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USA TODAY Ranks Best Seats in the House: #10 Petco Park– The Beach PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 18 August 2008 07:40
Petco Park - The BeachBeginning today, USA TODAY takes a look at the best seats in baseball in a 10-day series that starts today in the newspaper and online at USAToday.com. In the last 15 years, many new stadiums have been built so USA TODAY Sports staff thought it was time to spotlight some of the unique seats in the new stadiums as well as the old ones. The featured seats vary in price from a low of $9 to the extravagant five figures.

The countdown will appear in-paper each day with additional coverage online to include a stadium map and unique 360-degree imagery from each profiled seat. The countdown to the best seat starts today with #10.

10. Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres - The Beach

The Beach is a sandy play area behind a see-through section behind the right-center-field fence. The beach is the centerpiece of a 2.7-acre park, the first public park in an outfield since Forbes Field in Pittsburgh closed in 1970. The park also features a statue of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. The view's not bad and you're close enough to strike up a conversation with the center fielder.

The countdown of the best seats in baseball will continue in-paper and online through August 29.

Source: USA Today


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

 
Wrigley Field It Is: NHL Outdoor Classic in Chicago Jan. 1 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 07 July 2008 03:36
Wrigley Field in the snowIt has been touch-and-go. First it was Yankee Stadium. Then, Wrigley Field. Then, Yankee Stadium, again.

According to several sources, it seems that Wrigley Field will indeed host the NHL Outdoor Classic on January 1.

The game will feature the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks.

The announcement is expected sometime this week.

 
Rays May Delay Referendum on New Downtown Stadium PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 25 June 2008 04:28

Proposed Rays stadiumThe Tampa Rays may delay a November referendum for a new $450 million waterfront stadium in downtown St. Petersburg until 2010. The possible announcement could come as early as today.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, the team is "considering a change of direction," said Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch. "I'm just glad from the county's perspective that folks are not talking about forcing a November referendum."

The Rays are planning a 34,000 seat stadium on the current site of Al Lang Field. The Rays have said suggested that redevelopment of Tropicana Field would be used to partially fund the new stadium.

City and county leaders have said prior that the team was moving too quickly on their plans.

"It's fairly obvious this process needs to slow down," said Welch, who spoke with Rays president Matt Silverman this week about delaying a citywide vote on the stadium plan.

See images and more information on the proposed Rays ballpark here.

 
Hard Rock Cafe to Be in New Yankee Stadium PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 18 June 2008 20:34

Hard Rock Cafe deal with YankeesThe New York Yankees announced Wednesday that they have agreed to enter into a long-term agreement with Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment to open a 7,000-square-foot Hard Rock Café in the new Yankee Stadium. In addition, YGE Steakhouses, an affiliate of the Yankees' parent company, Yankee Global Enterprises, has joined with Hard Rock Entertainment to create the newly-branded NYY Steak, a prime steakhouse also slated for the new Yankee Stadium.

Both restaurants will be operated year-round. The agreement also permits the parties to explore other NYY Steak locations.

Hard Rock Cafe Yankee Stadium will be located on the corner of 161st Street and River Avenue and feature seating for 210 guests. It will be open year-round to ticketholders and non-ticketholders alike with a full bar and patio seating. The restaurant will house memorabilia from top artists, with an emphasis on New York-area talent and additional Yankees related pieces.

NYY Steak will open above the Hard Rock Cafe in right field in the new Yankee Stadium. Based on the successful Council Oak Steak & Seafood Restaurants at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, Fla., the new restaurant will occupy 6,300 square feet of space with seating for 128 guests. The restaurant will be open throughout the year and have extended hours on game days. It will be operated by Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment.

"Adding popular and premier dining options such as the Hard Rock Café and NYY Steak was done with our fans in mind," said Yankees Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost. "The new Yankee Stadium will be a destination that fans of every age and from around the world can look forward to visiting throughout the calendar year. By creating year-round restaurants that provide substantial full- and part-time union employment for those in the local community, our partnership with Hard Rock fulfills our initiative to make the new Yankee Stadium a source of pride for Bronx residents."

"We are thrilled to partner with the New York Yankees and to be part of the new Yankee Stadium," said Jim Allen, President and CEO of Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment. "The Hard Rock Cafe Yankee Stadium will bring two iconic brands, as well as sports and music, to this world-class venue.

