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Volume 24 No. 113


Comerica Park will undergo a $4M makeover of the right-field Pepsi Porch ahead of Opening Day, "complete with 426 additional seats, a new gathering spot to be called the 416 Bar, and with amenities ranging from posh furniture to a nearly 50-foot-long bank of natural-gas flames," according to Lynn Henning of the DETROIT NEWS. The project, funded by the Tigers and Delaware North, "is geared to a younger, socially motivated fan demographic." It will "boost Comerica Park’s capacity from 41,255 to 41,681." The renovation will feature a "broad seat rearrangement: 180 newly installed, 773 lower bleachers converted to 694 stadium-style seats, as well as 325 additional places that have been added to the Labatt Blue Light Jungle bleacher stands." Of the 180 premium seats introduced, 44 "will be high-top, four-chair configurations." Any ticketholder at Comerica Park, "including standing-room customers, will be free to enter the 10,000-square foot tract." About 8,000 square feet "will be devoted to seats, to the 416 Bar, and to leisure space," while an estimated 2,000 square feet "will be set aside for restroom expansion." Servers "are expected to assist with orders from the 416 Bar, which is sponsored by the spirits company, New Amsterdam." Ticket prices for the 180 new seats "will range from $30-$57 per game, depending upon date, time, opponent, etc" (DETROIT NEWS, 2/14).

A GOOD DEAL FOR ALL: A DETROIT NEWS editorial states while the City Council's transfer of land to the new Red Wings arena development "is certainly a good deal" for team Owner Mike Ilitch, it also is a "good deal" for the city. It is a "welcome economic investment in the city, and will benefit the entire state." The new city council "made the right decision, and did so in a timely fashion, without the acrimonious hearings and debates of the past." This new development "is critical for Detroit and will revitalize a part of the city that has been dormant for far too long" (DETROIT NEWS, 2/14).

K.C.-based 360 Architecture "has scored another big sports project," as the Oilers have selected the company to lead the design team for their new $436.8M downtown Edmonton arena, according to Kevin Collison of the K.C. STAR. The firm had "been in negotiations for more than a year" on the project. The arena "is the second largest project that 360 Architecture has won this year," as the firm also was recently "named to the design team" for a $400M project at Notre Dame. Its work with Notre Dame "will include adding premium seating and other fan facilities to the school’s football stadium" (K.C. STAR, 2/14). In K.C., Austin Alonzo reported 360 "will work with Canadian general contractor PCL Constructors Inc., who is serving as the construction manager at risk," and Colorado-based ICON Venue Group is "serving as project manager" (, 2/13).

The Cowboys have "named the development team" for its new HQs and practice facility in Frisco, Texas, "as well as the surrounding development on the 90-acre project," according to Candace Carlisle of the DALLAS BUSINESS JOURNAL. The team includes Dallas-based Lincoln Property, Houston-based Gensler, Oklahoma-based Manhattan Construction, Dallas-based O'Brien Architects and Frisco-based Rex Real Estate. The Cowboys-anchored development will "become home to the football club's operations, including administrative offices, coaches' offices and the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders." Gensler was selected "as the project's architect and interior designer of the Cowboys headquarters and publically-owned multiuse event center." Manhattan Construction is the project's "primary builder for the two facilities." The Cowboys "plan to move" into the new HQs by fall '16 (, 2/13). In Dallas, Steve Brown notes Lincoln Property will be "in charge of marketing and leasing" the project. The firms were "jointly selected" by the Cowboys and city of Frisco. Cowboys COO Stephen Jones said that the "design and development team are working on plans for the project." He added, "We are in about the hundredth rendition of the ideas we have. We are refining it, especially what we want to do on the first 25 acres where the headquarters and event center will be." Brown notes Gensler has "designed major sports facilities," including the Lions HQs and training facility, FirstEnergy Stadium, the Lincoln Financial Field and Corinthian Stadium in São Paulo, which will be used during this year’s FIFA World Cup. Gensler Senior Project Dir Barry Hand said, "It’s going to be centered around sports and entertainment and dining. The intent is for it to have a very urban vibe." Jones said that Gensler’s "experience in mixed-use projects -- including the L.A. Live project in downtown Los Angeles -- added to the appeal of the firm" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/14).

The Univ. of Minnesota is "ready to make beer and wine sales a permanent fixture at Gopher football games," according to Maura Lerner of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. School officials reported to the Board of Regents that after a two-year experiment, they found "no significant increase" in alcohol-related incidents at TCF Bank Stadium. There were actually "fewer police calls about rowdy or drunken fans" in '13 than in '10, "two years before the on-site beer and wine sales began." School officials said that they "want to continue the sales after the pilot project expires in July," which would "require legislative approval." UM VP/University Services Pamela Wheelock said, "It seems to be a success." The school in its report said that it "took in $181,678 as its share of the profits" on just over $1M in beer and wine sales during the '13 season. Wheelock said that there are "no plans to add hard liquor, or expand beer and wine sales at other venues" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/14).

HOG WILD: reported Univ. of Arkansas football club-seat holders "will be able to buy beer and wine at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium if a license for the sales is approved by Alcoholic Beverage Control." The purchase and consumption of alcohol "will be restricted to certain areas and won't be allowed in outdoor seating sections." School concessionaire Sodexo "will handle the sales." The school will be the eighth in the SEC to "sell alcohol in club areas during games" (, 2/12).

TROJAN HORSE: Troy Univ. AD John Hartwell on Thursday announced that the school "will sell beer inside Riddle-Pace Field" during the '14 baseball season. He said that the decision "boiled down to two things." Hartwell: "We wanted to increase our fan experience. It also can help revenue, but the main thing was to enhance our fan experience and game day atmosphere." The TROY MESSENGER noted the beers "will be 16-ounce cans, but will be poured in to cups by Sodexo vendors at the concession stand." Troy will become "the eighth member of the Sun Belt Conference to sell alcohol at on-campus athletic events" (, 2/13).

The financial terms of the deal between Providence Health and the MLS Timbers for their 15-year stadium naming-rights agreement "will be redacted" when the club submits the deal to the city, according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. Timbers COO Mike Golub said that it is "important for the privately held Timbers to keep sponsors’ payments confidential, even though the team operates in a publicly owned" venue. He added that the operating agreement between the city and the team "does not require the team to reveal the amounts of its sponsorship agreements." Golub: "It’s our collective wish it remain a private piece of information. It would inhibit our ability to do business if this was publicly known. I think it behooves private business of any type for private information to remain private" (, 2/12). Brettmanreported the Timbers also are "looking for a naming rights partner for the plaza at 20th Avenue and Morrison Street." The team's agreement with the city also specifically says that the team "can sell naming rights to the press box" (Portland OREGONIAN, 2/12).