The BMO Harris Bradley Center BOD and the Bucks are discussing a new six-year lease that "will provide stability for both sides as discussions continue over the possibility of a new, multi-purpose arena," according to Don Walker of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. If the six-year deal is approved by the NBA, it would be the "longest lease the two sides have had in years." The Bucks and the venue have generally "gone year-to-year on leases." The six-year figure on the proposed lease is noteworthy because that seems to be the time frame venue officials, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce and Bucks Owner Herb Kohl "have concluded is needed to start thinking and planning for a new arena" (MILWAUKKE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/20).
The Wild are investing about $1M "to build loge boxes at Xcel Energy Center, the arena's first major structural upgrade" since it opened in '00, according to Don Muret in next week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The team is replacing the three middle sections in the end where the Wild shoot twice "with 24 four-person loge boxes tied to a Scandanavian theme." The boxes, which will replace 100 current seats, are an "all-inclusive package" priced at $48,000-53,000 annually. The cost includes game tickets and "most other events, plus a buffet meal, soft drinks, and beer and wine served in a lounge behind the seats." Wild VP/Corporate Sponsorships & Retail Management Carin Anderson said that Bud Light "has naming rights to the revamped space as part of a three-year renewal" with the club. Anderson said, "We have not kept up with the trends of premium-seat options. The loge concept is different than anything else now that you can buy, and we felt this market doesn't have much of it." She added that the Wild have "just started marketing the loge boxes and had already sold five units to existing season-ticket holders" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/23 issue). In St. Paul, Charley Walters notes the renovation "will cause season-ticket holders in that club-level section to relocate" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 7/20).
Louisiana state officials "swiftly approved" $75M in privately-funded borrowing Thursday to expand LSU’s Tiger Stadium, according to Michelle Millhollon of the Baton Rouge ADVOCATE. Tiger Athletic Foundation President & CEO Major General Ron Richard said that construction "will begin this fall with work wrapping up in time" for the '14 season. The improvements "focus on the south end zone of Tiger Stadium, where 65 suites over two levels, 3,000 stadium club seats, 1,500 upper deck seats and additional standing room only space will be added." Richard said that the project "will increase the stadium’s seating capacity from 92,000 to 100,000." In addition to the $75M in borrowing, the TAF "also secured $25 million in bank loans." Taxpayers "will not be responsible for repaying the borrowing." The south end zone project "will be the third major expansion of Tiger Stadium in the last two decades." The construction project "also includes better facilities for gymnastics, tennis and track and field." LSU Senior Associate AD Eddie Nuñez said that gymnastics and tennis "will get new facilities while track and field will move into renovated space." He said that currently, track and field athletes "lack locker facilities" (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 7/20).
SIGN OF IMPROVEMENT: In Detroit, David Jesse reports the makeover of the Univ. of Michigan’s athletic campus "will continue with the addition of a large marquee near Michigan Stadium and the renovation of Schembechler Hall after the Board of Regents approved the projects" on Thursday. The marquee will cost $2.8M and be "located on Stadium Boulevard in between the Big House and Crisler Center." Construction is "expected to be completed" in the fall of '13. It will be "large -- 27 feet high and 48 feet long, with the bottom of the marquee standing 21 feet above grade." UM AD Dave Brandon said that the board will be "used to publicize upcoming events and to pump up fans on game day." It has "audio capabilities and will be similar in construction to the new videoboards inside the stadium." The other project on the athletic campus is the $9M "renovation of Schembechler Hall." The addition "will add 7,000 square feet onto the building" (FREEP.com, 7/19).
The $68M operations center that Nike Founder & Chair Phil Knight is building for the Univ. of Oregon football program "will continue the trend of jaw-dropping, donor-funded opulence set by previous Duck athletics construction projects," according to Diane Dietz of the Eugene REGISTER-GUARD. ESPN's ranking of college facilities indicates that the addition "will push UO facilities to 'outrageously impressive.'" The project is "solely in the hands of Knight and his team of architects and project managers." School officials "leased the land near Autzen Stadium to Knight and then stepped aside." His development company "pledged to build and furnish the operations center and return it to the university as a gift, according to the contract." Knight brought in Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects, which "devised two black-metal-and-glass buildings -- a 'teaching box' and an 'office bar' -- totalling 130,000 square feet." The office block "will be mounted on top of a new 25,000-square-foot building housing a weight lifting center." The complex also will offer "two movie theaters; an advanced video editing and distribution center; a players hall; a Duck football museum; defense and offense conference rooms; and a war room set up like the one at the White House, with a long conference table." Knight "reserved naming rights for the complex; he hasn't announced what the name will be." The university "agreed to staff the center -- for six years -- with a facilities manager, museum curator, museum receptionist, food service administrator and a senior administrative assistant for football operations." The building’s maintenance "is also on the university’s nickel." UO Senior Associate AD/Marketing & PR Craig Pintens said, "Operating costs will be 100 percent paid for by the Athletic Department. There will be no state funds involved" (Eugene REGISTER-GUARD, 7/17).