NFL Facility Notes: Upgrades To FirstEnergy Stadium Best Alternative To New Venue
In Cleveland, Jeff Darcy writes of the Browns' recently announced upgrades for FirstEnergy Stadium, "The best stadium upgrade would be a new, better looking and functioning stadium in a different location." But since that is "not happening anytime soon, the next best option is the remodeling job" team Owner Jimmy Haslam III and CEO Joe Banner "have presented to the public." The proposed changes, "done in two phases, do make the stadium look and function better, for a fraction of what a new stadium would cost" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/15).
LAND GRAB: In Atlanta, Leon Stafford reported the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which will own the Falcons' new $1.2B stadium, will spend more than $1M to "buy a few remaining parcels needed for the project and acquire another through eminent-domain proceedings." The body on Tuesday agreed to "pay $800,000 and $434,000 for land owned by Callaway Foundation Inc., and Earl M. Leiffer respectively." Each "owns land of less than one-half acre on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive at or near Mangum Street." The authority also "will pay $60,000 for a billboard on the Callaway property" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 11/14).
A TAXING SITUATION: ESPN's Keith Olbermann on Wednesday named the Jacksonville City Council as the "Worst Person in the Sports World," as it voted 14-2 to "authorize taxpayer-funded improvements" at EverBank Field. Olbermann said, "The city will now tax its hotel guests 2%. So it will pay for $43 million of the new $63 million scoreboard insisted upon by Owner Shahid Khan, instead of using -- you know -- $43 million on the city! Worse yet, the new scoreboard, expected to be the largest in the world, will show replays of Jaguars games" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 11/13).