MLSE President & CEO Tim Leiweke said that the company "could expand BMO Field in time" for the July '15 Pan Am Games, but "only if MLSE and the government can come to a financial agreement 'very' soon," according to Daniel Dale of the TORONTO STAR. Leiweke "wants to add a partial roof and more seats to a seven-year-old facility that he says has already 'fallen behind the rest of the league.'" He said the renovation agreement "will be a deal that won't have a lot of controversy to it." Leiweke: "What we're trying to figure out is a way to get the renovation done where the majority of the burden, almost all of the burden, falls upon us, the private sector." He said that Toronto taxpayers "would probably make some initial payment," but that MLSE would "later return money to the public purse." Leiweke added, "I think if there is any contribution, it’ll be one where they get paid back over a period of time and get a healthy rate of return." Dale noted the first phase of the project would "improve the concourses and increase the permanent seating capacity from about 22,000 to 30,000." The second phase, which could be completed in '16, would "build a roof over the seating area." The project "may be more imminent than previously understood." Leiweke said that government officials have "asked if the first phase could be completed in time" for the Pan Am Games. He said that the timeline would be possible "only if construction begins this summer" (TORONTO STAR, 1/19).
In St. Paul, Doug Belden reported the Minnesota Supreme Court on Friday did not rule on "a legal challenge that's held up the sale of public bonds for the new Vikings stadium, further squeezing officials who say they need millions from the bond proceeds" this week. But Minnesota Management & Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter, whose agency is selling the bonds, on Friday said that it "may already be too late." He added that the money needed in the short term -- $17M Thursday and another $8M Friday -- "might have to come from an alternative funding source instead of the bonds." But Belden noted there "was no indication Friday that it would come from the Vikings" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/18).
12TH MAN'S BANDWIDTH: In Seattle, Monica Guzman wrote, "It's a little ironic that CenturyLink Field is named after a company that offers high-speed Internet service but it is not among the stadiums that offer Wi-Fi to all fans." However, offering WiFi at stadiums "is a taller order than you might expect" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 1/18).
NEW IN THE MINI APPLE: In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman reported the T'Wolves "would like to get into their new basketball facilities" for the start of the '14-15 season. Team Owner Glen Taylor said that progress is "being made in negotiating a deal and hopes to have it done soon" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/19).
LAKE SHOW, REVISITED: In L.A., Randy Lewis noted Madison Square Garden Co. is putting the refurbished Forum "back in the Southland concert business, marketing it as a more music-friendly alternative to the multi-purpose" Staples Center. MSG Co. is hoping the Forum can compete with Staples Center "for the top-grossing entertainers by offering what the downtown sports arena can't: the world's largest indoor theater designed specifically with music in mind" (LATIMES.com, 1/17).