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Volume 24 No. 157


A plan to "dramatically alter the upper deck" in right field at Coors Field is "under serious consideration," according to a source cited by Troy Renck of the DENVER POST. The Rockies have "sketched out potential plans that include a restaurant and even a party deck." They have "taken bids from construction companies, an indication of their desire to move forward with the major project that would alter the appearance of the Lower Downtown stadium." With total home attendance "settling around 2.5 million over the last nine seasons," Coors Field's size has become "excessive." Seating capacity "won't be reduced dramatically, however, because there would be paid seats in the restaurant, similar to the Press Club added this year where media seating previously existed." Standing-room-only tickets "likely would be available too, leaving a guess of 3,000 fewer seats overall." The transformation of the upper deck in right field "could create a 'fan experience' -- if the Rockies go with live bands before games, for example -- that doesn't exist at the 18-year-old ballpark now" (DENVER POST, 6/13).

Madison Square Garden Co. has "added an Islander-themed sports bar to its proposal" to redevelop Nassau Coliseum, seeking to maintain the venue's "connection to Islanders' history," according to a source cited by Arthur Staple of NEWSDAY. The source said that the bar, called "The Sports Zone," would "contain Islanders memorabilia, with well-known former Islanders donating items." MSG is committing $250M for its bid, "which would renovate the Coliseum and create a 14,500-seat arena, plus 150,000-square foot entertainment center." Former Islanders players said that they "like the idea of retaining a piece of the team's history." Hockey HOFer Bryan Trottier: "I think it's important to keep that Islanders presence." He added, "They're going to make sure the great days of the Coliseum are not forgotten." Staple notes Nassau County Exec Edward Mangano is "expected to select a bidder" before July 15. The plan also must be "approved by the county legislature" (NEWSDAY, 6/13).

Businesses in the area surrounding Barclays Center said that they are "seeing some much-desired spillover from the arena on event nights," but that the increased traffic "doesn't always translate into an increase in sales," according to Anjali Athavaley of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The mixed results "point to a larger question of how much an arena drives sales at local businesses, and whether retailers are moving to the area because of the arena itself or because it is near affluent neighborhoods." Fan surveys commissioned by arena developer Forest City Ratner indicated that an average of 2,675 arena-goers are "spending money at local businesses before or after weekday Nets games." The number "rises to 3,470" for weekend games. Brokerage firm CPEX Real Estate said that vacancy rates "declined this year on Fifth Avenue, Flatbush Avenue and Atlantic Avenue on the blocks closest to Barclays." But CPEX Managing Partner Timothy King said that the area surrounding Barclays "still hasn't established itself as an entertainment district" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/13).

COMMUTING COMPUTING: In N.Y., Matt Flegenheimer cites data from Sam Schwartz Engineering as showing that car use at Barclays Center during the arena's first eight months has "been even lower than had been projected." SSE President, CEO & Founder Sam Schwartz said that to date, "only eight events, including concerts by Barbra Streisand, Justin Bieber and Andrea Bocelli, had filled even half of the on-site parking spaces." For weekday Nets games, "more fans traveled from Manhattan (36.4 percent) than from Brooklyn (31.6), almost always by public transportation." Only about 8% of fans "came from New Jersey, the Nets’ former home." The findings "drew in large part on 5,633 surveys conducted during eight Nets games: five on weekdays and three on weekends, when car use increased" to about 32% (N.Y. TIMES, 6/13).

DuPage County (Ill.) Board Chair Dan Cronin is now among the "list of suburban politicians angling to lure" the Cubs "if there’s an unlikely collapse" in the team's $300M Wrigley Field renovation deal with the city of Chicago, according to Dardick & Sachdev of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Cronin yesterday said that he has "instructed his county’s economic development board to scout locations for a 'replica' Wrigley." He added, "We have learned that the Cubs have become particularly disappointed, disenchanted, unhappy with the progress of their negotiations with the city." Team Owner the Ricketts family spokesperson Dennis Culloton responded, "There are no plans at this time to listen to any other presentations" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/13). Cronin said that the county became interested "after being approached by an unnamed intermediary of the Ricketts family." He added DuPage County will "have something to propose within 10 days." However, Culloton said that Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts "has never talked directly to Cronin about moving the team." Culloton: "They have met once or twice, but they have never spoken about this issue. I can't speak to whether someone else suggested it to them." Cronin said county officials have identified "no less than two and no more than four" possible locations for a new ballpark (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 6/13). In Chicago, Fran Spielman reports DuPage also has "conducted a marketing study that shows the Cubs would earn even more money in the western suburbs, even though the demographics of the team’s fan base would change dramatically from bar-hopping singles to families." Cronin said that the team would earn an extra $17M per year "right off the bat, since DuPage County has no amusement tax" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/13).

CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans yesterday "rushed through the gates" of Investors Group Field and "raved about their first taste of the city’s newest high-end sports facility," according to David Larkins of the WINNIPEG SUN. There were "wrinkles and wrenches in the plans of some fans who arrived late after fighting traffic," but the "consensus from fans about the stadium was that it gives off a close-knit vibe." Fans' opinions were "largely positive" (WINNIPEG SUN, 6/13). But the SUN's Paul Friesen writes from "horrendous access and parking issues to the performance on the field and some 5,000 empty seats," the team and the stadium "weren't exactly a smash, opening night hit." Thousands of fans "missed a good chunk of the action." Still, the stadium has "great sightlines and wide open spaces to see and be seen." Visually it is "impressive, with the rolling steel canopies and sunken bowl" (WINNIPEG SUN, 6/13). In Winnipeg, Gary Lawless writes "mistakes and problems were to be expected" in the first exhibition game of the season, and the team had "monumental parking and transportation issues." While the stadium is "beautiful," it will be the responsibility of President & CEO Garth Buchko "to solve these problems." He will "either have a province eating out of his hand or clamouring for his head" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 6/13).