Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln officials on Thursday unveiled Memorial Stadium's $63.5M East Stadium expansion, and with the 6,000 additional seats, the facility "will now rank as the fourth-largest among Big Ten stadiums and be within about 500 seats of the top 10 stadiums in the nation," according to a front-page piece by Henry Cordes of the OMAHA WORLD-HERALD. The 3,300 new general-admission seats "are the first additional seats along the sidelines since the stadium opened nine decades ago." All previous stadium seat additions "have come in the end zones." There also are "2,119 new club seats and 38 additional skybox suites, bringing the total number of private suites in the stadium to 101." Each new seat "includes a chair back and a front rail for comfort and is 20 inches wide, 2 inches wider than the average for the rest of the stadium." The new East Stadium is "a totally separate building from the original." That construction approach "was necessary because the original stadium, built in 1922, cannot support the additional weight" (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 8/23). In Lincoln, Kevin Abourezk in a front-page piece notes a six-level escalator at teh stadium "will offer fans an easy ride from the lower concourses to the upper levels." The lower concourses feature "concession stands with digital menus, as well as massive banners highlighting past Husker championships and bowl games." Patios facing east "allow fans to look at City Campus and downtown Lincoln" (Lincoln JOURNAL STAR, 8/23). The AP's Eric Olson noted "private donations and revenue from the new seating are funding" the project, which will be "paid off in seven years." Former Nebraska AD Tom Osborne "shepherded the stadium expansion as one of his last major projects before he retired" in January (AP, 8/22).
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: The AP's Dave Skretta noted AECOM on Thursday announced that the renovation of the west side of Kansas State Univ.'s Bill Snyder Family Stadium "finished on schedule." Construction had to "be squeezed into eight months in order to be ready" for KSU's opener Aug. 30 against North Dakota State. The "renovation resulted in new premium seating, improved media and broadcast facilities, the addition of the K-State Athletics Hall of Honor and other amenities." It also "doubled the amount of field lighting to meet NCAA national standards for high-definition TV broadcasts." An additional 250,000 square-foot facility includes "new suites and loge seating, retail locations and expansive concession and restroom facilities that also can be utilized by fans sitting in the preexisting bowl portion of the stadium" (AP, 8/22).
The NASCAR HOF "lost $1.6 million during the fiscal year ended June 30," according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. A pre-audit report provided by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority showed that the deficit for FY '12 was $835,281. The numbers were "calculated differently, so making a direct comparison and saying the deficit doubled is difficult." But despite the "deficits in fiscal 2013," CRVA CEO Tom Murray said that the results "beat the projections by $600,000." Murray said that while the HOF still runs deficits, the "overall visitors authority had a successful year." Revenue grew by 11% over '12, to $51.5M. The CRVA also was "able to invest $2.5 million in its reserve fund, boosting the reserve fund total" to $4M. For FY '13, the HOF "received $500,000 from the city for maintenance and other costs associated with building upkeep." That money is "included in the racing museum’s $6.3 million in revenue for the year." Attendance for the venue "fell to 176,838 this year, down from 197,410 visitors" in '12. During the "first full year the museum was open, ending in April 2011, attendance totaled 278,046" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/21). In Charlotte, Steve Harrison notes the HOF’s "operating loss was $900,000, which was paid for by CRVA reserves." But the larger $1.6M deficit "includes so-called accrued debt," which "hasn't been paid." Murray said that the CRVA is "focusing not so much on attendance, but on getting visitors to spend more on secondary purchases such as simulator rides and audio-guide tours" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/23).
In Denver, Steve Raabe reported the Broncos are "converting a handful of suites at Sports Authority Field at Mile High to smaller units with longer-term commitments." Four boxes on the fourth level that seat 17-20 people "are being reconfigured to 10 smaller suites that will seat from six to 10 patrons." Broncos Exec Dir of Media Relations Patrick Smyth said that those suites are "sold out for this season at a price of $60,000 each." He added that work is "underway and will be finished" before the regular-season opener against the Ravens on Sept. 5 (DENVERPOST.com, 8/22).
HEALTH CLASS: ESPN.com's Chris Mortensen reported the Buccaneers have treated their practice facility "in an effort to erase any existence of MRSA, a serious staph infection that has sidelined" G Carl Nicks and K Lawrence Tynes. The NFLPA has been "monitoring the extent of MRSA existence within the Bucs facility." Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik said that coach Greg Schiano "informed staff and players of the MRSA problem last week" (ESPN.com, 8/22).
GOING YARD: In N.Y., Lois Weiss reported Forest City Enterprises, the developer of the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, is "looking to sell" 50-80% of its multi-building project. Forest City would "continue to act as developer for the project that is slated to have 14 residential buildings on 22 acres." Barclays Center is "separately owned and operated and not part of the deal" (N.Y. POST, 8/22).
GET IN THE RING: In San Jose, Mike Rosenberg reported Levi's Stadium is a finalist to host WrestleMania XXXI in '15. Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews and 49ers execs next week "are flying to World Wrestling Entertainment headquarters in Connecticut to pitch" WWE Chair & CEO Vince McMahon on the stadium. City leaders and 49ers CEO Jed York two weeks ago "blitzed WWE officials with a presentation at Niners headquarters." The '15 host city will be announced early next year (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/21).