An agreement approved by the Chicago Landmarks Commission could "pave the way for the Cubs to put advertising on the clock in the center field scoreboard and along the top of the outfield wall" at Wrigley Field, according to a front-page piece by Dardick & Byrne of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The commission last month "approved a 'master sign program' outlining the team's plans for as much as 45,000 square feet of advertisements on the ballpark's interior and exterior, roughly double what's there now." The plan "envisions putting a 'branded name in white letters' on the clock face at the top of the landmark, hand-operated center field scoreboard." LED ads also could be "affixed to the gooseneck lights atop the center field scoreboard." Another idea is for a "'sign grown into bushes' in the area of center field where there are no bleacher seats." The program "allows the team to put up mesh ads along the basket that lines the top of the outfield wall which prevents fans from falling onto the field." Additionally, the sign plan calls for "'rotating or permanent signage' along the brick walls in left field and right field." Cubs VP/Communications & Community Affairs Julian Green said that that is a "reference to the infield walls on the left and right field sides and there are no plans to alter the ivy-covered outfield walls." Staff from Chicago's Department of Housing and Economic Development will "check to make sure anything the Cubs request in landmarked areas of the ballpark like the scoreboard and the brick wall behind home plate conform to the sign program" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE 7/9).
SAFETY FIRST: ESPN's Nicole Briscoe said of the changes made to the catch-fence at DIS, "Just like Talladega, after the accident in February, both superspeedway tracks made some changes to the catch-fencing by reinforcing the cross over gates with additional tethers to help support the fence." ESPN's Brad Daugherty added of the improvements, "The thing that's most impressive is how they have reacted to the situation. There's no way to make it one hundred percent safe when you have 3,400-pound race cars running around at two hundred miles an hour" ("NASCAR Countdown," ESPN, 7/5).
The Broncos' new videoboard at Sports Authority Field at Mile High was unveiled Thursday during an MLL game, and the 220-foot-long, 40-foot-high board will be "the third largest in the NFL this year," according to Mike Klis of the DENVER POST. The HD LED video display is the "centerpiece" of an offseason $30M stadium improvement project that also includes "two new HD video displays above the stadium's north end zone, a nearly 1,500-foot-wide LED ribbon display along the club level facade, a new sound system and the installation of over 1,000 flat screen monitors in stadium concourses and other public spaces" (DENVERPOST.com, 7/3).
NEED TO EMPHASIZE STADIUM EXPERIENCE: In Boston, Ben Volin wrote NFL owners need to "start emphasizing what makes the stadium experience great (camaraderie, passion, and live action) and stop trying to emulate the home experience." Owners need to "understand that attending a game in many cities is now a hassle more than anything else." Putting RedZone Channel "on the stadium Jumbotron or building a fantasy football lounge isn’t going to convince most fans to leave their homes or local bars and spend $200, conservatively, on a day at the game." The answer to increasing attendance "seems simple -- lower the prices," and "not just on tickets." The fans will "show up if they feel like they are getting a deal." Instead, it "feels like they’re getting shaken down at the gates" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/8). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio noted the "potential problem" with running RedZone Channel at stadiums is that if fans are "watching what's going on elsewhere, they inevitably will react to what's going on elsewhere." And that will "make for sounds that don't mesh with what's happening on the field." Maybe "extensive but not continuous use of RedZone is the best way to go." There will be "moments when it makes no sense to distract fans from what's happening on the field" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 7/5).
Orlando business leaders and politicians are “quietly working on a deal" worth $60M or more to "build a soccer stadium while boosting money for the Florida Citrus Bowl, arts center and tourism marketing,” according to a front-page piece by Damron & Schlueb of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. Tourism leaders and Orlando and Orange County officials are “discussing a plan to tap into the county's tourist-tax revenues" of about $60M -- and "perhaps joined again as one package.” Details include $20M "in tourist taxes for a soccer stadium" that would cost about $85M "in its first phase." The stadium is “meant to bring” an MLS franchise. The package also entails at least $12M "in additional tourist taxes for the Citrus Bowl renovation that was approved in 2007 but still has not begun.” Stadium boosters “want to include more amenities with the hope of landing more games and other events.” Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said that her plan is to bring the items “to county commissioners in August.” She added there is value in seeing "the big picture." Jacobs: "Discussing that all at one time does make a lot of sense." Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer agreed, saying that the projects “weren't necessarily planned as a package, but should be talked about in concert because each one depends on the same pot of tourist taxes.” Dyer: "A lot of things are coming together and being talked about all at the same time. The growing consensus is that we ought to have a bigger vision right now" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 7/9).
In K.C., Terez Paylor reported the first phase of the Univ. of Missouri’s announced master plan, totaling $72M, "is already well underway.” The “most visible changes" are happening at Memorial Stadium, where a $9.75M renovation to the west-side press box is "expected to be completed by September.” The renovation will include “more suites and a new press level.” Crews also have been “working on a project to widen the north end zone concourse -- which will give fans more room to move about during pregame and halftime -- by pushing the traditional ‘Rock M’ and grass closer to the field, a task that is also expected to be done in time for the season.” MU AD Mike Alden predicts the east-side renovation will “change the skyline of Columbia.” The renovation is a $45.6M project that will "add more than 4,500 upper-deck seats and 1,200 premium seats.” That phase is “now expected to be completed before the 2014 season” (K.C. STAR, 7/6).
NEW DIGS: In Salt Lake City, Lya Wodraska reports the Univ. of Utah football team has moved into the new $32M training facility that covers "more than 120,000 square feet.” The team will “enjoy a 6,500-square-foot locker room and a 3,600-square-foot players’ lounge that is equipped with flat-screen TVs, group study areas and game areas.” A two-level observation deck “overlooks the practice fields and the Salt Lake Valley.” Inside, coaches have “over 47,000 square feet of office and meeting space at their disposal” (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 7/9).
SPREAD THE WEALTH: Clemson AD Dan Radakovich believes that it is “no coincidence” the school’s football team’s “rise in going 21-6 the past two years came after several upgrades were completed” to existing facilities. The AP’s Pete Iacobelli noted Radakovich now “wants other teams like basketball and baseball to enjoy the same advantages that come from having top-level facilities.” Radakovich has worked since joining CU in December on deciding "whether it’s better to renovate" Littlejohn Coliseum or "construct a brand new facility.” He said, “We’re getting real close on a recommendation to the Board of Trustees about where we want to go” (AP, 7/5).