Source: Seminole Hard Rock Cafe 

 
10 Mon. in Advance, Suites Nearly Soldout for Citi Field PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 13 June 2008 03:57

Citi FieldThe New York Mets should easily sellout all of their suite inventory for Citi Field to multi-year leases, as only 3 of the 49 are left for purchase, 10 months before the new stadium opens, according to Don Muret of the Sports Business Journal.

Suites at the Mets new ballpark run will from $250,000 to $500,000 annually.

Following the trend of several other new ballparks, Citi’s suites are located much closer to the field of play. According to Muret, “Citi’s suites are much closer to the action than those at Shea Stadium, the Mets’ current home. The 10 Sterling Club suites are 20 rows off the field on the first premium level, and they along with the 39 Empire Club boxes above them are all ‘within the infield dirt,’ Howard said. All of Shea’s 45 suites are down the foul lines in the outfield.”

Five party suites are connected with sliding glass doors allowing them to be configured to seat from 30 to more than 150 people.

See high-resolution renderings of the Citi Field design here on The Biz of Baseball

 
Yankees: Give Us $350M or We Can PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 11 June 2008 23:30

New Yankee StadiumThe Yankees are asking for $350 million in tax-exempt bonds to be issued, or else the $1.3 billion new Yankee Stadium may not be completed, state Assemblyman Richard Brodsky said on Tuesday.

New York City officials confirmed the request by the Yankees, but it would require a change to IRS regulations.

"Right now, they (the Yankees) are saying they don't think they can complete the stadium unless the Internal Revenue Service ruling is reversed and they apparently have been joined in this effort to reverse the ruling by the Nets and the Mets," Brodsky told Reuters by phone.

The Yankees have said that they will, however, complete the project, whether the IRS change in regulation goes into effect, or not. As reported by The AP:

“The effort on the completion bonds will not affect the completion of the stadium,” team president Randy Levine said. “We are working under the strong leadership of the city and state along with other projects to seek relief from the IRS regulation.”

Janel Patterson, of the New York City Economic Development Corp., which is working with the Yankees, said the project isn’t threatened. But she said the city is working to relieve an IRS regulation that prohibits more public debt to be incurred for the stadium. State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, of Westchester, said that IRS change also is being sought to help stadium and arena projects for the New York Mets and New Jersey Nets.

The Yankees announced earlier this year that construction of the stadium would cost an addiitional $300 million more than expected (on top of three parking structures totallying $340 million, repleat with 600 free spaces for Yankee VIPs) . The team is also the most valuable American sports franchise, and forth most valuable in the world, according to Forbes. The Yankees brand, alone, is worth $217 million and has increased in value 44 percent the past three years.

Remember, in 2006, Jonathan D. Schiller, a lawyer for the Yankees said, “The Yankees will have to consider leaving the city,” when Save Our Parks filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction to halt construction of the stadium. Mr. Brodsky’s comments seem much the same.

 
IFSA Strikes Out with Tribune Co. over Wrigley Field PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 10 June 2008 03:50

Wrigley FieldThe negotiations between the State of Illinois, through the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, and the Tribune Co. to purchase and renovate Wrigley Field have broken down over a financing issue that pertains the use of taxes. Former Governor James R. Thompson, Chairman, Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, said in a statement, "The Tribune believes that ISFA's participation in such an acquisition requires either the transfer of future sales and amusement tax revenue from transactions at Wrigley Field for the next 30 years, or the imposition of new taxes, or the transfer of existing ISFA funds now pledged to projects at U.S. Cellular.” Thompson then added, “ISFA cannot agree to this. In our judgment, there are no votes in the City Council or in the Illinois General Assembly for transferred or new taxes for Wrigley Field. And we cannot break the promises we have previously made to the White Sox under our lease terms.”

Thompson mentioned that funds could be met through the use of Equity Seats Rights. The ESR concept is the product of Lou Weisbach (see The Biz of Baseball interview with Weisbach for details on the difference between ESRs and Personal Seat Licenses).

The Tribune Company, through a statement, saw the matter differently.

"As an employee-owned organization, Tribune has been clear and unwavering in its commitment to a transaction that is favorable to the public, to the company, and to the Cubs. Unfortunately, ISFA’s proposal did not meet this criteria and would, in fact, violate the policies of Major League Baseball. We continue to see a strong benefit for the state and the city in public ownership of the ballpark, but we cannot execute a transaction at the expense of our employees or in violation of MLB rules."

