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Volume 24 No. 156

Facilities

The Cavaliers "could play in Quicken Loans Arena" through '44 under "terms of the team's new lease," according to a front-page piece by Karen Farkas of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. The Cavs' proposed $140M "transformation deal with Cuyahoga County and Cleveland included a provision to extend the current lease by seven years" to '34. But the "new deal also allows for two five-year renewal options." The 134-page lease also includes "details about the upgrades," which will be completed by Dec. 31, 2019, and the additional $92.8M in rent that "will be paid by the team over the next seven years." Other details of the deal include Quicken Loans providing and distributing "15,000 tickets to arena events each year beginning" in '17 through '34. Of those tickets, 10,000 will be for "either Cavaliers pre-season games, regular season games or other team events." Meanwhile, public areas of the arena "would be expanded" by approximately 40% (75,000 square feet), including "expanding the entries and expanding adjoining concourse space" by more than 300%. The Cavs will also pay an additional $5.46M a year in rent from '18-34 for a total of $92.8M. The team currently pays about $2.5M a year in rent (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/17).

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the A's chosen ballpark site near Laney College in downtown Oakland has "some really appealing aspects." But he acknowledged, as with any site, that "there are going to be issues ... and there's no perfect place to build a ballpark." Manfred: "One of the things that we've learned about building ballparks, particularly in urban areas, is that they have a way -- miraculously or otherwise -- of improving the overall development around them. And if the A's can get this done, it would be another example of that" (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). In S.F., John Shea writes there are "other concerns" with the Laney College site. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has stated a "preference for the Howard Terminal site" near the Bay waterfront, and there also is concern with the Laney College site over the "impact on the neighborhood and displacement of businesses and residents." Traffic and "costs of the surrounding infrastructure" would also be an issue, while parking would be "extremely limited." Manfred said of Schaaf's preference for another site, "My conversations with the mayor have led me to believe she's supportive of a plan to keep the Oakland A's in Oakland. She's been unwavering in that position" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/17).

KEEPING THINGS MOVING: In Tampa, Marc Topkin notes Manfred "made clear Thursday that identification of a site" for a new Rays ballpark is "merely the first step for area leaders to show they want to keep the team long-term and that there needs to [be] 'consistent forward movement' on the project." Manfred "likes the proposed location near Ybor City, which he saw during an August visit, and feels it is workable." Overall, he shares Rays Owner Stu Sternberg's "better-than-cautious optimism about the site." But Manfred is "not prepared to say this is the last chance or what would happen if the effort fails, as the Rays are contracted to play at Tropicana Field" through '27 (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/17). Topkin also notes Manfred "made clear, that the Rays and MLB need to see more -- a lot more -- than the plot of land." Manfred: "We need to figure out how the community can support an effort to keep baseball in Tampa (Bay)" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/17).

Univ. of North Carolina officials are "evaluating a plan to replace bleacher seating at Kenan Stadium with 34,000 seats with chair backs, a move that would reduce the stadium's capacity" by around 15%, according to Andrew Carter of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. If the plan goes through, the upper and lower levels of the sideline sections would "feature nothing but blue chair back seats." UNC "installed such seats in two lower-level sections before this season." The university has approved a $7M budget for the project, which would be "funded by a UNC Finance and Administration capital project internal loan." UNC has "received seven project proposals from four firms," though AD Bubba Cunningham said that the university "hasn't yet selected a firm." If the plan "comes to fruition, the seating capacity of Kenan Stadium could be reduced by around 10,000." The current capacity is approximately 63,000, and Cunningham said capacity would be reduced to the "low- to mid-50s." Carter notes the "most aggressive timeline would have the new seats installed in time" for the '18 season. Cunningham said that the deadline to "finalize plans for the project so it could be completed in time for next season is mid-to-late January." The seats with chair backs would go "only in the sideline sections of the stadium." The bleacher seating in the student section "would remain the same" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 11/17).

EXTREME MAKEOVER: In Phoenix, Anne Ryman reports the Univ. of Arizona "got the go-ahead" on Thursday to spend $66M to "renovate the football stadium, build an indoor practice facility and improve the aquatic center." A mandatory student athletic fee will "fund the majority of the improvements over the next two years." Of the total, $25M is "earmarked to renovate portions of the stadium." Improvements will "focus on the east side and include renovations to the student seating section and adding more restrooms and concessions." Construction will "take place in the offseason, with everything completed" by August '19 (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/17).

The Earthquakes "will add their first enclosed lounge at Avaya Stadium" for the '18 MLS season, according to Jody Meacham of the SILICON VALLEY BUSINESS JOURNAL. The Sky Lounge "will be available to 300 fans" and will also be the stadium's "first premium seating option above field level." It will be "at the top of section 122 in the stadium’s southwest corner." Earthquakes COO Jared Shawlee said that "gives an excellent field view because of the steep angle of stadium seating." The lounge will "offer food and beverages from a miniature version of the huge outdoor bar that stretches across the open end of the horseshoe-shaped stadium and be enclosed by glass and redwood." The Earthquakes are also "converting space adjacent to the home and visiting team benches into two Bench Suites with outdoor seats next to the benches, similar to courtside seats at an NBA game, and an enclosed space with a patio" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 11/16).