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Volume 24 No. 112


Reliant Energy parent company NRG Energy said that it "hopes to rebrand" Houston's South Loop sports complex, which includes Reliant Stadium, as NRG Park, according to Kiah Collier of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. The rebrand would include every facility "dropping the Reliant name for NRG, as in NRG Stadium, NRG Arena and NRG Center." NRG, which acquired Reliant's retail operations in '09, said that it will "swap out every sign bearing the Reliant name at the Harris County-owned park before the football season begins this fall." The Harris County Sports BOD & Convention Corp. "must approve the deal." NRG Texas Retail and Reliant President Elizabeth Killinger yesterday said the company "felt like now was the right time to really move to the family name so that as we bring more products and services to market, people will realize the relationship between the different companies." Killinger declined to "give an exact price tag for the cost to rebrand the Reliant complex, but confirmed it would be more than $100,000." She stressed that the company "would be picking up the entire tab." NRG added its name to Reliant in '10, giving it a "new logo and the tag line 'An NRG Company,' but has kept the Reliant name around" (, 3/13).

The city of Miami Gardens "wants a permanent stream of revenue" from the Dolphins if Sun Life Stadium stops paying about $1M a year in municipal property taxes, but team Owner Stephen Ross yesterday warned that the city "cannot count on professional football staying if his latest plan to renovate the stadium fails," according to Hanks & Beasley of the MIAMI HERALD. Ross: "If I sell the team, I can assure you, with the viewpoint of the politicians and what they want to do, the new owner is going to move the team. ... If I'm putting up all the money, how's it not going to be successful? How could they reject this?" Ross spent yesterday "trying to bolster support for his bid to have Miami-Dade County assume ownership of his stadium." Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert said that he "began talks this week with team executives after news broke of Ross' discussions with Miami-Dade County about the potential swap." Gilbert said that he "wants a permanent stream of revenue from the Dolphins that would not only match the current tax bill, but keep pace with future growth." Ross said of last year's failed efforts to get some public funding for renovations, "When I saw that I'm not going to get it through the Legislature, I looked at a different course of action. I want to get it done in my lifetime, want it to be part of my legacy. That’s basically the intent of doing it and doing it now, if we're going to get a Super Bowl." Ross said that spending related to the Super Bowl and the College Football Playoff "would more than offset the loss of government revenue" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/13).

The Univ. of Colorado "has agreed to a 10-year contract with Levy Restaurants to provide catering and concessions at Folsom Field and the Coors Events Center on game days and for all non-game-day events," according to Kyle Ringo of the Boulder DAILY CAMERA. The deal includes an additional five-year option, and "replaces a partnership with Centerplate, which had provided the same services at Folsom Field since the east side expansion" of the stadium in '03. Levy also is "partnering with CU to design improved concession areas" at Folsom Field as part of the athletic department's $143M renovation and construction project. AD Rick George "hopes to begin the project later this spring, possibly as soon as a ground breaking on April 12, the day of the spring football game, with a target for completing" in August '15. Levy will "add similar hospitality services in the new end zone club George and his team have planned for the north end zone and the new terrace area in the northeast corner of the stadium." CU Associate AD & SID Dave Plati said that plans for the end zone club "include making alcohol available in that area of the stadium." The only parts of the stadium "where football fans can purchase alcohol now are the suites and club seats on the east side and the Flatirons Club on the west side." There are no plans "at this time to make beer or other alcohol available throughout Folsom Field" (Boulder DAILY CAMERA, 3/12).

The premium seating area in left field at Victory Field in Indianapolis "formerly known as Captain Morgan Cove is now just The Cove," as Captain Morgan’s parent company, Diageo, "isn’t renewing its sponsorship of the popular section" after a three-year deal, according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Triple-A Int'l League Indianapolis Indians VP & GM Cal Burleson called it “one of our most significant sponsorships.” Team officials "declined to divulge how much money" the sponsorship brought in. The Indians are "in talks with several companies about sponsoring The Cove, and Burleson is optimistic something could be in place" by the home opener April 10. But team officials are "willing to be patient to bring in the right long-term title sponsor." The Indians "want a sponsor that will be active in promoting the amenity." The Indians "tore out about 400 seats in left field" in '11 "to make way for Captain Morgan Cove." Indians officials said that the team "paid $772,000 to build" the area (, 3/12).

Some fans who attended Sunday's NASCAR's Sprint Cup Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway "were not allowed to leave a locked parking lot until an hour after the race was over," according to Alan Snel of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. LVMS parking attendants, backed up by Las Vegas police and Nevada Highway Patrol troopers, said that "fans in the free parking lots could leave only after paid lots emptied." The speedway has "more than 10,000 free parking spaces," and crowds usually "exceed 100,000 people" for a Sprint Cup race. LVMS President Chris Powell "acknowledged it was a mistake to lock the gate and apologized." Powell explained that "weeks ago the speedway planned to lock the general parking gate so that fans paying $59 for weekend parking could leave first." But he said that he "reversed course in response to concerns raised by some staff members." Powell added that his "change of mind was not effectively communicated to parking attendants." He added, "I failed to communicate to proper personnel" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 3/13).