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Volume 24 No. 158


In an indication of "how seriously Sacramento City Hall is taking the prospect of an arena at Downtown Plaza, City Manager John Shirey's office is preparing to analyze the site if it becomes the city's chosen location for a new sports facility" for the NBA Kings, according to Lillis, Bizjak & Kasler of the SACRAMENTO BEE. The analysis "could examine the different locations within Downtown Plaza where an arena could fit, an arena's impact on the site's utilities and the nearby transportation infrastructure." Shirey also announced this week that he was "rehiring arena consultant Dan Barrett to assist the city in the likely event that an arena plan is developed in the coming weeks." JMA Ventures, which bought the Downtown Plaza mall site last year, has "conducted its own feasibility study of placing an arena at the mall." Penguins co-Owner Ron Burkle has "advocated to NBA Commissioner David Stern for building an arena at Downtown Plaza." While the plaza has "received increased attention in recent days, city officials, including Mayor Kevin Johnson, stress that they have not abandoned the railyard as a potential arena location" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/1).

The signs and branding tied to Mercedes-Benz, the luxury automaker holding the Superdome’s naming rights, will be visible during the Super Bowl XLVII broadcast on CBS, including the company’s logo on top of the facility’s roof. “The title sponsor for a stadium is something we have always respected,” NFL Senior VP/Events Frank Supovitz said. “We recognize it takes corporate partners of the teams to get these buildings built.” M-B in October ’11 signed a 10-year naming-rights deal with the Saints, an agreement with a total value between $50-60M. It was the first naming-rights deal for the 38-year-old stadium. From ’06-11, the facility underwent $336M in restorations and renovations. Meanwhile, the NFL has reconditioned the Superdome’s artificial turf with additional rubber infill to make the field look better on television for Sunday’s game. Over the course of time, the latest evolution of artificial turf fields tends to “lie down” after heavy use, and in indoor stadiums can leave a sheen that tends to be distracting to the TV viewer. The new infill straightens the plastic blades so they “don’t look so shiny,” Supovitz said. CBS said it made a big difference after conducting camera and lighting tests following the turf upgrades.

BIGGER FAN ZONE: The Super Bowl Gameday Fan Plaza outside the Superdome will be 300% larger compared with the first three entertainment zones dating to the ‘10 event in Miami, said Supovitz. In New Orleans, the NFL is using Champions Square, the 120,000-square-foot festival space outside the stadium typically reserved for Saints games. For Sunday’s game, it has been rebranded for the Super Bowl with food and drink concessions, live bands, sponsor activations and photo opportunities with a large replica of the Super Bowl trophy. The plaza extends to the rooftops of two parking decks next to the stadium where the NFL installed artificial turf for football skills competitions.