While it is not specified, the use of ticket revenues to back the construnction bonds may be the violation of MLB rules.

The news sets the stage for the approved bidders for the Cubs to now focus on the purchase of both the storied franchise and Wrigley Field. How the renovation of Wrigley Field will be funded is still yet unknown. The cost to repair Wrigley is estimated to be approx. $450 million.

Thompson made it clear that while the negotiations between the State of Illinois and Sam Zell and the Tribune Co. have collapsed, the Cubs are safe in Chicago.

“When Governor Blagojevich asked ISFA to explore this opportunity, he wanted to insure that under new ownerships the Cubs would stay at Wrigley Field in Chicago and that Wrigley Field would be restored. We have no doubt that these two goals will be reached -- whether or not ISFA acquires and restores Wrigley.”

“We stand ready to resume negotiations with the Tribune or any new owner of the Cubs at their request.”

Source: Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, Tribune Company

 
Study Finds Synthetic Turf Safe Under Normal Use PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 06 June 2008 04:02

TurfIn April of this year, two playing fields in New Jersey that use synthetic turf were closed after state health officials detected what they said were unexpectedly high levels of lead within the synthetic turf, which raised fears that children could inhale or swallow fibers or dust from the playing surface. Pigment containing lead chromate is often used in synthetic turf to make it green and retain its color.

Health officials finalized their study of the materials and have found that unless under extraordinary circumstances, children are under no risk.

MLB currently uses synthetic turf in only two facilities (Metrodome and Tropicana Field), while there are many more at the minor league level.

There are approx. 3,500 synthetic playing surfaces across the U.S.

Synthetic turf test results released by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) on June 3rd confirmed lead chromate levels are well below that necessary to cause harm to children and athletes using the popular playing field surfaces.

Lead chromate has been used in a number of synthetic turf fields to extend the life of its colorfastness. Testing three fields in New Jersey with elevated lead levels, the NJDHSS focused on the bioaccessibility of synthetic turf, which it defines as "the fraction of a substance in a material that is soluble and made available for absorption" by the body.

From its tests, the NJDHSS reported that the amount of lead chromate contained in fibers from the three fields available for absorption in the intestine, which is where food altered by stomach acid is absorbed by the blood and lymphatic systems, ranged from 2.5% to 11%.

A couple of interesting findings: 

  • According to calculations made by forensic toxicologist Dr. David Black, a 50 lb. child would have to ingest over 100 lbs. of synthetic turf to be at risk of absorbing enough lead to equal the minimum threshold of elevated blood lead. That level is even more unreachable than Dr. Black's original worst case bioaccessibility, which was based on ingesting 23 lbs. of turf.
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission's guidance states that young children "should not chronically ingest more than 15 micrograms of lead per day from consumer products."  Putting these test results in perspective, polymer and fiber engineering specialist Dr. Davis Lee calculated that a child playing on the three New Jersey fields would have to wipe his fingers on the turf and put them in his mouth 750 times in a day to receive enough lead to equal the CPSC threshold level.

One would expect and hope that children are not conducting these types of activities.

Source: Synthetic Turf Council

 
Report: Wrigley Field to Host NHL Winter Classic PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 29 May 2008 09:12

Wrigley FieldComcast SportsNet reported last night that the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks will play this coming January at Wrigley Field in a continuation of the NHL’s outdoor Winter Classic.

According the report, the announcement could come as early as this week. As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times:

Hawks president John McDonough has been pushing for an outdoor game after the success of this season's Winter Classic on New Year's Day at Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium. A league-record 71,217 fans saw the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Sabres 2-1 in a shootout.

Yankee Stadium had been seen as a likely location for the next Winter Classic, but Gary Bettman saw the site as an unlikely location.

Last year saw 71,217 fans attend the Winter Classic in Buffalo at Ralph Wilson Stadium.


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted
 
Fan Dies After Falling Four Floors at Turner Field PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 21 May 2008 19:47

Turner FieldUPDATE: The fan that fell last night at Turner Field has died.

