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New Florida Marlins Stadium in a State of Purgatory PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 05 July 2007 05:38

Proposed Marlins StadiumThe Marlins need a new stadium. The Miami area knows that MLB doesn’t want to give up the market. When you add in the fact that asking for public funds is an increasingly difficult proposition in South Florida, and that Miami City Council has now decided to not look into funding for the Marlins until the University of Miami decides whether to move to Dolphin Stadium, the Marlins are now in a state of Stadium purgatory.

As reported by the Miami Herald:

The Marlins are increasingly worried they won't be allowed to remain at Dolphin Stadium much longer, if at all, after their lease ends in December 2010. Marlins president David Samson said in recent months, a Huizenga Holdings official reaffirmed Wayne Huizenga's earlier written notification that the lease would not be renewed. To be ready by 2011, stadium construction must begin by next April, and the deal would need to be consummated immediately.

''Knowing Dolphin Stadium's desire to eliminate the infield dirt for football. . . . I am confident [Huizenga] meant what he said -- that the Marlins lease would not be extended past 2010,'' Samson said.

Added Dolphin Stadium owner, Wayne Huizenga, “I don't want to do anything to hurt the Dolphins' chances of winning. We miss field goals on dirt. [Still], we're the family that brought the Marlins here, and the last thing we want to do is hurt the team.''

Huizenga dismissed any discussion about possibly building a baseball-only facility for the Marlins next to Dolphin Stadium.

To see renderings similar to what you see above of the new proposed Marlins stadium, select the following link

 
Washington Nationals Make Bid for All-Star Game PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Staff   
Tuesday, 03 July 2007 01:11
New Nationals BallparkWashington Nationals owner Ted Lerner has sent a letter to Commissoner Selig asking him to consider hosting the All-Star Game in Washington, DC at the new Nationals Stadium slated to open before the start of next season (see larger high resolution renderings, like you see here, of the new Nationals Stadium. See a computer-animated "fly-through" of the new Nationals Stadium)

The earliest that would happen would be in 2010 as the All-Star Game will be in San Fransisco’s AT&T Park this year, Yankee Stadium next year, and Busch Stadium in St. Louis in 2009. As reported by the Washington Times:

"We have a step up over any city because we are the nation's capital, and it would be a showcase for the nation and the world," club president Stan Kasten said. "Having said that, I don't know what year it may happen, because there have been so many new stadiums built in the last decade that still haven't gotten theirs yet and there are two new New York stadiums on the way. There are a lot of pieces. But there is no question about it: We are going to get one."

D.C. has hosted the All-Star Game in 1937, 1956 (Griffith Stadium). 1962 and 1969 (RFK Stadium)

 
Chase Field Debt Paid 19 Years Early PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Saturday, 23 June 2007 01:16

Chase Field The Maricopa County Stadium District will erase the final balance on the public's initial investment in Chase Field, 19 years early.

With the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approval of $15 million, including more than $9 million in interest, Maricopa Co. saved themselves $9.5 million in interest by doing so.

The initial public obligation was met in 1997, and taxes related directly to the facility have not been levied against the public since. Interest, however, has still been on the ledgers.

The county has been paying off a $15 million loan, which was relieved by the Diamondbacks due to their ability to get a lower interest rate.

The public investment in the $370 million project, came to $253 million with the Diamondbacks kicking in $117 million.

While Maricopa Co. officials celebrated the event, the Diamondback quickly acknowledged the milestone and then threw a wet blanket on the accomplishment.  As reported by The Business Journal of Phoenix:

"The county should be proud of this accomplishment," said Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall. "Fans should know that the county continues to invest in this facility, however." 

He added later: 

"The building is debt-free, but the county's commitment to upgrade this unique ballpark on an annual basis is a reality and is necessary to compete in this day and age," Hall said. "As partners, we both understand the importance of maintaining status as a state-of-the-art ballpark, and we appreciate the continued cooperation and dedication."

