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Volume 24 No. 160


Sports Authority is "in negotiations with Invesco Ltd., the Broncos and the Metropolitan Football Stadium District to assume naming rights" to Invesco Field, according to Mike Klis of the DENVER POST. If the stadium district approves the proposed deal during next Tuesday's public meeting, the Colorado-based Sports Authority "will pay $150 million over the next 25 years for the right to have its name on the Broncos" stadium. The facility would be renamed Sports Authority Field at Mile High in time for the Broncos' Sept. 12 regular-season home opener. Denver-based Invesco Funds Group in '00 signed a 20-year, $120M deal for naming rights to the stadium. From those naming-rights revenues, "50 percent goes to the stadium district and 50 percent is allocated to the Broncos." The same split "would be retained in the proposed deal" with Sports Authority. Invesco's deal is not set to expire until '20, and all parties involved in the negotiations indicated that Invesco "was not looking to end its relationship with the Broncos." Invesco Managing Dir for Corporate Affairs Douglas Kidd said, "Earlier this year, we were approached with an idea by Sports Authority that did seem like a compelling offer that was in line not only from our point of view but it also seemed to be in the best interest of Broncos fans and the district." Klis notes one reason Invesco was "willing to move on was that the company has changed its business model in recent years from selling directly to consumers, where advertising can pay dividends, to pitching to financial advisers." Sports Authority has been a Broncos sponsor "for several years," and has plans to expand by "putting a retail store inside the Broncos' stadium" (DENVER POST, 8/11). Sports Authority's primary competitor, Dick's Sporting Goods, has the naming rights to the MLS Rapids' home field (THE DAILY).

The Univ. of Washington yesterday "unveiled a website,, devoted" to the $250M renovation of the school's football stadium, according to Bob Condotta of the SEATTLE TIMES. Included in the information released were “prices for 25 luxury suites ($60,000 each), 30 patio suites (seating for six at $15,000 or seating for four at $10,000) and 2,500 seats in the new Club Husky (donations from $1,050 to $1,950).” The school said that “roughly 21,000 of the estimated 70,000 seats in the new stadium will be donor or premium seating (including Tyee Club).” The money from those seats “will cover a substantial portion of the tab for the renovation.” The rest of the seats “will not include an additional fee beyond the ticket price.” UW “plans to raise at least $50 million by the end of the renovation, and says it has $42 million already pledged, with the rest generated by the stadium.” The school “will take out 30-year bonds to pay” the additional $200M. Non-premium ticket prices “will be unveiled this fall,” and UW AD Scott Woodward gave an “estimate of a possible 5 to 15 percent increase.” Woodward: "You're not going to see any exponential increase. It's going to be marginal, at best incremental.” The school is “continuing to seek corporate donors for the stadium, including a $50 million price tag for naming rights to the field” (SEATTLE TIMES, 8/11).

MUCH NEEDED RENOVATION: In Memphis, Kyle Veazey noted the “most eye-popping part” of the Univ. of Mississippi’s announced $150M capital campaign is “the goal to bowl in the north end zone” of the football stadium and “increase capacity to over 70,000.” Veazey wrote, “But that's overlooking a critically important part: the proposed renovations to the current structure that'll come a phase before the proposed expansion. ... Didn't realize how second-rate the concourses -- especially the bathrooms -- are until I sat in the stands to cover some scrimmages. The concourse experience doesn't put off the vibe of a major college football program” (, 8/10).

Revenue at Camelback Ranch, the Glendale, Ariz., Spring Training facility shared by the Dodgers and White Sox, fell to $4.89M this past spring, a 8.6% drop from '10 and down 20% compared to $6.15M posted for the facility's first year in '09. The data was filed late yesterday as part of the Dodgers' ongoing bankruptcy case in Delaware. The revenue decline stems primarily from falling attendance at Camelback Ranch, as the Dodgers were down 17% in their per-game draw this past spring, while the White Sox were down 2.6%, according to Cactus League data. Every other Cactus League team this year also posted a per-game attendance decline with the exception of the AL Champion Rangers, and the D'Backs and Rockies, who jointly opened their new Salt River Fields at Talking Stick facility. Camelback Ranch, however, remains profitable as audited financials in the court filing showed $2.16M in net income for '09, $1.3M for last year, and then an unaudited sum of $3.44M this year (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). In L.A., Bill Shaikin noted merchandise sales at Camelback Ranch “fell 30%, concession sales fell 18% and sales of premium tickets” fell 85% (, 8/10).

The AP’s Mary Foster noted Louisiana and New Orleans officials yesterday “showed off” the Superdome’s newly completed upgrades, “touting the improvements as having ‘all the bells and whistles’ of a new facility.” Seats have been “replaced or refurbished, and new ones added; there are new club facilities and restrooms, and new video systems and scoreboards installed.” Luxury suites have been added and the Saints' locker room “expanded to twice its old size.” The multi-phase $336M project began after Hurricane Katrina “wrecked the building” in ’05. Saints Owner Tom Benson said, "This is a brand new stadium. It's got all the things we wanted. I haven't seen a finer stadium in the country" (AP, 8/10).

FULL HOUSE?’s Kenny Bruce noted Bristol Motor Speedway, which “once boasted a streak of 55 consecutive sell-outs” for its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, may be “ready to embark on another run of full stadiums beginning later this month” when the track hosts the Irwin Tools Night Race on Aug. 27. BMS GM Jerry Caldwell said the track, which seats approximately 150,500 in the grandstands, is “going to be close” to a sellout. An estimated crowd of 138,000 turned out for last year’s spring race, “bringing the sell-out streak to a halt, while the announced attendance for the August race was 155,000.” Caldwell: “Ticket sales are good. We’re very encouraged. We’re probably going to announce soon a couple of sections are selling out ... everything is filling up nicely” (, 8/10).

ENGINE TROUBLE: In Charlotte, Steve Harrison notes the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which owns the NASCAR HOF, yesterday said that the facility “lost $138,000 in June, the last month of fiscal year 2011.” For the full FY, the HOF “lost $1.42 million, more than the CRVA’s amended midyear budget’s estimated loss of $1.24 million.” The CRVA “will pay for the deficit out of its reserve funds this year” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/11).

MUM’S THE WORD: In Las Vegas, Joe Schoenmann cites sources as saying that Int’l Development Management President & CEO Chris Milam, who “has failed to get deals done in Las Vegas and unincorporated Clark County, is now courting Henderson officials in an effort to build a $2 billion stadium complex near the M Resort.” The sources said that Henderson officials “have signed confidentiality agreements” and are “keeping quiet about the talks over worries that word of a lengthy construction project might draw opposition from residents near the proposed arena site.” One source described the project as “a done deal” (LAS VEGAS SUN, 8/11).

CHAMPAIGN WISHES: Univ. of Illinois officials have selected Aecom to design the Assembly Hall renovation, according to industry sources. The same firm designed new Matthew Knight Arena at the Univ. of Oregon, among other college projects (Don Muret, SportsBusiness Journal).