NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is "confident" the Bills will "continue to remain successful in Western New York, but to do so requires a new stadium," according to Jay Skurski of the BUFFALO NEWS. Goodell yesterday said, “We said at the time when they entered into their new lease, that this is really a short-term solution. We need to find the right long-term solution that is good for the community and can help the Bills continue to be successful in Western New York, and I’m confident we’ll get there." Goodell’s words elicited "positive reactions" from area politicians. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was "open to the idea," and County Exec Mark Poloncarz "wants all options available." Cuomo did "not dismiss the idea of a new stadium," while Poloncarz "emphasized that the option of renovating the current facility should not be dismissed." Goodell said that the process of selling the team is "just getting started." Goodell: "I’ve had a lot of discussions with prospective owners, but I’ve also had discussions with public officials. We all want to focus and get that stadium and do it the right way and get the right ownership in there to make sure they continue to be successful in Western New York.” Goodell, asked whether the NFL would approve an ownership group with designs on moving the team -- specifically to Toronto -- said, "Well, that hasn't happened, so you're dealing with a lot of hypotheticals in there. There's two votes. There’s one vote to approve an ownership, and if a team potentially relocates, it’s another vote. We’re not making those one vote. ... The intention is, whoever buys the team will be trying to make the team work in Western New York” (BUFFALO NEWS, 5/8).
David Beckham yesterday said the new proposed site along the downtown waterfront for an MLS stadium that is just north of AmericanAirlines Arena is "great" and "equally as good as what we had" at the originally proposed PortMiami site, according to Patricia Mazzei of the MIAMI HERALD. While Beckham "didn’t go as far as to call the slip his top choice ... he made it clear that he does not envision his new team playing in the suburbs." Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has "asked Beckham and his investors" to consider filling the deep-water boat slip instead of pushing for a stadium at PortMiami. Several city commissioners "sounded more open" to the new site than PortMiami. However, the new site "has begun to draw its own detractors." Former Miami-Dade Mayor Manny Diaz on Tuesday "slammed Gimenez’s proposal, comparing it to the Marlins’ failed effort to bring a ballpark to what was then called Bicentennial Park and is now Museum Park." Diaz "is known as a behind-the-scenes supporter for putting a soccer stadium next to the Marlins’ actual ballpark" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/8). Beckham said "it was never going to be a smooth ride" and his group "understands the concerns" with various proposed locations (MIAMIHERALD.com, 5/7).
The MLB Giants will “drop their opposition to a June ballot measure on waterfront height limits and present downsized development plans for their parking lot near AT&T Park by the summer,” according to Knight & Cote of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Former S.F. Mayor Art Agnos said that Giants President & CEO Larry Baer “made those promises” to him in a meeting last Friday at the ballpark. Agnos is a “main proponent” of Proposition B and “pledged to fight what he called the baseball team's ‘Donald Trump-style’ plans for high-rise development." But Agnos on Tuesday said that he “has faith the Giants will come up with a new plan that meets with voter approval.” Giants Senior VP/Communications & Senior Advisor to the CEO Staci Slaughter “confirmed that Baer and Agnos spoke last week and that Baer said the Giants will not be involved on either side in the Prop. B campaign.” Slaughter: "Our project is still evolving. As we finalize plans for the project, we're going to sit down with [Agnos] as well as others to make sure we have the best possible project for the community." Slaughter said that the team “isn't ready to make public any likely changes to their development.” Knight & Cote noted the decision by the Giants “comes as the team faced the prospect of being on the losing side of what could be an ugly political fight.” Meanwhile, the Warriors last month “dropped their plans to build an 18,000-seat arena on Piers 30-32 and a condo tower and hotel nearby in favor of building on private land in Mission Bay not covered by Prop. B” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/7).
