United Airlines has offered to withdraw from a $69M deal to change the L.A. Memorial Coliseum into United Airlines Memorial Coliseum, after details of the deal "enraged some Angelenos, including politicians and some veterans groups," according to Marisa Gerber of the L.A. TIMES. This comes "less than half a year before the name change was expected to take effect," as the original plan was announced in January '18 as part of USC's $270M renovation to the stadium. L.A. County Supervisor and Coliseum Commission President Janice Hahn early last week "offered a forceful rebuke of the proposed name" in an op-ed in the L.A. Times. Later in the week, several veterans shared their views on the issue at a Coliseum Commission meeting. One local citizen suggested a "compromise in which the field itself was renamed, but the stadium retained its historic name." USC then released a statement Friday saying that -- if United was open to it -- the university would “be amenable to accepting the wishes of the veteran community to modify the proposed naming agreement to United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum." The school added that "would require a modification of the naming-rights agreement." But United Airlines California President Janet Lamkin sent a letter to USC on Friday saying the airline’s stance on the name "had not changed." Lamkin said changing the stadium’s name to what the parties initially agreed on “is the key provision of our sponsorship agreement" (L.A. TIMES, 3/31).
LOOKING AT THE ISSUE: In L.A., Arash Markazi wrote however the naming rights deal dispute is resolved, this issue "should force everyone involved to do more" to make sure the stadium is an "actual living memorial to all who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, which was the original intent." Perhaps they could "build a statue to recognize those who have sacrificed their lives for this country at the Coliseum" (L.A. TIMES, 3/31).
The 49ers and the Santa Clara Stadium Authority lost out on $2M in potential ticket sales last May after "giving away 20,000 tickets to fill the stands" for a Taylor Swift concert at Levi’s Stadium, which has "added fuel to the rift between the city and the NFL team" over management of the stadium, according to Phil Matier of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Swift's Reputation Stadium Tour originally booked just one show at Levi's Stadium on Friday, May 11, 2018, which "sold a whopping 50,503 tickets." Given that demand, the 49ers "allowed concert promoter Louis Messina to add a second show a day earlier." However, the Thursday night show "sold only 29,333 tickets, leaving the stadium about half empty." Swift’s contract "called for the stadium to be filled to an acceptable level, so those 20,000 tickets were given away." The two concerts still netted $1M for the stadium -- of which $500,000 "went to Santa Clara." The shows’ "roller-coaster ticket sales highlight some of the challenges of booking big events" at Levi’s Stadium. 49ers VP/Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Rahul Chandhok "laid part of the blame on the booking slump" to Santa Clara’s 10:00pm curfew for weekday concerts (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/31).
Indians Senior Dir of Communications Curtis Danburg said that this season at Progressive Field will "feature the transformation" of the club seat bar area. In Akron, Craig Webb notes the indoor space on the second level behind home plate is now "dubbed the Discount Drug Mart Club." The $6M transformation includes "moving the bar closer to the windows, 30 TVs, a new sound system and a drink rail so fans can stand and watch the game" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 4/1).
IN WITH THE NEW? In Buffalo, Tan & Gaughan in a front-page piece wrote while a new Bills stadium is "not out of the question, there are examples of existing stadium overhauls that could serve as a blueprint." Bills co-Owners Terry and Kim Pegula have invested $36M of their own money to improve New Era Field and the practice facility "since buying the team." Erie County Exec Mark Poloncarz said, "I find it hard to believe the Pegulas would invest $36 million of their own money in a stadium they plan on leaving in a few years" (BUFFALO NEWS, 3/31).
PLAN B: MLS expansion club Inter Miami CF will play its inaugural season at Lockhart Stadium and eventually build a new home in Miami, but Managing Owner Jorge Mas said that he still has a plan for the Overtown site as Miami-Dade "tries to rebuild a public-housing project that sits across the street." Sitting between the two "clusters of county-owned town homes is a six-acre vacant lot" David Beckham's group purchased in '16 when it was pursuing an MLS stadium in Overtown. Mas said, "Our parcel is dead center. And I think there’s something innovative there that we can do" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 3/30).