League Championship Middlesbrough's stadium is "set to become Britain's first big sports venue to be powered by wind turbines," according to Graeme Yorke of the London DAILY MAIL. Boro is not the only club "looking to go green, with two other major sides said to be in talks to follow suit." The club "will site a 136m-tall wind turbine supplied by London-based renewable energy developer, Empowering Wind Group, in the Riverside Stadium’s overflow car park." The 1.5MW turbine "will provide all the electricity required for the stadium for the next 20 years, replacing power that would otherwise be drawn from the National Grid with carbon-free energy generated by the wind" (DAILY MAIL, 9/18).
League One football club Leyton Orient has claimed a "real sense of injustice" after a high court judge "struck out their attempt to challenge the decision not to let them share the Olympic Stadium" with EPL side West Ham, according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. In "the latest stage of a long-running battle over the future of the stadium," Justice Lewis ruled that Orient "had no grounds on which to challenge the London Legacy Development Corporation decision." Orient's lawyers argued that the LLDC had thrown Orient's bid to share the stadium with West Ham "out of the process too early." They "further challenged the grounds" on which the LLDC considered a joint tenancy for both West Ham and Orient "to be financially unviable." However, Lewis agreed that the LLDC process was a "seamless" one and that it had adopted a "logical and rational approach." It emerged in court that the annual operational costs of the stadium are estimated at between £1.4M and £1.5M ($2.2M-$2.4M) per year. West Ham will pay £2M ($3.2M) per year in rent and Orient -- currently top of its division -- had offered £500,000 ($802,000) a year, rising to £1M ($1.6M) if they reached the Championship and £5M ($8M) if they reach the Premier League. However, the LLDC said that the groundsharing proposal "would bring in less money than West Ham occupying the stadium on their own and would amount to the taxpayer subsidising Orient" (GUARDIAN, 9/19).
Japan Professional Football League Division 1 side Albirex Niigata has signed chemical giant Denka (Denki Kagaku Kogyo) as the new sponsor for its home stadium after struggling utility Tohoku Electric Power Co. pulled the plug on its naming-rights deal. Denka will begin sponsorship of the stadium in January in a three-year deal worth 70M yen ($700,000) annually. The name of the 42,300-seat stadium, built for the Japan-Korea 2002 FIFA World Cup, will change to the Denka Big Swan Stadium. It has been known as the Tohoku Denryoku Big Swan Stadium since March '07. Tohoku Electric decided in August to pull out of the sponsorship deal because of the losses incurred by having its nuclear reactors shut down since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March '11. All of Japan’s 50 operable reactors are currently offline. Denka said in a statement, “The Niigata Stadium, as well as being the home stadium for J.League team Albirex Niigata, is also used for other events, and attracts more than 800,000 visitors a year. Our company has a factory in Niigata Prefecture that makes vaccines and medical screening products, as well as other group companies located there.” Albirex Niigata is currently 11th in the 18-team J1 Division.
Gavin Blair is a writer in Tokyo.
Due to "improved infrastructure," Spanish Basketball League (ACB) clubs made promises and the "majority fulfilled them: 13 of 16 teams have since began renovations to their facilities," according to Julián Mozo of OLE. When the ACB decided to eliminate relegation for two years, ACB side Weber Bahía President Pepe Sánchez said, "It is so that clubs can concentrate their energy and resources on improving what is overdue, like infrastructure, instead of devoting everything to their rosters." Of the league's 16 teams, 13 "have made improvements to their stadiums, and although some have taken it more seriously than others, there are agreements and collective progress" (OLE, 9/19).
Royal Automotive Club of Spain (RACE) President Carmelo Sanz de Barros on Thursday revealed the organization's Project Jarama 2021, which will begin early next year in Madrid and consist of "a series of investments that will make the Circuit of Jarama a place of leisure and enjoyment for racing fans," according to MARCA. The project of improving and adding to the Madrid race course will "take place in three stages and be completed by '21." The first stage will involve the Jarama control tower, which will be completely restored, "but without losing its essence as an icon." The tower's upper floors will feature recreational space where fans can watch the races or "enjoy memorable views of the entire track." The offices at the base of the tower will be replaced with an open-air terrace and an auditorium. This "first phase is expected to be completed by the middle of 2015." The second phase is "scheduled to make a series of modifications to the home stretch stands, which will expand by 100m to accommodate meeting rooms and offices like in the other box areas." The final phase will build a museum of famous cars made in Spain (MARCA, 9/19).
Public prosecutors in Brazil "have threatened to close Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium amid fears the venue does not meet minimum safety standards," according to the IANS. Prosecutor Glicia Pessanha Crispim has written to the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) "requesting the submission of a new engineering report," according to Rio de Janeiro's Public Ministry. In the letter, received by the CBF Sept. 11, Crispim said that the current report "does not meet requirements set by Brazil's sports ministry." It stated the organization had 30 days "to provide a satisfactory response. Failure to do so could result in the stadium's closure." No further details "were given about the stadium's alleged failings." The Maracana stadium reopened in June after almost three years of renovation and will host the World Cup final in July as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2016 Olympics (IANS, 9/18).