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Volume 24 No. 155


A proposed deal that "would have allowed Arizona State University to share" a new Cubs Spring Training facility in Mesa, Ariz., is "dead," according to Gary Nelson of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Mesa Mayor Scott Smith on Thursday said that he and city staffers "were bowing out of the talks." Smith: "It seems obvious to me that neither party is ... working toward final resolution of this." ASU AD & VP/Athletics Steve Patterson and Assistant Dir of Media Relations & Communications for Baseball & Football Thomas Lenneberg "blamed the Cubs for the deal falling through." The two said that the Cubs "tried to impose too many changes on terms that were originally proposed." Lenneberg in an e-mail said, "The changes the Cubs demanded show that they do not value the partnership with ASU, thus making a deal impossible." But Cubs VP/Communications & Community Affairs Julian Green said, "ASU’s claims are unfounded. We believe the remaining issues could have been resolved, but to suggest the Cubs did not want to conclude the deal is baseless. We invited ASU to play in a rent-free stadium. Unfortunately, this was not enough to meet the university’s needs." Cubs Senior VP/Community Affairs & General Counsel Mike Lufrano said that the team "remains willing to work with ASU under terms of the parties’ original memorandum of understanding." Nelson notes the issues included "liability insurance, concessions revenue, how much money ASU would need to spend for its own facilities in the Cubs complex, the length of ASU’s rental agreement, and to what extent -- and for what purposes -- ASU would have access to the stadium." Smith said that "personality conflicts among the parties doing the actual negotiating on behalf of ASU and the Cubs eventually got in the way of ironing out details that should have been relatively easy to deal with" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/2).

SUN DEVILS' ADVOCATE: In Phoenix, Mike Sunnucks noted the ASU baseball program is "looking for a new home with its existing on-campus stadium showing its age and its location being impacted by proposed real estate development around campus and a planned overhaul of Sun Devil Stadium" (, 11/1). The REPUBLIC's Nelson notes Patterson "would not comment on the university’s options, but there has been wide speculation that ASU could move to Phoenix Municipal Stadium," which is currently the Spring Training home of the A's. However, Mesa and the A’s "expect to wrap up a deal soon that would have the team moving to Hohokam Stadium, the Cubs’ current home," beginning with Spring Training in '15 (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/2).

A coalition of anti-poverty groups has "agreed to drop a lawsuit" involving AEG's proposed $1.2B Farmers Field NFL stadium in downtown L.A., "clearing the last remaining legal obstacle" to the city's approval of the project, according to Mai-Duc & Linthicum of the L.A. TIMES. AEG on Thursday said that it has pledged $15M for a "low-income housing trust fund to end the litigation." The settlement "comes days after the deadline for filing environmental challenges to the stadium." AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke said that "no such lawsuits were filed," which means the company "has the entitlements to start building as soon as it wants." He added that "the next step is to find a new owner for AEG, and he hinted that an announcement may 'come sooner than people expect.'" The settlement with the Play Fair at Farmers Field coalition "comes on top of roughly $50 million in concessions the company says it has already agreed to pay, including $10 million for a new light-rail platform at a Metro Blue Line Station and $8 million in upgrades to a plaza outside the Convention Center" (L.A. TIMES, 11/2). ESPN L.A.'s Arash Markazi noted Farmers Field is "now in a position to break ground as soon as a team commits" to playing in L.A. Leiweke said that "when and if construction does begin," it will be "about four years until the stadium and convention center is finished" (, 11/1).

MSG has signed a multiyear deal with Foxwoods Resort Casino to sponsor the Madison Club, a new all-inclusive premium space opening Friday for the Knicks’ regular-season home opener against the Heat. The exact number of years and financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Madison Club presented by Foxwoods is tied to 174 seats in the lower bowl at stage end in the arena’s west end zone. The seats, 30 rows from the court for basketball, are sold in two- and four-seat packages. Prices start at $42,500 a seat per year for tickets to all Knicks and NHL Rangers games, plus college basketball, tennis and boxing. The ticket price covers the cost of food and drink except alcohol, which is a separate fee. For this season, MSG officials included a $20 food and merchandise credit built into every ticket’s bar code for added value to Madison Club members, said MSG Sports Exec VP/Marketing & Sales Howard Jacobs. As part of its naming rights deal for the Madison Club, Foxwoods receives branding on the arena’s new IPTV system, and a concierge in the lounge will assist club members for booking trips and experiences at the casino. MSG’s deal with Foxwoods expands a long-time partnership that extends to the “Foxwoods Final Five,” a marketing platform providing the Connecticut casino with exclusive advertising rights to the final five minutes of home game broadcasts on MSG Networks for Knicks, Rangers, Islanders and Devils games, as well as Knicks and Rangers games in-arena at the Garden. Across town, Foxwoods Resort Casino is a founding partner of Barclays Center as part of a deal that includes a branded bar on the facility’s main concourse.

