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Volume 24 No. 113


The NBA Kings' new $477M arena will seat just 17,500 fans, which is "fewer than 200 additional seats compared to Sleep Train Arena," but there will be "far more seats in the lower bowl, translating into higher ticket prices," according to Kasler & Lillis of the SACRAMENTO BEE. The arena, where construction will begin later this month, also will have "twice as many 'premium' seats, including luxury suites and lofts, which will come with VIP perks and be among the most expensive tickets in the house." Team officials said that those features will "more than offset the relatively small total seating capacity." Arena designers are following a "less-is-more revolution taking place in sports economics." The upper bowl of the arena will be "laden with nice touches, including a bridge-like overlook that will allow fans to simultaneously watch the game while taking a peek at what’s happening outside the arena." Kings Senior VP/Marketing & Strategy Ben Gumpert said the arena will include “amenities for every seat in the building." Gumpert: "It’s not just a premium play.” Some tickets will "remain relatively inexpensive." Kings President Chris Granger said, “We’ll still have $10 seats on the low end.” Granger added that the Kings have made "no concrete decisions about ticket pricing beyond some pre-sales of luxury suites." He said fans should not expect a "massive" increase in prices when the arena opens in October '16. Granger noted the franchise already has leased some suites, and “the pace of sales has far exceeded our expectations.” Kasler & Lillis note besides the "high-dollar courtside seats, the arena will include nine rows of 'club seats' featuring assorted VIP amenities, such as access to private clubs." The exact number of premium seats has not been finalized, but Gumpert said that about 13% of the seating will be "considered premium." Sleep Train Arena counts less than 6% of capacity as premium seating (SACRAMENTO BEE, 7/7).

The A's and the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority on Thursday agreed on a new 10-year extension to play games at Coliseum through the '24 season. The agreement will be finalized after approvals from both the Oakland City Council and Alameda County Board of Supervisors later this month. Among the terms of the extension is settlement of all outstanding issues between the two parties and a commitment of more than $10M by the A's to significantly upgrade Coliseum. The improvements include the installation of new HD video boards, ribbon boards between the field and plaza level of the stadium and associated control room equipment. All upgrades will be completed by the start of the '15 season (A's). In S.F., Carolyn Jones noted Oakland officials "abruptly dropped their opposition" to the lease after A's co-Owner Lew Wolff informed city and county leaders that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "gave the team permission to immediately seek a new home outside Oakland." Wolff in a 10:00pm PT e-mail to officials on Wednesday wrote that Selig "authorized an immediate move for the team because of Oakland officials' 'political maneuvering' that blindsided the A's and jeopardized a lease deal the team had agreed to with the board that manages the Coliseum." Jones noted the "threat of losing the team prompted city officials to back off their plan to kill the lease deal Thursday." The City Council had directed four members of the Coliseum Authority to "vote against the proposal," but the board "approved the lease deal with a 6-2 vote Thursday morning." The deal is "essentially the same proposal that the A's and Coliseum board made public Tuesday -- but that the Oakland City Council opposed." The deal allows the team to "give two years' notice of its intent to leave Oakland but requires the team to continue paying the lease for the remainder of the 10-year term, even if the team leaves." The deal lets the A's "off the hook for making those lease payments only if they move to another stadium within Oakland" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/4).

BLUFF CITY: In S.F., John Shea wrote Selig's threat "was made to get the deal done." The A's "always had the power to go elsewhere in the Bay Area (in their territory) or even leave the Bay Area so long as they got three-quarters of the owners' votes, but there's nowhere feasible to relocate, at least in this country" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/6). However, in Oakland, Marcus Thompson II wrote the JPA "should have called Wolff's bluff and voted down the lease agreement." Thompson: "Getting played like this is so unlike Oakland. ... There is no way a sports team should wield this kind of power over a city" (, 7/3). Meanwhile, longtime baseball reporter Murray Chass wrote it is "about time Selig did something for Wolff, but his noble act shouldn't be exaggerated." He was "acting on his own behalf as well as Wolff's." Chass noted, "Conspicuously absent from the itinerary Selig handed Wolff was a ticket to San Jose, the owner's destination of choice" (, 7/6). 

BIG ENOUGH FOR BOTH?'s Paul Gutierrez noted the "knee-jerk reaction" is that 81 MLB games "is preferable to 10 NFL home games (two in the preseason, eight in the regular season." But the Raiders, which share Coliseum with the A's, "might now want to take their ball and go home ... wherever that might be -- Dublin, Concord, Los Angeles, Portland, San Antonio, Parts Unknown" (, 7/4).

Wrigleyville's rooftop businesses are "looking to strike a deal over signs at Wrigley Field," according to Sachdev, Hopkins & Kamin of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Two rooftop owners last week said that the businesses have "agreed not to sue" the Cubs as long as the team "sticks to last year’s plan to install a video scoreboard and one advertising sign in the outfield and pull back from its recent push for more signs with more potential for blocked views." The rooftop owners "reached out to the Cubs with the offer in recent weeks." Cubs VP/Communications & Community Affairs Julian Green "did not specifically address the rooftops’ offer." However, he provided a statement that the team "will move forward with its revised plans." Sachdev, Hopkins & Kamin noted if the Cubs and the rooftop owners "reach an agreement that limits the team to erecting the two, already-approved outfield signs in exchange for a promise that the rooftop owners will not sue, a key issue would be what happens" at the end of '23, when the Cubs’ revenue-sharing contract with the owners expires. The Cubs would "would presumably press for city permission to erect the five additional outfield advertising signs when the agreement ends" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/4).

Members of the national news media took a tour of the $400M renovation to Daytona Int'l Speedway on Friday, and many of their questions "focused on what the Speedway’s plans are once the project is complete," according to Dinah Voyles Pulver of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. They had "heard the Speedway hopes to attract concerts, football games and other events." DIS President Joie Chitwood III said, "I would envision a music festival and some other unique sporting events." He added that DIS has to "make sure any additions fit with the current schedule," meaning the new non-racing events are "likely to occur in the fall and summer ... rather than during the Speedway’s busiest season in January through March." Chitwood said music festival promoters believe the area is "perfect, with three or four distinct areas to create multiple stages." Chitwood: "I’m not sure you could have a hockey game here. But with the way technology is, I’ve seen crazier things" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 7/5). NASCAR Chair Brian France said of Daytona Rising, "When it’s all said and done, as (Chitwood) says quite frequently, (it will be) the only sports stadium for a racetrack in the country. Our fans will really appreciate those benefits, the escalators, the social media zones and all the rest." He added that other NASCAR tracks "may want to adopt aspects of the project as they consider upgrades of their own." France: "Every track has to have its own identity, and it has to do what it thinks is important in the marketplace that they compete in. Now, will it be something that other tracks want to emulate? I think it will" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 7/6).

CREATURES OF COMFORT: In Daytona Beach, Chris Graham noted thousands of "wider, more comfortable seats will be installed" as part of the project. Fans also will  "be able to use escalators and elevators to get to their seats and use landing areas to interact and post to social media sites." New York resident Terry Crowningshield, who has been coming to the Speedway with her husband for the past five years, said, "I hope they don't outprice the families." Chitwood said that fans will "see minimal price increases based on where they sit" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 7/6).