Renovation of Arizona State Univ.'s Sun Devil Stadium is "years away," but ASU President Michael Crow yesterday said that he "envisions Chase Field as a temporary home for the football team during construction," according to a front-page piece by Jeff Metcalfe of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Crow said Chase Field would "be the 'only place for us to play' while the most intense reconstruction work occurred at Sun Devil Stadium, expected to take place in the fall of 2015." His comments caught D'Backs President & CEO Derrick Hall "off guard." Hall said, "I think it would be a big-time challenge, and I’m not sure we’d be able to work it out.” Chase Field has "hosted football games before, most recently the Insight Bowl" from '00-05. But they all "took place months after the baseball season ended." Hall: "That’s a challenging time of year for our field anyway to keep it in tip-top shape. I would be concerned about the conditions not being safe and sound for our players after that much stress." Hall said, "Michael (Crow) is a good friend. We need to have those conversations realistically and let them know their expectations may be too high for it to work out." Other than Chase Field, "seemingly the only other option for a temporary ASU football home" Univ. of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. Last fall, Crow said that he "did not think the Glendale stadium was a viable option because it would be difficult to get as many as 10,000 students to the games and that it didn’t make sense to co-brand with the University of Phoenix, another academic institution" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/24).
SOLO ACT: The ARIZONA REPUBLIC's Metcalfe notes the ASU baseball team will soon be the "sole tenant at 8,000-seat Phoenix Municipal Stadium, where it played 137 games from 1964-74." ASU will "leave 4,000-seat Packard Stadium, its home since 1974, after next season and move 2.5 miles northwest to a stadium that is 10 years older." Under terms of a 25-year lease, ASU will receive the first $1.1M annually "from tickets, net concessions and parking before paying rent, which is capped at $300,000." ASU is "responsible for maintenance and operating expenses and receives 50 percent of revenue from other events at the stadium" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/24).
California lawmakers yesterday voted to preserve “paperless tickets -- which can be redeemed only at the venue, only by the purchaser,” according to Hannah Karp of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The preliminary vote is “seen [as] a blow to StubHub." Because paperless tickets “can't be transferred or resold, StubHub says they are a threat to its business of reselling tickets in the secondary market.” The original bill “would have banned paperless tickets.” But due to “fierce opposition from committee members in a hearing Tuesday, the bill was heavily amended and now leaves the door open for paperless ticketing to proliferate.” The new version “passed by a committee vote simply penalizes the use of the software some scalpers use to gobble up tickets before fans get a chance.” Yesterday's move “applies only to ticket sales in California, but potentially sets a precedent that could hurt StubHub's ongoing efforts in other states.” New York is the “only state with a law that restricts paperless ticketing.” A proposed ban on paperless ticketing is “making headway in New Jersey but not yet written into law.” California's preliminary vote “still has to be approved by the full California legislature and the governor” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/24).
In Charlotte, Steve Harrison reports as the Charlotte City Council "debated in February whether to give" the NFL Panthers money for stadium renovations, City Attorney Bob Hagemann "believed the team might be sold and moved if members turned the team down." Transcripts of closed meetings released yesterday "also show the city and team tangled over the Panthers’ tax burden, the length of a contractual agreement to keep the Panthers in Charlotte, and even over a proposal that the city build the team a parking deck." Documents show the city and the team "went back and forth for seven months over how much the public should pay -- and what the Panthers should give in return" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/24).
MY KIND OF TOWN: In Chicago, Fran Spielman notes Southport Neighbors Association President Jill Peters last night "demanded ... that the Cubs scale back their request for more night games and signage at a renovated Wrigley Field, nix plans to enlarge the stadium’s footprint and reduce the height of a hotel they plan to build across the street." After a Monday night meeting between the Cubs and Southport Neighbors, Peters is "demanding no more than 37 'night events'-per-season, including concerts, 3:05 p.m. game starts and regular night games." Peters also asked for "50 more post-game security personnel outside the ballpark, up from the Cubs’ plan for 30" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/24).
AT THE EPICENTER: In West Palm Beach, Emily Roach reports a deal "appears to be in the works to build a second two-team stadium in the north county area for" the Astros and Blue Jays. It could "make Palm Beach County the epicenter of Florida East Coast spring training," as the Marlins and Cardinals "both play their spring training games at ... Roger Dean Stadium." Palm Beach Gardens Council member David Levy voiced "cautious optimism," but said that "traffic, zoning and environmental issues must be considered" (PALM BEACH POST, 4/24).
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: In Hartford, Mike Anthony reported UConn, which will "play all Hockey East games at the XL Center for a few years, has an agreement with Hockey East for a campus facility plan to be in place by February 2016." UConn "remains in the exploratory phase, having hired architectural firms to conduct feasibility studies," but fans can "picture Gampel Pavilion, already in need of an overhaul, with its dome flattened, luxury suites added, a sheet of ice among the major renovations needed to make it a dual facility." AD Warde Manuel said, "We're looking at all the options. Nothing is imminent, but I would say in the next year or so we'll have more solid plans" (HARTFORD COURANT, 4/23).