The Steelers in a formal lawsuit filed Friday contend "that Heinz Field ranks 25th out of 31 NFL stadiums in terms of seating capacity and that temporary seating must be added for some events," according to Mark Belko of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. The team has gone to court to "force the city-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority [SEA] to pay for two-thirds of the expansion." The team bases its argument "on a clause in the lease that requires the SEA to pay that much for a 'designated expansion' of no more than 10,000 seats in the south end zone." However, the SEA has "argued that the expansion must first meet the definition of a capital improvement." The team in the lawsuit "maintained that the 3,000-seat addition qualifies as a designated expansion that is automatically deemed to be a capital improvement." The Steelers in the complaint also are "seeking $5 million in reimbursement for repairs to the Heinz Field control room." The team also wants the SEA to "pay for a second scoreboard" at the stadium's north end (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 12/18). In Pittsburgh, Adam Brandolph notes the Steelers are asking the SEA to "pay the $3.65 million cost" of the new scoreboard and pay "two-thirds of the estimated $40 million cost of 3,000 seats in the south end zone." The SEA would "be on the hook for roughly" $35M if the Steelers win. The team contends the "root of the problem is that the SEA does not have enough money in a capital reserve fund to pay for the upgrades and hasn't acted to raise money for them" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 12/18).
ON ICE: In Green Bay, Richard Ryman reports the "paucity of special events at Lambeau Field irritates" the stadium's landlords. The Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District members yesterday "voiced their impatience at the Packers' reluctance to allow special events" at the stadium such as a Kenny Chesney concert held there in '11. The Packers said that it would be "unlikely in 2013 or 2014 because of expected atrium expansion." Scheduling for major events "is done about nine months in advance, so a 2013 event is increasingly unlikely" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 12/18).
UConn "may get into the stadium management business at Rentschler Field in East Hartford," according to Kenneth Gosselin of the HARTFORD COURANT. UConn, which has "a 20-year lease on the stadium for its football program, told the Capital Region Development Authority that it is exploring the possibility of submitting a formal plan to manage the stadium." The letter came yesterday, the "deadline for submitting bids to the CRDA for managing Rentschler and the XL Center in downtown Hartford." It is "not a formal bid, but reserving the right to further explore the issue, guaranteed to them under the terms of their lease." But the university is "still gathering data, so it doesn’t yet know if managing the 40,000-seat sports and entertainment arena would be a benefit to UConn." Under the terms of its lease, UConn has the "responsibility to cover any deficits if they occur, but it doesn’t have control over recruitment of other users, concessions, maintenance and other matters." Three entities "submitted bids to manage both venues," including AEG, Capital Region Sports & Entertainment Group, led by Bushnell Management, and Global Spectrum. A preliminary recommendation to the CRDA’s board is "expected in early January with a final decision expected in February." Two other "potential bidders who had expressed interest" -- Harbor Yard Sports & Entertainment and SMG Worldwide -- "did not submit bids for either venue" (COURANT.com, 12/17).
Redskins LB London Fletcher said that “four of his relatives were arrested” Sunday following the Redskins-Browns game. In Cleveland, Tom Reed notes Fletcher had “purchased more than 40 tickets for friends and family members” for the game and he “seemed to place most of the blame on stadium security officers.” Fletcher said, “I guess in the stadium, (my family was) being harassed. The situation that led to people being arrested was stadium security ... instead of diffusing the situation, he escalated the situation" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 12/18). Fletcher said, “One of the stadium security guys assaulted one of my family members.” Reports stated that the family was “being harassed because they were wearing Redskins gear” (CSNWASHINGTON.com, 12/17).
DEVIL IN THE DETAILS: Arizona State Univ. AD & VP/Athletics Steve Patterson said that a Sun Devil Stadium renovation “could range from a $90 million plan, which would ensure the stadium’s structural integrity and safety, to a larger plan to be unveiled this spring that would rebuild the stadium and improve fans’ experience.” Patterson added that ASU has “received developer bids ‘from all over the country’ for the 300-plus-acre master plan.” ASU Assistant VP/University Real Estate Steve Nielsen said that seven development proposals “were submitted by the Nov.15 deadline, and ASU whittled them down to a shorter list.” Developers will be “called in for interviews in March.” Nielsen said that ASU “expects to select a developer by the end of March” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/18).
HERE TO SERVE YOU: The MLB Rangers yesterday extended their contract with Delaware North to be the team’s food and beverage provider as well as provide retail services. The company has served as the team’s food and beverage provider since Rangers Ballpark opened in ’94 and took on retail this past season. The previous contract had two years remaining. This offseason there will be upgrades to the private club and concession areas behind home plate (Delaware North).