Upcoming work on the Citrus Bowl is “technically a renovation, but when the dust settles in just less than two years, about 80 percent of the stadium will be brand new,” according to Mark Schlueb of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. The entire lower seating bowl “will be demolished, leaving only the newer upper bowl standing high above the field.” The work is "expected to cost" between $175-200M. Orlando city commissioners yesterday “picked Turner Construction as the project's general contractor.” Turner oversaw the construction of Amway Center “as the owner's representative.” The city expects to “start preliminary construction -- essentially ordering and prefabricating some materials -- in October.” Then, once the winter events “are over, demolition and reconstruction will start in February 2014 and be mostly finished in just nine months.” Some work -- including “upgrades to some suites and concession areas -- will be left unfinished until the bowl games and Monster Jam again wrap up in early 2015.” The renovation includes “replacement of the lower seating bowl and construction of new 25,000-square-foot club levels on each side, with 5,000 to 6,000 premium club seats.” The stadium will have “wider concourses; new concessions, restrooms, kitchens and locker rooms; a new video scoreboard; a new façade and technology upgrades.” Replacing the lower bowl with “more modern seating will reduce the stadium's capacity by about 10,000.” Temporary seats “could be added atop the terrace to bring that capacity back to about 65,000, a requirement for hosting bowl games” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/7).
The "true cost to operate Jobing.com Arena ranges" from $5.1-5.5M per year, which is about $10-20M a year "less than the Glendale City Council has agreed to pay hockey-related interests to manage the facility in recent years," according to Paul Giblin of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The net management costs are "bundled in the city’s solicitation for a new company to operate the city-owned arena," and the "question is whether an outside company can do it for less than what the city has agreed to pay hockey-related interests in recent years." Potential Coyotes Owner Renaissance Sports & Entertainment principal Anthony LeBlanc said that he would "need a management deal similar to the one offered in the past," which would have the city pay an average of $15M a year. The current draft budget "pencils in the arena-management payment" at $6M per year, and the fee remains $6M a year "throughout the city’s five-year budget forecast." The figure "stands in stark contrast to the far more lucrative amounts the council has been willing to pay in recent years." The council "paid the NHL" $25M a year in both '11 and '12 to run the arena. It also "agreed to pay" former Coyotes bidder Greg Jamison an average of $15M a year for 20 years to manage the arena. Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers said that he is "concerned that the city will have to offer the next management firm considerably more" than $6M a year to operate and maintain the arena. Weiers said, “As the years go by, there are repairs that have to be made. I think the money hasn’t been put back into the arena the way it should be" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 5/6).
In Edmonton, Gordon Kent reports two days before a City Council meeting on the proposed Oilers arena, booster group Downtown Vibrancy Coalition last night “kicked off its arena counteroffensive” by “urging the city, the province and Oilers owner Daryl Katz to get the project built." Coalition spokesperson Simon O’Byrne said, “We want city council, the government of Alberta and the Katz Group to sit down now and get this done. This transformational megaproject is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. ... Allowing this to fail would be an utter travesty.” The council tomorrow will discuss “how to find" the final C$55M for the C$480M structure, "with several councillors saying the deal is on the verge of falling apart” (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 5/7).
CHICAGO HOPE: In Chicago, Greg Hinz reported the Cubs “have hired two of the people key in re-electing President Barack Obama to help the team win its campaign to expand and modernize Wrigley Field.” The team hired consulting firm 270 Strategies, whose principals include former Obama for America National Field Dir Jeremy Bird and Battleground States Dir Mitch Stewart (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 5/6).
STATESIDE TOEHOLD: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Heather Haddon reports U.K. bookmaker William Hill on Friday “signed off” on a deal to “operate a so-called ‘free play’ facility at the Monmouth Park racetrack” in New Jersey. In free play, “no money changes hands, but clients who choose winning sports teams or players can get prizes and perks, such as concert tickets, electronics and meals.” The promotion would “allow William Hill to begin building a base of athletics fans in New Jersey that it could tap if sports betting is legalized in the state” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/7).
MORE AND BETTER: ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel writes of plans to expand Notre Dame Stadium, “What I like about the approach described by athletic director Jack Swarbrick is that this is not a seat grab.” For all of the plans “described by Swarbrick, capacity would increase by only about 4,000 seats.” The expansion is “about facilities and creature comforts” (ESPN.com, 5/7).