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Volume 24 No. 117


Capacity for Raiders games at Coliseum will be "reduced by nearly 10,000 to 53,200 in 2013, and approximately 4,850 season-ticket holders from the east side high-rise structure known as 'Mount Davis' will be relocated," according to Jerry McDonald of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Raiders Chief Exec Amy Trask "described the decision as a 'tool' to ensure games remain on local television as well as to promote more of a community and family-friendly atmosphere." All seats in the west side third deck from sections 304 through 330 "will be $250 per season ticket -- even those that previously cost $610 or $460 depending on how close they were to the 50-yard line." All other season ticket prices "will be reduced $10." The Raiders with the reductions "will have the smallest venue in the NFL." The Bears' Soldier Field "seats 61,500." The Raiders had "just one television blackout in eight regular-season games in 2012 with help from the NFL's '85 percent' rule." The average "regular-season attendance for the Raiders in 2012 was 54,217." Trask said that the "closing of the east structure would be made in lieu of the 85 percent rule" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/7). In S.F., Vic Tafur notes the Raiders "cannot reopen the 'Mount Davis' and other east-side third-deck seats once they have been designated to be tarped off," even if they "made the playoffs next season" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/7). Trask said, "It's not a revenue-generated decision." She added, "It's an ongoing commitment on our part to create a vibrant, vibrant gameday environment with a community of season ticket holders. That's the goal -- a community of season ticket holders. We'd like to sell the entire stadium on a season-ticket basis, and continue our efforts to create a family-friendly environment" (, 2/6).

WANTING TO STAY AT CURRENT SITE:'s Paul Gutierrez noted Trask "insisted the team wants to remain at the same site, albeit in a new stadium, echoing the thoughts" of Owner Mark Davis. She said, "We love that site. Our hope, our desire is a new stadium on that site. And we have stated that publicly for years." Trask added, "Now, we do need a new building. Our fans deserve a new building. The community deserves a new building. We need a new stadium." Trask said that the Raiders are "still in 'discussions' with city and county representatives about the Coliseum City idea and said the next meeting is scheduled for next week." Trask said of sharing the 49ers' new Santa Clara stadium, "We did have discussions with the 49ers. We have not had any discussions recently. We have not closed the door on that opportunity. But our focus is on this site" (, 2/6). But Comcast SportsNet Bay Area’s Jim Kozimor asked, “Is this a sign that they’re on the way out?" Kozimor: "Look at the tarps, lowering our prices and still can’t sell-out.” S.F.-based KGMZ-FM’s Chris Townsend said, “I know for a fact the Raiders were at a business meeting and they told somebody that they can't guarantee anything after 2013. They don't know where they're going to be” (“Chronicle Live,” CSN Bay Area, 2/6).

SHORT-TERM FIX:'s Ray Ratto wrote as a "spur to getting a new stadium built somewhere in the East Bay, tarping the mountain’s summit is basically putting an apron on a short-order cook." It "doesn’t make the Davis family any wealthier, it doesn’t make their search for the ideal site any clearer, and it doesn’t make the Oakland City and Alameda County governments any more generous." Ratto: "Herein lies the reason why the tarp doesn’t really matter much in the bigger picture." It "lessens the ticket-selling threshold the Raiders have to meet, which is likely a measure of the softness of the market, but that’s pretty much it. It doesn’t change the larger dynamic, which is that neither they, the governments nor the market can get a new stadium built without a dramatic change in ownership percentages." The Raiders will need to be "far more creative than just putting a new skirt on an old mannequin" (, 2/6).

Sports concessionaire Centerplate reported a $91.45 per cap for food and beverage during Sunday’s Super Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Gross sales were about $6.5M based on official game attendance of 71,024. The per cap is a record for Super Bowl spending on concessions and premium dining, according to Centerplate officials. Super Bowl XLVI last year at Lucas Oil Stadium, also served by Centerplate, generated a per cap of $88.44. Two years ago, Legends Hospitality Management reported the average spend was about $89 for Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium. In New Orleans, Centerplate officials said food storage, refrigeration and preparation equipment were not affected by the stadium’s 34-minute power outage, and all food stands remained open while play was stopped on the field. The vendor partnered with New Orleans chef Donald Link to serve native dishes such as alligator chili, BBQ shrimp and grits and crawfish pies. Centerplate’s community outreach efforts tied to the game included partnering with social enterprise firm Juma to provide jobs to 50 low-income college-age students from New Orleans. Under the agreement, through special saving accounts established with Juma, those students can save their Super Bowl wages for college education with Juma matching those dollars 2 to 1.