A 25-year-old fan, sliding on a handrail, fell a considerable distance at Turner Field Wednesday night. He later died due to injuries sustained in the fall. As reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution :

The Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office identified the man as Justin Hayes, 25, of Cumming. Hayes fell an estimated four levels inside the stadium to field level, striking concrete and metal railing, according to Atlanta Police spokesman Ron Campbell.

Alcohol may have been involved, Campbell said.

Hayes was reported to have been sliding on a handrail in the bottom of the 8th inning when he slipped off. He was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Turner Field accident comes just over a month from a fan falling from an escalator at Shea Stadium to his death. There are conflicting reports as to what happened in that incident. It was reported by family members that the man in question lost his footing on the escalator, and fell over the side. Police, however, say that he, like the man at Turner Field, was sliding on the railing and fell over the side. 

 
Loria Uses Hanley Signing To Highlight New Stadium PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 18 May 2008 05:44

Marlins StadiumFlorida Marlins owner Jeffery Loria announced the signing of shortstop Hanley Ramirez to $70 million, six-year contract extension against the backdrop of the decaying Orange Bowl, where the Marlins plan on building a new stadium.

And, while there are still legal hurdles to clear, the Marlins see the new stadium as a reason to invest in the future. As reported by The AP:

"Today we're taking not one, but two giant steps forward," Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said. "The first is that by standing here on this very site we reaffirmed the vision of our city and county leaders to guarantee Major League Baseball stays here in South Florida ... and we have one of the greatest young players ever to wear a Marlins uniform."

The Marlins currently have the lowest player payroll in MLB at $20 million. That is $5 million less than what the team is reportedly pulling through revenue-sharing. Asked if the new stadium is why the Marlins were able to sign Ramirez, others in the front office agreed.

"I think [the stadium] is definitely a big part of it," Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest said. "We've had a lot of good young players here. Whether it's Derrek Lee or Dontrelle Willis, several players were probably worthy of multiyear consideration. But there wasn't a stadium on the horizon. Now there is."

Ramirez, is making $439,000 this season. With the contract extension he will receive $5.5 million next year, $7 million in 2010, $11 million in 2011, $15 million in 2012, $15.5 million in 2013 and $16 million in 2014.

The Marlins have been known for signing key players in advance of a new stadium, although the Ramirez deal is one without strings attached. In 2003, the Marlins signed Mike Lowell to a four-year, $32 million deal that was tied directly to approval for stadium funding. At the time, the deal was structured if a new stadium was not approved, the contract became a one-year guarantee with a player option, leaving the decision to remain with the club up to Lowell.

In October of 2004, Lowell and the Marlins amended the contract to guarantee the final three years of his contract.


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted
 
Red Sox to Go Solar at Fenway on Monday PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 16 May 2008 09:39

FenwayIt was announced today that Monday the Boston Red Sox will formally unveil solar hot water panels on the roof at Fenway Park. The panels, which will help heat water used throughout the facility, are part of a series of environmentally-sustainable practices that have been implemented at Fenway Park this year. The Red Sox report that the panels will replace 37% of the gas traditionally used for the process of heating water at the park, saving both energy and expense and avoiding 18 tons of CO2 emissions each year.

Larry Lucchino, President/CEO, Boston Red Sox along with Ian A. Bowles, Secretary, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Bryan Glascock, Director of the Environment Department, City of Boston, Bruce Johnson, Director of Energy Efficiency, National Grid and Patrick Nye, Vice President of Sales, Bonneville Environmental Foundation will be in attendance.

Source: Boston Red Sox 

 
Rays to Offer Ballpark Finance Plan Today PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 15 May 2008 04:33

New RaysTampa Bay Rays officials will present their preliminary financing plan for waterfront $450 million ballpark in downtown St. Petersburg today. The site being proposed is at the current location of Al Lang Field. As reported by Etic Fisher of the Sports Business Journal:

The plan will be negotiated with local officials over the summer and put before voters in a November referendum. It calls for $150M from the Rays, $75M from the sale of Tropicana Field land and retirement of stadium debt, $50M from bonds against future parking revenues at the new ballpark, $100M from tourist taxes used to help pay down Tropicana Field debt and $75M from extending St. Petersburg's annual contributions to the Tropicana Field debt.

See images and more information on the proposed Rays ballpark here.

