The Chargers have "worked furiously for months to upgrade" StubHub Center before the team's preseason home opener on Sunday night, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. TIMES. The club has had to "adjust the facility to accommodate the larger crowds expected for football, from adding seats, parking, concession stands and restrooms to a massive expansion of the press box." The bleachers in the second deck on the east side were "replaced by tip-up seats and moved to the berm on the north side, adding 1,000 seats." A "new section of upper-level bleachers, which will seat 330, was erected in the southeast corner." The stadium's 43 luxury suites have been "renovated with new seats, furniture, community tables, and engineered hardwood floors instead of dated carpet." Fans also will be able to "use the restrooms and concession stands at the 8,000-seat tennis stadium next door." There will be "at least 16 food trucks" and "several large-screen televisions for the viewing of early games." The Chargers will have "full use of the American Express Stadium Club, which seats about 250 on the south side," as well as 14 cabanas that "seat four to six people" located just outside the club. Fans will be able to "see players coming in and out of the locker rooms" from the Jim Beam Champions Lounge. The press box received a "major face lift," as capacity was boosted from about 35 to 53 and floors were "constructed on the roof of the luxury suites so an auxiliary press box could be built on both sides of the main box." The new configuration will "accommodate more than 200 media members." Two new radio booths also were "built outside the south side of the press box" (L.A. TIMES, 8/10).
Minnesota United Owner Bill McGuire said that Allianz Field is "still set" to open for the '19 MLS season, according to Megan Ryan of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Some decisions are "still being deliberated, mostly on amenities and design elements, such as colors for the stadium interior." McGuire said that the team is "considering a roof deck opposite the supporters’ section and several club areas, including one on the north end that would be open to the public beyond just match days and offer a look out onto the pitch." The team is also "looking into a scoreboard with a giant clock and hang-up numbers." The "privately financed, nearly 19,000-capacity stadium was originally estimated" to cost $150M, but that rose to $200M late last month. McGuire said the increase was "mostly just a reality of finalizing plans, but some factors did increase the price." Among them were "adding more roof and kitchens for concessions and enclosing the whole stadium in a translucent PTFE laminate mesh skin that will allow the venue to change color thanks to LED lighting" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 8/11). In St. Paul, Andy Greder reports the Kentucky bluegrass that will "form the playing surface" is "expected to start growing on a Colorado farm this week or next." Mortenson Construction, who is building the venue, has been "testing how different LED lighting will project over a large sample panel of the roof." McGuire has "sought an 'architecturally interesting' roof with a sort of herring bone design within the overall contours, a feature that will differentiate it from most other MLS venues." The roof has been a "substantial driver in the higher cost" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 8/11).
The A’s on Thursday released an online survey asking fans “not only to rank the three sites under consideration” for a new ballpark, but “help decide how it should ‘feel,’” according to David DeBolt of the EAST BAY TIMES. The questionnaire “hints that the team’s new home could have a children’s play area, an Oakland sports museum or ritzy club seating.” The request for fan feedback comes as the A’s at some point this year are expected to "announce whether the team stays at the Coliseum site or moves toward downtown" to one of two sites. A's President Dave Kaval has "insisted all three options remain on the table." The team also “wants to know how fans feel about in-seat concessions delivery service, a brewery inside the park, social gathering spaces and smart phone technology so patrons can look up statistics, watch replays and order food.” The survey "sought preferences of fans who can pony up for luxury, a la suites designed similar to movie theater box seating that could run between $70,000 to $90,000 for a four-seat season ticket package." The team is also “toying with the idea of mimicking the rooftop seats located outside Wrigley Field." Under this possible option, fans would "pay a monthly membership fee for a seat to every home game" (EASTBAYTIMES.com, 8/10). NBCSPORTSBAYAREA.com's Joe Stiglich wrote the survey is "wide-ranging and takes more than a half-hour to complete, but the A's set it up that way with a purpose in mind -- to glean as much information as they could, in one single shot, about the spending habits and preferences of potential ticket-buyers" (NBCSPORTSBAYAREA.com, 8/10).
In Knoxville, Rachel Ohm in a front-page piece reports a $106M renovation project for Neyland Stadium at Tennessee was "given preliminary approval by the State Building Commission." The project will be the "first of three planned phases of renovations at Neyland and will focus on renovations of the south and west sides of the stadium." The project "must clear five stages of approval from the State Building Commission, the first of which easily passed on Thursday" (Knoxville NEWS SENTINEL, 8/11).
PLANS IN MOTION: Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt said that he "anticipates making an announcement soon regarding a proposed basketball practice facility directly across the street" from United Supermarkets Arena. Hocutt said that he is "projecting" the facility will cost $23M. He "declined to say how much fundraising is still needed." Hocutt: "We’ve had significant success, but yet still quite a ways to go. But we’re excited about working on that and seeing that come to reality in the next 18 to 24 months" (LUBBOCKONLINE.com, 8/10).
TURTLE RACE: In Baltimore, Don Markus noted Maryland "disclosed on its website" that the cost of Cole Field House renovations had increased by more than 25% to $196M. A university spokesperson confirmed that the $41M increase in the overall cost of UM's new football practice facility was the "result of the expansion in the scope of the project’s second phase," which is expected to be completed in '19 (Baltimore SUN, 8/9).