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Volume 24 No. 160


The Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board yesterday approved a '13 budget that "includes no payment to the Indiana Pacers to offset operating costs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse,” according to Jon Murray of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. The CIB, which “oversees the city’s sports and convention facilities, is early in negotiations with the Pacers for a potential new agreement to replace a deal that had paid the team $10 million a year.” The current three-year, $30M deal to help the team pay for running the fieldhouse “expires next June, and the final payment already has gone out.” The "upshot" of the CIB’s $63.9M proposed operating budget for next year "is that any new agreement with the Pacers, when inked, would need separate approval by the council.” CIB CFO Dan Huge said that much of the increased spending “is for renovation of older areas of the Indiana Convention Center.” Also, it will “cost more to maintain and make spot repairs at Lucas Oil Stadium because several construction warranties are set to expire” (, 8/13).

Washington State Univ. Senior Associate AD John Johnson predicts that the football team will have its "first sellout in five years" for the Sept. 8 home opener following $65M in upgrades to Martin Stadium and the addition of new head coach Mike Leach, according to Howie Stalwick of the Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE. The venue's new capacity will be "about 33,522," which is up from 32,248 last year. More than 13,000 season tickets "have been sold -- an increase of 3,000 from a year ago." WSU also has plans for a $15M football operations building, which the school expects "to be approved in time to start construction at the end of the season." No tax dollars "are being used for either football project." Bonds, donations and "millions of dollars of revenue generated by the new Pac-12 television contracts will cover most of the bills" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 8/14). Johnson said that, when all the "new luxury seats are sold, they will be worth about $3 million a year to the athletic department." He added that "all 21 of the luxury suites are spoken for, as are 42 of the loge boxes." The AP's Nicholas Geranios noted, "All of the indoor club seats are sold, although some outdoor club seats remain." Johnson said that the school's next phase of improvements "is a $60 million addition to consolidate all football offices" (AP, 8/13).

COWBOY UP: In Oklahoma City, Gina Mizell notes Oklahoma State Univ. football has sold 36,668 public season tickets, "setting a new public sales record for the second consecutive year." The sales are "an increase of last year's mark of 36,651." The next "key number to surpass is the total number of season tickets sold to the public and students of 48,714." For the "first time, OSU hired a three-person staff of retention representatives this year to focus on working with season-ticket holders to ensure they would renew for 2012" (OKLAHOMAN, 8/14).

By this fall, all four major professional teams in South Florida "will offer unique, club-like spaces, most under established brand names, with varying degrees of affordability and exclusivity," according to Hannah Sampson of the MIAMI HERALD. The Heat will "celebrate the grand opening of the high-end Hyde AmericanAirlines Arena" during the team's Oct. 30 home opener against the Celtics. Also, BankAtlantic Center, home of the NHL Panthers, by Oct. 1 "will open a members-only upscale venue called Club RED." For the Dolphins, LIV Sun Life Stadium "kicked off the local club-in-stadium scene two years ago, followed by the Clevelander at Marlins Park."

HEATING UP: With the Heat partnering with L.A.-based hospitality, real estate and entertainment company sbe, Hyde AmericanAirlines Arena is "more about partying before, after or between plays -- or while listening to them." There will be "no view of the court from the super-exclusive club, except on screens." The venue "will be open to season ticket holders and will charge a cover." Construction is "underway in the court level area." Heat President of Business Operations Eric Woolworth said that he "expects the space to be profitable." However, Woolworth said, "I think any of us would be fooling ourselves if we thought it would move the needle very far."

CAT FANCY: The Panthers are "not bringing in an outside brand," as the franchise is "creating its own brand: Club RED, named for the team color." The 12,000-square-foot members-only lounge, by the arena's front entrance, "includes a 60-foot bar, lounge areas, all-you-can eat food serving stations -- and lots of red design elements." Sunrise Sports & Entertainment "expects the club to pay for itself between one and two years if it sells out as expected." Access to the lounge "and a seat for every concert, show and hockey game will run $16,500 a year; a package for just hockey games costs $9,500 annually." Panthers President & COO Michael Yormark anticipates "being sold out by the middle of the hockey season."

