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Volume 24 No. 112


The Vikings and Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment have "completed the Stadium Preview Center adjacent to the stadium’s construction site in downtown Minneapolis," and it will "be open to the public -- by appointment -- later this week," according to Janet Moore of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The team is "currently contacting season-ticket holders to arrange appointments, followed by those who are on the team’s waiting list." The Vikings said that the interactive space is the "largest ever built by an NFL team" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/25). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Don Muret reports the preview center "takes season-ticket holders through a Disney-like experience tied to the field-level club" at the new $975M stadium. Van Wagner tomorrow will start "marketing the venue’s 98 suites, 8,000 club seats and 60 loge boxes." The 7,800-square-foot preview center is "large by industry standards, more than twice the size" of the 49ers' 3,500-square-foot marketing center for Levi's Stadium. The Vikings' facility "encompasses two mock suites, a 24-seat club seat mockup and two small models of the stadium." The centerpiece is a "two-minute video simulation that envisions the game-day experience at the new stadium by taking season-ticket holders and potential founding partners down a 90-foot-long corridor lined with eight 84-inch high-definition television monitors" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/24 issue).

THE CATS' MEOW: The Panthers on Friday said that the first phase of the team's $65M Bank of America Stadium renovation project is "on schedule and going well, despite the recent snowstorm." Panthers Dir of Stadium Operations Scott Paul said that workers "started the project five weeks ago and remain on schedule to finish in early July." Paul said the recent snowstorm "set us back a little bit." But he added that Turner Construction "had made allowance for potential delays in the pre-construction schedule" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/22).

Indian Wells Tennis Garden has "completed the largest expansion of the venue since it opened" in '00 for what is now called the BNP Paribas Open, according to Leighton Ginn of the Palm Springs DESERT SUN. The new stadium "will debut Saturday" with the combined ATP/WTA event after renovations reportedly totaling $70M. The stadium's "walkways were widened" and opportunities for shade, "both inside and outside the new stadium, were increased and parking lots were expanded." The expansion is "a vehicle to grow" the BNP Paribas Open, which has "set attendance records in 13 of the past 14 years." Last year’s tournament "drew a record 382,227 fans over the 12-day event." Tournament Dir Steve Simon "projects to draw 420,000 fans this year" because of "the expansion and the buzz the tournament is creating." When spectators "walk through the palm tree-lined entrance, Stadium 3 will be on the left, the new Stadium 2 on the right and the gigantic video wall outside the main stadium will be straight ahead." Tournament CEO Raymond Moore said, "What’s really hit me is the entire site has been transformed. It’s completely different from anything that’s been here for 15 years" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 2/23). In L.A., Bill Dwyre notes with the new Stadium 2 "comes other bells and whistles," including the planting of "417 palm trees, at $3,000 a tree." The venue has "nine entry gates now, up from four," as well as "padded chairs around the first two rows of the main stadium's lower bowl." The facility also has "added 1,800 parking places, bringing the total to around 10,000." Total seating availability "at all the stadium courts" has been increased to 41,485. The project "scheduled to take 18 months was finished in 10 months and 10 days." Moore and Simon yesterday at a media walk-through "assured all that the project was 'done'" (L.A. TIMES, 2/25).