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Volume 24 No. 158


AEG Facilities “has been chosen as the new manager” of the KFC Yum! Center, according to John Karman of the Louisville BUSINESS FIRST. Louisville Arena Authority Chair Larry Hayes confirmed on Thursday that the authority's executive committee “made the decision to go with AEG as a replacement for the Kentucky State Fair Board.” Hayes said that a “management contract is currently being drafted” with AEG. The L.A.-based firm beat out Global Spectrum and Spectator Management Group for the job. Hayes said that AEG, which held the arena’s booking contract since the facility opened in October '10, was selected “because of its considerable experience as a promoter and venue manager” (, 6/21). Authority member Dan Ulmer on Friday said that a "three-person committee selected AEG last week and expects to begin 'serious negotiations' next week" (, 6/22). AEG VP/Communications Michael Roth said that AEG’s deal, pending approval, runs 10 years. Roth said that there has been no announcement on who would take over as the arena’s GM. Dennis Petrullo is currently AEG’s director of booking and event development (Don Muret, SportsBusiness Journal).

The Sabres have proposed "building two indoor ice rinks, a hotel and other amenities as part of a plan to develop a prime piece of real estate," according to Jill Terreri of the BUFFALO NEWS. The bid, submitted by Sabres Owner Terry Pegula and his wife, Kim, "is one of three the city received for redevelopment of a 1.7-acre city-owned parking lot on the Webster Block, which sits east of Main Street and just north of the Sabres’ home base at First Niagara Center." Team VP/Public & Community Relations Michael Gilbert said that the rinks would be "open for general skating and use by area hockey clubs and teams, and would not be a practice facility for the Sabres." The development would include "retail space and a sports bar on the ground level, a 900-space parking garage, two rinks above the garage and a full-service hotel with approximately 200 rooms." Gilbert said that the development is "expected to bring 500,000 people to the area annually." The city "hopes to select a developer by Aug. 15 and would like construction to begin next spring." Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning Exec Dir Brendan Mehaffy said that the city "will not release details of the proposals, though the winning bidder will have to go through a public approval process" (BUFFALO NEWS, 6/22).

Erie County (New York) Exec Mark Poloncarz said that the Bills are "asking for stadium renovations costing between $200 million and $220 million," according to Warner & Gee of the BUFFALO NEWS. But now the Bills -- along with the NFL -- are "being asked to provide tens of millions of dollars for the improvements." Nobody is saying "whether the Bills are willing to pay that high a share." The "silver lining for the Bills, though, is that any share above $25 million the team pays toward a large stadium renovation project could be matched by the NFL," as part of the league's G-4 loan program. The loans "are a vehicle for the NFL to help finance either the construction of new stadiums, or the renovations projects at existing ones." Sources said that "the G-4 funding is considered key to helping pay for the renovations needed in any new lease agreement." The Bills' "current stadium lease runs out July 31, 2013." Other sources said that it "could be difficult for Erie County to extract much private funding from the Bills and the NFL." SportsCorp President Marc Ganis said, "It's a great concept, but in reality, what the Bills are asking for is not a stretch, a couple of hundred million." Warner & Gee note, "Whatever the final price tag of the stadium renovation sought by the Bills, it likely won't be the only cost of the new lease." The last time "a deal was struck, Erie County picked up the cost of annual upgrades, stadium maintenance and game-day expenses -- costs that likely will be part of any new deal." That could "push the total price tag, depending on the length of the lease, up in the neighborhood of $300 million" (BUFFALO NEWS, 6/22).

Kentucky State Police “will take the lead under the overhauled parking and traffic management plan that will be in place for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and two support races next week at Kentucky Speedway,” according to Kevin Kelly of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. Kentucky Speedway GM Mark Simendinger said, “I’ve seen the document the Kentucky State Police [have] prepared as the traffic management plan. It looks like Bill Belichick’s playbook. It’s extensive.” The plan “takes lessons learned last year and incorporates the more than $11 million spent since then by the state and speedway on infrastructure improvements around the venue.” Kentucky State Police “will be in charge of traffic and parking.” Simendinger said that the speedway is “paying for the state manpower” (CINCINNATI ENQUIER, 6/22).

Smith said he expects Kentucky highway patrol to do
"an outstanding job" in controlling traffic this year

REFLECTION: SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith is featured in a Q&A in Monday's issue of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Staff Writer Tripp Mickle asked Smith about the upcoming Quaker State 400 on June 30:

Q: What do you wish SMI had done differently before the inaugural Cup race in Kentucky last year?
Smith: I wish we could have convinced the highway patrol of Kentucky. I kept trying to explain what a huge crowd we had coming. The biggest thing that hurt us was the rain. It converted the parking we had into an impossible situation.

Q: What do you have to do to reconnect with fans?
Smith: I made promises on what we would do and we've done it. And I've done it with the state of Kentucky. The governor of Kentucky came forward and got the state to approve a lot of things. We have what was a two-lane road operational at seven lanes. They also installed a 12-foot-wide pedestrian walkway, and the state built a tunnel under (Kentucky highway) 35 so that people can walk right on through the tunnel and onto the speedway side.

Q: You don't apologize often. Why did you apologize for this race?
Smith: We hated that we didn't do a better job. Here again, I'm not going to knock Kentucky, but they were not aware of what was going to happen. This time (the state highway patrol) went to school on it. They know what to expect and they will do an outstanding job.

An ARIZONA REPUBLIC editorial asks, “Why is Arizona State University President Michael Crow fuming over a plan to share the Chicago Cubs' new spring-training facility in Mesa?” Sources said that Crow “hasn't been involved in negotiations.” However, Crow “called the Cubs ‘highly erratic’ and ‘not people of their word’ in a publicly available e-mail, adding that ASU would proceed with more expensive stadium renovations in Tempe.” By most accounts, the deal “was nearly finished,” and only “a few minor sticking points remain on concessions and facility use.” Groundbreaking for the facility “is scheduled in less than three weeks, and with ASU's presence unsettled, the Cubs haven't been able to finalize stadium designs” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 6/22).

: In Chicago, Mahr & Ryan reported Bridgeview officials “stung by a costly soccer stadium got an earful from angry residents Wednesday who complained of a lack of answers on how much the struggling venture will cost them.” Resident Marge Woods said, “I would really like to know what the village plan is to handle this enormous debt. You can't do it on the backs of us taxpayers." Toyota Park, the taxpayer-owned home of the MLS Chicago Fire, “has come up millions of dollars short of making its debt payments since opening in 2006,” and the town “has nearly tripled property taxes in less than a decade” (, 6/21).

NOTES: The Ralston Arena, set to open in October, has selected New Era Tickets to provide customized ticketing technology and related services. The facility, based in Ralston, Neb., will be 95,000 square feet and serve as the home facility for the USHL Omaha Lancers, Univ. of Nebraska-Omaha men’s basketball and Indoor Football League Omaha Beef (New Era)....In N.Y., Rich Calder reports a week after "the Chris Brown vs. Drake bottle-throwing melee at SoHo hotspot W.i.P., Barclays Center reps made a point of assuring state liquor officials that there will be no bottle service -- expect for champagne and wine -- at arena director Jay-Z's latest outpost" of his 40/40 Club (N.Y. POST, 6/22).