Global Spectrum Chosen To Manage Hartford's XL Center; Rentschler Field
Philadelphia-based Global Spectrum was "chosen Thursday to guide the XL Center in downtown Hartford and Rentschler Field in East Hartford through the next decade," according to Kenneth Gosselin of the HARTFORD COURANT. Global Spectrum Senior VP/Business Development & Client Relations Frank Russo said that "an agreement keeping" the AHL Connecticut Whale in Hartford "could come within days." Although the Capitol Region Development Authority "considered bids from companies interested in managing the two properties, two of the bidders were in talks with the hockey team owned by the New York Rangers trying to negotiate a new contract to replace one that expires in August." The CRDA on Thursday "voted unanimously" to give the contract to Global. Global will "replace the current manager of the XL Center, AEG Management CT." It won the contract "over AEG and a group led by Bushnell Management Services, an arm of Hartford's Bushnell, which now manages Rentschler Field." In addition, the Univ. of Connecticut had "expressed an interest in managing just Rentschler." The CRDA cited Global Spectrum's "out-of-pocket" capital investment proposal of $2.75M for capital improvements that would "be bolstered by another $1 million a year." The CRDA said that the "level of private investment would justify $20 million or more in state bonding." The XL Center "needs at least" $16M in improvements over the next decade "just to sustain its operating systems." The contract is "contingent on the group's securing an AHL affiliate for the XL Center, a central issue for those vying to manage the venue." Russo said that his group plans on improvements such as "premium seating in lower sections of the arena, expansion of the concourse into vacant mall areas and upgrades to food concessions" (HARTFORD COURANT, 2/8).