Forest City Ratner Chair & CEO and Nets investor Bruce Ratner, discussing his company's bid for Nassau Coliseum and the Islanders potentially playing a handful of games at the renovated arena after '15, said the venue "really needs to be redone." Ratner appeared on Fox Business Wednesday, and said of his plan for the arena, "We're going to change it the same way we did in Brooklyn. It's going to look beautiful." The net's Liz Claman noted that MSG also had bid for the facility and said, "They're not going to let you do this." Ratner: "I don't think it requires their approval. It doesn't actually." Claman added, "I read everywhere that they could veto it." Ratner said "even if they could, ... why would anybody deny the people of Long Island the right to see a team? I don't think they would do that" ("Countdown to the Closing Bell," Fox Business, 5/22).
Mohegan Sun Arena "looks to be getting the American Athletic Conference women's basketball championships in 2014, but its hopes of getting some NCAA Tournament games were delivered a blow Thursday," according to John Altavilla of the HARTFORD COURANT. The NCAA "frowns on putting tournament games in a casino." NCAA Associate Dir of D-I Women's Basketball Rick Nixon said, "At this point in time, the NCAA policy has not changed (regarding casino sites), so we could not consider their bid for a regional." The NCAA has "no direct jurisdiction over where regular season games or conference tournaments are played, but has all the power with its own tournament." WNBA Sun VP & GM Chris Sienko, whose team plays at Mohegan Sun Arena, said that the casino "wanted to bid" on future NCAA subregional and regional tournament games. But he added, "I don't know if the NCAA would change their opinion on us." A UConn spokesperson this week said that the school, which hosted first- and second-round games in '13 at Gampel Pavilion, "might not submit a bid to host at Gampel or the XL Center this year" (HARTFORD COURANT, 5/24).
Country musician Kenny Chesney is “considered such a valuable off-season moneymaker” for sports venues that “when word got out that Mr. Chesney intended to lay off stadiums this summer to focus on sites with half the capacity, managers of some of the NFL’s biggest buildings teamed up,” according to John Jurgensen of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. MetLife Stadium Senior VP/Events & Guest Services Ron VanDeVeen said that he “called his counterparts" at Gillette Stadium and elsewhere, "urging them to jointly lobby Mr. Chesney’s team.” They persuaded Chesney “there was plenty of demand.” Jurgensen notes a stadium concert in the music industry is the “ultimate rock-star status symbol: Few acts can sell enough tickets to fill one, let alone a multitude of such venues year after year.” Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake “had to team up to book 14 stadium shows this summer.” But Chesney is “doing 18 -- a typical summer run for him.” Still, even as musicians are “more dependent than ever on touring revenue, few are willing to swallow the outsize costs of a stadium tour.” Over the next two weeks, Chesney’s “core convoy of 65 tour buses and tractor-trailers is expected to burn through $280,000 in diesel fuel." It takes “only eight hours to set up for a concert in an arena.” For a stadium show, a team “starts four days in advance by building the stage from scratch.” For Chesney, a “sports nut who hosts many top athletes backstage, stadium concerts help sustain a big-league aura.” But he is “increasingly wary of taxing fan loyalty, and is undecided about touring next year.” Chesney said, “You have to feed the machine, but there’s also the possibility of running it into the ground” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/24).
In Orlando, Denise-Marie Ordway reported UCF's 10,000-seat basketball venue will "be known as the CFE Federal Credit Union Arena -- or the CFE Arena for short." The credit union is paying nearly $4M over seven years for the deal and "plans to open a branch inside the arena." The branch will "feature a lounge area with a self-service coffee bar" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 5/23).
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD: In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis wrote Sun Life Stadium "is no longer the elephant in the room," but rather it is a "glaring issue that isn't going away, and the Super Bowl isn't coming back until it is dealt with." College football championship games also are "in question as the new playoff system will require a bid process similar to the NFL's." Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross said, "We have to go forward now and figure out how we can make it happen. It should be a real public-private partnership. That's how all these other cities got their stadiums" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 5/23).
INSIDE OUT: Vikings co-Owner & President Mark Wilf said a clear roof with pivoting doors that will be a part of the team's new stadium is "going to be, in a way, the new retractable roof for the future and it's going to be very inviting and open for the fans." He said the new roof will make it "feel like you're outdoors," and in an "outdoor setting but you'll have temperature control." Wilf: "It's going to feel like football should feel." Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio said the design is "revolutionary" and "unconventional." He added the idea shows "we're on a new frontier here" ("PFT," NBC Sports Network, 5/22).
USE OF SPACE: Harris County (Texas) Judge Ed Emmett said that the county has "set a deadline of June 10 for private entities to offer financially sound ideas for the use" of the Astrodome. In Houston, Tania Ganguli noted public entities after that will "have until June 25." Emmett said that it was "likely a bond election would follow that gave voters the option between whatever option they decided was best and demolishing the Astrodome." He added that he "expects it to be resolved before the 2017 Super Bowl" (CHRON.com, 5/22).