 
Tigers Offer Fantasy BP Package for Father's Day PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 13 May 2008 10:01

TigersThe Detroit Tigers announced today that they are offering Father’s Day gift package with opportunity to hit off of former Tigers pitcher and 1984 World Series Champion Dave Rozema.

The Tigers are gearing up for their annual Fantasy Batting Practice at Comerica Park. Campers will swing for the fences against Rozema, shag fly balls, field grounders, play catch, hit in the batting cage and sit in the dugout.  All campers will receive an official certificate of participation.  Available dates for the camp include: 

  • Friday, June 20, 7:30-11pm $249 *Under the lights and includes visitors clubhouse tour.
  • Saturday, June 21, 9am-12:30pm
  • Saturday, June 21, 1-4:30pm
  • Sunday, June 22, 9am-12:30pm
  • Sunday, June 22, 1-4:30pm 

Jerry Lewis, Detroit Tigers Director of Fantasy Camps, said the batting practice would make a great Father’s Day gift for dads to relive their childhood baseball fantasies. 

“To hit off a former Tigers pitcher is the ultimate fantasy experience, especially under the lights in a major league ballpark,” Lewis said.

Source: The Detroit Tigers

 
Zell Rejects IFSA Offer. Will Sell Wrigley With Team PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 13 May 2008 04:33

CubsThe plan to sell off Wrigley Field separate from the Cubs, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, and Wrigleyville Premium Tickets is no more. Zell has rejected the offer from Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, thus placing the bid for prospective owners of the Cubs will get a complete package. As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times:

Sources said Zell has rejected the state's proposed terms because it relies on a novel and untested financing plan: the sale of individual seats at Wrigley as if they were condominiums. The idea is called equity seat rights and has been advanced by Chicago area business executive Lou Weisbach, who has applied for patent rights on it.

Zell, Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney and their advisers have concluded that the equity plan and its tax ramifications would violate both the Internal Revenue Service code and the rules of Major League Baseball, the sources said.

They said Thompson's plan called for selling several thousand seats to raise money for ballpark renovations. The purchase of the ballpark could have been covered by state bonds backed by future ticket revenue.

As we advised and reported here heavily, the decoupling of Wrigley Field from the Cubs would have been a negative for potential owners of the Cubs. The financing plan proposed by the ISFA would have used rent payments from the new owners to pay for $400-$450 million in renovations to Wrigley, while Cubs ownership would not be controlling the facility or owning the equity.

The sale of all the baseball-related assets that Tribune owns could fetch as high as $1 billion. We recently projected the sale price for all the assets at $725-$880 million. Today, we are resetting that range to $785-$910 million.

Read the Business of Sports Network interview with Lou Weisbach of Stadium Capital Financing

READ MORE ON THE PROPOSED SALE OF THE CUBS:

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Lawsuit Challenging Marlins Stadium Set For July PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 09 May 2008 14:55

Marlins StadiumA lawsuit by Norman Braman, an auto dealership magnate in the Miami area challenging the constitutionality of funding for the proposed Florida Marlins stadium has been given the green light and will go to trial in July. As reported by The AP:

A judge in Miami-Dade Circuit Court decided Thursday to let the lawsuit go forward. Braman claims the $3 billion plan is unconstitutional because of the way it is financed. Besides the 37,000-seat ballpark and parking garage, the plan calls for construction of a tunnel to Miami’s port, a new downtown trolley line and money for the arts.

The Marlins ballpark, which would be built at the site of the decaying Orange Bowl, would cost approximately $515 million. The 6,000 space parking structure is priced at $94 million.

The Marlins have targeted a 2011 opening date.

While Braman scored a victory in getting the case to trial, the judge did throw out claims in the lawsuit contending that the funding agreement was reached in secret, a violation of Florida law.

(See renderings of the possible new Marlins stadium design here)

 
Kenney Outlines Funding for Wrigley Field, Renovation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 09 May 2008 07:28

CubsCrane Kenney, the Chairman of the Chicago Cubs outlined how the sale of Wrigley Field and its renovations would be paid for. Speaking in an interview on WSCR-AM670, Kennedy outlined the complex structure being proposed by which the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority would purchase Wrigley separately from the Cubs and other baseball related assets that the Tribune Co. currently owns.

