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Volume 24 No. 156


Miami-Dade County would pay the Dolphins “millions of dollars for hosting major sporting events in exchange” for Owner Stephen Ross “delivering” a $350M renovation of Sun Life Stadium, according to Douglas Hanks of the MIAMI HERALD. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez' aides spent yesterday “rushing to get the paperwork finalized in time” for a commissioners meeting, and an agenda released in the evening “showed the Dolphins deal slated for a vote” early next week. Under the deal, Miami-Dade would “pay the Dolphins a maximum” of $5M a year based on a bonus schedule, which includes $4M for a Super Bowl or World Cup finals match, $3M for a FIFA World Cup semifinal or a CFP championship, $2M for a CFP semifinal and $750,000 for an int'l soccer match or "other sporting event which attract significant tourists to Miami-Dade County with at least 55,000 paid tickets distributed.” A source said that the Dolphins “plan to order construction materials in July and start work -- including a partial canopy --as quickly as possible.” Football games at Sun Life Stadium “wouldn’t be interrupted by construction, and work is expected to be finished” by late summer of ‘16. NFL owners last month gave “advanced approval of the agreement, and ruled it would qualify for the league’s ‘G4’ financing.” The Dolphins also “may qualify for a new state stadium subsidy” worth $3M a year. A “quick decision would meet Gimenez’s stated goal of having all stadium deals done before he and commissioners shift to the larger annual budget debate" (MIAMI HERALD, 6/11).

Edward Jones Dome "is running out of money," as the $24M annual payments that "cover stadium upkeep and pay off construction debt are scheduled to end over the next decade," according to a front-page piece by David Hunn of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The St. Louis Regional Convention & Sports Complex Authority estimates that in just six years, it "will have burned through" its $16M savings. If spending "continues at that pace," the Rams' venue will be nearly $62M "in the hole." City, county and state officials, who together pay off Dome debt and send it $4M for yearly maintenance, "are now searching for dollars." Authority Exec Dir Brian McMurtry: "I’m going to tell you, they don’t know how they’re going to do it." Gov't leaders "will need to consider" sending the Dome an additional $40M in cash or selling $40M in new bonds. McMurtry suggested that the authority put a "few items on the city’s bond issue list for a public vote as early as this November." The Dome authority also just approved a $7M maintenance and renovation budget for '15, including a $65,000 freight door replacement, a $100,000 bleacher repair, a new $1.4M WiFi system and $1.6M for "continued work on the speaker system." The sponsors "could opt not to replace some of the niceties, perhaps." But McMurtry said that other items "aren’t an option." Half of the roof "needs replacing," which will cost at least $2.5M. Rams Exec VP/Football Operations & COO Kevin Demoff said that the team "has helped fund improvements in the past, and is open to such discussions now" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 6/11).

The city of Miami yesterday told David Beckham's group that it "cannot build" an MLS stadium on a deep-water boat slip in downtown near AmericanAirlines Arena, according to a front-page piece by Patricia Mazzei of the MIAMI HERALD. Mayor Tomás Regalado and City Manager Daniel Alfonso "told Beckham’s group thanks but no thanks" after Beckham's real-estate adviser John Alschuler offered the city $2M annually "in rent of sorts to make a deal." Alschuler said that Beckham's group "plans to take some time to consider its remaining options in light of the sudden setback." City and county leaders reiterated that they "want Beckham’s expansion franchise in Miami," but the decision "marked the second blow for the retired English footballer and his investors, who had initially targeted the county-owned southwest corner of PortMiami as a stadium site -- only to face political resistance from neighboring Royal Caribbean Cruises and the county commission." Talks with the Univ. of Miami to share a downtown stadium with its football team "recently broke down." Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez in a statement said that he "remains a supporter of bringing MLS to Miami as long as a franchise doesn’t seek county tax money for stadium construction." The Miami city commission, which meets tomorrow, "could in theory overrule Regalado and direct the city manager to re-engage with Beckham’s group over the site, but that appears unlikely." Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, who represents the downtown district, said that he "told Beckham in person Saturday that he could not support the location" (MIAMI HERALD, 6/11).

