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Volume 24 No. 159


The French Tennis Federation and Parisian government are “appealing a tribunal’s February decision to block” the $437M (all figures U.S.) “expansion of the Roland Garros complex into adjacent botanical gardens,” according to Rossingh & de Beaupuy of BLOOMBERG NEWS. But French Open Tournament Dir Gilbert Ysern said the project is “still alive and moving on.” The FFT “plans to file its building permits in July," and residents are “vowing to block construction through the courts.” FFT President Jean Gachassin last Saturday during a presentation of the plans said that the “upgrade ‘absolutely’ has to proceed, or the event risks falling behind the other three tennis majors.” Building a roof over its main Court Philippe Chatrier, just like in Australia and Wimbledon, will “allow Roland Garros to go ahead even when it rains and hold night sessions that will boost ticket sales and television coverage.” Roland Garros, which has hosted the French Open since '28, “now has 20 outside courts spread over 21 acres" and the expansion “will add 25 acres to the current site.” Plans announced in ‘09 to build a new $155.8M stadium near Roland Garros were “shelved because of a lack of consensus among local politicians” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 5/29).

FORGET PARIS? In N.Y., Christopher Clarey noted the expansion project was “part of the 2011 decision to keep the tournament in Paris instead of moving it to the suburbs.” Gachassin said that the project was "critical.” Gachassin: “To save the tournament, we have to be able to make this project a reality. By save it, I mean that without this project, we’re going to be in competition with other countries who want to do the same thing. I know we are being threatened by certain regions of the world like Asia, or a Qatar, who has lots of money and want to build big stadiums.” Clarey wrote it “seems far-fetched to imagine the French Open losing its Grand Slam status in the near future.” But it is “certainly possible to imagine it slipping to last place in the Grand Slam pecking order with the Australian Open rising, and the United States Open recently mending fences with the players" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/29).

Int'l Speedway Corp. has "teamed up" with Atlanta-based developer The Jacoby Group "on plans to create a sprawling racing and entertainment complex that promises to include new stores, hotels, apartments and a movie theater," according to a front-page piece by Eileen Zaffiro-Kean of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. ISC and Jacoby are "mapping out plans for 180 vacant acres" on the north side of Int'l Speedway Blvd. That project will be "tied to a similar new cluster of development on the other side of the road" around Daytona Int'l Speedway that will "include a dramatic overhaul of the frontstretch grandstands if all goes as planned." DIS Senior PR Dir Lenny Santiago said that ISC "will be able to discuss more details within the next few months." No new documents "have been filed with the city on the project." A report by real estate news outlet Bisnow said that the project "would be called One Daytona (also the address of ISC's headquarters here), and would include two hotels." The report said that "there are already two letters of intent 'from a major sporting goods retailer and a movie theater,' and that the Jacoby partnership 'hopes to get started early next year for a delivery by the end of 2015'" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 5/30).

Vanderbilt Univ. football season-ticket holders, donors, alumni, local business owners and other Nashville-area residents soon will be asked how much they would be "willing to pay for a seat-back chair, loge seating, club-level access or even a suite" at Vanderbilt Stadium, according to Jeff Lockridge of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. Planning firm CSL Int'l has been "hired to conduct an in-depth survey" and will begin "contacting people and putting together focus groups near the end of June." The financial feasibility study "should take 75 to 90 days." Once Vanderbilt AD David Williams and his team "have the feedback they need, a potentially massive renovation plan will begin to form based on the projected revenue the endeavor will create." Hoping to "capitalize on the football team’s recent success, renovations could include expansion that would push capacity from 40,550 to about 50,000." Outside revenue will "fully fund the makeover, the extent of which will be determined by the survey results." Upfront money would "come primarily from premium seating sales (which could possibly include seat licenses) and naming rights to the stadium as well as its interior areas." Starting construction after the '13 season "seems unlikely because building a new training and sports medicine room is planned for next offseason." A $31M indoor practice field and multipurpose building "is scheduled to open on Oct. 31." Williams said that there will "not be a completely new stadium built from the ground up." He said that it is "not feasible 'financially or location-wise.'" But Williams added that there "are plans to address all sides of the stadium if the revenue is there" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 5/30).

BOK Center yesterday hosted a Paul McCartney performance to celebrate the venue's five-year anniversary, an event that "proved again that Tulsa can attract the world's top performers," according to Zack Stoycoff of the TULSA WORLD. The "iconic 19,199-seat downtown arena has spent nearly five years shattering expectations, selling out shows, attracting major artists and landing in national publications' rankings of the nation's top-performing venues." It held its first show in September '08 and has sold 3.3 million tickets, collected $104.4M in ticket revenue and generated more than $11.1M in sales tax. It has "been consistently recognized as one of the nation's top venues, nominated four straight years for Pollstar magazine's Arena of the Year award and ranked by the publication last month as the 14th most-attended arena so far this year." But BOK Center GM John Bolton said that "most surprising is that attendance has held steady each year between 600,000 and 740,000, bucking a trend among arenas of declining revenue after an initial 'honeymoon period.'" Concerts "tend to be the arena's bread and butter, but other successes have included attracting a WNBA basketball team -- the Tulsa Shock -- and national sporting events such as the NCAA college basketball tournament and the 2013 Bassmaster Classic" (TULSA WORLD, 5/29).