The NFL is "moving beyond its talks with the two long-running choices for stadium sites in Los Angeles and is now exploring additional locations," according to Daniel Kaplan of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources said that the league has "had direct talks" with Dodgers Owner Guggenheim Partners about the "possibility of a football stadium at the baseball team's Chavez Ravine home." The talks were "only exploratory." League approval "has never come" for the proposed stadiums from AEG and Majestic Realty President & Chair Ed Roski, as the NFL is "not fully comfortable with either site." The downtown L.A. location "does not comport to the NFL's preference that a team control the building." Roski's site, while only 20 miles outside L.A., is "considered by many unglamorous and difficult to access." Among the two locations, AEG's downtown Farmers Field site "has been the perceived front-runner." But sources said that the AEG sale process "has not seen bidders willing to place much value on the company's proposed stadium." The league now is "looking at many of the same spots it scoured for years before the Roski-AEG locations dominated discussions, including Chavez Ravine, Hollywood Park, and several other sites with Roski's City of Industry and AEG's Farmers Field still in the mix as well" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/25 issue).
Daytona Int'l Speedway is in the midst of a planned renovation that includes the grandstands, but track President Joie Chitwood said that the injuries sustained by fans during Saturday's Nationwide Series race could "prompt a redesign that might include sturdier fences or stands further away from the on-track action," according to Mark Long of the AP. At least 28 fans were injured when part of Kyle Lawson's No. 32 car went over the catch fence and into the stands. Chitwood said, "It's tough to connect the two right now in terms of a potential redevelopment and what occurred. ... If there are things that we can incorporate into the future, whether it's the current property now or any other redevelopment, we will." Long noted DIS officials "decided not to rebuild the collapsed cross-over gate" prior to yesterday's Daytona 500. The gate allows fans "to travel between the stands and the infield before races" (AP, 2/24). In Daytona Beach, Ken Willis writes there are "two guarantees" coming out of the Nationwide Series wreck. The first is "every track on the circuit will take another look at their catch-fences and if they have any doubts at all, will do upgrades." The second is DIS officials will "revisit any initial schematics for the proposed grandstand renovations." Once the insurance agents "meet with Risk Management, the new grandstand layout may include a wider buffer and taller fence" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 2/25).
KANSAS FEELS GOOD WITH STATUS QUO: In K.C., Randy Covitz notes in 12 years of NASCAR racing at Kansas Speedway, no car "has ever gone airborne." Kansas Speedway President Pat Warren said, "You can’t ever say never in a situation like that, but because it’s never happened, I’m pretty confident that our place, just because of the differences between the two tracks, we’re probably okay. But, you never know." Daytona is a 2.5-mile superspeedway while the tri-oval at Kansas measures just 1.5 miles (K.C. STAR, 2/25).
Univ. of North Carolina AD Bubba Cunningham is "interested in renovations that would modernize the Smith Center and provide more 'revenue drivers,'" according to Andrew Carter of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. The UNC men’s basketball team is in its 28th season "playing at the Smith Center." Improvements have been made "over the years -- a video ribbon board debuted this season, and in recent years the sound and lighting systems were replaced -- but the basic interior of the building has largely remained unchanged." Cunningham said that he is "interested in adding luxury suites to the Smith Center, which was built before such amenities became commonplace in indoor sports arenas." Cunningham said, “We have suites and club seats in football (at Kenan Stadium) that work. But we have an iconic structure here. You have to be very careful on how you do that. I think we want to make sure that the fans get the experience they expect when they come to a premier place.” Cunningham said that there "have been 'no serious discussions' about when the renovations might begin or what they might include." He added that those discussions "would begin after the basketball season ends" (NEWSOBSERVER.com, 2/24).
In Miami, Rosenberg & Beasley reported Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Friday met with Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross and CEO Mike Dee to "discuss the proposed stadium rehabilitation” of Sun Life Stadium. Dolphins spokesperson Ric Katz said that the team is “hopeful" the Miami-Dade County Commission will approve a May 14 date for a referendum on the proposed $400M in renovations, "time enough to get South Florida in play for Super Bowl 50." NFL owners are “slated to meet on May 22 to pick the site of the 2016 Super Bowl" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/24).
CHARLOTTE'S WEB: A CHARLOTTE OBSERVER editorial stated NFL Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson “feels his name is being tainted” in his request for $125M from the city of Charlotte to help pay for renovations to Bank of America Stadium. The Charlotte City Council’s “dash for cash is making him look bad.” The council's proposed tax increase would bring in close to $1B, about $875M "more than the Panthers requested.” Sources said that Richardson is “annoyed that the city is using his request as a springboard for raising taxes more than necessary" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/25).
WASHINGTON HEIGHTS: In DC, Ben Sumner noted the Verizon Center’s decibel meters "are back." The decibel meters were “popular fixtures at the old Capital Centre, and fans have been asking for years to bring them back.” But it “wasn’t as easy as simply buying one and plugging it in.” Nearly two years “of research and implementation went into the project.” Fine tuning “delayed the unveiling, which was originally scheduled for the season opener.” The meter currently is “only used at Capitals games, but the Wizards have expressed interest" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 2/22).