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Volume 24 No. 114

Facilities

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration "demanded Thursday that the Cubs upgrade security around Wrigley Field in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe that have intensified the team’s longstanding demand for game-day street closings," according to Fran Spielman of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. The administration "outlined six security measures that require the team’s 'prompt attention.'" The team must notify the Chicago Police Department of "any serious injury that occurs on Cubs property." The team must also fully fund the "design and construction of a city-approved plan to widen the sidewalk along Addison along the ballpark between Sheffield and Clark by 'up to four feet to facilitate the installation of security barriers.'" The Cubs will have to develop a "'comprehensive security and crowd management plan' for the new open-air plaza adjacent to Wrigley Field that has become a big attraction for Cubs fans." Wrigley Field's cameras will have to be fully integrated "into the city network of 29,000 public and private cameras." The team must upgrade the "public safety radio communications in the on-site Joint Operations Center at Wrigley," and also must outfit off-duty police officers who "moonlight as security officers for the Cubs." However, a team source said that if City Hall was "truly concerned about security around Wrigley, the concerns would first have been raised with the Cubs -- not to the media." The mayor’s letter has the effect of "putting the team on the defensive." It accuses the Ricketts family, who own the Cubs, of "spending hundreds of millions to renovate Wrigley and develop the land around it," but "not spending enough on security around the ballpark" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/9).

LAYERS TO THE STORY: In Chicago, John Byrne writes the "latest salvo in the public feud between the team and the city over security comes as the Cubs are trying to showcase plans for new high-end clubs they are planning to build for season ticket holders." The team and the city have been "publicly at odds over the security strategy, with the Cubs calling for Clark and Addison to be closed on game days" and Emanuel and Alderman Tom Tunney "opposing that move on the grounds it would further snarl the already ugly traffic in the area" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/9). In Chicago, Greg Hinz wrote it "seems pretty clear that the dispute over whether or not to shut Addison and Clark on game days is at the center of the dispute" (CRAINSCHICAGO.com, 6/8).

Mobile video game producer Kabam has recently "pulled out of its naming rights partnership with Cal Athletics, meaning the flashy name will no longer be featured on the field" at Memorial Stadium, according to Yazdanian & Weinstein of the Berkeley DAILY CALIFORNIAN. Cal Assistant AD/Communications Herb Benenson said that the two parties "came to a mutual agreement" that will net Cal about $5M that will go toward "paying debt services." This ends the initial 15-year, $18M deal -- the "largest naming rights agreement in college athletics" at the time of signing in '13. The department has four years to "find a new partner before the ending of the agreement," which paid Cal Athletics about $1.2M each year, "results in a net loss." Cal, which operated with a deficit nearing $22M in FY '16, has the "most debt of any athletic program in the nation" (Berkeley DAILY CALIFORNIAN, 6/9).

MONEY IN THE BANK: In S.F., Rusty Simmons notes Cal and Under Armour teamed up in a "promotional series that had the campus buzzing about the school’s rebranded logos and hinted at the partnership’s potential assistance to the financially strapped program." Cal officials said that a "transitional bonus" from UA is "helping the school pay for resurfacing projects at Haas Pavilion and Memorial Stadium that are expected to be completed this weekend." However, the new deal with UA and contracts with Learfield that are "supposed to take effect next month" are projected to provide about $8M more annually than the school’s previous contracts in apparel, multimedia and licensing. The designs of the new uniforms will be released in the coming months, but Cal and UA "started riling up anticipation this week by debuting several new logos." The Cal script will "remain the primary logo, but the partners introduced some alternate options that have Bears fans clamoring" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/9).

Amid speculation the Flames could leave Calgary if they do not get a new venue, local officials said that negotiations between the team and the city are "going well, with a new deal expected to be revealed soon," according to a front-page piece by Eva Ferguson of the CALGARY HERALD. Councillor Diane Colley-Urquhart said, "We are in the short strokes of putting together a deal that people can live with. It will be made public in the next few weeks." Councillor Jim Stevenson agreed, adding that city council has been "well-informed of negotiations throughout the process." Flames President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke on Wednesday "launched a media storm" when he said that the team "will leave Calgary if they don't get the new arena they've been seeking." Quebec Mayor Regis Labeaume said that he "doesn't believe the Flames are serious about a move." Labeaume: "It's a negotiating strategy. We're used to it. Everyone is calm, the Flames will not come to Quebec." Labeaume added that he remembers the Oilers "using the same strategy before getting approval to build Rogers Place" (CALGARY HERALD, 6/9).

