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Volume 24 No. 157


USC yesterday formally dedicated the $70M John McKay Center, "a 110,000-square-foot structure that features a floor dedicated to academic support, a basement with a gargantuan weight room, state-of-the-art athletic training facilities and plenty of tributes to former star athletes and five-star donors,” according to Gary Klein of the L.A. TIMES. At its core, the building “is about attracting new talent.” The McKay Center gives USC “a one-stop recruiting shop.” An interactive wall-sized “video board next to an indoor turf field provides recruits in any of the school's 21 sports a complete look at every uniform and piece of Nike gear they will receive as a USC athlete.” The building's “showcase piece is a video panel in the atrium that measures 33 feet wide and 15 feet high, where recruits and their families -- and potential donors -- can be wowed with larger-than-life presentations.” USC yesterday also announced a $300M athletics fundraising drive and in January “will break ground on Heritage Hall renovations and an updated aquatics center” (L.A. TIMES, 8/22).

RECRUITING TOOL: ESPN L.A.’s Pedro Moura noted it is a “decade-in-the-making athletic facility that puts the school ahead of many of its competitors.” USC Senior Associate AD Mark Jackson “supervised the construction of the center since January 2011 in coordination with Advent, a Tennessee-based company that designs facilities for universities across the country.” Jackson said that the main entrance is “bold and it’s brash.” Jackson: “But we think it’s appropriate.” Above the front door to the building “reads what can only be described as a bold proclamation: ‘Through this portal enter the world's greatest athletes.’” The interior of the structure “expresses similar sentiments written differently.” Phrases such as, "We own L.A." and “We run the Rose Bowl" are written throughout the facility. Moura noted there are “computer labs galore, replete with both Macs and PC's” and the new “all-sport weight room is twice as big as the old weight room.” Every football player “gets an iPad with his locker (, 8/21).’s Rahshaun Haylock noted the “entire main floor is dedicated to academics by way of the Mark Stevens Academic Center.” It features “computer labs, two 40-person classrooms, and also a work area where group work can be done.” Jackson, along with AD Pat Haden, “went around to ‘15-20’ Major League Baseball, NFL, and collegiate facilities to get an idea of what direction they needed to go in the construction of the McKay Center" (, 8/21). Head football coach Lane Kiffin said of the facility, “It’s huge. We’ve passed probably everybody.” He added, “We’ve already seen the impact of it (in recruiting).” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who was the “driving force behind getting it built” during his coaching stint at USC, “has a patio dedicated to him” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 8/22).

In its quest “for money to rebuild its aging sports arenas, Arizona State University is taking an unusual approach: trying to convert a large swath of its Tempe campus into a fee-generating commercial and residential development,” according to Anne Ryman of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. ASU has carved out “330 acres just south of Tempe Town Lake, where it wants to create an urban, master-planned development that features world-class amateur athletic facilities surrounded by residential, office and retail space.” The businesses would “pay a fee in lieu of property taxes” and ASU would “use the money to fix up its athletic facilities, most notably Sun Devil Stadium.” Some Tempe community leaders “worry that even if that vision is achieved, it will siphon off business and atmosphere from existing developments.” ASU hopes sometime next year to “select a developer or developers and complete a master plan for the land, which is now primarily occupied by parking lots and a golf course.” It could take a couple of years “to break ground, and the entire project could take 20 years or more to fully develop.” ASU AD & VP/Athletics Steve Patterson said, "It's going to happen.” Ryman notes school officials and other experts said that although “more universities are leasing parts of their land for development, they are unaware of any school attempting a project of the size and kind of ASU's.” Revenue projections “could be used to persuade a bank to lend the athletic district money to start on stadium improvements” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 8/22).

Univ. of Utah Associate VP/Facilities Management Mike Perez said that the school "wants to expand Rice-Eccles Stadium to boost capacity by 10,000 seats and create booster areas for Ute football," according to Andrew Adams of the DESERET NEWS. The stadium renovation project also "would likely include additional loge and club seats." The potential expansion is "in a 'conceptual phase' with no timetable for completion." It also "comes with an unanswered question: What happens to neighboring Olympic Cauldron Park if the stadium expands?" Former '02 Salt Lake Games Organizing Committee COO Fraser Bullock said, "We understand that things will change, but we also understand that they’ll incorporate some Olympic elements into this new structure and expansion and we’re thrilled with that." Perez said that the school has "conducted some feasibility analysis on a stadium expansion and the cost could range" from $40-60M. He added that the school is "motivated by a desire to improve the Clark Building, which along with bleachers constitutes the south end of the stadium and is in disrepair" (DESERET NEWS, 8/22).

