Bowing to the “potential ire of local sports fans, Coliseum Joint Powers Authority commissioners delayed voting on a management contract with Anschutz Entertainment Group over a provision to prevent the company from poaching the Raiders or Warriors,” according to Angela Woodall of the OAKLAND TRIBUNE. The commissioners were “expected to accept the five-year contract with AEG to manage day-to-day operations at the publicly owned O.co Coliseum and Oracle Arena.” But during the regular meeting Friday, the Coliseum authority “once again tabled the vote, this time postponing its decision until a special meeting” today. Suspicion among some fans is “still strong that AEG will sabotage Oakland by working with San Francisco to move the Warriors across the Bay or try to woo the Raiders to Los Angeles, where an arm of AEG is developing a stadium and needs a team to play in it.” The Warriors have already announced plans to relocate to San Francisco, but some groups are "holding out hope of keeping the team in Oakland." Commissioner Chris Dobbins wanted a “clear statement included in the contract that AEG would not try to lure the teams out of O.co Coliseum." But Authority Counsel Deena McClain said that the JPA “cannot block AEG or one of its affiliates from competing for one of the teams because of anti-trust laws.” The contract “allows the Coliseum authority to terminate the contract and keep millions of dollars AEG has pledged, including a $1 million signing bonus, $3.5 million sweetener and incentive fees.” The provision “kicks in if AEG enters into an agreement with the Raiders, Warriors or A's to relocate” (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 6/16).
British Columbia government figures indicated that the B.C. Pavilion Corp. spent $263,000 (all figures Canadian) "in a failed effort to negotiate" a $40M naming rights deal for BC Place with Telus, according to Jeff Lee of the VANCOUVER SUN. In March, the "B.C. Liberals killed the proposal to rename the stadium 'Telus Park,' saying it didn't think people would appreciate losing such a valued name as BC Place." The lengths to which "PavCo, a Crown corporation that operates both the stadium and Vancouver Convention Centre, had gone to secure the sponsorship deal was not known until Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell recently revealed the cost" in a letter. Bell said in his letter that PavCo "spent $211,000 last year on 'legal and negotiation costs' relating to the Telus naming deal." It also "paid Deloitte & Touche $51,000 for a 'naming rights review' and Spectrum Marketing $1,000 for consultation" (VANCOUVER SUN, 6/16).
Erie County (New York) Exec Mark Poloncarz said Saturday that the major terms of a new lease for the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium "could be hammered out before the Bills go to training camp near the end of July," according to Gene Warner of the BUFFALO NEWS. Poloncarz said, "We’ve had multiple negotiations, and it’s starting to pick up at a greater pace. We all are on a timeline to get the major terms agreed on by the beginning of training camp. That’s what we’re hopeful of doing." Poloncarz suggested that those major terms "would include the length of the lease, the amount of money being spent for stadium renovations and how those costs would be divided up among the county, New York State and the Bills." The first phase of the "three-year stadium renovation project then could begin some time early next year." Poloncarz said that the Bills are "asking for a package of stadium renovations expected to cost somewhere between $200 million and $220 million." He added that he hopes the Bills "will foot part of the bill." The team's current 15-year lease on the stadium "expires July 31, 2013" (BUFFALO NEWS, 6/17). Poloncarz stressed that it is "premature to label the deal as anywhere near completion." He confirmed that the renovation price tag is "more than double what former Erie County executive Chris Collins projected it would be in October before talks began." The AP's John Wawrow noted up for discussion is "how much of the team's wish list of needs will be included" in the renovation plan. Poloncarz said that the Bills and the NFL "have been asked to contribute an undisclosed share" and, due to Erie County's limited resources, he expects that the state will "provide a commitment" (AP, 6/15).
BUILDING ON BUZZ: In Buffalo, Warner noted the "positive buzz" about the Bills has "started to pay off at the box office." The Bills have "reversed their recent slide in season-ticket sales, as the team already passed last year’s total of 37,355." But team officials have said that they "still have a long way to go to match the lofty season-ticket figures of more than 55,000" from '08 and '09. Bills CEO Russ Brandon said that the team "recently passed the 40,000 mark in season tickets." Brandon admits that the team "hoped for a little bit more of a bump so far in season-ticket numbers." He said, “With the offseason we’ve had, we were hoping we’d be a little further along with our season tickets, but overall we’re pleased with the progress we’ve made." Brandon said “it’s a realistic goal" for the team to surpass its '10 season-ticket figure of 43,925 (BUFFALO NEWS, 6/17).
The Jaguars have “decided to build an indoor practice facility,” and team President Mark Lamping said that the facility would “likely fall under the financial responsibility of the Jaguars and that it would probably cost more than $10 million,” according to Tania Ganguli of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. The project is “still in the planning stages,” and neither a “location nor the type of indoor facility has been determined yet.” Jaguars Senior VP/Stadium Operations & CFO Bill Prescott said that talks "began in 2005 but never went further." Prescott said, “We took a look at the costs of doing it and the benefits. It just didn’t work out in terms of going forward. It rebubbled up in the past three, four weeks, I’d say. Especially in terms of the tropical storm and how it wrecked havoc." Prescott indicated that the south end zone of EverBank Field is “an option for the location of the facility.” Still unclear is “whether it will be a practice bubble or a more permanent metal building." Having it off-site is “not an option because the Jaguars want to be able to move practice indoors at a moment’s notice in case of, for example, an unexpected thunderstorm.” It will also be “used for events throughout the year.” The “earliest the facility could be ready is next year.” The city is beginning a $2.8M project at EverBank Field, most of which “will go toward upgrading the sound system so it will emanate from all over the stadium, rather than just the scoreboard.” The sound-system upgrade “will cost $2 million.” An upgrade to the beer lines “will cost $300,000, and other smaller upgrades will account for the remaining $500,000.” Cellphone towers and Wi-Fi installation in the stadium “are also in the works, a project worth $1.5 million, in which the telecommunications providers will invest and will not cost the city or the Jaguars” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 6/16).
DEVIL IN THE DETAILS: In Jacksonville, Michael Clinton notes improvements at EverBank Field will total about $7.5M and funding for the upgrades “comes from the city’s Sports Complex Maintenance Improvement Fund, which receives 2 percent of the 6 percent hotel bed tax.” Prescott said that the new sound system “will have the biggest impact this year.” Prescott: “We all realized the sound system is something that is critical and it took a while to design a system. I think our fans will find that to be the most dramatic improvement.” New arrays of speakers “will be placed in the light towers, in the north end zone and the wall where the electronic ribbon boards are mounted.” Prescott: “You normally wouldn’t think it would make a big impact, but after having been to Metlife and Cowboys stadiums, you see how big of an impact it is.” Meanwhile, Clinton notes some of the features for the new practice facility “include more lockers, a ‘spa look’ in the bathrooms and an overall upgrade in terms of looks and amenities.” The weight room, which “already has a preliminary design, will be Phase two of the upgrades,” and will start “after the 2012 season finishes.” Prescott: “We want to be able to demonstrate to free agents that the facility is state-of-the-art” (JACKSONVILLE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/15 issue).