The Braves and Cobb County (Ga.) have "substantially completed negotiations on five major agreements that are necessary before construction begins" on the team's new ballpark, according to documents cited by Klepal, Schrade & Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. Cobb County Commission Chair Tim Lee and Braves Exec VP/Business Operations Mike Plant said that the contract drafts are "close to the final versions to be voted upon by Cobb commissioners on May 27." Lee: "I don’t anticipate any substantial changes to any of those documents." He added that this does not preclude the possibility that "small portions of the agreements might be reworked if something comes up." The county and team have "said consistently since announcing the Braves move in November that the stadium cost" would be $672M. But the current budget outlined in the stadium development agreement lists the “total project cost” at $622M, with a “maximum stadium cost” of $672M. The budget also states that the "county contribution" toward the stadium budget is $368M. The county said that this includes $92M that will be repaid with $6.1M in "annual rent payments from the team." The Braves’ cash contribution to the project is listed as $230M, which may include an additional $50M of “Braves discretionary” spending. The Braves at $230M would be paying 37% of "the stadium project’s up-front costs." If the Braves "kick in" the $50M in discretionary funds, their contribution would be about 42% of the project cost (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 5/8).
MARKING THEIR TERRITORY: In Atlanta, Klepal, Schrade & Tucker cite documents in which the Braves "exert a measure of control ... over any county property within a one-mile radius of the site, by prohibiting the county from selling or leasing properties to competitors of Braves’ sponsors." Plant: "It’s just basically to preclude ambushing from a sponsorship standpoint. We have a big deal with Coke and Delta. We don’t want (the county) selling off pieces of land so somebody can put a big competitor’s sign on it." Klepal, Schrade & Tucker note the Braves have also "agreed to a non-relocation agreement that binds the team to the stadium" through '46 (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 5/8). Braves Exec VP/Sales & Marketing Derek Schiller said that the franchise has "not yet gone into the market to sell the stadium’s naming rights." Schiller: "We’ve received a lot of interest, lot of inquiries coming our way already about interested parties, and I would say sometime mid/late summer we should start to get that process started" (MARIETTA DAILY JOURNAL, 5/8).
Georgia State Univ. is envisioning "re-purposing Turner Field into a 30,000-seat football stadium and building another baseball stadium that will include Hank Aaron’s wall as part of the structure," according to Doug Roberson of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. The idea "is more than just stadiums," as school execs "want to be partners in building" an estimated $300M development that will "include retail, residential and student housing and will be paid for through a mix of public and private funds." GSU President Mark Becker said, "Georgia State has never had these sorts of facilities for its athletics programs. ... The program itself is on an upward trajectory." Becker said that it is "too early to know how much it will cost to re-purpose" Turner Field or build a ballpark. However, he "doesn’t plan on increasing student fees to finance the project." GSU and Atlanta-based developer Carter "will begin the process of due diligence in calculating exact costs for the project." Becker said that he "would like a new stadium, as opposed to continue playing in the Georgia Dome or the new downtown stadium that will open in 2017, because he wants to provide 'the real college football experience.'" Becker said that if GSU "reaches an agreement with the authority that owns Turner Field and the money or financing is available," ground "would be broken" in January '17. The stadium’s proposed design "would also allow it to host soccer and track and field" but not softball. Becker said that this proposal "doesn’t limit the work being done to raise funds to renovate the Sports Arena where the men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball team play" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 5/8).
Anaheim City Councilmember Kris Murray, who is “most strongly advocating” an Angel Stadium development deal, said Tuesday that Anaheim taxpayers “could get a fair return that goes beyond the proposed $1 per year in rent,” according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. Waronzof Associates Principal & Founder Timothy Lowe told the City Council that "the land would be worth” $225M when leased to a developer. Of the 135 acres that surround the ballpark, Lowe said the market could “support 86 acres of development, including retail and office space to the north and west of the stadium and 3,000 condominiums and apartments to the south.” Murray said that the Angels “would refurbish the city-owned stadium at their expense, relieve the city of stadium capital improvement payments and assume the risk of development, at no risk to taxpayers.” Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said the taxpayer risk comes in not getting “a decent return and good value” for those 135 acres, above and beyond the other benefits. Councilmember Lucille Kring “expressed skepticism about the appraised land value.” The city has “failed to develop the land since the Angels moved into the stadium” in ‘66 and “has not exercised its authority to sell 45 acres of the site, without the Angels having veto rights.” Kring said, “Nobody has been knocking at our door for this property.” Lowe said that he “also has been commissioned to estimate how much a new ballpark would cost if the Angels move elsewhere, and how much of that cost the team might be expected to pay” (LATIMES.com, 5/7).