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Volume 24 No. 117


The "long-disputed 10-year lease to allow" the A's to continue playing at Coliseum "was finally settled Tuesday after co-owner Lew Wolff said he had accepted most of the changes made by city officials," according to a front-page piece by Kane & Jones of the S.F. CHRONICLE. The agreement, "however difficult, may also usher in an effort by Wolff to help develop the existing stadium site." But if he were to decide "to move the team outside Oakland, the lease allows the A's to leave as early" as December '17 by giving two years' notice. However, the team would "have to pay rent for any remaining years on the lease." The team is expected to pay Oakland and Alameda County about $20M "for use of the stadium over the next 10 years." The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority "negotiated with the A's for 14 months to reach a lease deal." The deal already has been "approved by the Coliseum Authority and Oakland's City Council and will head to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors next week for what is expected to be an easy approval." Due to the "recent changes, the revised lease may go back to the Coliseum Authority for another vote" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/23). In Oakland, Matthew Artz notes the agreement "gives the A's a measure of stability as the team remains blocked" by MLB from moving to San Jose. The deal "offers a window for Oakland officials to patch up years of testy relations with the team and make its case to Wolff that he should build a new ballpark at the Coliseum site." Wolff yesterday reiterated that the "strained lease negotiations wouldn't sour him on dealing with Oakland should he decide to move forward with a new stadium at the Coliseum site" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 7/23). Sources said that the lease with its opt-outs "boils down to a true three-year deal." In San Jose, Tim Kawakami reports stadium co-tenant the Raiders and a new stadium developer will "need at least that long to finalize a Coliseum City deal (if they ever do) that could push the A's out, and the A's get three years to figure out their next step" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 7/23).

Bank of America Stadium "continues to make room for different playing partners," with yesterday's announcement that Tennessee and West Virginia will "play a college football game at the stadium" in September '18, according to David Scott of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The news comes 10 days before Serie A club AC Milan and EPL club Liverpool play there in the Guinness Int’l Champions Cup. It is "not the first time college football and soccer" have been played there, but those sports "figure to play a prominent role as Charlotte continues to expand on that front." Panthers President Danny Morrison said that three college football games, in "addition to at least 10 Panthers home games -- including exhibitions -- are as much as the stadium's natural turf field can stand in the fall and winter." But there is "time during the warm-weather months for soccer, as is the case this year with the Liverpool-AC Milan match." Scott notes Morrison and the Panthers are "happy to provide the venue for soccer and college football" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 7/23).

LSU will "make an additional" $14M from the south end zone expansion of premium seats at Tiger Stadium, and AD Joe Alleva yesterday said that all seats in the club and suite levels "are sold," according to Ross Dellenger of the Baton Rouge ADVOCATE. Completion of the addition is set for Aug. 22, and LSU "showed off its multimillion dollar makeover to 90-year-old Tiger Stadium" yesterday, "ushering reporters around the 320,000-square-foot addition." Between the 40-foot-high HD video screens are "two ribbon LED boards stretching from one end of the new expanded end-zone section to the other." One board is "stripped above the club level and another below one of the suite levels." The ribbon boards on the east and west sides of the stadium will be "replaced to match the new ribbon boards." The boards will be a "place for advertisements, closed captions, score updates and more." The "exterior of the new expansion will be illuminated in purple and gold lighting to match the exterior of the north end zone" (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 7/23). 

JOE MOVING DIRT: Rice Univ. AD Joe Karlgaard said the school is "closing in" on $30M needed to begin a multi-phase renovation of Rice Stadium. In Houston, Joseph Duarte noted the original design "called for an 80,000 square-foot facility -- which includes a locker room, team meeting and training areas, and coaches offices -- at a cost" of about $44M. But since then, Karlgaard said that university and athletic officials "have 'backtracked' to accommodate a scaled-down version that will include a 60,000 square-foot facility at a lower cost without sacrificing any of the amenities." The lower cost will "allow Rice to allocate other donations toward the rest of the stadium renovations while still constructing what Karlgaard said will be a 'Big 12-caliber' end zone facility" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 7/21).  

LIFE IN DEATH VALLEY: In South Carolina, Aaron Brenner noted the Clemson Univ. Board of Trustees on Friday "gave its final approval to renovate all Memorial Stadium suites." The project is "estimated to cost" $25M, which will be "funded via revenue bonds." It is "scheduled to be finished" in time for the '15 football season. This will be the "first large-scale renovation to the suites in 20 years" (Charleston POST & COURIER, 7/19). Sports architect AECOM is designing the stadium upgrades as well as $40M in improvements to Clemson’s Littlejohn Coliseum (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/21 issue).

HURRICANE WARNING: In West Palm Beach, Matt Porter noted the Univ. of Miami this summer "revamped its football practice fields, installing a 70-yard artificial turf surface and upgrading two full-size grass fields with a new drainage system, addressing a problem that forced the Hurricanes to periodically practice on its soccer and baseball fields." By October, the basketball teams will "get some love" with a $1M video board in the BankUnited Center (PALM BEACH POST, 7/21).  

N.Y.-based Owl Spring Asset Management co-CEO Jason Ader yesterday said that he is "going to launch" a $350M effort to bring an MLS team to Las Vegas, "complete with a new covered stadium of 18,000-20,000 seats and players with international appeal." Ader said that he "has discussed the viability of the Las Vegas market hosting an MLS team" with MLS President & Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott. In Las Vegas, Alan Snel notes Ader by announcing his interest in starting a team in Las Vegas "is now competing against the Findlay Sports & Entertainment Group, which was formed specifically to partner with development company Cordish Cos." The City Council several months ago "green-lighted the Findlay-Cordish partnership to come up with an MLS team and stadium proposal." Ader said that he "is aware of the Findlay initiative and that his bid would be separate from the Findlay-Cordish connection" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 7/23).

BE WARY LIKE BECKHAM: A South Florida SUN-SENTINEL editorial states Broward County (Fla.) officials who may be trying to lure David Beckham and his proposed 20,000-seat stadium to the area should "be wary" of the deal. The editorial: "Look before you leap. ... Explore the possibilities? Sure. Why not? Bend over backward for Beckham? Not so fast." Beckham has always said that he "preferred a downtown, waterfront site." The area "next to the mall at Sawgrass Mills hardly meets that criterion." The editorial: "If this sounds like Beckham might be trying to get a little negotiating leverage with Miami-Dade by showing some interest in Broward, well, call us cynical" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 7/23).

THE REAL DEAL: In Utah, Morgan Jacobsen reports Utah State Fairpark officials "are considering a proposal from Real Salt Lake to build a minor league soccer stadium on the fairgrounds" in Salt Lake City. A new convention building and upgraded rodeo grounds "would also be considered alongside the stadium." The stadium "would seat up to 6,000 spectators and host as many as 15 home games per year" (DESERET NEWS, 7/23).