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Volume 24 No. 112


The design for the Vikings’ new stadium, to be unveiled tonight, will not have a retractable roof, confirmed a source familiar with the project who has seen the architectural renderings. It will instead have a “beautiful” sliding wall, the source said (Don Muret, Staff Writer). In Minneapolis, Richard Meryhew noted while stadium financing legislation "calls for a fixed roof," the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority have “consistently said that they would like to make it retractable or add a giant, movable window or wall if they can squeeze them into the construction budget.” Sources said that the most recent renderings by stadium architect HKS Sports & Entertainment "call for a fixed roof with a giant, sliding window or wall that opens to the west, showcasing the downtown Minneapolis skyline.” A retractable roof would cost $25-50M "more to install than a fixed roof.” HKS has "previously delivered" movable walls or windows that slide open at Lucas Oil Stadium and Cowboys Stadium. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said, “Minnesotans like to be outdoors in the summer, but you don’t enjoy the day by taking the roof off the house. You go out on the porch and catch breezes. If there is a way to do that here without the incredible expense of a retractable roof, I think it’d be much better” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/12).

DON'T BET ON IT: In Minneapolis, Jean Hopfensperger noted electronic games run by charities “are slated to drive" the state’s $348M share of the Vikings' stadium, but the initial $35M revenue projection for this year was slashed to $1.7M "in part because of paltry sales.” Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton last week “announced a ‘secure’ backup funding source is in the works.” But his staff said that e-gaming is “still a top priority.” Minnesota gambling leaders said that there is “no magic formula.” But key ingredients that “help spike sales -- and taxes for the stadium -- are advertising, location, ‘gambling culture,’ owner buy-in and the presence of ‘whales’ -- big gamblers” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/12).

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence "signed off Friday on a bill" providing a $100M financial package for upgrades at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, according to Jon Murray of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. The IMS assistance package will "help the track pay for improved seating, better access for the disabled, new video boards and lights to potentially allow for night races." The state will provide $5M per year for 20 years to "assist with payments on bonds handled by the Indiana Finance Authority, with the Speedway required to kick in" $2M per year. A new motorsports investment district will "collect the growth in sales and income taxes at the track and at concessionaires that surround it, as well as through a new ticket tax, to repay the state for its contributions." Pence expressed "concerns early on" about the bill. But he said that the legislature improved it by "making the state’s contribution a loan and by requiring the Speedway to contribute, protecting taxpayers." Murray noted the bill also was broadened to make $5M "available annually for low-interest loans to 48 other Indiana tracks and motor-sports businesses" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/11).

The American Dream retail and entertainment complex in the Meadowlands is “getting yet another makeover, sparking new concerns” by the NFL Giants and Jets “over the scope of the controversial project,” according to Ted Sherman of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. The “proposed addition, which has not yet been made public, would involve the construction of a massive, multilevel bridge with additional retail space linking the existing complex with a planned water park and amusement area.” Canada-based development company Triple Five officials “would not comment about their plans or the proposed bridge -- citing ongoing negotiations” with the Giants and Jets. The teams “went to court last summer after the proposed amusement area was added to the project last year, claiming it would create game-day gridlock at nearby MetLife Stadium.” New Jersey-based PR firm Evergreen Partners President Karen Kessler, who is handling PR for the teams in the project, said that the original proposal “called for a relatively small walkway from the complex to the amusement parks.” She added, “This very large proposed structure, to be suspended over a four-lane roadway, bears no relation to the originally proposed small pedestrian bridge and would need to be carefully analyzed for its impact on the site, traffic and congestion” (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 5/12). New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney on Friday said that the teams “are to blame for the current delay in resumption of construction” of the project. Sweeney: “Everything is ready. ... They got your house, my house and the neighbor’s kitchen sink in the (stadium) deal they got with the state. So I think it would be a little bit fair to the taxpayers of this state (to say), ‘Let’s get (American Dream) open and do something positive.'" He said the Giants and Jets "have been extremely selfish and one-sided” (, 5/10).

Michigan State Univ. by May of next year “should have completed" a $20M Spartan Stadium renovation, which would be "spruced up during the summer" and unveiled for the '14 football season, according to Joe Rexrode of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. The MSU Board of Trustees “will have a retreat and meeting June 19-21, during which construction is expected to gain final approval.” MSU AD Mark Hollis said that the $20M is “split between" $14M in donations and $6M in funding from the MSU athletic department. More than $10M in donations has been "raised so far." The school has “hired IDS for the architecture and Barton Malow for the construction.” The plan “calls for a two-level building at the north end of the stadium." The first level will have "locker rooms for both teams and coaches, a locker room for officials, an equipment room and a media center.” MSU currently has “small locker rooms for both teams at the north end of the stadium, no locker room for officials and trailers for media interviews” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 5/13).

Wake Forest Univ. and Winston-Salem city officials on Friday agreed to "keep the Lawrence Joel name and the veterans' memorial designation on the coliseum façade and on its marquee as part of any sale" of Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum to the school, according to John Hinton of the WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL. The city in a release said that WFU may "pursue naming rights for the coliseum." City Manager Lee Garrity said that WFU can "rename the coliseum’s basketball court and the building, but Lawrence Joel’s name will remain in a prominent place on the building’s marquee." He added that WFU can "pursue naming rights immediately after if it buys the coliseum from the city." The new restrictions would "apply to the permanent sign at the coliseum’s main entrance, to any replacement marquee and to the coliseum, where Joel’s name is carved into the façade above the box office." The late Lawrence Joel was an African-American U.S. Army medic from Winston-Salem who fought in the Vietnam War and was "awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor." The city has proposed selling the coliseum for $8M, and "would include 33 acres, including the paved parking areas" (WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 5/11).