The funding of what was then known as Bank One Ballpark was highly controversial and devisive. In early 1994, the Maricopa County Board approved a quarter-cent increase in the county sales tax, a tax that was approved without public referendum and at a point when the county was in debt. The approval of the funding was so controversial that in August of 1997, Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox was shot and injured while leaving a county board meeting by Larry Naman, a homeless man, who attempted to argue in court that her support for the tax justified his attack. In May of 1998, Naman was found guilty of attempted first-degree murder.

The initial cost projection for BOB was $279 million in 1995. The final cost, at the time of opening, was $364 million due to cost overruns, due mostly to the increased price of materials. The Diamondbacks covered all cost overruns over $253 million.

 
Tiger Stadium Demolition Gets Reprieve PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Staff   
Friday, 22 June 2007 05:03

Tiger StadiumIn a victory for ballpark preservationists, the Detroit City Planning Commission declined on Thursday to recommend approval for a proposed redevelopment of Tiger Stadium. As reported by The Detroit News:

A decision on the stadium redevelopment is not expected until after a City Council public hearing on the issue next month, said Marcell Todd, director of the planning commission.

The Tiger Stadium Property Redevelopment Project, headed by the city's Economic Growth Corp., calls for the ballpark at Michigan and Trumbull to be razed by September 2008, with parts of the historic baseball field preserved. Seats and other memorabilia would be sold.

Developers have not yet been selected, but the total project could cost $2.9 million and is expected to add at least 90 residential units with 30,000 square feet of commercial space, said Scott Veldhuis, project manager for the economic corporation.

Lending their voice for the preservation of the historic ballpark was the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy and the Greater Corktown Development Corp.

 
Jacobs Field Goes Solar PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Staff   
Thursday, 14 June 2007 04:32

Jacobs FieldThe Cleveland Indians and Green Energy Ohio announced today the installation of a new solar electric system at Jacobs Field – the first American League ballpark to go solar.  The solar installation will provide 8.4 kilowatts of clean, renewable electricity and introduce solar energy concepts to millions in Northeast Ohio.

Green Energy Ohio will work in concert with Doty and Miller Architects to design and install 42 GE solar panels on a newly erected pavilion which will be located on the south-facing upper deck concourse of Jacobs Field, overlooking Carnegie Avenue and I-90.

The electricity produced from the solar installation is enough to power all of the 400 television sets throughout Jacobs Field.

“The Cleveland Indians are committed to exploring the opportunities to help preserve the environment through the use of advanced energy,” said Jim Folk, Indians Vice President of Ballpark Operations. “Using the latest sustainable technologies is not only good for the community, but good for baseball. Working together with Green Energy Ohio , State of Ohio Department of Development, The Cleveland Foundation and Doty and Miller Architects has been a terrific experience in advancing our efforts.”

“We applaud the Cleveland Indians for taking the leadership role in embracing solar power,” said Christina Panoska, Program Manager of Green Energy Ohio. “Educating the millions of fans who visit Jacobs Field about renewable energy will be critical to increase the adoption of these technologies.”

Support for the solar project is made possible by State of Ohio Department of Development.

 
Twin's Owner Looks to Recoup Investment in New Ballpark PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 04 June 2007 00:57

Site Plan Carl Pohlad and the Pohlad family are looking to purchase properties around the site location for the new Twins ballpark being constructed, and with that, work to offset their investment in it.

(select the image provided to view the potential investment location

Recall that Pohlad (the richest owner in MLB), and the Twins are kicking in $130 million toward the new $522 million facility, while public subsidies come in at $350 million ($260 million for the ballpark, and $90 million for infrastructure) – or somewhere south of three times as much as the Twins.  As reported by the Minnesota Star Tribune:

The negotiations for the Ford Centre -- which has an estimated market value of $7.6 million -- come as the Twins and the newly created Minnesota Ballpark Authority, which will own the stadium, have reached a preliminary agreement on a separate land parcel near the stadium that will also likely benefit the Pohlads. That agreement was changed from earlier versions to more directly benefit the team.