In a review of the game day experience at Dodger Stadium, the L.A. TIMES' Bill Plaschke writes the “worst sporting experience” in L.A. is “driving into -- and out of -- a Dodgers game that fills a 56,000-seat stadium that is baseball's biggest and most unmanageable.” Yesterday marked the Dodgers' “10th sellout this season, which is 10 traffic nightmares too many.” The Dodgers have “won a surprising number of games while spending a stunning amount of money this summer, but none of that will fix their still-smarting public perception if they don't fix the gridlock, and they know it.” It is “easy to blame the parking on the Dodgers' owners, but we've been doing that for years and the parking still stinks.” The Dodgers “need to shrink the stadium,” which would result in “fewer fans, fewer cars.” Dodgers President Stan Kasten said, "We don't think the stadium is too small. We could lose seats and that would be fine. We haven't talked about chopping off a deck, but move some rows out to put something else in there." He added, "I like all the things that new stadiums have ... really wide concourses, a variety of concessions, the entertainment things that can appeal to fans when they get up and do their third-inning cruise" (L.A. TIMES, 8/22).

The Univ. of Arkansas has partnered with LSI Industries to provide a new video display to the north end zone inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The Smartvision LED video display will measure 38 feet by 167 feet and cost $4.6M. Included as part of the deal are LED stadium identification signs as well as new game clocks and play clocks on the north and south ends of the stadium (Univ. of Arkansas). Meanwhile, in Columbia, Ron Morris noted the “massive new video board that now hovers over most of the north end zone of Williams-Brice Stadium" has much to do with the Univ of South Carolina's need for "keeping up with the Joneses of the SEC.” Of “equal importance” to South Carolina when its $6.5M video board “operates for the first time during the Gamecocks’ Sept. 8 home-opener against East Carolina is creating a better game-day experience for fans.” South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier said of the new video board, “It will add a bit. As we all know, in college sports, we’re all on TV almost every game. So we’re trying to enhance the game for the fans who come to the ballpark.” The board is 36-feet high and 124-feet wide. The $6.5M price tag “includes the steel structure, the board, the control room and equipment to run the board, and the metal panels that make it look attractive” (Columbia STATE, 8/21).

Texas Darrell K. Royal Stadium
134 x 55.5
Miami Sun Life Stadium
138.5 x 48.5
Arkansas Reynolds Razorback Stadium
167 x 38
USC L.A. Coliseum
150 x 40
Michigan State Spartan Stadium
114.8 x 47.2
Arizona Arizona Stadium
113.4 x 47.2
Mississippi State Davis Wade Stadium
111 x 47
Minnesota TCF Bank Stadium
108 x 48
Oklahoma Gaylord Family Stadium
166 x 31
Tennessee Neyland Stadium
124 x 37
South Carolina Williams-Brice Stadium
124 x 36
Florida Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
136 x 29.5

AN ADDED GEM: In Tampa, Alexis Muellner notes by Labor Day, the “puzzle pieces that make up the Tampa Bay Lightning’s new 34-ton high-definition scoreboard" at Tampa Bay Times Forum will start arriving. Lightning COO Steve Griggs said, “It is the chandelier of the building.” When installed, the $5M scoreboard “will cap $42 million of investment” in the arena by Lightning Owner Jeff Vinik, and “will be the largest center-hung scoreboard of its kind in North America.” The scoreboard “won’t get the venue more events,” but the team will “now have a huge new digital canvas for video, animation, graphics, scores and stats.” It also "brings big value to sponsors for the ways their messages can be crafted.” Griggs said that price increases “are possible but won’t happen without a lot of thought and assuredness that the Lightning is bringing commensurate value to partners.” Griggs: “We’re cognizant at [the] end of the day about how the economy is, and that we need to activate these brands, not gouge people” (TAMPA BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/17 issue).