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
: Flames President & CEO Ken King said that he "refuses to give a date when the Flames want the city to green-light an arena deal." King: "Quickly is not a pressure tactic. There should be no reason why we can't move this along. We can do it or we can't do it. We should all know that relatively soon. It's really important this comes together quickly so we can get on with the business of building the building and opening the building." In Calgary, Rick Bell writes while King "won't give a date when the Flames want an arena deal done," but it could be July 31, and "no one says this date is out of line." The Flames "think what they're looking for will get the support of Calgarians." King: "It needs to be explained. It needs to be qualified. There's lots of arms and legs to it that have to be articulated. I think it's a very fair arrangement." He added, "We don't need to invent public benefits. The benefits we bring economically, socially, psychologically are vast." Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi had some "tough words about the negotiations." King said that he "doesn't want a war of words with Nenshi." King: "I'm not in the habit of picking fights with people I'm trying to make deals with." He added that any "talk of the Flames leaving Calgary is 'speculative'" (CALGARY SUN, 6/9).

POOR TIMING: In Calgary, Eric Francis writes it is "bombast like Burke’s that will help ensure relocation." The timing of his comments "couldn’t have been worse." The clock is "ticking down on the possibility of city council tabling a response to the Flames’ funding proposal for a Plan B." If it is "not done before the last council meting July 31, it will have to wait until well after the civic election in mid-October." What Burke "might not have known, because he hasn’t been involved in any of the dozens of meetings" that King has had with city officials the last six months, is that the council is "on the verge of determining and announcing what level of play they’re prepared to be involved in." The Flames have made their "funding stance known to the city, and King has had dozens of meetings the last six months with administration officials." Francis: "This is King’s project, which is why King wisely reminded people Burke speaks to all things hockey, not all things arena. Nonetheless, damage had been done" (CALGARY HERALD, 6/9).

The Dolphins are "still working on smaller improvements" to Hard Rock Stadium, "mainly an overhaul of their suites, but overall the building seems to be in great shape," according to Jason Lieser of the PALM BEACH POST. Dolphins President & CEO Tom Garfinkel said, “The sound -- I think we had some challenges last year with some of the audio. We’re working on that to make that better for the fans, as well as where the speakers point. They point toward the stands so you can’t really hear anything when you’re on the field, maybe in some of the front rows. We’re working on adjusting that to get the sound calibrated better." He added, "In terms of the roof, we had a couple of leaks that were coming from signage that we had up there. We’ve been working on it so when it rains, we don’t get any drips on people." Meanwhile, the Dolphins have "planted more than 1,000 trees outside the stadium and upgraded some of the surrounding areas." The team is also in the "process of building promenades and walkways leading in from the parking lot." One of the next things on Garfinkel’s list is to "create pedestrian bridges and tunnels to reduce the ways in which people and cars obstruct each other getting into the stadium." The team "hopes to have those in place" for the '18 season (PALM BEACH POST, 6/9).

Monumental Sports & Entertainment on Thursday "announced a new partnership" between Verizon Center and Virginia-based WGL Energy Services that will enable the downtown home of the Capitals, Wizards, WNBA Mystics and AFL Valor to operate using 25% solar energy, according to Scott Allen of the WASHINGTON POST. MS&E will "purchase solar electricity from a third-party-owned solar facility" in Frederick County, Md., and "receive about 4.7 million kWh per year of energy" beginning in late '17 as part of a long-term contract. WGL Energy "reports that the carbon emissions avoided as a result of the new arrangement are equivalent to taking nearly 700 cars off the road for one year." WGL has been the official energy partner of Verizon Center since '15 and has "already taken steps to make the arena greener." Meanwhile, MS&E will be "honored as one of the Green Sports Alliance's Innovators of the Year" later this month. Verizon Center's tenants are "among the first pro sports teams powered by offsite renewable energy" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 6/8).

In Omaha, Marcella Mercer notes the city has "created a concrete plan to protect people walking to and from the College World Series." Crews on Wednesday "began installing hundreds of 4,000-pound barriers" near sidewalks by TD Ameritrade Park. Omaha Police Department Capt. Adam Kyle said that the risk of an incident similar to last week's London attacks was "part of the reasoning behind installing the concrete barriers," but they could also "protect pedestrians from any motor vehicle accidents during the high-traffic CWS events" (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 6/9).

RUN IT BACK: In Buffalo, James Fink reported the Twins have "extended a contract" with Delaware North Sportservice for "food, beverage and retail management operations" at Target Field. The ballpark is now one of 11 within MLB where Delaware North has a "presence serving food, beverage, or retail operations" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 6/8).

GETTING CULTURED: In Green Bay, Richard Ryman notes the Packers "partnered with Sports & The Arts and the Green Bay Press-Gazette to display original art, graphics and photographs on the suite and club levels this year." Original art will be "featured in several areas on Lambeau Field's Associated Bank Club Level." It will "include rarely seen historical photographs provided by the Press-Gazette and pieces obtained through Sports & The Arts" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 6/9).

SAFETY ISSUE: In Minneapolis, Rochelle Olson reports Chicago-based Monterrey Security is "under investigation by a state board." The firm is in the "first year of a three-year contract" for security at U.S. Bank Stadium. Monterrey also provides security for the Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs and Chicago Marathon. U.S. Bank Stadium security was "breached in the final game" of the Vikings' season by protesters (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 6/9).