Madison Square Garden has “begun marketing 18 new upper-bowl, luxury suites aimed at attracting companies run by sports and entertainment junkies,” according to Rich Calder of the N.Y. POST. The new suites will be “built over the summer” after both the Knicks and NHL Rangers finish their seasons. When completed in the fall, the 365-square-foot suites “will be among the last pieces" of MSG's third and final phase of its $1B "top-to-bottom transformation project.” Besides being “slightly closer to the court area, the suites offer superior amenities to existing upper-bowl suites, which will be removed to pave the way for a lounge area to be called the Budweiser Fan Deck.” The new suites will “each come with 12 private seats to all Garden events, plus an opportunity to purchase up to five additional tickets.” In addition, they are “filled with state-of-the-art amenities, including rich wood finishes, granite-topped serving areas, flat-panel televisions, a restroom and kitchen.” Also to be offered are “branding walls,” giving companies the “opportunity to customize their suites by slapping their logos on the walls.” Leases are “being offered for terms of three, five and seven years at up to $600,000 annually.” The suite level also will include “an added bonus: access to a 2,180-square-foot, window-lined lobby offering a unique collection of artifacts that pay homage to many of the top sports stars and entertainers who have graced the grand Garden stage over the years” (N.Y. POST, 4/26).
The Trail Blazers and Rip City Management on Thursday announced a multiyear deal making Levy Restaurants their new culinary partner. The agreement, which applies to the Rose Garden and Rose Quarter, goes into effect July 1. The choice concludes a 13-week search process. The Rose Garden now becomes the 22nd NBA venue in which Levy will oversee food and beverage services. Ovations Food Services is the team's outgoing concessions partner (Trail Blazers). The Blazers also announced that Rip City Management would “take over management of the Rose Garden Arena from AEG Facilities.” The Blazers and AEG in a joint statement said that the two companies “mutually agreed to let the current arena management contract expire at the end of its term.” The statement said the Rose Garden going forward will have "a self-operating facilities model much like what was in place" when the venue opened 18 years ago. In Portland, Allan Brettman noted the Blazers, before choosing Levy, “searched for more than 13 weeks, narrowing the field to five finalists.” Blazers President & CEO Chris McGowan “targeted the Rose Garden's food and beverage services as one of his areas of focus when he was hired late last year” (Portland OREGONIAN, 4/26).
Renovations to Kansas State Univ.'s Bill Snyder Family Stadium are "ahead of schedule" and expected be completed in time for the football season opener against North Dakota State on Aug. 30, according to Kellis Robinett of the K.C. STAR. The majority of the project is "naked steel frames." The "massive cranes that hovered over the stadium during early stages of construction are gone, and the structure’s frame is in place." When construction is complete, KSU will "have a state-of-the-art press box and luxury suites than span the length of the field and offers fans added club-level seating, suites, wider terraces, larger restrooms, brighter lights, a Hall of Honor and much more space to meet and move around during games." Construction was "projected to cost" $75M. But KSU AD John Currie said that the school will "exceed that number because of the rising cost of steel and K-State’s desire to add extras onto the project." Maintaining the new press box also will "require more personnel, which will raise the athletic department staff from about 130 to 150." Meanwhile, ticket sales for new luxury options are "doing well." Boosters "long ago reserved the 41 private suites, but loge boxes and club-level seats are still selling." Construction will continue "at a furious pace through August." Workers are scheduled to "complete the facility’s roof Wednesday and the building’s exterior on Aug. 1" (K.C. STAR, 4/26).
VIDEO GAME: In Cedar Rapids, Marc Morehouse notes the Univ. of Iowa is "working through the state Board of Regents on a new video display and sound system for Kinnick Stadium." The school has "centered on" Daktronics for the project "at a total cost" of $8M. The project includes a "large screen video display system within the existing south end zone structure, video displays in the northeast and northwest end zone corners and a ribbon display to be installed above the seating along the north side." That ribbon display will "show game information, video, scores and advertising." In addition to those "four video displays, the purchase request also includes two game clocks and four play clocks" (Cedar Rapids GAZETTE, 4/26).
In Buffalo, Jill Terreri reports the city's Common Council is "set to call on the owners of land on the Outer Harbor to grant development rights to a group wanting to build a football stadium and entertainment complex." The council "does not control the land, however, and the state authority that does is not in favor of the project." A council resolution calls on Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state legislature and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to "grant the development group a nine- to 12-month option on the Buffalo Outer Harbor." A group called Greater Buffalo Sports & Entertainment Complex is proposing a $1.5B waterfront development, "which would include a 72,000-seat football stadium with a retractable roof" (BUFFALO NEWS, 4/26).
CORN SKATES: In Omaha, Joseph Morton noted U.S. Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) has "broached the subject" of an NHL exhibition game in the city with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman "several times over the years and took an opportunity Wednesday to bring it up again." Bettman, who was on Capitol Hill for a panel discussion, "seemed optimistic that it could happen." Terry said that it would "make a lot of sense for the NHL to hold an exhibition game in Omaha." Bettman: "It's something that we can work on if there's enough interest and somebody wants to put it together. We need a local point person who wants to address the effort and I'm sure one of our clubs would love to consider a preseason game" (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 4/25).
URBAN REVITALIZATION: In Detroit, Tom Walsh notes Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert during a panel discussion about the city of Detroit on Fox News was "asked if he’s trying to persuade" Pistons Owner Tom Gores to move the team downtown from its current home in Auburn Hills. Gilbert responded, "I always try to put the bug in his ear." Gilbert has "long espoused the belief that sports arenas belong in core cities rather than faraway suburbs" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 4/26).
FROZEN FENWAY: In Boston, John Connolly reports the Hockey East conference is "returning to Fenway Park in January with two separate men's doubleheaders." On Saturday, Jan. 4, Merrimack will face Providence, followed by Boston College-Notre Dame. The following Saturday, Jan. 11, UMass-Lowell plays Northeastern (BOSTON HERALD, 4/26).