SAP and Sharks Sports & Entertainment yesterday formally unveiled the newly named SAP Center at San Jose (SAP). In San Jose, David Pollak noted this is the "third corporate name" for the venue. Sharks Majority Owner and SAP co-Founder Hasso Plattner was "on hand for the occasion, his first public appearance here since taking over as face of the shrinking ownership group in late January." Plattner said, "We're struggling. You know the other teams in the league are struggling, Phoenix and others. We have to find a way out of this. We cannot continue as usual. It is a serious problem. We tried to fix it." He added, "The fans should not suffer. We want to give them a good show. We still want to win the cup. Our top players are getting a year older every year, but they're still very competitive. We had a good run in the playoffs. Let's see what we can do next year" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 7/9).
WHAT IS IN A NAME? Plattner noted the name change "grew out of a conversation he had" with HP CEO Meg Whitman, "whose company was looking to cut expenses." Pollak notes HP's contract was set to expire in '15 and the annual $3.25M for naming rights was "divided evenly between the city and the hockey team." Under a new contract approved by the city last month, SAP will pay $3.35M "annually for the next five years -- also equally divided between the same parties." About half of SAP's 3,500 Silicon Valley employees were "looking on from the arena's lower bowl" during the unveiling. Plattner "made it clear that although the building opened two decades ago, he doesn't see it being replaced anytime soon." He said, "This is an unbelievable arena here. Look how good it looks and it's 20 years old. It looks [like] it opened last year. It's like brand new. Everything is fresh, everything works." For now, improvements "on tap are technology driven." The Sharks are "evaluating new SAP scouting software designed to break down player statistics and analytics to give management a new way of assessing player productivity." Arena officials are "aware that the pronunciation of SAP Center could be an issue for a while." It is the "S-A-P Center, with each letter spoken in full." It "doesn't rhyme with gap or trap." SAP Center Dir of PR & Fan Development Jim Sparaco said, "There's going to be an education process over the next few months or years to get people in tune that it is SAP. But that will happen. It's just a matter of repetition" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 7/10).
Nassau County Exec Edward Mangano yesterday named the Madison Square Garden Co. and Forest City Ratner "as finalists for a multimillion-dollar overhaul of Nassau Coliseum," according to Randi Marshall of NEWSDAY. Mangano "pushed back the deadline for a final decision until mid-August from July 15." Mangano said that he will use the two bidders' contracts with the county -- which "will legally bind the companies to their proposals' terms -- in making his final decision." Once the agreements are "finalized and Mangano picks the winning bidder, he will submit one contract to the county legislature, which must approve any final agreement." Mangano said that he "hopes the legislature could vote by late August or early September." Long Island developer Ed Blumenfeld, who had proposed a $180M development including a new Coliseum, yesterday said that he has "had discussions with" Forest City Ratner Chair & CEO Bruce Ratner "about whether to 'join forces.'" Blumenfeld said, "If it's going to happen, it's going to happen quickly." Mangano "decided to negotiate final contracts with both MSG and Ratner, rather than go the traditional route of announcing a single winner based on a standard 'term sheet' that is open to change." Mangano said the two "proposals are very competitive, so the decision-making will likely be in the details reflected in the contract" (NEWSDAY, 7/10).
N.Y. City Council member Leroy Comrie said that MLS, which "was in talks with the city to build" a $340M stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, "won’t be coming to Queens," according to Clare Trapasso of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Comrie, who serves as the council's Land Use Committee Chair, said, "The location doesn’t work. There was no real benefit for Queens residents to site it in that location." MLS officials had "planned to build the 25,000-seat stadium on up to 13 acres in the park." The announcement that the Yankees "will own 20% of the team," along with EPL club Manchester City, has "fueled speculation that the soccer stadium could be built near" yankee Stadium. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said that a site near Yankee Stadium "makes sense and will meet with soccer officials later this month" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/10).