The model outlined by Kenney has the following moving parts:

  • Wrigley Field would be sold to the ISFA
  • Bonds would be issued so that the ISFA could pay Tribune for the purchase of Wrigley.
  • To pay for the bonds, rent, paid by the new owners for the use Wrigley, would be used.
  • To pay for the $400-$450 million in renovations to Wrigley Field, construction bonds would be issued.
  • To pay the construction bond schedule, a proposed method by which the incremental tax revenues created inside Wrigley (sales tax, amusement tax and other taxes collected) that go into the general fund coffers would be baselined using 2007’s figures.
  • When the taxes collected at Wrigley exceed the baseline, they would be used to pay the construction bonds for the renovation.

Read that through a few times and it makes sense and doable. Where things get confusing is when this model is set against comments by former Gov. Jim Thompson, who is the ISFA chairman. Thompson said that no tax money would be used as part of the renovation to Wrigley. As reported in the Chicago Tribune:

"We are working on a proposal to present to Tribune Co. that will allow ISFA to acquire and fully restore Wrigley Field, as well as add parking and neighborhood improvements, without using any public tax money, either state or local," Thompson said late last month.

Speculating for the moment, it may be that Thompson is saying that no new tax dollars would be used. If not, the part of Kenney’s model by which in-stadium taxes above a certain threshold are earmarked for paying renovation bonds goes out the window.

The proposed model outlined by the Cubs and Tribune come at a difficult time for public support of the ISFA purchasing and renovating Wrigley Field. It also comes at a time when the financial “books” are to be delivered to prospective bidders looking to purchase the storied franchise, with, or without, Wrigley in-tow. As we have reported prior, the idea of new ownership paying rent to payoff a facility purchase that they will not own is a glaring negative. By not owning the facility, they do not control it. In that sense, they may have input on the renovations to Wrigley, but not the final say.

As to the renovations, the Chicago Tribune story offers the following:

Kenney also said the Cubs want to restore Wrigley Field to "its original look," which would include removing exterior chain link fences and concrete panels. The renovations also would include upgraded luxury suites and premium seating behind home plate that would require the destruction of the team's offices.

Pointing to the bleacher expansion, Kenney said Cubs fans should trust them to treat the ballpark with respect. "We aren't foolish enough to ruin what makes the place special," Kenney said.

READ MORE ON THE PROPOSED SALE OF THE CUBS:

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First Concert at Nationals Park Should Be Eagles PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 06 May 2008 10:10
EaglesWhile it has not been officially announced, the first concert that is likely to be held at the newly opened Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. will be the Eagles.

The schedule currently does not display the concert date, but the Nationals confirm that they are in talks with the super group. As reported by the Washington Times:

Although no such date appears on the Web site for the Eagles' summer tour, a VIP ticket request form obtained by The Washington Times lists an Eagles show on July 26 at the new baseball stadium in Southeast.

Washington Nationals officials confirmed talks are taking place for such a show.

"It remains a discussion," team President Stan Kasten said. "There really isn't a deal yet. But there is no question we would like to be in the big concert business. We hope to know one way or another soon."

Revenues from concerts continues to be a stream that clubs are looking to tap into on non-game days. Recently, bands like the Police, have played in ballparks once reserved solely for baseball, such as Fenway Park and Wrigley Field.

 
Nearly All Suites Sold for New Twins Stadium PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 29 April 2008 04:00

New TwinsIn one sign that the Twins are about to enjoy considerably more revenues, the Twins have reported that nearly all of the suites in their new stadium are sold out, nearly two years before it opens. As reported by the Minnesota Star Tribune:

47 of the 55 suites at the ballpark are leased — including the 14 most expensive ones — and the team expects them all to be snapped up by 2010. They will bring about $8 million a year, or a potential $240 million during the team’s 30-year stadium lease.

To add to this, the Twins will add other revenue streams that they currently have been unable to enjoy:

Pohlad controls the naming rights to the ballpark, and a deal expected this year could yield $8 million to $15 million a year, according to one sports marketing expert.

As a result, Pohlad and the Twins expect to pull in $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion from new revenue streams during their lease when they add in receipts from new club seats, restaurants, concessions, concerts and stadium advertising.

The biggest reason the Twins will gain exceptionally more revenues than before has to do with being able to control all of them within the stadium. Currently, the Vikings control that vast majority of the revenues in the Metrodome from suites, advertising, concessions and nonbaseball events.


