The Rams and the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission, the entity that operates Edward Jones Dome, "are not releasing the team's proposal" for renovations to the venue, "even though taxpayers would likely fund the bulk of the improvements," according to a front-page piece by Matthew Hathaway of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The CVC yesterday "rejected an open-records request from the Post-Dispatch for the plan, offering a new argument by citing exemptions in the state's Sunshine Law." The Rams' plan "is a counter to one presented by the CVC," which on Feb. 1 proposed $124M in improvements. Sources said that prior to presenting the renovation plan, the CVC had "offered to reduce the Rams' lease at the Dome by five years." That would have made the lease expire in '20 instead of '25. Sources said that the CVC in exchange "wanted the Rams to waive a requirement in the lease that the Dome be a 'first-tier' facility in 15 categories." Hathaway notes that requirement "is what triggered the current round of talks on the future of the Dome." Sources also said that the Rams "rejected both offers in a letter sent to the CVC on March 1." The club "refused to release their Dome renovation plan, again citing the confidentiality provision in the lease." Sources said that the Rams' plan "did not include a cost estimate" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/2). In St. Louis, Bryan Burwell writes the best thing Rams Owner Stan Kroenke and his people "can do right now is to find a favorable resolution to the lease agreement with the CVC." If Kroenke "believes the best way to proceed with these negotiations is to keep the details of their upgrade proposal secret, then let him do it." What Kroenke is doing right now "is well within his negotiating rights," and what the CVC is doing "is also well within its rights." Burwell: "When the time comes for this to be resolved, the final proposal will end up as public as we need it to be" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/2).
It has been a month since Marlins Park officially opened and the club is "still trying to figure out how to plug leaks in their 8,000-ton retractable roof and how to stop the grass from dying in the outfield,” according to Manny Navarro of the MIAMI HERALD. The grounds crew at Marlins Park is “first going to turn its attention to the grass in the outfield -- particularly right field -- that is turning brown.” Marlins President David Samson said that rain in April “caused the retractable roof at Marlins Park to be closed more often than they expected.” The lack of sun "has led to the decay of the grass.” The Marlins “already have replaced the turf in right field once -- before opening night.” Samson said that there is “always a chance they might have to replace the sod entirely,” and added that it “has happened at other ballparks with retractable roofs.” Samson said, “(Sunday) there were four of five spots where we had some drips coming down. The roof people were looking at those joints. Again, it’s very normal (to have leaks). But you need it to rain and see where (the leaks are).” Following April's 11 home games, the Marlins “are averaging 30,681 fans in paid attendance, ranking 14th in baseball.” While the number of walk-up ticket buyers "isn’t large" on game days, Samson said, "We’re selling much more on the day of the game than we had last year" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/2).
In Sacramento, Dale Kasler writes the city and the NBA Kings "are stuck in an unhappy marriage," after the collapsed deal for a new arena. Renovating Power Balance Pavilion is "unlikely without the city's help -- which the mayor ruled out." The NBA, which was "ready to help with the new arena, says it won't assist with a renovation, either." At the "heart of the impasse" are Kings Owner the Maloof family's "finances, which took a hit during the recession." Sources said that the team is $205M in debt, and has "limped along with the NBA's lowest player payroll two years in a row." The Kings' financial constraints "appear to be keeping them at Power Balance, even though they've pushed for a new arena for years." The city and NBA believe that the Maloofs "are wary of taking on the debt needed to finance their share of the downtown arena" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 5/2). Also in Sacramento, Ryan Lillis noted pre-development work on a new arena "has been halted, making the city's target date" for opening a new facility "unrealistic." Mayor Kevin Johnson acknowledged yesterday, "We're not going to make 2015" (SACBEE.com, 5/1).
SOUVENIR SHOP: The NFL Panthers recently closed the souvenir shop at Bank of America Stadium "for renovations, with a reopening expected just before the team's training camp convenes in late July." Between the team's "recent tweaks to its logo and the leaguewide apparel deal with Nike that started this month, it makes sense to put a fresh spin on the store." Charlotte-based architect David Wagner is "handling the design." Reconfiguring the space "will add about 100 square feet to the shop, boosting its footprint to 3,500 square feet" (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/27 issue).
ON THE BIG SCREEN: The Univ. of Memphis Monday announced that Mississippi-based Capturion Network "was selected to install a 98-by-48 foot state-of-the-art video board to replace the existing JumboTron" at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. The $2.5M "project also includes a 38-by-10 foot scoreboard to replace the existing scoreboard in the north end zone." FedEx is "covering the cost of the project." School officials said that the videoboard "will rank sixth nationally in terms of size among college football stadium boards" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 5/2).