Incoming MLS club Orlando City SC yesterday released details and renderings of its $110M, Populous-designed stadium "featuring an open plaza where passers-by can look down on a field sunken 10 to 12 feet below street level," according to a front-page piece by Mark Schlueb of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. The stadium will have a seating capacity of 19,500, "with the structural ability to expand to 25,000 in the future." It also will feature a grass field "open to the sky, and seating sections on three sides that are covered by overhanging roofs" that are "designed to protect fans from the elements and reflect raucous crowd noise back into the stadium." There will be a large lion sculpture that "overlooks the entrance," and just before a game begins, it "will rotate 180 degrees to 'watch' the action." There will be a festival plaza "lined with palm trees on the south end of the plaza, just outside the main entrance." The stadium also will feature a balcony-style bar "just below the video scoreboard with a 360-degree view; a club lounge; and 38 luxury suites." A seating section on the north end "dedicated to members of supporters' clubs" will be built. As proposed -- and if "building codes allow -- it would have no seats, but rails and extra room for 'safe standing.'" The supporters' section "would also have its own 'pub-style' area." Earlier conceptual renderings released by architects not associated with the project "envisioned a facility with a more dramatic translucent roof, but that design was disavowed by the team at the time and would likely be much more expensive" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 6/11).

The proposed 10-year lease extension for the A’s to remain at Coliseum “contains some ‘out’ clauses based on what the Raiders decide to do" about a potential new venue on the property, according to Mark Purdy of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. If the Raiders and the city of Oakland “agree to construct a football stadium on the Coliseum site -- which is Raiders owner Mark Davis' stated preference -- then the A's would then be permitted to break the 10-year lease.” A's Owner Lew Wolff said, "We aren't preventing the Raiders from doing anything they wish to do there. If the Raiders have a feasible plan and want to move ahead, we have no intention of standing in their way." Purdy notes the A's "must be given at least two years' notice of such a Raiders' construction project -- or two-plus years, if the notice occurs in the middle of a baseball season.” Team ownership is “definitely not embracing the ‘Coliseum City’ project at least partially because only 200 of the 800 acres in the plan are now owned or controlled by the city.” But Wolff is “open to discussing a new ballpark proposal" on the Coliseum property if civic leaders "alter their focus away from a proposed downtown Howard Terminal site” that he and MLB have rejected. Meanwhile, the San Jose “scenario is not dead,” but it is “definitely on hold while the city's lawsuit against MLB proceeds.” Wolff said that once the extension is signed, he will “step back and assess the landscape to see what the A's might do on a long-term basis.” In a “slight policy shift, Wolff puts Oakland and San Jose on equal footing as potential locations” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 6/11).

The 76ers yesterday announced that the team and its employees will “cross the river to the Camden waterfront to open a new headquarters and a state-of-the-art, 120,000-square-foot practice center” by June ‘16, according to Jason Nark of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. The 76ers will “still play its home games at the Wells Fargo Center about nine miles away” in Philadelphia, but “everything else will happen” in Camden after $82M in tax credits were "approved by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority Board.” 76ers CEO Scott O'Neil noted that the team is the “only NBA franchise without its own practice center,” having used a single court at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine since '99. Team officials said that it has been a “detriment to luring prospects and free agents to the floundering franchise.” O’Neil: "This will be the biggest and best training center ever built in the U.S.” O'Neil said that the team has “no immediate plans for retail space, but it's possible.” Camden Mayor Dana Redd said that the practice center “could draw new small businesses such as restaurants or cafes.” O'Neil confirmed that the tax breaks from New Jersey were what “lured” the 76ers away from other possible Philadelphia locations, "specifically the Navy Yard.” O’Neil said, “The opportunity provided through the tax credits allowed us to take a whole 'nother step in terms of size and scope of the project" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 6/11). O’Neil: "We need a 24/7 operation that's ours." Officials said that they “hope to break ground" this October (SOUTH JERSEY TIMES, 6/11).