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Volume 24 No. 156


The rise of Barclays Center "as a player in securing major events finally pushed" Madison Square Garden to get back into the rotation for hosting the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, according to sources cited by Andy Katz of No one from the NCAA or MSG "would go on the record on the matter." MSG "can't be in the rotation too often because of the number of events there in March, including the Knicks, Rangers, concerts and special events" such as the Big East Tournament. But sources said that MSG “wanted to be considered before Barclays,” which hosted Friday's Kentucky-Maryland college basketball game and will host the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic and the Legends Classic next week, as well as the Atlantic 10 tournament in March. The role of NCAA VP/Men's Basketball Tournament Dan Gavitt "in finalizing the deal didn't hurt.” Gavitt has “had a long-standing relationship with MSG" from his time as Big East Assistant Commissioner from '05-12. Gavitt on Tuesday said that he was “amazed the Garden could get in a third event” in addition to the Big East and NIT tournaments. Katz wrote the NCAA Tournament “needs to continue generating interest in a crowded landscape.” Putting the event in L.A. in ‘13 and in N.Y. in ‘14 “will give it an immediate pop” (, 11/14).

Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley yesterday said that the team "was attempting to have meeting" with Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton regarding a letter he wrote voicing opposition to the Vikings' planned PSL fees, according to a front-page piece by Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Bagley "downplayed the large personal seat license fees being charged in some NFL markets." He said, "We know that this is not San Francisco, this is not Dallas and this is not New York." State Rep. Morrie Lanning, the stadium bill sponsor, said that he was "surprised to hear a figure as high as $20,000 for a personal seat license." He added that during negotiations the figure "that was generally discussed was 'a few thousand' dollars." Lanning said any fee close to $20,000 would be "just too big." He said Dayton's negotiators "were well aware" the Vikings might charge for PSLs. Lanning: "The governor's letter (to the Vikings) makes it sound as if he was not aware of this concept, and that should be no surprise to him or anybody. The possibility of personal seat licenses were a part of the discussion all the way along" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/15). In St. Paul, Tom Powers writes Dayton's "populist rant against personal seat licenses is about six months too late. That Vikings ship has sailed." Powers: "I could make some sort of smart remark about his failure to read the fine print in the stadium deal, but that wouldn't be right because the Vikings were up front about what they were going to do. ... So I have no idea what the governor is doing, other than rousting the anti-stadium cranks and giving them a chance for one last squawk" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/15).

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is “attempting to put together a private-public partnership" through Invest Atlanta, the city’s development authority, to "develop the vast, vacant stretch between the state Capitol and Turner Field into a live-work-play area on par with Atlantic Station,” according to Jim Galloway of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. There are “substantive talks” underway with the ‘16 expiration of the Braves’ lease on Turner Field “in mind.” The Braves have “never been entirely happy there.” Braves Exec VP/Business Operations Mike Plant said, “As we sit here in 2012, this isn’t where we would have this stadium today. I’m not saying it’s a bad place, but it doesn’t match up with where the majority of our fans come from.” A converted ‘96 Olympic Stadium “kept the team downtown -- where they are likely to remain, given the current climate.” Circumstances have “locked the Braves into place,” and that leaves the baseball team and its owners “no choice but to build a better neighborhood.” Plant: “Now we have to create an environment like San Diego, Denver, Cincinnati, Colorado. They’ve taken challenged areas and used sports arenas for really improving, stimulating some real solid development.” Plant said that the team “first approached" Reed two years ago. The Braves “envision a partnership that includes themselves, the city, a number of private investors, and the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority.” The Braves “intend to use cash earned from their investment in the neighborhood to pay for improvements within Turner Field” (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 11/15).

In London, Joe Ridge noted EPL club West Ham United has "received a boost" in its bid to move into London's Olympic Stadium "after the NFL's proposal to become anchor tenants was thrown out." The NFL was "willing to share the stadium with other sports and events" but was told that it "could not have the exclusive access to the venue" from September to January, which the league felt it "required to prepare and host consecutive games." London Mayor Boris Johnson "confirmed rumours that the stadium will not be re-opened until 2016." Johnson yesterday said that it "was 'highly unlikely' that the stadium would be converted and ready for use again before the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio" (London DAILY MAIL, 11/14). Also in London, Ashling O'Connor notes U.K. Athletics Chair Ed Warner "warned yesterday that the delay in reopening the Olympic Stadium was becoming a farce and urged" Johnson to "make a swift decision on its future use" (LONDON TIMES, 11/15).

GRIDIRON GRIDLOCK: In Pasadena, Brian Charles cited an Environmental Impact Report as saying that Pasadena residents "opposed to temporary use of the Rose Bowl by the NFL expressed worries about traffic, booze and rowdy fans." In letters written in response to the EIR, "critics questioned how the Rose Bowl Operating Co. and Pasadena could measure the impact of an NFL team given the differences between the respective fan bases of professional and college football teams." Pasadena City Manager Michael Beck on Tuesday "defended the environmental report." He said that before a franchise "finds its way to the Rose Bowl, the city and the team would have a long discussion about 'fan behavior expectations'" (PASADENA STAR NEWS, 11/14).

WHO WILL BE THE BOSS? In Hartford, Kenneth Gosselin noted "at least five proposals are expected for managing" the XL Center and Rentschler Field. The entities are: AEG Management CT; The Capital Region Sports and Entertainment Group; Global Spectrum; Harbor Yard Sports & Entertainment; and SMG Worldwide. The bids "are due Dec. 17" (HARTFORD COURANT, 11/14).

GETTING HIS PRIORITIES STRAIGHT: In N.Y., Sally Goldenberg noted N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration has "carefully crafted a special list of high-profile priority projects to fast-track before Bloomberg’s third term ends in 14 months." Those projects include "a Major League Soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park" and a USTA "expansion of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center." One high-ranking city official said that all other "land-use proposals are getting completely ignored because the administration will not take on anything outside of its priorities" (N.Y. POST, 11/13).