TOUCHDOWN CLUB: LIV Sun Life GM Cristian LaCapra said that going into the club's third year, "all of the 216 lower-level seats and four-person couches are already sold out for the season at a cost of $200 per seat and $275 a person on the couches." Miami Marketing Group (MMG) "partners with Sun Life Stadium to operate the club, as it partners with the Fontainebleau to run the venue there." The Fontainebleau "owns the LIV brand." MMG co-Owner David Grutman said the Dolphins paid "millions" to build the stadium version. The two entities "have a revenue sharing partnership." 

GOING FISHING: The Marlins and the Clevelander's Owner, Brio Investment Group, "both contributed to the cost of building the sports bar." They "share revenues, though neither group would disclose how the money is split." Brio Exec VP/Hospitality Mike Palma said that the company is "projecting more than $2 million in gross sales for food, beverage and venue fees at the ballpark location." He added that the "amount of traffic the venue is getting as well as the financial performance has surpassed expectations" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/12).

The Vikings have hired Denver-based Icon Venue Group as their owner’s representative for the new $975M NFL stadium to be built in downtown Minneapolis, according to the architectural and engineering services proposal posted online yesterday by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. Icon will work with the Vikings’ internal development group headed by real estate firm Garden Homes Development Project Exec Don Baker. Vikings Owner the Wilf family also owns Garden Homes Development. Jim Cima, who the Vikings recently hired as senior project manager, also is part of the group. Icon has served in a similar role for Farmers Field, the $1B NFL stadium proposed for downtown L.A. Icon is co-owned by AEG, the developer of Farmers Field. In addition, Icon President & CEO Tim Romani was Exec Dir of the Metropolitan Football Stadium District in Denver at the time Sports Authority Field at Mile High was in development. The RFP lists Sept. 14 as the deadline to select an architect.

In N.Y., Paul Schwartz notes the Univ. at Albany "badly wants the Giants to return in 2013 for a 17th summer holding training camp at the school." The school is "willing to reconfigure its on-campus athletic bubble in order to solve the only issue the Giants have with the facilities." UA President George Philip said, "We don't have the resources to build a facility, but if we can have something with adaptive reuse, that would be good." Currently, there is "no indoor field for the Giants to use in inclement weather and missing even a single practice is unacceptable to coach Tom Coughlin, given the pared-down camp schedule in accordance with the new collective bargaining agreement" (N.Y. POST, 8/14).

COMING UP ROSES: In L.A., Adolfo Flores cited a report released by the city of Pasadena stating that the city would "see a significant and unavoidable increase in noise, traffic and air pollution if an NFL team were to play at the Rose Bowl, but the biggest effects would be temporary and manageable." The draft environmental report by Calif.-based Impact Sciences Inc. "examined the effect of having 13 NFL games at the stadium for up to five years, beginning as early as" the '13 season. Pasadena Planning Department Dir Vince Bertoni said, "It's just informational. It's up to the City Council to decide whether to allow more events at the Rose Bowl. It's not there to make a recommendation whether it's a good or bad idea." Pasadena city law "allows the Rose Bowl to host no more than 12 events a year that garner attendance of 20,000 people or more." City Council would "have to amend the ordinance, allowing 25 events, for a pro football team to call the stadium home" (L.A. TIMES, 8/12).

EVERYTHING'S BIGGER IN TEXAS: UFC co-Chair & CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said that while "a promotion is still in talks" with Cowboys Stadium, an official date "likely won't surface by early 2013." Fertitta said, "I don't think we'd do anything in January but we've been in contact with them. Dallas Cowboys Stadium is something we definitely want to do and we're focused on, but it's tricky. It's so busy, it's hard to get a date that works for us." He added, "If we're doing Dallas Cowboys Stadium it would probably either be a catchweight superfight or something else that's huge" (, 8/13).