At Ralph Wilson Stadium, $130M will not buy a "major overhaul of the 40-year-old stadium," according to Denise Jewell Gee of the BUFFALO NEWS. Erie County Deputy Exec Richard Tobe said, "It's not a 'wow,' it's to upgrade it, make it functional, make it work." But SportsCorp President Marc Ganis said that what "stands out ... is putting $25.3 million into new technology in the stadium, including a second high-definition video display board at a cost of $8.8 million and updating the way data can be distributed throughout the stadium." Tobe said that what fans will "notice most is the upgraded technology that will increase opportunities for high-definition television throughout the stadium." Gee noted design work "is not yet complete, but among the most visible changes will be an Abbott Road plaza that will feed fans into the stadium area." Inside the stadium, "suites, restrooms and concession stands will be updated." New club seats "will replace an old press box." The main concourse on the east end of the stadium will "be expanded and new 'destination concession and restroom areas' will be added to the upper concourse." Erie County Public Works Commissioner John Loffredo said that county officials "hope some construction can begin later this year, with the bulk of the work ... starting in 2014 and wrapping up by late 2015" (BUFFALO NEWS, 1/6).
SAFE AND SECURE: In Buffalo, Mark Gaughan wrote Bills President & CEO Russ Brandon "doesn't have to worry about anyone going over his head or behind his back." He has "total job security until the team is sold, which means he's set for roughly the next seven years." That will be the "optimal time for the Bills to be sold, because the penalty for moving the team essentially goes away after seven years under the terms of the new lease agreement." If the football team "fails, it will be the coach or GM who take the fall, not Brandon" (BUFFALO NEWS, 1/6).
The rear of Bridgestone Arena fronting the new Music City Center is “poised for a dramatic makeover that includes street-level restaurants and retail as part of a $110 million capital-spending plan" submitted on Friday by Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s administration to the Nashville Metro Council, according to Joey Garrison of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. The arena project “accounts for $7 million of the mayor’s list of capital projects.” The Metro Council “wants to turn the area near the convention center’s entranceway into a larger entertainment district.” Exterior improvements to the arena “would include a new entrance and plaza area; glass to replace portions of the existing concrete structure on the arena’s south side; and additional upgrades to accommodate the retail area along Demonbreun and Fifth.” K.C.-based Populous Inc., the arena’s original architectural firm, is “in the process of finalizing designs.” The newly filed spending plan is “scheduled to head before the council for a vote on Jan. 15.” Predators President & COO Sean Henry, who also serves in the same roles for the arena, said that designs of the upgrades “could be complete over the next six weeks in time for construction to be complete by late fall.” Henry “called the mayor’s plans ‘final proof’ of the city’s commitment to hockey and the state of the franchise” (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 1/5).
The Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority this week "begin whittling the list of candidates to design a proposed new retractable-roof stadium," in downtown Atlanta, and the 10 applicants "include Dallas-based HKS, which designed the much-ballyhooed Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and tvsdesign of Atlanta, which designed the Georgia Aquarium," according to Stafford & Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. Officials said that the Falcons and the GWCCA "plan to choose three to five finalists for the job by Wednesday." While the design firm decision moves forward, the facility's location still is "unresolved" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 1/5). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Don Muret reports architect Peter Eisenman is "back in the NFL competing for work after Falcons owner's representative Icon Venue Group called the 80-year-old architect and asked him to respond to their request for qualifications." Eisenman Architects was one of the 10 groups "submitting qualifications to design a 72,000-seat stadium in Atlanta." Eisenman Architects "was the only civil architect to submit its qualifications, based on the list of respondents disclosed by the authority in late December." The Falcons and the GWCCA by Wednesday will "short-list qualified candidates, giving those groups time to expand their teams before submitting design proposals before a Feb. 1 deadline" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/7 issue).