The city of Markham's plan for a C$325M NHL arena "faces trouble after Deputy Mayor Jack Heath joined a growing number of councillors opposing the project's funding formula," according to the TORONTO STAR. Heath, who has "backed the project since its inception more than two years ago, stunned the city on Thursday by announcing council should cancel the arena's current 'financial framework' and not provide any public funding." The plan proposes Markham borrow C$325M, with "a private sector partner paying back half the amount over 20 years." The city would "raise the other half through development fees on builders and ticket surcharges on arena guests." However, it now "appears a majority of the 13-member council opposes the 20,000-seat arena in the city's new downtown ... without significant change in the funding formula." That is in "stark contrast to last April when council voted 11-2 for the financial framework." Heath said that the city's development services committee "will discuss the project's site plan next week where he will push for removal of some provisions with ties to the financial framework." He added that he "initially supported the project because of the impression it would attract an NHL team, but there is no indication a franchise will come" (TORONTO STAR, 11/1).

Univ. of Utah officials in weighing expansion to Rice-Eccles Stadium are "talking to the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation about what to do with elements of Cauldron Park if it's displaced by new south-bowl seating," according to Mike Gorrell of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. The school’s "eminent role in the 2002 Winter Games has been embodied for the past decade" in Olympic Cauldron Park, and there is "little doubt the $2 million cauldron will remain on-site." But Cauldron Park, "built with $6.5 million in profits from the Salt Lake Games, also includes other features." Legacy Foundation Exec Dir Colin Hilton "expects Cauldron Park’s transition to begin with the move of exhibit materials out of the visitors center." He said that "those items can be incorporated easily into the artifact collection of the 2002 Games’ museum at Utah Olympic Park outside of Park City." Hilton added the Legacy Foundation is intent on always "keeping the cauldron there." Hilton: "We’ll look to relocate it in a smart way" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 11/2).

In New Orleans, Tammy Nunez noted Tulane Univ. on Thursday announced that its new $55M, 30,000-seat on-campus football stadium "will be named the Yulman Stadium." Tulane President Scott Cowen said that the school "needed a lead gift" for the project, and retired Serta International Mattresses Owners Richard and Janet Yulman "stepped forward with a $15 million donation." The stadium's field "will be named Benson Field" after Saints and Hornets Owner Tom Benson and wife Gayle "stepped forward with a $7.5 million gift from the Gayle and Tom Benson Charitable Foundation." Meanwhile, EPL club Manchester United Exec co-Chair & Dir Avi Glazer and his wife, Jill, also "gave big money to the project," donating an unspecified "multi-million dollar gift." The Jill H. and Avram A. Glazer Family Club "will be the club space for premium ticket holders." Jill Glazer graduated from Tulane in '85 (, 11/1).

NOT SO ROSY: In Pasadena, Frank Girardot reports Rose Bowl officials on Thursday said that renovation costs "rose by at least $2 million after several bids for portions of the project's final phase came in over budget." Rose Bowl CEO & GM Darryl Dunn said that stadium officials should "consider several options for keeping the cost of the project down." Since its inception, the "cost of the Rose Bowl project has ballooned." Originally estimated "at $152 million, Dunn's report now puts a price tag of $193.7 million on the renovation" (PASADENA STAR-NEWS, 11/2). 

ALL ABOUT THE...STADIUM? Univ. of Miami interim AD Blake James said that there currently "are no construction plans" for a new football stadium closer to the school's Coral Gables campus. In Ft. Lauderdale, Michael Casagrande notes UM is "nearing the end of the fifth season of a 25-year lease" with Sun Life Stadium. James said that the deal "serves UM well." When asked about the possibilities of a new stadium, James said, "Is that something we'll continue to look at? Yeah. We'll take a look, and if there's something that makes more sense in the future, would I rule out playing there? No, I wouldn't rule that out. With that said, today, I don't know that we could play anywhere else except Sun Life Stadium" (, 10/30).