NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a meeting last month told L.A. Council member Jan Perry and political aide Bernard Parks, Jr. that "neither the league nor any team interested in moving" to L.A. "would agree to the business proposal set forth" by AEG, according to sources cited by Jason Cole of YAHOO SPORTS. One source said that Goodell “was optimistic about many parts of the proposal,” but Cole noted it “was clear that significant changes must occur before the league would be interested.” Another source said, “He was very complimentary of a lot of the project, so it wasn’t all negative. But he laid out the problems the league sees.” Cole notes, "One underlying question regarding the NFL’s stance on the downtown site is whether this is simply part of negotiations. Another question is whether the NFL has pushed the downtown idea completely aside in favor of [Majestic Realty Chair & CEO Ed] Roski’s project in the City of Industry." An NFL source said, “If Roski were to put together a favorable package, I think this thing could get done there pretty fast.” CBS NFL analyst Charley Casserly last Sunday hinted that Roski’s site “could be pulling ahead.” AEG is proposing “a landlord-tenant relationship it has successfully developed” with the Lakers, Clippers and NHL Kings. All of those teams play at the Staples Center, “which is across the street from the proposed stadium.” In essence, AEG “sells the tickets, advertising and sponsorship deals for those teams, takes a cut and then pays the teams.” However, the NFL “is a different beast.” Five NFL team execs have said that “what AEG is asking for is not acceptable for an NFL team.” An NFC team exec said, “You’re talking about a team being disconnected from season ticketholders and rights holders. There’s no team that will do that and I don’t think you can get approval from the rest of the owners for an arrangement like that.” Another issue that NFL owners "have recoiled at: The effort by AEG to buy equity in a team at a perceived discounted price" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/6).
In Ft. Lauderdale, Ted Hutton reported Florida Atlantic Univ. has not announced a naming-rights partner for its new football stadium "less than two weeks from opening day." FAU AD Craig Angelos said, “I haven't given up on getting it named this year.” FAU has budgeted “$400,000 per year for those naming rights, so [the school] will need to get revenue from someplace else if a buyer is not found.” Hutton noted where FAU “has done best is at the lower-priced naming opportunities.” Two of the concourses “have been sold for $250,000 each, as have the President's Suite and FAU's locker room” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 10/6).
KEEPING THE CHARM: In L.A., Bill Dwyre noted the Rose Bowl “has committed $152 million” to a three-year project to update the stadium. Improvements will be made to “widen the access tunnels; enlarge the press-box area for more luxury suites, club seats and loge boxes; add scoreboards; and widen concourse areas.” Seating sections will “be divided for easier entrance and departure.” But Dwyre noted, “The look, feel and charm of the Rose Bowl will be kept intact.” Rose Bowl CEO & GM Darryl Dunn said that he has “watched other stadiums come to their demise and knew that a project was needed.” Dunn: "It was clear that you can't just sit on your hands. That time will catch up to you" (L.A. TIMES, 10/6).
LEGION FIELD FACELIFT: In Alabama, Joseph Bryant reports “work is under way” at Legion Field “to install new covered seating just weeks before the Magic City Classic.” The annual matchup between Alabama A&M and Alabama State “draws 60,000 to 70,000 inside the stadium and thousands more outside.” Birmingham Mayor William Bell said that the seating upgrade “is part of an effort to make the 84-year old stadium palatable to tenants, including the Classic, the BBVA Compass Bowl and the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship.” Terry Burney, a senior aide to Mayor Bell, said that the city expects “to spend between $400,000 and $500,000 for the total project” (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 10/7). Meanwhile, SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Don Muret reports Alabama State is "building a new football stadium on campus, a key piece of the school’s long-range plan to become the first historically black college to compete" at the FBS level (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/3 issue).
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: In Memphis, Marlon Morgan noted the Univ. of Memphis's Elma Roane Fieldhouse renovations, “complete with brand new locker rooms for the women's basketball and volleyball teams, a players lounge area and a team meeting room” are done, but “took longer than expected.” Phase 1 of the fieldhouse renovations is complete “a year later than what was originally hoped for.” Plans for Phase 2, “which will include a training room and a weight room, are being finalized.” UM Associate AD for Compliance & Senior Women’s Administrator Lynne Parkes said that the "final cost was about $1 million." She added that she hopes “to have it completed by the fall of 2012 but no firm timetable has been set” (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 10/3).
NBA Commissioner David Stern indicated that if the first two weeks of the season are canceled, "rescheduling lost games would be difficult." USA TODAY's J. Michael Falgoust notes most teams share arenas "with hockey or college basketball teams, presenting a logistical headache if the two weeks of games had to be made up." Stern added that he was "receiving pressure from venues on whether they can book replacement events, such as concerts, for currently scheduled NBA games" (USA TODAY, 10/7).
GETTING DOWN TO BRASS TACKS: In Edmonton, Kent & Cummins in a front-page piece report Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel and Oilers Owner Daryl Katz will meet with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman next week in N.Y. "as a deadline looms to reach an arena deal." Mandel and Edmonton City Manager Simon Farbrother "will give Bettman the city's point of view Tuesday afternoon, then get together with the commissioner and the Katz Group the next day." The Katz Group has "imposed an Oct. 31 deadline for reaching an agreement with the city to build the [C]$450-million facility, saying construction costs are rising and that's when options to buy the downtown land expire" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 10/7).
DON'T FORGET ABOUT ME: In St. Paul, Belden & Melo noted while efforts to build a Vikings stadium in Arden Hills “have grabbed the most attention, a group pushing the Minneapolis Farmers' Market site has been quietly busy.” The group has “come up with a concept it says would bring sanity to the ‘broken and dysfunctional’ stadium process in Minnesota, and it has been shopping it to city, regional and statewide leaders.” Its idea is “to create an agency, modeled after the Metropolitan Airports Commission, that would manage the major Minneapolis and St. Paul sports, convention and entertainment facilities.” State Rep. Morrie Lannie said that “such a concept is too much to tackle in the Legislature's 2012 session, when the focus will be on getting a Vikings deal approved” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 10/6).
MIXED REVIEWS: On Long Island, Brodsky & Marshall noted a proposal to build a new Nassau Coliseum at Belmont Park “drew support and some skepticism Wednesday from a variety of Nassau officials and civic leaders with a stake in the development plans.” State legislator John Ciotti said that “pairing an arena with the racetrack and a proposed casino would create a wealth of new jobs." Nassau owns the Coliseum land and “collects annual revenue from the New York Islanders, whose lease at the Coliseum expires in 2015.” State legislator Kevan Abrahams said that “it's unclear if that arrangement would continue at Belmont” (NEWSDAY, 10/6).