Islanders President of Hockey Operations & GM Lou Lamoriello is confident the team's new arena at Belmont Park "will be built" despite some "local opposition to the construction," according to Vin Cherwoo of the AP. Lamoriello said, "I don't have any question. I would not have come here if there wasn't going to be a new arena." Construction on the new site is "expected to begin soon." The Islanders just finished their first season of an "expected three-year arrangement to split home games between the Nassau Coliseum and Barclays Center" while the new arena is built. The Islanders' Stanley Cup Playoffs games this year were also "split between the venues" (AP, 5/6). NEWSDAY's Mark Herrmann writes what the Islanders "need most of all" is a "shovel in the ground and a certificate that says a permanent Long Island home is on the way." Everything for the Islanders "revolves around a new arena, and nothing comes close to being as important." Still, "chances are" Lamoriello "won’t persuade elite free agents to come (or convince all of his current players to stay) unless he can guarantee that they won’t be shuttling back and forth to Barclays Center for who knows how long" (NEWSDAY, 5/7).
As part of a broader update on the in-house video system at Globe Life Field, which will include approximately $10M worth of Daktronics LED displays, the MLB Rangers said that PA announcer Chuck Morgan will "make announcements from a glass-enclosed booth on the main concourse" of the new ballpark, according to Evan Grant of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. The 550-square-foot booth will "sit directly behind home plate on the main concourse," where fans will be able to interact with Morgan. The move will take Morgan, who also serves as the club’s Exec VP/Ballpark Entertainment, "out of the main video control booth," which will "control the nine Daktronics video and scoreboards throughout the stadium seating bowl and on the concourses." The biggest of those boards will "sit in right field and will measure 58 feet in height by 150 feet in length," making for a 43% increase in size over the current right field board at Globe Life Park. There will also be "an auxiliary board in left field, just as currently exists at Globe Life Park, and an out of town scoreboard in center field." The ribbon panels will be "capable of producing 924 feet of continuous lighting effects around the stadium seating bowl" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/7).
In Tampa, Joey Knight writes USF in November '17 announced plans for its new football center, but when it will formally announce a ground-breaking "remains anyone’s guess." USF AD Michael Kelly yesterday said that the school has received $18.4M in commitments for the center, which is "less than half" of its projected $40M cost. The goal is to reach $20M "by June 30, the end of USF’s fiscal year." The center remains the athletic department’s "top fundraising priority" (TAMPABAY.com, 5/7).
KEEPING UP WITH THE TIMES: Virginia Tech AD Whit Babcock said within the next year the school plans to begin a "comprehensive capital campaign to renovate and improve Cassell Coliseum." He said the biggest priorities are "modern amenities." Babcock: "Opening up the concourses a little bit. Point of sale. Premium seating. Club seating. Concessions. Beverages. Lots of things we can do. So we think Cassell is uniquely Virginia Tech and don’t want to change that. But [there] hasn’t been a ton done to it since 1965, and it houses four of our sports" (THEATHLETIC.com, 5/3).
HEARING AID: Oregon is "planning to upgrade the sound system at Autzen Stadium," which "drew scrutiny" during the football team's spring game. Oregon AD Rob Mullens said, "We have been looking for the last two years at a sound system upgrade but when we started digging into it and seeing the costs we started looking at a bigger project that maybe we should consider because our video board is getting old." Mullens said that the east end of Autzen Stadium "would be 'ideal' for the new video board." He said, "It’s risky to put out a number, then it’s a number people get locked into -- we’re probably in the $12 million range" (Portland OREGONIAN, 5/7).