Oakland business and civic leaders rallied yesterday to "declare their support for the A’s ballpark proposal, which they say will deliver thousands of jobs and rejuvenate a stagnant part of the city," according to Kimberly Veklerov of the S.F. CHRONICLE. The advocacy "stood in contrast to the tepid response from City Hall last week after the team announced that it wants to put its future home in Oakland’s Eastlake neighborhood, at a site near Laney College and the Lake Merritt BART Station." Local business owners and prominent community figures said that while some issues "need to be smoothed over, residents and city officials should get behind the ballpark and work with the team, rather than rebuff the plan right off the bat" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/19).
COMMUNITY CONCERNS: In Oakland, Denis Cuff reports a conservation group opposes the A’s choice for a new ballpark site because it would be "bad for the birds and fish in Lake Merritt." The Golden Gate Audubon Society said that the site "threatens to degrade nearby Lake Merritt and a channel connecting to the Oakland estuary with contaminants, trash, loud noise and bright lights." The group said that bright lights for the scoreboard and parking areas and fireworks for special events will "disrupt birds’ traveling, nesting, and sleeping." A’s reps said that they "plan to address the community’s concerns" (EAST BAY TIMES, 9/19).
In Winnipeg, Paul Wiecek notes the Jets' Bell MTS Place received "new floors, new ceilings, new lights, new signage, new concessions and a new aviation theme full of steel, rivets and glass" as part of a $14M renovation this offseason. True North Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Jets, has now spent about $30M in the last three years "renovating and revitalizing" the arena. With the latest round of renovations, the arena has "generally been brought closer to the high standards people quite rightly expect" when attending games or entertainment events (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 9/19).
TRADING PARTNERS? In St. Louis, Lisa Brown reports TD Ameritrade yesterday closed on its $4B purchase of Scottrade Financial Services, and the deal will bring an "eventual end to the Scottrade name," including at the Blues' home arena. TD Ameritrade last October "initially said the arena's name will be changed to TD Ameritrade Center," as the "contract for the naming rights runs" through '21. But TD Ameritrade President & CEO Tim Hockey said that the company is "no longer pursuing renaming the center." He added that "no changes to the arena's name are expected" before '18 (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/19).
HEAT CHECK: SPORTSNET.ca's Jeff Blair wrote the "truth" is that the Flames will get a new arena and the team will stay in Calgary. The team last week said it will no longer pursue a new arena in Calgary. But the posturing by the Flames -- including bringing NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in to "ratchet up the pressure -- is right out of the playbook for getting a new arena paid for" (SPORTSNET.ca, 9/18). The NATIONAL POST's Scott Stinson writes the "only question is when the relocation question becomes explicit." Among NHL franchises, the Flames are "not a weak orphan, particularly in a league that is familiar with the sickly and underfed." No one should "imagine for a moment" that the Flames' relocation threat "is real" (NATIONAL POST, 9/19).
In Seattle, Geoff Baker notes Oak View Group, planning a $600M KeyArena renovation, hopes to pay $40M to a "local transportation mitigation fund not as a lump sum, but spread out over a 39-year lease term." OVG, which is paying for the renovation privatetly, hopes the Seattle City Council’s Select Committee on Civic Arenas "ratifies the deal by December to hasten the potential acquisition of an NHL expansion franchise." OVG has "hired local firm Nelson\Nygaard as a consultant on a 'mobility action plan' to review how money collected in the transportation fund should be spent." An "initial plan is expected" by Q1 '18, as an "environmental impact statement (EIS) on the KeyArena renovation is being prepared" (SEATTLE TIMES, 9/19).
FALLING OUT OF LINE: In N.Y., Boniello & Balsamini noted Barclays Center's steep upper bowl has "prompted at least four lawsuits from folks claiming they were crushed by fellow patrons who tumbled over the harrowingly sheer, narrow, dark rows or stairs." An arena spokesperson denied that there is a "falling-fan problem." The spokesperson also said that Barclays Center "complies with the city’s safety codes and 'was built to the highest safety standards in the industry.'" However, attorney Michael Castro believes that while inebriated fans are "part of the problem, the steep incline of the upper bowl is also a factor in the frequent falls, as is the dense seating which leaves little room between rows" (N.Y. POST, 9/17).
SHOW ME THE GREEN: In Green Bay, Jeff Bollier notes a house "just north" of Lambeau Field is "on the market this month" for $999,000. That is "more than twice its $371,200 assessed value." The "two-bedroom, two-bathroom ranch" is often rented for "up to $3,500" for a Packers game-day weekend. The "party house will test" just how much Packers fans will "pay for a view of Lambeau Field" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 9/19).