A Maricopa County (Ariz.) Superior Court judge ordered the D-backs and local government to "negotiate through arbitration and to set the talks on a speedy schedule," meaning a years-long dispute over "repairs and improvements to Chase Field could be over before the end of the year," according to Rebekah Sanders of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The team in January "filed a lawsuit to break its Chase Field lease," which goes through '27, "accusing the county of neglecting" up to $187M in ballpark repairs. The county said that it would have "enough money to cover significant capital repairs, but is not required to pay for upgrades county officials called cosmetic." Judge Karen Mullins' ruling is "vindication for the county, which had sought arbitration instead of a trial." County officials also noted that Mullins wrote the team is "obligated under the (agreements) to play all games" at the ballpark. But the D-backs "claimed victory as well." D-backs attorney Leo Beus said that it was a "win because the county had sought to delay the start of negotiations to next year." Grady Gammage, an attorney representing the county stadium district, said that he "doesn't see the resolution coming before the end of the year" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 8/18).
The Las Vegas Stadium Authority on Thursday got its "first collective look at a financial package being negotiated by the Raiders with Bank of America that won’t be finalized until a guaranteed maximum price contract is signed," according to Richard Velotta of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. Bank of America Managing Dir of Sports Finance & Advisory Group Elliott McCabe told the LVSA BOD that the package with the Raiders includes a $600M loan for construction-related costs and up to $250M generated through PSL sales with "proceeds going toward the project." McCabe said that the Raiders have budgeted $1.8B for project costs and $100M for a practice facility and team HQ. That will be paid for with $750M in public funding and $1.15B in private money. McCabe said that negotiations with the team include "consideration" of the Raiders’ $378M relocation fee. BofA has "worked on NFL stadium projects across the country." McCabe said that this experience gives BofA a "high level of confidence that the team will be able to meet its obligations." Meanwhile, California-based Cordell Principal & co-Founder Don Webb, who serves as a stadium consultant, said that the the non-retractable roof will be "made of a high-strength polymer that is lighter but more durable than glass." The stadium also will have a "see-through video wall on the east side." People on the concourses inside will be "able to see through it, but those outside the building will see a video wall, a feature similar to a screen at T-Mobile Arena." Webb "repeated the three biggest issues of concern" -- keeping costs within budget, keeping construction on schedule and parking (REVIEWJOURNAL.com, 8/17).
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, and fans will "not only get to experience racing, but also concerts and other activities -- all in an effort to broaden the sport’s appeal," according to Zach Irby of the BRISTOL HERALD COURIER. BMS VP/Corporate Sales Greg Harvey said that the track has "made it a priority in recent years to market certain events and ticket prices to college students during race week." Harvey said that the first step to "attracting a younger generation like college students to the track was to offer lower ticket prices that students would be able to afford." College ticket prices for the race have been "reduced to $45 with a valid college ID." Regular ticket prices for Saturday night’s race "start at $79." Other events for college students planned by Harvey and his staff during race week "include a post-race winner’s celebration on Saturday night and a track walk before the start" of the race. Irby noted this is the "second year for the lawn party, located in the BMS Fan Zone by the Bristol Tower in Turn 2." Highlights include "giant beer pong, inflatables, human billiards and a photo booth." BMS "hasn’t seen a change in demographics just yet." But Harvey said that they have been "able to pull in a younger audience thanks to free kids’ tickets and discounted tickets from Food City" (BRISTOL HERALD COURIER, 8/17).
ACCESS GRANTED: In Savannah, Don Coble reported NASCAR drivers have "become more available to their fans" in order to "win back their fan base." Daytona Int'l Speedway has "autograph windows for every garage stall" and several Q&A sessions with drivers "in the infield." Watkins Glen Int'l "held an autograph session earlier this month, and many other facilities are working to re-engage drivers and their teams with the paying public." However, driver Clint Bowyer said that "nothing sells stock-car racing better than a good show." Meanwhile, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and former driver Carl Edwards all had "cameo appearances" in the film "'Logan Lucky," which was released on Friday and is about brothers who "conspire to rob a NASCAR race." Logano said, "It’s important for our sport to do things like that. We’re reaching out to possibly non-fans of our sport and when they watch a movie like that and they see a lot of racing and NASCAR stuff, maybe they become a fan. Maybe it brings them to one race and a lot of times when someone goes to a race they get hooked, so maybe it helps kind of draw that stuff up" (SAVANNAH MORNING NEWS, 8/17).