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Volume 24 No. 116


The Cubs' $300M Wrigley Field renovation proposal "calls for re-creating green terra-cotta canopies, along with the windows and wrought-iron fencing, that graced parts of Wrigley's exterior in the 1930s," according to a front-page piece by Dardick & Ruthhart of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney yesterday said, "This is a historic restoration. This is not a renovation. This is not trying to make Wrigley new. It's actually trying to make Wrigley old." Plans unveiled yesterday "call for a 6,000-square-foot, three-panel video screen atop the left field wall that would be topped by lights illuminating the power alleys in right and left field." There also would be "a 1,000-square-foot sign in right field and four new signs ringing the outfield." Those include "two new LED signs akin to the one introduced in right field last year." Advertising would "adorn a proposed seven-story hotel at the northwest corner of Clark and Addison streets and six-story retail-office building on the triangular parcel west of the stadium." Static ads would "top the 91-foot-tall hotel, as well as the clock tower on the office building," while banners featuring team sponsors would "hang from the hotel, facing Clark." Change also would "come to the southeast corner of the stadium, where the site of the Captain Morgan Club would be replaced with a two-story structure topped by signs and a deck." Kenney said that with other upgrades such as updated concourses, expanded bathrooms, improved player areas and outdoor terraces, the "broader idea is to give the stadium modern amenities, create a town square for Wrigleyville and generate more revenue, both to cover the cost of the renovation and provide revenue for team development" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/1).

VERY NECESSARY: Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts today said that the team needs "the millions in revenue that Wrigley Field renovations would generate or the team will have to consider moving." Ricketts: “If we don’t have the ability to generate revenue in our outfield, we will have to take a look at moving. There is no question." He added that the "possibility of moving is not a threat." Ricketts said, "We are committed to working this out. We've always said we want to win in Wrigley Field. ... All we really need is to run a business like a business and not a museum" (, 5/1). Ricketts: "It's about growing revenues to be competitive with the large market clubs and give us the flexibility we need to be as competitive as possible and I think this proposal gets us there.” He added, "We're talking about 2,100 jobs, we’re talking about hundreds of millions in economic development. We're already the third largest tourist attraction in the state. Hopefully, we'll maybe get to second if we improve the park a little more. It's a great deal for the city's economy and it's a great deal for our fans and a great deal for the neighborhood" ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 5/1).

SUPER SCREEN: In Chicago, Fran Spielman writes the "sheer size of the video board -- three times larger than Wrigley’s iconic center-field scoreboard -- might be expected to overpower the outfield." But Kenney yesterday "sought to minimize the impact and understate the blockage on rooftop clubs" by offering a panoramic view of the screen. The sign in right field "displayed the illuminated words 'Wrigley Field,' as a place-holder for a sponsor." Kenney said that he has "no idea how many of the rooftop clubs would have their bird’s-eye view of the stadium blocked or impaired by the two new outfield signs." He added that both signs are "strategically positioned in front of buildings with no rooftop seating." Meanwhile, Spielman notes the renovation will be "completed over a five-year period to eliminate the need for the Cubs to play elsewhere." The first year will "focus on removing 3,500 seats to make room for 25,000 square feet of clubhouses, batting tunnels, video rooms and other player amenities." That is "double the current space" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/1). Also in Chicago, Danny Ecker notes the jumbotron sign "will include light towers on either side, something players requested in a roundtable discussion" with Kenney (, 5/1).

The Falcons and Georgia World Congress Center Authority's contract with 360 Architecture yesterday was "approved unanimously" by the GWCCA board and "signed immediately after the vote," according to Tucker & Stafford of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. The contract calls for 360 Architecture "to be paid a fixed fee" of $32.5M and up to $2.5M for expenses, which is "similar to a reported" $34M fee for HKS Sports & Entertainment to design the Vikings' new stadium. 360 Architecture previously designed MetLife Stadium, its "highest-profile project." The GWCCA board approved the contract after a presentation from 360 Architecture Senior Principal Bill Johnson "showed two strikingly different concepts of how the stadium could be designed." Johnson emphasized that "neither was intended as a proposed design but as an insight into how the firm will approach the creative task." One concept featured a "geometric roof design in which a series of panels would open directly above the football field." The other featured a "larger roof opening, much glass and no upper-level end-zone seats so that the stadium would have a dramatic view of the Atlanta skyline." Both concepts were "prepared without input" from the Falcons or the GWCCA (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 5/1). CBS Sports Network’s Doug Gottlieb noted the Falcons' new stadium plans include “impact seating," saying it is "like you're sitting in a chair and there’s a big hit and the chair reacts to the chair.” The net's Allie LaForce said, “I don’t know if I would like that. I think I would get sick of that" (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 4/30).

