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Volume 24 No. 116


The B.C. Pavilion Corp. Friday said that it "will take legal action" against the MLS Whitecaps and their sponsor Bell if they "do not stop using the term 'Bell Pitch' to refer to the soccer field at BC Place," according to Jeff Lee of the VANCOUVER SUN. PavCo Chair David Podmore said that his organization "never conferred any naming rights to either the Whitecaps or Bell when it agreed to a 15-year lease with the soccer club." He added that PavCo began sending the club and Bell "notices to 'cease and desist' using the term Bell Pitch from the time the Whitecaps moved into BC Place Stadium last spring." Podmore: "To be clear about this, neither the Whitecaps nor Bell have any rights to utilize the name Bell Pitch or to name any components of the building or the building itself. PavCo has not given any (of those) rights to any of them. Their rights are limited to advertising within the inner bowl of the stadium and it is very, very clear in the agreement. And we will take the steps necessary to stop them using the term Bell Pitch." He described the term as a "blatant ambush which usurps naming rights without compensation." He "was particularly angered by recent full-page advertisements by Bell and the Whitecaps describing the facility as 'Bell Pitch downtown.'" Lee noted the "dispute’s escalation follows on the heels of a messy decision by the provincial government to cancel an all-but-signed" C$40M, 20-year naming-rights deal between Telus and PavCo. Podmore said that those negotiations "became complicated when Bell and the Whitecaps began referring to the stadium as 'Bell Pitch'" (VANCOUVER SUN, 3/10).

In DC, Jonathan O'Connell cites development plans as indicating that construction of a soccer stadium on Buzzard Point in Southwest DC "would require assembling properties from five owners, including the District." The 20-page concept plans, dated July '10, "propose a 'Sports & Entertainment District @ Buzzard Point' stretching from Nationals Park to a new D.C. United stadium." The private planning documents were produced by Dallas-based architecture firm HKS. The plans are "almost two years old, but D.C. officials say the team’s focus remains on Buzzard Point and have sounded a more optimistic tune with the team having nearly completed a two-year extension to play at RFK Stadium" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/12).

COMIN' TO YOUR CITY: Hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen said that he "hopes to reach an agreement in principle (pending the relocation of an NBA franchise) with the city and county by 'late spring, early summer'" on his $490M Seattle sports-and-entertainment-arena proposal. In Seattle, Jerry Brewer wrote it is an "ambitious goal for Hansen." The deal is "as creative as it gets in professional sports, and it's more enticing than any sports-palace proposal ever made in this city." Hansen "understands how this city operates," and now must "figure out how to earn its trust" (SEATTLE TIMES, 3/11).

: In Sacramento, Bizjak & Lillis in a front-page piece note a "key peg of the $391 million plan for a downtown railyard sports and entertainment center is a promise from City Hall to Natomas that the city will find a suitable new use for the 184 acres surrounding Power Balance Pavilion, current home of the Kings." The deal approved by the City Council last week "calls for the city and Kings to sell the old arena site, likely in 2015, to help fund the downtown arena." But, like "other elements of the complex deal, details have yet to be worked out." Natomas, Calif., activists have said that they "will hold the city to its pledge" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 3/12).