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Volume 24 No. 115


Vikings officials and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority "have been forced to trim their project wish list" to keep the team's downtown Minneapolis stadium project within its $975M budget, according to Richard Meryhew of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The items possibly on the chopping block are "a 400-stall parking garage a block north of the stadium, a skyway linked to a ramp a block south, two large escalators and as much as 40 feet from the height of five massive, pivoting glass doors at the venue’s main entrance." MSFA Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said that "an uptick in the construction industry and pressures on an already tight construction workforce have pushed some preliminary bids on the project higher than anticipated." She added that as of last week, the bids had exceeded the budget by $20-30M, "forcing the team and authority to do some 'value engineering' and make tough choices on what they could possibly live without." The MSFA and Mortenson Construction have set aside more than $62M in "contingency funds that could be tapped to restore some of what’s been cut if the money isn’t spent to cover unforeseen construction issues." The Vikings also have agreed to advance $13.1M to "restore some features on their wish list that had been targeted for cuts." They would "recoup the investment at the end of construction if contingency funds remain." Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley said that some of the must haves covered by the team’s advance payment include a $4M WiFi system, a $3M videoboard on the stadium’s west end and a second $1.8M ribbon scoreboard "that wraps around the stadium bowl" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/10).

Ducks fans will be "treated to 15,000 square feet of new restaurant, shopping and bar space" at Honda Center as part of the new $20M Grand Terrace, the arena's "single largest improvement project" since opening in '93, according to Art Marroquin of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. Honda Center President & CEO Tim Ryan said, "It will change the way people feel the minute they walk into the facility." Marroquin notes outside the entrance, visitors will be "greeted by high-definition graphics and team highlights flashing on a pair of 15-by-25-foot screens." There also will be a new Ducks team store. Located above the store, the Grand Terrace "will be open during Ducks games only to season ticket holders." The bar opens "two hours before the puck drops and remains open at least 30 minutes after the third period ends." Honda Center VP/Operations Kevin Starkey said, "I hope it can be a destination point where people will come to eat at the restaurant, shop at the team store and go on to watch a game." Construction of the Grand Terrace was funded by Ducks Owners Henry and Susan Samueli (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 10/10). The Ducks' store is the fifth Reebok-branded NHL team store to open at arenas in recent years, following the Penguins, Flyers, Lightning and Sabres. The new team store is more than three times the size of the store's previous location (Christopher Botta, Staff Writer).

REELING IN THE YEARS: In L.A., Elliott Teaford noted the Ducks franchise will celebrate its 20th anniversary throughout the '13-14 season, starting with Thursday's home opener against the Rangers. The '13-14 club bears "only passing resemblance to the Mighty Ducks of 20 years ago." The Samuelis purchased the team from Disney in '05 and "dropped the 'Mighty' and changed the eggplant and teal uniforms to black and orange in '06." The Ducks today have "achieved respect and credibility" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 10/9).

Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney yesterday "ridiculed the Cubs as 'a needy group' and turned up the heat on the team to start construction" on its $500M plan to renovate Wrigley Field and develop the land around it, according to Fran Spielman of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Tunney said, "It’s time for them to build, like they said (they would) postseason. I’d expect permits to be there. ... I would have hoped, at this point, that they would be doing the permits." He was "equally unsympathetic to the Cubs’ demand for a legislative fix to the ordinance authorizing the team to play up to 46 night games per season." The Cubs said that the ordinance "gives the city unprecedented control over when rained-out games are rescheduled." Cubs VP/Communications & Community Affairs Julian Green said that it also would "force the team -- if chosen to play additional games on national television during a winning season -- to 'choose between violating MLB rules or the city ordinance.'" Green added that the team is "prepared to proceed with electrical and structural work during the offseason." But it "won’t happen" unless rooftop club owners who share 17% of their revenues with the team "drop their threat of a lawsuit aimed at preventing the team from bankrolling the project with two massive outfield signs that could block rooftop views" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/10).

The Triple-A Int’l League Charlotte Knights yesterday announced that Toshiba will supply the videoboards and concourse displays at BB&T Ballpark, the team’s new facility opening in April. Knights VP & GM Dan Rajkowski said the total video package is valued at about $3M. Rajkowski added the primary videoboard in left field -- 30 feet tall and 82 feet long -- will be the widest screen in Minor League Baseball. In addition, a smaller screen attached to the ballpark’s exterior will face new Romare Bearden Park to promote non-ballpark events. Toshiba has several major league clients but the Knights represent the company’s first minor league sports account. Toshiba also signed a sponsorship with the Knights covering primarily hospitality with use of a suite. TSE, a software consultant, is designing the videoboard control room and is Toshiba’s partner in the project. BB&T Ballpark opens April 11 when the Knights host the Norfolk Tides (Don Muret, Staff Writer). In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg noted a gameday crew of 12-14 people will run the various videoboards, "including a 14-by-35-foot exterior video board and an 8-by-120-foot ribbon board along the right-field wall." The upper-level facades will "feature two 3-by-32 1/2-foot ribbon displays, and another board will be installed in the stadium’s ticket plaza." Between 100 to 140 Toshiba-brand HDTVs "will line concourses, club areas and luxury suites." Concessions menus also "will be digital displays," which will be provided by Toshiba (, 10/9). Rajkowski said that there were "four 'major' bidders for the project, including Daktronics, Panasonic and TS Sports" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/10).

In Pittsburgh, Dave Molinari notes the quality of the ice at Consol Energy Center during NHL games "continues to be an issue with players, as it has been since the arena opened" in '10. Nearly every player interviewed agreed that the ice-maintenance staff and front office are "receptive when informed of complaints or problems with the playing surface." Management has been "responding to players' concerns about the ice" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 10/10).

SHOP CLASS: In N.Y., Irving DeJohn reports the N.Y. City Council yesterday “overwhelmingly approved” Sterling Equities and Related Cos.’s plan to build a "megamall" in Citi Field’s parking lot. The mall is the “controversial first phase” of a larger $3B redevelopment of Willets Point. Sterling “scored the victory after a morning of feverish closed-door negotiations.” The development as approved will “include more affordable housing than originally proposed” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/10).

CAMPAIGN FINANCE: UNLV President Neal Smatresk yesterday said that the school plans a campaign to raise more than $500M to "help finance Southern Nevada’s first medical school, a major on-campus football stadium/entertainment center and other major campus improvements." He added that the university "wants to quietly raise" 50% of the money from donors before "launching a high-profile public campaign" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 10/10).

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: The Nashville TENNESSEAN reports the Predators and Metro Nashville yesterday broke ground on the team's new $14M practice facility in Antioch, Tenn. Metro will build the project and "own the land and building, which will be leased to the Predators for an annual rent payment that will go toward servicing the debt on the facility." The center is "expected to open" in mid-August '14 (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 10/10).