SOMETHING IN THE WAY? NBC’s Brian Williams described the Falcons' efforts to build a new stadium as the “classic urban battle about the past and the future and the cost of giving way and letting development come through.” The net’s Ron Allen reported two historic churches sit on land the Falcons plan to develop for their new stadium, and the city is "offering millions of dollars if the churches agree to move.” Allen said the city’s first offer to Friendship Baptist Church is "nearly ten times its appraised value, about ten million dollars.” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed “will accept the church’s decision, but hopes they’ll take the offer.” Reed said, “They will be a stronger church, a stronger organization that is more capable because of the millions of dollars that we’re going to pay for the church.” Allen reported there is “another location for the stadium nearby that’s less desirable if both churches don’t agree to move." The congregations will "make their decisions in the coming weeks" (“Nightly News,” NBC, 4/30).

Tulsa's BOK Center is "on pace for one of its most profitable years" after netting $1.8M through Q3 of the '12-13 fiscal year, according to Zack Stoycoff of TULSA WORLD. BOK Center managers expect net income "to drop to about" $1.5M by the end of FY '13, but that would "still be the second- or third-most profitable year" since the facility opened in '08. It also would be its "first increase in annual profit" since '09-10, when net income jumped from $1.2M in its first year of operation to $1.65M, and then "tapered off over the next two years" to $1.5M and $1.4M. Managers said that for an arena "now well into its fifth year, maintaining such margins is almost unprecedented." The BOK Center from July 1 to March 31 generated more than $4.5M in "event income" and an additional $1.8M million in other operating income to "outpace its expenses" of $4.5M. The facility reported attendance of 574,634 "through 140 days of events," with 13,227,161 total ticket sales (TULSA WORLD, 4/30).

While the "combined minimum asking price" for Winston-Salem's Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum and Bowman Gray Stadium stands at $15.1M, the sale of the venues would "eliminate operating deficits; avoid repairs, improvements and maintenance; and increase the city’s ability to borrow money," according to Bertrand Gutierrez of the WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL. Winston-Salem City Manager Lee Garrity said that the basketball venue to Wake Forest Univ. and the football stadium to Winston-Salem State Univ. "would be worth" about $30M over 20 years to the city. City budgets show that taxpayers "lose about $400,000 a year in operating deficits for the two facilities." Repairs, improvements and maintenance would cost about $11M -- $9.2M for the coliseum and $1.8M for the stadium. The "minimum asking price" for Joel Coliseum is $8M. The proposed sale "includes the parking lots and a commitment" by WFU to invest $10M in improvements. Key provisions of the proposed sale "include the coliseum’s availability for public events." Another key provision "would involve the Joel name." Officials said that it "would have a presence in the lobby and the plaza outside the coliseum." The minimum price for Bowman Gray is $7.1M, "including debt repayment for the field house." Officials said that key provisions "include the honoring of the existing lease with the race promoter, Winston-Salem Speedway Inc." Officials added that the Bowman Gray "name and presence would be maintained" (WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 4/30). In North Carolina, Amy Dominello Braun noted Winston-Salem residents "have been asking why the city wants to sell" the two facilities. Garrity said that the "answer is simple -- money." Both WFU and WSSU "now lease the stadiums from the city for their sports programs" (, 4/30).

In Austin, Dave Doolittle writes anyone "hoping that NASCAR could soon be coming" to the Circuit of the Americas "probably shouldn't hold their breath." The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series holds 38 races during the season, while the Nationwide Series has 33, but "still runs 10 months out of the year." Driver Kurt Busch said, "Could we stack on another one? Not likely. Somebody’s going to have to lose a date. If somebody’s losing a date, they’re going to be out millions and millions of dollars" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 5/1).

COMING UP ROSES: Rose Bowl officials said the venue's $84.4M premium seating pavilion is "substantially complete," with all levels ready to be used for major events. In Pasadena, Brenda Gazzar notes officials "plan to 'substantially complete' the project" for $181.5M by "putting off some elements, mainly expanding the last four entry and exit tunnels and putting up temporary rather than permanent concession stands" (PASADENA STAR-NEWS, 5/1).

STEEL CITY SHOWDOWN? In Pittsburgh, Scott Brown notes Consol Energy Center "could be a future home of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships." The arena hosted the Frozen Four last month, and the NCAA men's basketball tournament "returns in 2015 after second- and third-round games were played there" in '12. The NCAA will "release bid specifications for 2015 events, including wrestling, in June." The arena "wouldn't try to bring the national wrestling tournament to the area until 2016 at the earliest because of its commitment to the 2015 NCAA basketball tournament" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 5/1).

LIVE, LOVE, EAT: In California, Nancy Luna notes restaurateur Wolfgang Puck is "launching two restaurants in Anaheim," including one at Honda Center. Arena officials yesterday announced plans for a "full-service restaurant and a gourmet pizza stand" in September. The 220-seat restaurant is part of a $2M "Grand Terrace dining project" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 5/1).