EYEING THE FISH: In Miami, Barry Jackson reported Marlins officials were "told that like FIU and Sun Life Stadium, Marlins Park also will be considered by David Beckham if he picks Miami for an MLS expansion team." Beckham "has visited FIU and Sun Life but not Marlins Park and his people have not given the local contenders an update on this thinking" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 7/7).
Pocono Raceway President & CEO Brandon Igdalsky yesterday issued a statement apologizing "for the dense, slow-moving traffic" after Sunday's Pocono IndyCar 400, according to Camilo Smith of the POCONO RECORD. Igdalsky said, "I am making a solemn promise, to every race fan, we will do everything in our power to make the traffic situations better in the future." Raceway officials took "notice of the problem right away" because of "social media, angry emails and phone calls." A team from the raceway, including Igdalsky, "met with officials from the state" DOT on Monday to begin "ironing out the situation." It is "not clear exactly how long fans were stuck in traffic Sunday" (POCONO RECORD, 7/10). SPEEDTV.com's Robin Miller wrote Igdalsky and his brother, Pocono Raceway Exec VP & COO Nick Igdalsky, gave IndyCar racing "a shot at Pocono over the weekend and may have laid the foundation to have a future." Miller: "Sure, the massive grandstand wasn’t half full and the infield didn’t resemble the masses at a NASCAR race but considering Indy cars had been away for 24 years it was encouraging." No official figures "were released but ... an estimate of 30,000 seemed to be in the ballpark." It is "believed Pocono needed 25,000 to have a shot at breaking even and that was before Sunoco came on board as presenting sponsor." But 30,000 for any IndyCar race other than at Indianapolis Motor Speedway "has to be regarded as a decent number nowadays." Additionally, the "fact it’s a three-year deal gives Pocono a fighting chance even though it’s sandwiched around two Sprint Cup races" (SPEEDTV.com, 7/9).
COMING THROUGH UNSCATHED: In Toronto, Mike Zeisberger reports the Honda Indy Toronto course made it through Monday's "monsoon virtually unscathed." Race President Charlie Johnstone said, "The blocks used for walls have cracks the water seeps through to drain and they worked perfectly. The grandstands and bleachers are fine. We came out of this 100% unscathed. Some of the team’s transporters started rolling in (Tuesday). The vendors will start setting up Wednesday. We are all good" (TORONTO SUN, 7/10).
In Minneapolis, Janet Moore reports a city committee yesterday "approved the concept" behind a $400M development "planned for a barren stretch of downtown Minneapolis near the new Vikings stadium." The City Council "will vote on the conceptual plan on July 19." Wells Fargo "appeared to move closer to confirming that it will be the corporate tenant and owner of the office towers" in the development (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/10).
GOODBYE DUBAI: ARABIANBUSINESS.com's Shane McGinley reported Dubai Holding has "confirmed it has 'dissolved' its partnership" with Tiger Woods. The branded golf resort, which Woods was paid $55.4M to "design and promote, has been permanently scrapped." Dubai Properties Group, a unit of Dubai Holding, announced in January '10 that it had "suspended work on the luxury Tiger Woods Dubai" course. The $1.1B project was announced in '06 and "originally scheduled to open" in September '09 (ARABIANBUSINESS.com, 7/9).
TIGER BY THE TAIL: In Florida, Tom Palmer reports Polk County commissioners yesterday voted 5-0 to contribute $14.6M in tourist tax funds "toward a plan to issue bonds to renovate Lakeland's Tigertown complex in an effort to keep" the Tigers at their Spring Training home. The Tourist Development Council "had recommended" $17M, but Lakeland officials "accepted the deal, promising to make it into a package that will be presented to the Tigers" (Lakeland LEDGER, 7/10).
CHECKING THE CLOCK: In Chicago, architecture critic Blair Kamin offers his "two-word take on the Cubs' move to stick an ad on the lovely circular clock" at Wrigley Field: "No way." Kamin: "The prospect of an ad (Rolex? Coke? Fritos?) marring that now-unsullied clock -- and the fact that Chicago's landmarks commission didn't erase the idea from the Cubs' sign master plan -- tells you everything about the team's brazenness and the commission's cluelessness" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/10).