idle for any length of time." Other events are "planned to make use of areas" around Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium this summer, including the African-American Heritage Festival on July 2-3 and the first IndyCar Baltimore Grand Prix from Sept. 2-4. In addition, Maryland Stadium Authority Exec Dir Mike Frenz said that the stadium "will host a number of college football games in the next five years." What "could have pushed this summer's stadium schedule over the top was a matchup of international soccer teams," similar to the Chelsea-AC Milan match in Baltimore in '09, but the Ravens "couldn't make it happen" in '11 (Baltimore SUN, 6/22).

SHIPPING UP TO BOSTON: In Boston, gossip columnists Fee & Raposa report the Dropkick Murphys, Mighty Mighty Bosstones and "perhaps even Pearl Jam will rock Fenway Park in September." Sources said that ballpark officials "applied to the city for concert permits on Thursday, Sept. 8 through Saturday, Sept. 10 and that the Sox are seeking permission to host concerts by two local bands" and Pearl Jam, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein's "personal rock fave." A public hearing on the shows is set for Monday (BOSTON HERALD, 6/22).

In Winnipeg, Geoff Kirbyson cites sources close to Thrashers Owner True North Sports & Entertainment as saying that the MTS Centre, "which opened in the fall of 2004, is currently undergoing an approximately" C$1M renovation, including a C$500,000 "upgrade to the ice plant." Improvements are also "planned for both the home and visiting teams' dressing rooms, as well as the installation of acrylic glass surrounding the ice surface." Additional "activity at the MTS Centre includes the expansion of the number of corporate suites to 57 and the virtual doubling of the number of camera positions to 37" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 6/22).

Construction of OSU's football practice facility
is expected to take about 18 months
COWBOYING UP: Oklahoma State Univ. AD Mike Holder yesterday announced that construction of the Sherman E. Smith Training Center, the school's indoor football practice facility, "will begin on Aug. 1." In Oklahoma City, Brandon Chatmon reports the approximately $16M venue "could take 18 months to complete, with a goal of completion in late 2012 or early 2013." It will be located "just north of Boone Pickens Stadium." OSU "does not currently have an indoor practice facility." Chatmon writes the construction of the building will give OSU football facilities that are "comparable with any football program in the nation" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 6/22).

CITY CONQUERS THE LIONS: In Toronto, Doolittle & Rider reported Toronto Mayor Doug Ford and his Exec Committee have "approved a city takeover of the debt-ridden Lakeshore Lions Arena, but they want the name and logo" of arena operator the Lakeshore Lions Club "stripped from the building." Toronto City Council member David Shiner said, "There has to be a price for making a mistake." The issue "will now go to council, where the takeover is expected to be approved." The city would then "assume the lease and keep operations running over the short term," and "once things have stabilized, the city would find an outside operator to take over." Doolittle & Rider noted the arena is the "practice rink" for the Maple Leafs and AHL Toronto Marlies (TORONTO STAR, 6/21).

TAKING TO THE ROAD: Castrol Raceway President & co-Owner Rob Reeves yesterday announced the "beginning of the long-proposed road course" at the track, and said that it is "purely a private enterprise." Reeves noted the construction is a C$3M venture that will include "no public money." The track is "looking at autumn as the target for the first half of the winding course." Reeves said the plan is for "half of it to be completed by September, and the other half the following year" (EDMONTON SUN, 6/22).