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Volume 24 No. 156


Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms and officials from Comcast-Spectacor "met in Richmond last week" along with NBA Kings co-Owner George Maloof in regards to the team moving to Virginia Beach, according to Bruce Rader of WAVY-NBC. Sources said that they "don’t believe the arena can survive without the assurance that the Kings will sign a long term deal." But Rader writes it "won’t be cheap." The Kings will have "plenty of expenses, at least a $30 million dollar relocation fee to be paid to their fellow NBA owners, as well as $10 to $15 million in moving expenses." As much as Kings Owners the Maloofs "would like Virginia Beach to help them with their $67 million arena debt in Sacramento that will never happen." The Kings would have to play their games at Old Dominion Univ.'s Ted Constant Center "for two seasons while the arena is being built." Thus the team would "want to be compensated for lost revenue -- the total cost, including relocation fees, moving expenses and lost revenue for two years would be somewhere around $100 million" (, 11/9). Kings co-Owner Joe Maloof on Thursday, when asked if the team had met with McDonnell, said, "No." In Sacramento, Bizjak & Kasler note Maloof "offered no elaboration." Sessoms said a professional team is "very interested" in a move to Virginia Beach. But he "refused to name the team or comment on any meetings" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 11/9).

TRUST ISSUES? USA TODAY's Sam Amick notes the Maloof family "has said consistently that they don't want to sell." But the "mistrust in the Maloofs runs deep in these parts, and so the tension remains in what has become a most awkward arrangement between a once-beloved team and its city." Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said, "All things being considered, I would like to believe that (the Maloofs) have a change of heart and are willing to reconsider selling at a fair price and that they would give us a chance to keep the team here in Sacramento." But Amick writes what is "real is the fact that the continued absence of viable options locally makes it all the more likely that the Kings could be on the move." At this point, the "widely held view in NBA circles is that a team will return to Seattle sooner rather than later." Other cities also are "surely trying to lure the Kings." If the Kings are to stay in Sacramento, "something has to be done about their venue." Sleep Train Arena is "seemingly falling apart before everyone's eyes." Kings fans were once "among the best in the league," but now, "not so much." A sellout crowd of 17,317 attended the Kings' home opener against the Warriors on Monday, "only to be followed by a dismal turnout" of 10,185 for Wednesday's game against the Pistons (USA TODAY, 11/9).

The USTA has “begun a push to garner public support for the planned expansion of its current home in Flushing Meadows Corona Park,” but the increase in space “would require the relinquishing of just over half an acre of parkland and has been met with some consternation by members of the community,” according to Joseph Orovic of the QUEENS CHRONICLE. The National Tennis Center’s upgrade “calls for a relocation of the current Grandstand stadium, a renovation of Louis Armstrong stadium, as well as additional courts and parking facilities.” The USTA claims that the plan would “alienate a total of .68 acres of what is currently parkland along its facility’s eastern edge.” By comparison, MLS’ proposed 25,000-seat stadium in the park "would cost the park up to 13 acres of land.” Local groups have “emerged in opposition to both plans wholesale, lumping the two together in what has been deemed a sneaky machination that would not be considered in more prestigious parks in Manhattan and Brooklyn.” Some members of the Fairness Coalition of Queens have “taken to calling the USTA’s plan an ‘incremental landgrab,’ positing the nonprofit will continue to ask for small chunks of land in the coming decades.” The USTA’s "original footprint in the park started at 22 acres in 1978, growing to its present 42 acres in the mid-1990s.” But USTA Managing Dir of Facility Operations Daniel Zausner emphasized that the organization has “no intention of expanding in the future.” Zausner: “We have nowhere to go.” Orovic notes the proposed additions to the facilities “will add 10,000 more daily grounds passes during the US Open” (QUEENS CHRONICLE, 11/9).

Richmond city officials presenting plans for the construction of a $10M Redskins training camp facility "faced an at-times contentious crowd Thursday night at the Science Museum of Virginia during the first public meeting on the project," according to Robert Zullo of the RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH. A crowd "of about 50 grilled city officials on the project's financing, its economic impact, traffic and noise, the site selection process, a perceived lack of transparency and the merits of essentially transferring a valuable piece of city property to Bon Secours Virginia Health System, the chief sponsor of the training camp, as part of the arrangement." The Redskins have "committed to hold their three-week training camp in Richmond for at least eight years starting next summer as part of an economic incentive deal signed with the state in June." Richmond Finance Dept. Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Sharon Judkins said that the "total cost of building and maintaining the camp over 10 years is estimated at $13.7 million." Zullo notes the facility is projected to "draw 100,000 people a year to Richmond." More specific pieces of legislation "to put the deal in motion will be coming in the next month" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 11/9).

In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman reported the Univ. of Minnesota and the Vikings have "agreed in principal on an agreement for the Vikings to play at TCF Bank Stadium while the new Vikings stadium is being built." The Vikings will "pay $250,000 per game for rent and install 2,800 temporary seats at the open end of the stadium." UM will get the income from "concessions that it would get from a Gophers game, but the Vikings will work out an additional profit for them with the concessionaires." The Vikings will spend $2.5M to "install new turf with heating cables underneath the field, so games can be played in colder weather." The Vikings also will "have to winterize the stadium and do whatever is necessary to keep the field usable later in the season, at a time the Gophers never planned to play" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/8).

STEEL RESOLVE: Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl on Thursday said that a nearly $40M proposal for renovations to Heinz Field "can be salvaged despite a court battle between the Steelers and the stadium's owner, the Sports & Exhibition Authority." Ravenstahl said, "There is common ground to be found." He also noted that the Steelers have complained during negotiations that the SEA failed to set aside enough money for 'routine maintenance' of the stadium." Ravenstahl: "Quite honestly, the authority probably hasn't done (that) to the extent that it agreed to in the lease" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 11/9).

SOFT IN THE CENTER: 49ers CEO Jed York discussed the team's new stadium being built in Santa Clara and said the team wants it to be a "software-driven stadium as opposed to a hardware-driven stadium." York: "You see a lot of the new buildings putting in big scoreboards and things like that. That’s all going to be obsolete in three to five years. We want to make sure that we capture the mobile market, the tablet market, those types of things (and) allow you to use the things you use in your daily life to their fullest extent inside the stadium and allow people to connect to the game in ways that they wouldn't otherwise be able to do in a stadium. Really revolutionize the game day experience” (“CNBC Sports Biz: Game On!,” NBC Sports Network, 11/8).

EVERYTHING'S BIGGER: In Ft. Worth, Jimmy Burch writes, "The countdown to what is expected to be a record-setting 2014 Final Four at Cowboys Stadium began in earnest Thursday with the unveiling of the event logo." The logo "incorporates a stylized image of Cowboys Stadium in which the venue's signature support beams form the number '14' to commemorate the year." A basketball "replaces the letter 'o' in 'Final Four,' which sits below the words '2014 North Texas.'" Xavier AD and NCAA D-1 Men's Basketball Committee Chair Mike Bobinski said, "If all goes well, we'll establish a Final Four attendance record" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 11/9).