Five national architectural and engineering firms, "including the company that designed new homes for the Minnesota Twins, Wild and University of Minnesota football team, have submitted renderings and plans for a new $975 million Vikings stadium," according to Richard Meryhew of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Among the firms submitting bids to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority "by Thursday's deadline" was K.C.-based Populous, "formerly known as HOK Sport." Populous designed the Twins' Target Field, which "opened to rave reviews in 2010," along with TCF Bank Stadium and Xcel Energy Center. The "other bidders" on the Vikings' project are L.A.-based AECOM, "a firm involved in the design of CenturyLink Field;" Philadelphia-based Ewing Cole, a company "that designed the $1.6 billion MetLife Stadium;" Dallas-based HKS Inc., "architect for the $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium;" and K.C.-based HNTB Corp., "designer of the $1.2 billion Santa Clara, Calif., stadium under construction" for the 49ers. Finalists will "appear at a public forum at the Metrodome at 5 p.m. Sept. 6 to show off their resumés." MSFA Exec Dir Ted Mondale said that stadium renderings and plans "won't be unveiled to the public, however, until an architect is picked." Meryhew notes the MSFA's decision is "expected to be announced at the authority's Sept. 14 meeting" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 8/31).
A report released this week by a Connecticut auditor shows that UConn football stadium Rentschler Field "had a loss in each fiscal year from 2008 to 2011, a trend state officials hope to reverse by attracting more events when the stadium comes under new oversight,” according to Matthew Sturdevant of the HARTFORD COURANT. The 40,000-seat venue “has an annual depreciation expense of $2.1 million,” which accounts “for much of the $2.4 million loss in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011.” Rentschler Field had “losses totaling $9.3 million for the four fiscal years 2008 through 2011, largely driven by depreciation.” Connecticut Office of Policy & Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes said that depreciation aside, the venue “would still benefit from a fuller schedule in the future.” Sturdevant notes the state, however, “will soon place Rentschler Field under management of the Capital Region Development Authority.” The organization will “manage the XL Center and the Connecticut Convention Center in addition to Rentschler Field.” Barnes said, "Hopefully, we can reduce costs and improve their ability to attract users to all three of those venues, all of which, ultimately, rely on state and local subsidies” (HARTFORD COURANT, 8/31).
Allen High School in Allen, Texas, will “raise the curtain on its latest field Friday: a $59.6 million sunken-bowl stadium that covers 72 acres and includes a high-definition video screen and free Wi-Fi for the more than 18,000 in attendance,” according to Eric Prisbell of USA TODAY. Allen's stadium has been “held up nationally to illustrate Texas excess, the next jaw-dropping step of a high school facilities arms race in a state where football rivals religion.” Eagle Stadium has “a practice area for boys and girls golf, and a 5,800-square-foot wrestling practice area and sprawling weight room were added underneath the stands.” Allen High sold “all 8,252 season tickets available this year.” The stadium is “part of a $119 million bond proposal approved in 2009” (USA TODAY, 8/30). Eagle Stadium is the “fifth-largest high school football stadium” in Texas, and it is the “largest such venue to have a single team” (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 8/25). The AP's Nomaan Merchant reported the city built the stadium "in a down economy, knowing full well it will never recoup the costs." That was a decision that "local officials and team supporters defend, saying the stadium will serve as a community centerpiece and source of pride for years to come and will more than pay the costs of operating it." Allen Independent School District Dir of Public Information Tim Carroll said that Allen High has sold "six sponsorships for about $35,000 a year" (AP, 8/30).
BIG, BIGGER, BIGGEST: In San Antonio, Lorne Chan noted Eagle Stadium has “a 38-foot wide video screen for the folks in the nosebleeds,” and has “prompted plenty of debate over the excess of high school football.” Meanwhile, Carthage High School in East Texas is “unveiling the largest Jumbotron at a high school stadium Friday -- a 26-foot high and 44-foot wide video screen that would make Jerry Jones proud” (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 8/30). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Ana Campoy notes Carthage's $750,000 screen includes “instant replay, animated graphics to fire up the fans and individual stat cards for the teenage players, complete with pictures.” Illinois-based Nevco, the company that installed the screen, insists that it is "the nation's largest" for a high school. Carthage Independent School District Superintendent Glenn Hambrick said that the screen is “a luxury, but one that the natural-gas-rich area can afford.” He said that the scoreboard will “help raise money for the district through advertisements that can now be displayed with animation and in full color” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/31).
In L.A., Frank Shyong writes, “In the first major legal challenge to a planned NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles, a coalition of environmental activists and community advocates filed suit Thursday claiming that a state law intended to assist the project is unconstitutional.” AEG had “successfully lobbied for passage of the law.” AEG VP/Communications Michael Roth said the coalition is trying to “undermine the state's legislative will" and he was "highly confident in the legality" of the law crafted for the project (L.A. TIMES, 8/31).
SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL: MLS Earthquakes President David Kaval said that the team is “negotiating with three Fortune 100 companies to secure a lucrative naming rights deal” for its new soccer stadium. Kaval said that interest in naming rights "took off after last week's announcement that the team would begin construction with a groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 21.” In San Jose, Elliott Almond notes Kaval “declined to identify the companies but said some are involved in technology” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/31).
NO SLEEP TIL BROOKLYN? Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said that arena execs "'remain very interested' in a possible relocation of the Islanders to Brooklyn in 2015 if no deal is reached to remain in Nassau.” Yormark said, “Discussions are continuing, although the goal at this point is to work with what we have on our schedule.” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said a move by the Islanders to Brooklyn remains "an intriguing possibility." Daly: "But there's a lot of road between here and there” (NEWSDAY, 8/31).
ON THE RAY-DAR: In Tampa, Mark Puente notes the pitch for a new Rays stadium will come on Sept. 28, when residents and city officials "will get to see the proposal from CityScape, a firm owned by real estate developer Darryl LeClair.” The location of the meeting is “still a matter of debate.” Rays officials said that they “will attend.” The County Commission “also has been invited” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 8/31).