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Volume 24 No. 132


The playing surface at Hard Rock Stadium "was a mess" for yesterday's Jets-Dolphins game, though it was "certified as in compliance with league standards" prior to kickoff, according to Adam Beasley of the MIAMI HERALD. The footing was "poor enough to affect the game -- and frustrate some players." Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi "slipped a number of times trying to cut," and the common criticism inside the Dolphins’ locker room was that, "outside of the numbers, the field was 'trash.'" Fox' Michael Strahan even called the field "'not suitable' for football" during halftime. Beasley notes Hard Rock Stadium’s field has been "criticized for weeks," and it is "really difficult to grow grass in the shade, with the grass getting direct sunlight just a few hours a day -- if that." The Dolphins are "aware the turf is not holding as well as it did in the past and plans to spend the money it takes to fix the problem." Yesterday's game was just the second home game this season for the Dolphins, though the Univ. of Miami has played three times at Hard Rock Stadium, including Saturday's game against Syracuse (MIAMI HERALD, 10/23). In West Palm Beach, Joe Schad noted the field "appeared in poor condition" during the Syracuse-UM game due "largely to a downpour that occurred before kickoff." During the time between the two games, the Dolphins "re-sodded the mid-field logo, vacuumed the field, mowed the field, rolled it for compaction and painted." The Hard Rock Stadium field has "traditionally been very good, though there are sometimes challenges posed by heavy rains and the use of the stadium for multiple events such as concerts, soccer matches and college and pro football games" (, 10/22).

Islanders co-Owner Jonathan Ledecky said that the proposed site for a new arena at Belmont Park will be located "next to the existing, part-time LIRR station in what is now a parking lot outside the grandstand area of the racetrack," according to Jim Baumbach of NEWSDAY. Oak View Group Arena Alliance co-Chair and NHL Panthers Exec Chair Peter Luukko, whose firm is one of the Islanders' partners in the development, said that the new arena would "host approximately 150 events per year, including Islanders games and entertainment such as concerts, family shows and college basketball games." Ledecky said that there would be 7,000 parking spots available, "allowing fans to drive and tailgate as they used to at Nassau Coliseum." Luukko said that a full-time LIRR stop at Belmont "would be necessary to meet the number of people who would be coming regularly to the arena." Baumbach noted the Belmont LIRR station is currently "used only when horse racing is taking place." Luukko said that the Belmont arena "would be managed" by OVG and the group "submitted its plan to the Empire State Development on Sept. 28." Ledecky said that he "isn't concerned about the LIRR's ability to accommodate such a plan, saying it has been amenable to adding extra trains after games at Barclays Center in response to the crush of people leaving Islanders games at the same time." He also "noted how ridership increases on game nights." Baumbach noted the Islanders' other partners on the arena project are Sterling Project Development, "controlled by the Wilpon family, who own the Mets" (NEWSDAY, 10/22).

In Michigan, Kyle Austin noted Michigan State on Friday unveiled a $50M renovation to the Breslin Center, "marking the first major upgrade to the nearly three-decade old" basketball facility. The "highlight of the project is a 30,000 square foot addition at the southeast corner of the arena" that houses the new Tom Izzo Basketball Hall of History, which "showcases the program's trophy collection, tributes to notable former players and more." Cavaliers Owner and Quicken Loans Founder & Chair Dan Gilbert gave a $15M gift to "fund the addition and a scholarship fund." The outside of the building is "dubbed the Gilbert Pavilion" (, 10/20).

A LITTLE MORE TIME: The Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority and city Urban Redevelopment Authority have given the Penguins until Friday to "buy the first parcel needed for development" of the former Civic Arena site. Officials with both authorities stated it is "part of a broader deal they are trying to negotiate to eliminate all or a significant amount" of the $15M in "development credits the team received" as part of the '07 agreement to build PPG Paints Arena. The Penguins "already have used some of the credits to buy more time to start redeveloping the land" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 10/21).

SLOWING THE PROCESS: In Seattle, Geoff Baker notes entrepreneur Chris Hansen’s lawyer has "submitted a letter to the city arguing that KeyArena renovation should be considered a 'public' and not 'private' process." That is huge because "if the renovation is deemed 'public' then the environmental study would have to examine alternative sites for the project." Such a move would "prolong" the Environmental Impact Statement and "likely delay the KeyArena renovation to the point it misses its targeted" October '20 opening (SEATTLE TIMES, 10/23).