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Volume 24 No. 112
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NFL Facility Notes: 49ers Sign NRG Energy As Latest Founding Partner At New Stadium

The 49ers have signed NRG Energy as a founding partner of their new $1.2B stadium under construction in Santa Clara. The terms were not immediately disclosed, but typically, founding partner agreements at the major-league level are multiyear deals valued at seven figures annually. As the NFL team’s exclusive sustainable energy provider, NRG will install three solar array-covered bridges, a solar canopy above the green roof on the stadium’s suite tower and solar panels over the 49ers training center. The arrays will have a total peak capacity of about 400 kilowatts, providing enough power over the course of a year to offset energy consumed at the stadium during 49ers home games, according to team officials. The partnership also will help the new facility’s goal of becoming the first newly-constructed NFL stadium to be LEED-certified. NRG Energy joins Sony, Brocade, SAP and Violin Memory as founding partners (Don Muret, SportsBusiness Journal).

CUTTING BACK SOME: In Atlanta, Bluestein & Tucker report Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal yesterday confirmed that he “prefers a deal with less than the $300 million in public funding called for in a tentative agreement between the Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority” for a proposed new downtown stadium. Deal said, “That seemed like a little bit high of a number. We’re still talking and hopefully before too very long we will have a proposal that will save the taxpayers a lot of money.” Deal added that he “remains confident a compromise can be reached.” Bluestein & Tucker note Deal’s stance “means team owner Arthur Blank faces the possibility of having to pony up an additional $100 million if he wants to preserve plans for a retractable-roof stadium downtown" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 1/23).

SCRATCHING POST: In Charlotte, Steve Harrison in a front-page piece reports the city could “cover almost all” of the NFL Panthers’ request for $125M to help pay for Bank of America Stadium renovations “by using Convention Center money.” But the N.C. General Assembly “would have to give the city approval to shift the Convention Center money to the stadium.” It is “unlikely it could be shifted to the stadium without approval from the General Assembly.” State legislators also “would have to give their approval to the city’s current proposal -- an increase in the local prepared food and beverage tax from 1 percent to 2 percent" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/23).

THE SUN ALSO SETS: Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said the Dolphins "would never be relocated” under team Owner Stephen Ross. In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis wrote Dee “used the question about whether Dolphins fans should be concerned the long-term stability of the team as a bridge to address the importance going ahead with the $400 million renovation of Sun Life Stadium that was proposed last week.” Dee said that it “could fall to a future Dolphins owner to address the stadium issue and determine the fate of the team if it doesn't happen soon, pointing out that Ross is 72.” Dee: “This facility cannot serve this team, the Hurricanes and the Orange Bowl for the next 25 years unless a major modernization takes place at some point. It is now or is it later?” (, 1/22).