In Minneapolis, Mike Kaszuba noted with an "important legislative deadline having passed Friday," Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers "remained unclear" whether he would give the new Vikings stadium project a necessary procedural exemption to keep it alive at the State Capitol. When Zellers was asked Friday whether he could recall major legislation passing without the support of a House speaker, he replied, "I can't think of anything off the top of my head, but I'm sure there has been." Though the $975M stadium project can "still be revived, Zellers at some point will likely be needed to give it special assistance." Zellers said that the stadium proposal is "seriously flawed, but he added it was 'way too early' to declare the project politically dead at the Capitol this year." Kaszuba wrote by "most measures, it was not a good week politically for the Vikings stadium" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/17).
WHAT'S IN A NAME: In Vancouver, Michael Smyth noted of the "many bizarre explanations the government offered for cancelling" the C$40M deal to rename B.C. Place as Telus Park, the argument that the "old name is beloved and 'iconic' has got to be the weakest." The government’s "own market research shows why: re-naming sports stadiums after corporate sponsors has become commonplace, and people see it as a way to defray the cost of B.C. Place’s new retractable roof." That is one of the "key results of focus-group testing done for the B.C. Pavilion Corp., the Crown company that manages the government-owned stadium." A document prepared for PavCo execs stated, "There is little or no opposition to selling naming rights, especially once it’s made clear that it reduces our burden in paying for the roof" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 3/18).
CHECK THE SCOREBOARD: The Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE noted the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission has "approved plans to replace two of the Metrodome's four long auxiliary scoreboards with new LED-display boards." The estimated cost of the new scoreboards is $300,000. Funds are "available in the budget to pay for the boards." The commission is "scheduled to get a bid recommendation at its April 19 meeting." The work would be "finished in time for the opening" of the Vikings' '12 season (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/18).