The MLB Giants yesterday announced plans to "construct an edible garden at AT&T Park," according to Janny Hu of the S.F. CHRONICLE. The "ambitious project, dubbed the Giants Garden, calls for a 3,000-square-foot organic garden to be planted behind the center-field wall, a space between the left- and right-field bleachers that is now mostly concrete and the area where replacement sod is grown." It would be the "first such facility at any professional sports venue" in the U.S. The garden would eventually be "used to supply food for the park's catering operations, and double as an open-air restaurant and community classroom." The project is a "partnership between the Giants and Bon Appetit Management Co., which has operated the high-end concessions in the field and club levels and suites" since the ballpark opened in '00. Early renderings of the garden "include hydroponic troughs, concrete planters and green trellises, or 'living walls.'" Still to be determined is the "nature of the wall that will divide the garden from the field." The Giants "hope to have construction completed in the offseason" so the garden would be ready for Opening Day '14 (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/30).
The opening of the MLS Earthquakes' new stadium "has been delayed until the second half of the 2014 season because of excavation issues at the construction site," according to Elliott Almond of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Earthquakes President Dave Kaval said that builders "encountered concrete vaults deeper than expected and will need more time to prepare the site before the privately financed, 18,000-seat stadium can be erected." The team as a result will "play eight home games at Buck Shaw Stadium, one at Stanford and nine in the new building." While team officials had planned to open the stadium at the start of the season, Kaval said there "was just no way to do that." The Earthquakes decided to play their first eight home games at Buck Shaw to "avoid a scenario in which they opened the season on the road while waiting for the stadium to be ready." Kaval said that the team will "need to figure out some of the seating arrangements for season-ticket holders at Santa Clara University" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 7/30). Kaval said that the team plans to "pour foundation and begin building" the stadium's steel structure this fall (BIZJOURNALS.com, 7/29).
SHARING IS CARING? In Toronto, Kurtis Larson noted with the CFL Toronto Argonauts "all but certain to move away from the Rogers Centre when their current lease agreement runs out," MLS Toronto FC's BMO Field is "once again being floated as an option." The fact that "at least one Toronto City councillor is floating the idea is of massive concern to MLS fans in this soccer-mad city." The grass pitch at BMO is "close to 40 yards shorter than a CFL field, meaning the north and south stands would need to be cleared out and pushed back to accommodate a field of that size." Sideline seats also would likely "need to be moved back to accommodate the CFL's massive sidelines" (TORONTO SUN, 7/29).
The Cowboys "certainly didn’t reel in" $25M a year from AT&T for the naming rights to their stadium, so when they "talk about relationships and the potential from future collaborations, it sounds like corporate spin," according to Mitchell Schnurman of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. But the Cowboys and AT&T "were making a valid point." AT&T has been a Cowboys sponsor since the stadium opened in '09, and both said that they "wanted more than a higher profile for the phone company." They talked about "breaking ground on technology and being a leader in connectivity, so 80,000 fans would keep coming for the live-game experience." They already are "ramping up the wireless service, so people in the stadium can send pictures and videos from the game." They also hope to "develop apps to listen to players and coaches, and find other ways to engage." The Cowboys and AT&T will be "expected to make a splash, year-in and year-out, so the venue remains a hot attraction." It is "easy to imagine the facility serving as both a testing lab for AT&T technology and a model home." If it works, AT&T "can replicate the experience at other large venues" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 7/30). Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones believes that the AT&T deal will help improve the game-day experience "because of the interactive and futuristic things they will be doing." Jones said, "You need it as exciting and as cutting edge and interesting as you can. That's where we'll spend the money. We'll always be spending it for interesting things. There's not room for another center-hung scoreboard but we'll be coming up with things that make it a fan experience" (STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 7/28).
Richmond Economic Development Authority Chair Richard Johnson yesterday said the group is in "an advanced state of negotiations" with SMG Richmond to manage the 40,000-square-foot Bon Secours Redskins Training Center and adjacent park, according to Michael Martz of the RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH. The authority "did not undertake a formal competitive bidding process for the management contract." However, Johnson said it spoke to "a number of parties" as potential managers before settling on SMG. Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones' Press Secretary Tammy Hawley said a formal RFP is not required by law because the authority "can enter directly into contracts." Martz noted Bon Secours Richmond Health System is the "chief sponsor of the camp and chief tenant of the center under a complex economic development deal approved by City Council in late December." The hospital system will "lease space in the center for a sports medicine and men’s health facility, as well as a primary care clinic" (TIMESDISPATCH.com, 7/29).
HAPPY CAMPERS? In K.C., Adam Teicher notes the Chiefs, "four seasons into a five-year contract to hold training camp at Missouri Western State University, will soon have to make a decision on whether to continue heading north for the summer." Chiefs Chair & CEO Clark Hunt yesterday said, "Personally, I like the team going away and the bonding that takes place in the three or four weeks they're together here. What we have here at Missouri Western is as good as any training facility in the National Football League." But the decision is "more involved than that, and the wishes of coach Andy Reid might carry the most weight." Reid has said that he "likes bringing a team away from its own practice facility for training camp" (K.C. STAR, 7/30).