All nine members of the California Legislature's black caucus are “urging state officials to scrap parts of a deal that would allow USC to run the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum,” according to Rong-Gong Lin II of the L.A. TIMES. The lawmakers, who said that they “support the idea of USC managing the Coliseum, where the school's football team plays, object to the inclusion of nearby parking lots they say should be turned into parks.” USC “demanded the parking lots as part of the management agreement.” Newly elected Assembly member Reggie Jones-Sawyer said that surrendering the parking lots “would break a two-decade-old promise made by the state to eventually convert unused lots surrounding the Coliseum complex into green space, for a neighborhood that sorely lacks parks.” The group also “opposes an element of the deal that would allow USC to also control the aging Sports Arena, part of the Coliseum property that could be razed for a potentially lucrative soccer stadium.” The deal “envisions the university taking over the sports venues for up to 99 years.” The caucus “rejected an assertion written into the deal that if the Coliseum Commission, which currently governs the stadium complex, goes out of business, the state will be on the hook for $70 million in upgrades.” Lin writes delaying an accord on the parking lots “would put the Coliseum in a precarious spot.” Stadium officials yesterday said that they “expect the venue to run out of money to make payroll by the end of March.” State Sen. and caucus Vice Chair Rod Wright said that the Coliseum “could be forced to lay off employees or shut its doors.” Meanwhile, the Coliseum Commissioner yesterday announced that Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has “left his position.” Yaroslavsky had served on the commission “since 1995 and was one of its most influential panelists” (L.A. TIMES, 1/10).
The Mets will be celebrating “their 25th spring training in Port St. Lucie in a stadium without an official name,” according to Jon Santucci of the TCPALM.com. St. Lucie, Fla. County Commissioner Chris Dzadovsky said that no deal for the naming rights for the county-owned stadium “appears imminent.” Dzadovsky said, "We've not sealed a deal." He added, “Hopefully, we can get something done soon." The stadium had been named Digital Domain Park “since 2010, but the Digital Domain Media Group ended the $100,000-a-year contract with the Mets during its bankruptcy filing in late September.” The stadium “temporarily is being called Mets Stadium.” Mets Florida Operations Dir Paul Taglieri in December said that the team “hoped to have a new corporate sponsor by spring training.” The Mets are the “ones negotiating any naming rights deal, but Dzadovsky serves as a conduit between local companies and the Mets.” He said that approximately “six local companies had been in contact with the Mets in some form” (TCPALM.com, 1/8).
In Richmond, John O'Connor reported the Double-A Eastern League Richmond Flying Squirrels and city reps "met for four hours on Friday regarding the need for a new ballpark. Team Chief Exec Manager Chuck Domino on Monday called the session "the most productive meeting we've had to date." Friday's meeting did not "determine a financing plan, a stadium site, or set a timetable for decisions on those topics." The city and team "focused on three potential ballpark sites" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 1/8).
OREGON TRAIL: In Portland, Andrew Theen reported the Single-A Northwest League Hillsboro Hops' new 4,500-seat ballpark is "expected to be completed one week before" the team's June 17 debut, although Parks & Recreation Department officials are "expecting the project to cost more than they'd previously anticipated." Hillsboro Parks Dir Wayne Gross was "hoping the total project would go in just below" the budgeted $15.2M. But he said that Hoffman Construction Company, the firm awarded the contract, "discovered existing utilities had to be moved" (Portland OREGONIAN, 1/9).
BIGGER IN TEXAS: In El Paso, Cindy Ramirez reported the city will ask a state court to "validate that it can issue bonds" for a $50M Triple-A downtown stadium, which would "thereby bring a halt to all the lawsuits and petitions aimed at stopping the demolition of City Hall." The city council on Tuesday "voted to award the $40 million contract to build the stadium to a joint-venture" between C.F. Jordan Construction and Hunt Construction Group, which has "constructed at least 10" MLB stadiums. City Hall could be "imploded as soon as March 31" to make way for the stadium (EL PASO TIMES, 1/9).
EXPLORING OPTIONS: In Florida, Thomas Himes notes the Single-A Florida State League Ft. Myers Miracle "call Hammond Stadium home," but a $45.5M construction project could "interfere with its 2014 schedule." Lee County officials yesterday asked Ft. Myers officials "about possibly moving the area’s minor league baseball team to City of Palms Park for the 2014 season and beyond." Team President Steve Gliner said that the club "wants to stay at Hammond Stadium in 2014 and has not talked about a permanent relocation to City of Palms Park." Lee County officials hope that they can "schedule construction around the Miracle’s 2014 season, but the Twins want the project finished by February 2015" (NAPLES DAILY NEWS, 1/10).
In DC, Steven Goff cited sources as saying that a proposed men's soccer friendly between the U.S. and Germany on June 2 would "almost certainly take place" at RFK Stadium or FedExField. The USSF is "finalizing the match as part of its 100th anniversary celebrations and has focused on the Washington area so it could coincide with the organization’s annual general meeting in the nation’s capital in late May or early June." RFK is "available because D.C. United plays at Chicago that day" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 1/9).
CRACKING DOWN: In Green Bay, Maria Amante noted it is "unclear" whether security precautions enacted by the Packers for last weekend's NFC Wild Card game "will be permanent for upcoming stadium events." A season-high 91 people were "ejected from the stadium and 21 were arrested" last weekend, "despite the fact that alcohol sales for much of the stadium stopped at the beginning of the third quarter, which is earlier than normal." Green Bay Police Lt. Jody Buth said that future enforcement of the "early end to alcohol sales and 'zero tolerance' approach is up in the air" (GREENBAYPRESSGAZETTE.com, 1/9).
LIKE A ROCK: In Newark, Peggy McGlone reports Prudential Center beat out Izod Center as New Jersey’s "busiest concert arena," while placing 23rd in the world and sixth in the U.S. on Pollstar’s '12 list of top arenas. Barclays Center, which opened Sept. 28, debuted at No. 32 in the world "with paid attendance of 356,512 for just three months of operations." New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority President & CEO Wayne Hasenbalg said that the special events surrounding Barclays Center's opening "skew its numbers" (NJ.com, 1/10).
OLD COLLEGE TRY: BASEBALL AMERICA's Aaron Fitt noted the National College Baseball HOF "took a major step toward becoming a reality Tuesday, thanks to a $5 million capital campaign grant from the Moody Foundation." The grant brings the total raised toward the campaign to build a HOF in Lubbock, Texas, to approximately $7M, "not including the value of the land committed by the City of Lubbock." The total campaign goal is $13M, with $9M "needed for facility construction" and a $4M endowment (BASEBALLAMERICA.com, 1/8).