Vikings execs met with NFL officials at the Super Bowl and “came home firmly intent on landing the 2018 Super Bowl for their new stadium, which is to open in 2016 in downtown Minneapolis,” according to Charley Walters of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley on Tuesday said, "We started to do some homework on our bid." The Vikings “already have applied to the 2018, 2019 or 2020 Super Bowl,” and now they are “pushing hard for 2018.” Competition for the ‘18 Super Bowl is “expected to come from New Orleans because that year will be the city's 300th anniversary.” But Bagley said that the NFL “looks favorably on communities that have resolved stadium issues.” Bagley in New Orleans “spoke with senior NFL officials,” including NFL Exec VP/Business Ventures Eric Grubman. Bagley said, "No one could guarantee it, but they were very encouraging about Minneapolis getting a Super Bowl. We feel good about it, and we feel good about the feedback from the league. We've got to put together a strong bid and a strong host committee." Meanwhile, Walters notes the Vikings, “potentially by Friday, are expected to name a construction manager" for their $975M stadium (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/7).

LET'S GET THIS PARTY STARTED: In Minneapolis, Richard Meryhew notes city officials are “making plans for Season 2 of the great ‘railgating’ experience.” The experiment, pitched by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak as “an alternative to more traditional tailgating at Vikings home games, was launched in September to encourage fans to get off the couch” and head downtown to “party along a three-block stretch of 5th Street leading to the Metrodome.” Rybak said that the goal is “to ‘add more sizzle’ to pre-game festivities around the Metrodome in anticipation of the opening of a new Vikings stadium on the site in 2016.” Roughly 30 mobile vendors “had licenses to do business in the city when railgating started,” and that number “doubled” by season's end. Minneapolis Licenses & Consumer Services Department District Supervisor Linda Roberts attributes "the interest and positive energy around railgating" for the spike in licenses. Minneapolis Development Chief Chuck Lutz said that city officials will “tweak the concept next season with an aim toward working more with Warehouse District restaurants to ensure they are part of the experience” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/7).

NBA Commissioner David Stern yesterday said that he will meet with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak today to "get an update on stalled renovation plans for Target Center," according to Ray Richardson of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. Stern "expressed hope that renovation plans 'come to a final form in the next few weeks.'" He said, "We want to maintain the building so it doesn't fall behind. It's pretty important to make capital improvement on an ongoing basis. The fans deserve it. I get very excited about the impact that a fresh, continually busy building can have on a vital downtown." The T'Wolves and the city "introduced plans more than a year ago to renovate Target Center." The renovation, initially scheduled to begin in May, has been "delayed because of disagreements over cost responsibilities" between the T'Wolves, the city of Minneapolis and venue operator AEG. Stern said that when the renovation is completed, he will recommend Target Center as a "future host for NBA All-Star Weekend" to NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver, who will succeed Stern. The facility previously hosted the ASG in '94 (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/7). Stern said he is meeting with Rybak “just to go over where we are” at refurbishing the arena ("The Chad Hartman Show," WCCO-AM, 2/6).