OTHER NEWS ACROSS THE BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK

 
Dodgers Unveil Plan for Shops, Museum, Restaurants PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 24 April 2008 11:03

Dodger StadimThe Dodgers have announced the most expansive renovation plan to Dodger Stadium since the McCourts purchased the club, with plans to add a promenade at the outfield enterance which will include restaurants, shops, club offices and a Dodgers museum and add two parking garages that will be used to replace the spots removed for the new construction.

As reported by the LA Times :

The Dodgers would not confirm the project cost or other specifics, but a news release from the office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa put the cost at $500 million. The McCourts purchased the Dodgers -- and their stadium and surrounding parking lot -- for $430 million four years ago.

The McCourts' letter did not detail the renovations, but the plan would enact a vision Frank McCourt outlined when he bought the team in 2004 -- to transform at least part of the parking lot into an area offering dining and shopping for fans who arrive early and stay late, avoiding pregame and postgame traffic.

The Dodgers would generate additional revenue as well, not only on game days but from year-round use of the new facilities. The Dodgers briefed civic leaders and community groups this week on the project, targeted for completion in 2012. 

 

Today, via press release, the Dodgers passed on the following information:

“We’re creating a new stadium without tearing down the old,” said Dodger owner Frank McCourt.  “That may take more effort and more resources, but we’re talking about Dodger Stadium.  This stadium sits in the heart of Los Angeles and in the hearts of Angelenos.  The Dodgers are a world class organization, a world class brand, and a franchise with a history of courage and vision.  What we’re announcing today honors that history by protecting and modernizing Dodger Stadium and making sure that it lives on and thrives for the next 50 years.”

"We are very pleased to see the Dodgers commit to remain at a 'new' Dodger Stadium," said Commissioner Selig. "The plans to add trees, landscaping, attractions, and picnic areas will enhance the experience for families, and they will help usher in a whole new generation of baseball fans. We commend Frank and Jamie McCourt for their vision and their dedication to grow the game in the 21st Century."

Johnson Fain and HKS will lead the team of designers on the project that features the following components:

  • Dodger Way – A dramatic, new tree-lined entrance will lead to a beautifully landscaped grand plaza where fans can gather beyond center field. The plaza will connect to a modern, bustling promenade that features restaurants, shops, and the Dodger Experience museum showcasing the history of the Dodgers in an interactive setting.
  • Green Necklace – The vibrant street setting of Dodger Way will link to a beautiful perimeter around Dodger Stadium, enabling fans to walk around the park, outdoors yet inside the stadium gates. This Green Necklace will transform acres of parking lots into a landscaped outdoor walkway connecting the plaza and promenade to the rest of the ballpark.
  • Top of the Park – The Green Necklace will connect to a large scale outdoor plaza featuring breathtaking 360 degree views spanning the downtown skyline and Santa Monica Bay , the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains, and the Dodger Stadium diamond.

 

“We hope to deliver all the modern amenities and conveniences of new ballparks, while protecting and preserving the greatest and most romantic venue in professional sports,” said Dodger President Jamie McCourt.   “Families will have a reason to come early and stay late any day of the year.  Getting to the ballpark will be easier and spending time at the ballpark will be more comfortable and more fun.”

In keeping with MLB's green initiavitves, the new facilities will be designed to meet silver “LEED” sustainability standards. 

The stadium improvement plan also addresses the need for operational enhancements including completing the concourse transformations, started this year with the Field Level Concourse. It will include new restrooms, concession facilities, and improved kitchen areas so food for fans and guests can be prepared in a fast and convenient manner.  In addition to the new Dodger Experience museum, new buildings will include the ultimate Dodger retail store and a central ticketing facility for fans.  Above these uses, there will be room for Dodger-related office space and work areas for onsite security personnel, Dodger operational staff, and the Dodgers Dream Foundation.  Parking improvements include two terraced parking structures on either side of the stadium that will replace existing surface parking, along with below-grade parking under the two new plazas.

“We commit to embodying the vision and spirit of this storied Dodger franchise,” Frank McCourt said.  “We’re keeping this wonderful ballpark where it is, and providing more gathering places in the heart of Los Angeles .  When completed in 2012, Dodger Stadium will continue to reflect the world class history and future of this storied franchise.”  

Source: Los Angeles Dodgers


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