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Volume 24 No. 117


The MLB Cardinals and A-B InBev have "reached a licensing and sponsorship agreement for a restaurant and beer garden" as part of the $100M first phase of Ballpark Village, the "long-awaited development alongside Busch Stadium," according to a front-page piece by Tim Logan of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The restaurant, one of "three anchor tenants around an event plaza, will be owned by the Cardinals and their development partners Cordish Co., but will bear the Budweiser name, have a German theme and offer more than 100 beers on tap." Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III said that the team has been "talking for some time with the brewer about a role in Ballpark Village." Alcohol laws "prevent big breweries from owning restaurants and bars, but A-B has in the past licensed its name and brands to themed bars." It is "not clear how much A-B will contribute financially to the Ballpark Village project." However, DeWitt said A-B's investment is "substantial." Ballpark Village has been a "sore spot downtown for five years." The Cardinals have "floated multiple development plans, only to see financing and tenants fall through, and the 10-acre site is still an empty field." What was first pitched as a "glitzy mix of office towers, condos and shopping, maybe even an aquarium, is now two blocks of 'entertainment concepts' that will be surrounded by parking lots, where the Cardinals hope to build more in the future." DeWitt said that, "Those two blocks are now 80 percent leased." The team today is set "to pitch their plan to a committee of St. Louis Aldermen." The board must "amend the redevelopment plan and bless" $18M worth of tax-backed bonds for the project to go forward. If that happens, and state approvals follow, DeWitt said that he "hopes to finally start construction on Ballpark Village this fall, with a goal to open" the restaurant and other tenants by Opening Day in '14 (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 6/27).

The Univ. of Missouri System Board of Curators “unanimously approved MU’s first phase for athletic upgrades, a bond-financed project totaling" $72M to renovate the east and west sides of Memorial Stadium, "plus other smaller projects to other athletic facilities,” according to Dave Matter of the COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE. The total “projected costs for the master plan" is $102M. The other $30M will “come from a donation by the Kansas City Sports Trust," the same group which donated $10M to MU for facility upgrades in ‘04. The K.C. Sports Trust's donation is “the second largest in the school’s history.” MU AD Mike Alden said that it was “the launching point" of a comprehensive $200M facility overhaul that the school "hopes to complete within the next eight to 10 years.” MU unveiled the renovation plans “with six artist renditions of Memorial Stadium (football), Taylor Stadium (baseball), University Field (softball) and revamped tennis and golf facilities.” Among the additions will be “a new indoor football practice facility planned for the area behind the Mizzou Athletic Training Complex and an additional weight room.” As part of the plans for Memorial Stadium, MU will “add an upper bowl on the east side of the stadium with more than 5,000 general admission seats and a club level with more than 1,000 seats, along with restrooms, concessions, lounge spaces, kitchen, support and circulation spaces.” The east-side addition will “cost an estimated" $46M and is "expected to be completed" in July '15. MU recommended architecture firm Populous “to handle the project for a basic service fee" of $1.88M. MU also proposed a $9.75M “renovation of the press box on the west side of the stadium.” MU “expects to finance the bulk" of the project through "increased revenue from the sales of additional premium seating on the existing west tower and the new east tower" (COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE, 6/27).

A SECOND EXPANSION? In St. Louis, Stu Durando notes the expansion of Memorial Stadium will increase capacity from 71,004 to "about 77,000." Alden said that a “second expansion planned for the southern end will be predicated on fund-raising efforts and would push seating to more than 80,000” (ST. LOUIS  POST-DISPATCH, 6/27). Alden said that the department built its master plan “based on a study conducted by Conventions Sports and Leisure, a nationally renowned marketing firm that has worked with the university to plan the past renovations of Mizzou Arena and the Memorial Stadium press box.” Alden: “We're very confident in our ability to generate support for our premium seating and the additional seating, based upon the study” (COLUMBIA MISSOURIAN, 6/27).

In Pittsburgh, Mark Belko notes the Penguins will "team with UPMC to build a 'first-of-its-kind' sports performance center and practice rink in Cranberry, with the goal of making it the top spot in the country for hockey-related training and injury treatment and prevention." Team and UPMC officials "are about to begin discussions with the township about building the 150,000-square-foot facility on land UPMC is in the process of buying off Route 228." They "hope to open" the center in summer '14 (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 6/27).

WIDE LOAD: In Nashville, Matt Gray noted construction "continues at LP Field, where the longest video boards at any outdoor stadium in the world are on schedule to be completed in time for the Titans' first preseason game in August." Upon completion, "the two end-zone screens are to be 157 feet long by 54 feet high" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 6/26).

ON TAP: In Buffalo, Gene Warner noted two local state legislators, "in an attempt to provide a safer drinking environment, have introduced legislation that would allow large sports stadiums in New York -- including Ralph Wilson Stadium -- to turn on their beer taps an hour earlier, at 11 a.m. on Sundays." The legislators presume that serving alcohol in the stadium "would be more supervised than a tailgating party at a stadium parking lot." Supporters said that the measure also "could cut down on underage, irresponsible and binge drinking" (BUFFALO NEWS, 6/26).