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Volume 24 No. 114


The USTA "finally decided to build a retractable roof over gargantuan Arthur Ashe Stadium" and unveiled specific plans today, according to Filip Bondy of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. A USTA official has confirmed that the roof "will be part of a general $500 million overhaul of the National Tennis Center in Queens, a 'complete transformation,' likely to require even more funding." The roof "could theoretically be in place" for the '16 U.S. Open "if all goes well." Construction plans are "still incomplete" and "must be approved by city and state boards." However, approval for the roof "shouldn’t be as complicated or controversial as the proposal for a new soccer stadium nearby ... since it requires no additional parkland." The move "represents an urgently needed improvement for the Flushing Meadows facility." The last five U.S. Open men’s finals "have been rained out, and the tournament has been extended an extra day far too often" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/15). In DC, Liz Clarke reports the roof project is "expected to take at least three years to complete and will likely require the removal of some of the upper rows of seats." ESPN Senior Dir of Programming & Acquisitions Jason Bernstein "welcomed the scheduling clarity that a roof will provide." Bernstein said, "It absolutely helps ensure a speedy conclusion to the event and one we can promote with certainty for the future." Until yesterday’s announcement, any suggestion that a roof be built atop Ashe was "dismissed as too costly and, above all, an engineering impossibility given the weight it would add to an already massive structure constructed atop a landfill" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/15).

: In N.Y., Meyers & Zinser write the USTA "would probably like the roof to be in the first wave of its planned renovation, which could include a new Grandstand court" by '15. USTA officials have long said that they were "committed to adding a roof on Ashe once technology allowed it." They had "commissioned at least four roof studies" over the past decade. USTA officials have "emphasized that an Ashe roof would need to be five times larger than the one that spans Wimbledon’s Centre Court." Rossetti Architects is "designing the roof for Ashe Stadium." The U.S. Open was the "only Grand Slam event that did not have an existing roof or plans for one on at least one showcase court" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/15). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Chris Herring reports Rossetti already is "heading up a current renovation project that will add two new stadiums to a tennis center that boasts 12 indoor courts, 19 field courts, four clay bubbled courts and three stadium courts" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/15).

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton yesterday said that he "is not ready to pull the plug" yet on the Vikings' $975M stadium deal with the state, according to a front-page piece by Salisbury & Murphy of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. However, he said the ruling against Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf's family in a civil suit in New Jersey has "certainly undermined my confidence in their veracity." He said that the "fate of the stadium will depend on the outcome" of a background investigation by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, and added that an audit "will determine whether the Wilfs' fraudulent business practices in that case is an exception or the rule." Dayton: "I reserve judgment on that question -- Is this part of a broader pattern, or is this an aberration? -- until after we've had that comprehensive review." NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy said that the league would "move forward with the $200 million loan it guaranteed to help finance" the team's investment $477M investment in the project (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 8/15). MSFA Chair Michelle Kelm-Helgen yesterday said that while the body will pick up the normal costs of the background check for the Wilfs in advance of a stadium deal, the family will "be charged" with "any additional investigative work" that stems from their recent legal troubles. She said the Vikings "haven't agreed" to the terms of the billing yet (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 8/15).

NFL TO CLOSE RANKS AROUND WILFS? In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman writes he expects NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to "make a trip here soon to assure everybody that the multibillion dollar NFL operation will stand behind the Vikings owners." The Wilfs believe that they "will pass the MSFA’s review and progress will resume on building the stadium." They also believe that once the review is done, it will "show the lawsuit has nothing to do with their financial ability to provide the money they have guaranteed to build the stadium." Hartman: "Believe me, NFL owners won’t allow the Vikings stadium to go down the drain." Meanwhile, the delay of getting started on construction could "hold up the hiring of a building operator by the Vikings and the MSFA" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 8/15).

In K.C., Adam Teicher writes while the Chiefs have only one more year on the contract to hold training camp at Missouri Western State Univ., judging from the way coach Andy Reid “raved about the treatment the Chiefs received, they’ll be back for camp in 2015 and beyond.” Reid said, “The university and the setup here, they’ve been phenomenal. The people here, I can’t say enough good things about them. These fields are incredible. The food is unbelievable. The people that take care of the rooms for the players, they’re clean and they make your bed for you. They do everything for you. It’s quite a setup” (K.C. STAR, 8/15).

HORSES FOR COURSES: In Denver, Matthew Patane reports the Broncos are "moving forward with plans to build an indoor practice facility and hope to have it ready sometime in the 2014 season." The facility "will be built next to" the Broncos' Dove Valley HQs. The Broncos have previously said that they were "considering building an indoor facility but had said little about the timing for the project" (DENVER POST, 8/15).

BEANTOWN BASHES: Musicians Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Paul McCartney, Jay Z and Justin Timberlake have all played at Fenway Park this summer, but Red Sox officials said that “those concerts make the Red Sox less money than a regular season sellout.” Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy: "The notion that these concerts are highly lucrative is wrong. Yes, we make some money, but the real value is celebrating Fenway and a variety of acts during these special summer shows" (, 8/12).

OF JAYS & HUSKERS: In Omaha, Erin Golden noted CenturyLink Center yesterday unveiled its $6M upgrade, which includes a new "scoreboard, new digital ribbon panels, a second large video display and a new, state-of-the art control room." Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority officials said that the updated technology will "make for a dramatically different experience" for Creighton Univ. basketball, Univ. of Nebraska at Omaha hockey and the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials (, 8/14).