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Volume 26 No. 89

Facilities

The planned renovations will result in a reduction to Minute Maid Park's total seating capacity of 41,168
Photo: getty images
The planned renovations will result in a reduction to Minute Maid Park's total seating capacity of 41,168
Photo: getty images
The planned renovations will result in a reduction to Minute Maid Park's total seating capacity of 41,168
Photo: getty images

Harris County Houston Sports Authority directors "approved plans Thursday" for a $25M renovation at Minute Maid Park, to be "paid for by the Astros," according to David Barron of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. The renovation will "include a new club" for season-ticket holders on the ballpark's suite level and "changes in the right field corner resembling the recent center field renovations, including another open-access staircase" between ballpark levels. Astros President of Business Operations Reid Ryan said that the renovations will "take place alongside previously announced plans to renovate the suite level, which has not been substantially changed" since the ballpark opened in '00. Ryan added that the renovations will "result in a reduction to Minute Maid’s total seating capacity" of 41,168, as the right field upgrades will "result in the removal of some second deck seats." Meanwhile, the season ticket membership club will be "located in an area now occupied by six suites on the third base side of the ballpark near the scoreboard control room." It initially will be "open to season ticket holders who purchase a membership and will include table and high top seating with food and drink service" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/1).

A new video board that is 40% bigger will be installed at Jurassic Park on the west side of the arena
Photo: getty images
A new video board that is 40% bigger will be installed at Jurassic Park on the west side of the arena
Photo: getty images
A new video board that is 40% bigger will be installed at Jurassic Park on the west side of the arena
Photo: getty images

Scotiabank Arena will get a "multimillion-dollar facelift" this summer in what Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment President & CEO Michael Friisdahl is calling a "'reimagination' of the venue that opened in February 1999," according to Neil Davidson of the CP. Friisdahl did not put a cost estimate on the renovations other than to "say it's 'multi, multimillion dollars.'" He added that MLSE’s investment is to "ensure the arena is both a 'gathering place' for fans but also a destination in the city, going hand-in-hand with the money that has gone into renovating nearby Union Station." Davidson noted a pedestrian bridge is being "built over Bay Street from CIBC Square," and the bridge "should help ease the postgame flow of fans, some of whom dodge traffic to get to the other side." On the west side of the arena, a new video board that is 40% bigger is "going up at Jurassic Park." There will also be "smaller video screens near the west entrance of the galleria, to help on nights with multiple games." Plus the arena is "getting new digital Scotiabank signage that can light up in different colours, replacing the temporary arena signs" (CP, 8/1).

The final truss along the roof of the Raiders' Las Vegas stadium "has been placed," as general contractors Mortenson Construction and McCarthy Building Cos. "wedged in the final truss" Thursday afternoon, according to Richard Velotta of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. The Raiders have scheduled an "invitation-only topping out ceremony Monday morning at which dignitaries will sign a steel beam that will connect the last roof truss to the stadium frame and watch it hoisted into place" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 8/2).

FLYING THE FRIENDLY SKIES: With reports swirling that the Raiders have agreed to a stadium naming-rights deal with Allegiant Airlines, Gemini Sports Group President Rob Yowell said that getting such a deal done a year ahead of their first game "would be a win" for both the team and airline. He said that a deal would "remove the pressure of making the largest deal tied to stadium sponsorship ... and Allegiant would receive immediate publicity whenever the stadium is mentioned." Aviation expert Mike Boyd said that an Allegiant naming-rights deal "makes sense, even though the airline has a reputation for being thrifty" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 8/1).

Victory Field, the home of the Triple-A Int'l League Indianapolis Indians, will feature a "posh club behind home plate, featuring 4,500-square-feet of air conditioned space, a bar shaped like home plate, big screen TVs and a 37-foot retractable glass wall" next season, according to Dana Hunsinger Benbow of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. The VIP space will be "named Elements Financial Club as part of a multiyear partnership with the Midwest-based credit union." The luxury club can "seat up to 200 fans, with a mix of premium ticket options that include 10 private four-person loge boxes and open-table club tickets for groups, season plans and single-game options." The space is expected to be "ready by the Indians' opening day next year." The club is the "largest investment at Victory Field since it opened" in '96. The Indians "are not disclosing financial details of the deal with Elements Financial" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 8/2).