American Airlines is "no longer pursuing a renewal" of its naming-rights deal for the Heat's arena, according to Hanks & Dolven of the MIAMI HERALD. The airline, which has sponsored the arena since it opened in '99, had told the administration of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez last year it "hoped to remain the sponsor." However, AA Communications Manager Alexis Coello said, "We are not seeking to renew naming rights for the arena, but remain the official airline of the Miami Heat." A new name would mean "significant changes for the home of the Heat, which has a massive airplane silhouette on its roof and American’s brand near center court." The pending sponsorship switch is the "long-term result of changes to Miami-Dade’s deal with the Heat for the tax-funded arena." Part of the original funding package gave the Heat "rights to control the sponsorship and sell the name of the arena." Miami-Dade "opted last fall to exercise its right to take over the naming rights and negotiate a new sponsorship arrangement." The county agreement "requires the Heat to put a new sponsor’s name at center court and use it in certain materials, but does not require contributing arena seats or other perks that can boost the value." If the final sponsorship deal is worth more than $2M, that will "end up meaning more revenue for Miami-Dade." But if the county "can’t land a sponsor by Jan. 1, it’s required to pay" the Heat $2M in sponsorship revenue (MIAMI HERALD, 9/11).
IN THE WORKS: Miami-Dade Deputy Mayor Ed Marquez said that while nothing is official yet, "at least one 'nationally renowned company' is in advanced talks" to take over naming-rights for the arena. Marquez said that company has "toured the site and are in discussions with the Heat." The county in '97 sold the 20-year naming rights to the air carrier for $42M starting Dec. 31, 1999 (MIAMITODAYNEWS.com, 9/10).
Members of the Rolling Stones' team who arranged the Aug. 18 Levi's Stadium appearance "blasted the city of Santa Clara for micromanaging and imposing 11th-hour changes that make the stadium 'no longer worth the effort to play there,'" according to a front-page piece by Thy Vo of the San Jose MERCURY NEWS. Rolling Stones Site Promoter & Production Manager John Morrison wrote in a letter to Levi's Stadium GM Jim Mercurio, "Your facility is getting so restrictive and dysfunctional, it's no longer worth the effort to play there due to the myriad and random rule changes." Among the "last-minute changes cited by Morrison," the city "cancelled the concert's pyrotechnic show, requested the band's structural engineer fly in to inspect the stage -- cost, $6,000 -- and did not allow stadium catering to feed the performers." Santa Clara City Manager Deanna Santana "rebutted the criticism." She said that the 49ers, which manage and operate Levi's Stadium, "'brought issues very late to the city's attention,' forcing it to make decisions within very short time frames." As for the stadium itself, Morrison "complimented it and said he'd like to return 'under more favorable conditions.'" 49ers VP/Public Affairs & Strategic Communications Rahul Chandhok said that the complaints from the Rolling Stones' staff "reflect a combative city attitude that will ultimately hurt the stadium's ability to book competitive talent." The 49ers have "quarreled with the city over its management since the stadium opened" in '14 (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 9/12).
Esports franchise Team SoloMid will "begin construction" next week on a 25,000-square-foot training center in Playa Vista, Calif., according to Arash Markazi of the L.A. TIMES. The $13M facility is "slated to be completed" by February '20 and will be the "home of Team SoloMid." Currently, TSM players and staff are "spread out around the world." TSM Founder & CEO Andy Dinh said, "I actually toured the Lakers and Warriors facilities as we thought about our facility. What they built was great for basketball players and we wanted to build a similar facility catered for esports players." Markazi notes the facility will be the "largest esports training facility in North America when it opens and will house studios, streaming rooms, gaming rooms, coach rooms as well as a fitness studio and wellness center, making it the first esports training center to include both" (L.A. TIMES, 9/12).
In S.F., Ann Killion writes the Warriors' new Chase Center is "going to be a good" venue, as it "feels intimate, even for a huge event." The floor size is "smaller and more compact" than at Oracle Arena. The steep angles "give good sight lines and will make the basketball players feel like the crowd is right on top of them." The acoustics are "excellent." The "seeing spheres" art installation at one entrance is "already becoming a must-visit spot" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/12).
PUBLIC FUNDING: In Cleveland, Courtney Astolfi notes the Indians are "asking taxpayers to replace what the team describes as an outdated and malfunctioning system that regulates lights, heating and cooling at Progressive Field." The replacement system is "expected to cost" more than $1.6M. Indians Senior VP/Tech & Chief Information Officer Neil Weiss said that it is a "top priority for Progressive Field because the current system fails multiple times a week." The Indians made the request yesterday to the board of the Gateway Development Corporation. Board members said that they "would review the Indians' proposal to ensure it meets criteria in the lease before voting on the expenditure" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 9/12).
ISLAND LIVING: In Honolulu, Ferd Lewis notes developers of the new Aloha Stadium believe having the venue ready for a '23 football season opening is "eminently do-able, sensible and economical." Crawford Architects Owner & Senior Principal Stacey Jones said less than three years is "ample time to deliver the stadium plus whatever constitutes the first phase of development." The state of Hawaii is paying Crawford Architects $5M to conduct an Environmental Impact Study and master plan while "helping to shepherd the process to completion" (HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER, 9/12).