TAYLOR'S SUCCESSOR: Stern said that he "initially approached" T'Wolves Owner Glen Taylor about "developing a succession plan." Taylor has been "entertaining offers while making it clear that he wants to stay on as owner for the near future." Stern said, "I think Glen is not what you would call an anxious seller. Sometimes I think he might have seller's remorse even though he hasn't sold it because he loves the team and he loves what it does for the community. I do believe he is in the midst of at least a thought process that is going to find him at some point in the future, not immediately" (AP, 2/6). Stern said he met with Taylor "to find out where" the team is on venue renovations, after already having had "some conversations with AEG." Stern: "I think we’re very much within striking range of a deal that will bring the Target Center into the 21st century and make it an 'it' place." Stern told Taylor he “should look for some transitional plan where you can lighten up and then ultimately move on in some period that lets you just be owner, then a part-owner, then a superfan." Stern: "But he’s very committed to the franchise and he’s very committed to this project and he’s also committed to finding somebody who he’s comfortable will enhance these things” ("The Chad Hartman Show," WCCO-AM, 2/6).

LET BYGONES BE BYGONES: In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman writes, "One thing that amazed me about Stern is his great relationship with Taylor despite the fact that on Oct. 27, 2000, Stern stripped the team of three first-round draft choices, levied a $3.5 million fine, suspended Taylor and executive Kevin McHale and sent Joe Smith, who was a part of a serious salary-cap violation, into free agency." Still, they were "able to become close friends, with Taylor recently completing his second term" as chair of the NBA BOG. Stern said, "That didn't stop me from respecting Glen as a businessman and as a person, and I would say that we have become very good friends and we work closely together, with him as chairman." Stern regarding Taylor's potential sale of the team said, "He wants it to stay here and all discussions about [a] sale revolve around finding a person, or persons, who will commit to keeping this franchise in the Twin Cities" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/7). 

There are many community leaders who think that the Greater Buffalo Sports & Entertainment Complex' $1.4B proposal for "a 72,000-seat stadium, with a retractable roof, a convention center and a sports and culture museum" on the city's outer harbor "is too good to be true, especially since project leaders are asking for a public commitment of waterfront land," according to a front-page piece by Denise Jewell Gee of the BUFFALO NEWS. GBSEC Partners Nicholas Stracick and George Hasiotis said that the "key to moving forward is obtaining an option for up to a year on 167 acres of publicly owned land on the outer harbor." Hasiotis said that the land option "would be limited, to nine to 12 months, enough to study traffic, parking, environmental and other impacts." He told Erie County legislators last month that if the group "obtains an option on the land, the project would become 'more bankable and more fundable.'" Gee noted close to "a dozen local community leaders were asked to weigh in on the project, and skepticism emerged as the overwhelming consensus." Some called the proposal "unrealistic and a pipe dream." Community leaders expressed "several fundamental concerns and objections" about the plan, including the fact that there has been "no disclosure of financial commitments." The proposal also lacks "support from either the Bills or the NFL." In addition, there are "major transportation and parking headaches" and questions of whether a football stadium "is the best use of the waterfront." Former Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. Chair Jordan Levy said, "It’s unrealistic to think that anybody who’s not a multibillionaire is going to be able to pull this off." Erie County Legislator Joseph Lorigo said, "I’d love to see something like this happen, I just don’t know if these are the people to put this together" (BUFFALO NEWS, 2/6).

Candlestick Park will be demolished following the '13 NFL season, but the MLB Giants could have an opportunity for "one more game" there, according to John Shea of the S.F. CHRONICLE. For the Giants to "play an exhibition there, the old yard would need to be standing until late March 2014." Giants President & CEO Larry Baer said, "I don't think it's a likely thing to happen. I'm not even sure logistically we could pull it off. They're going to implode it fairly quickly. We wouldn't try to stand in the way of any of that. Having said that, there are some wonderful baseball memories there. At some point, we'd want to find a way with the 49ers to promote it." Recreating the park's baseball configuration would be "tough with the right-field seats no longer retractable -- equipment that moved the seats hasn't been maintained." It would "cost a ton to retract the seats, but perhaps it's worth revisiting for a last look" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/7).

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN:'s Paul Post noted the N.Y. Parks & Recreation Department in '11 "launched a $950,000 restoration project" for the John T. Brush Stairway behind the old Polo Grounds, and now the stairway is "scheduled for a 'soft opening' this spring." MLB gave $50,000 to the project, along with "other old Polo Grounds tenants" including the MLB Giants, Yankees, Mets, NFL Jets and NFL Giants (, 2/6).