Under the agreement, the Twins would gain parking and development rights on a three-acre parcel of land just southwest of the ballpark and opposite the stadium from the Ford Centre.

As further reported: 

According to the new agreement, the Twins' enhanced development rights for the property are compensation for the team's payment to Hennepin County -- a figure that both the county and the team have refused to disclose -- to help build infrastructure around the stadium.

The county and the ballpark authority, according to the agreement, will build a surface parking lot on the parcel for the team, which will pay $20,000 a year for its use. In addition, the team will initially pay $10,000 annually for the right to develop and lease the parcel, including any potential development built above the parking lot. Should the property be fully developed, the team's annual rent for the parcel will not exceed $250,000, according to the agreement.

So, not only might the Pohlad's reap in millions within the new ballpark, they could (depending on the total investment of  properties around the ballpark) actually offset what little investment they made in the facility to begin with.

Be warm in the idea if power goes out at the new open-air ballpark during early spring games, at least the Pohlads can burn money to keep warm in their suite.

To view high-resolution renderings of the new Twins ballpark design, select the link provided.

Got comments? We'd like to hear.

 

 
Final Plans for Kauffman Stadium Unveiled PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 22 May 2007 01:40

Ariel View of Kauffman Stadium Renovation Yesterday, the Kansas City Royals and Jackson County officials unveiled the final plans for the $250 million renovation project to Kauffman Stadium that will start at the end of this season and completed before the start of the 2010 season.

One aspect of the design that will be missing from what was originally proposed is a 9,500-seat amphitheater beyond left field.

The renovations come by way of a sales tax increase of 3/8 of a cent that Jackson Co. voters approved last year.

(Select the image to provided to see a high-resolution version)

At the announcement, the Royals avoid controversy by saying that they would add $900,000 to the project for a state-of-the-art video control room. As reported by MLB.com:

The changes will be done in phases (Biz of Baseball Note: to see an outline of the phases as released by HOK Sport, select this link). By Opening Day 2008, the stadium will feature new bullpens that will be perpendicular to the field, expanded dugout and crown seating and expanded vomitories -- the tunnel-like passages between the seats and the outside walls -- in the stadium.

"We need to do everything in a certain sequence," [Kevin Uhlich, Royals' senior vice president of business operations], said.

Opening Day 2009 will feature several more changes, including an outfield plaza, a walk of fame, an expanded View Level concourse and a food court, new scoreboard and new press facilities. Everything should be finished by Opening Day 2010, with several final touches, including completed areas in the Diamond Club, Crown Club, Stadium Club and home-plate suites installed.

"There are going to be areas in the stadium that are going to be touched for all facets of fans, not only the premium areas -- obviously those are necessary for any renovation -- but the fan who is going to come to one game a year," Uhlich said earlier this season.

As for removal of the amphitheater, those plans were scrapped in favor of improving Kauffman, itself. As reported by the Kansas City Star:

Although the pavilion stood to be a money-maker for the Royals, fan focus groups gave it a thumbs down, said Earl Santee, senior principal of HOK Sport, which is doing the stadium design.

The Royals planned to put more than $4 million into the pavilion, with the county chipping in $2.5 million from the sales tax revenue. Sanders said the pavilion would be a bigger benefit to the Royals than to fans and should not be subsidized.

“We decided it was not a prudent thing to build,” said Kevin Uhlich, Royals senior vice president for business operations. “We thought there were a lot better uses for the money within the stadium.”

Instead, the Royals and the county agreed to redirect the money into such fan-friendly changes as wider concourses on the upper level, a kids’ ball field and play area beyond left field, more food outlets and more picnic-like seating.

Two signature aspects of the ballpark will remain. The fountains in centerfield, and the crown scoreboard in centerfield. The scoreboard will be significantly larger as part of the renovation.

To see renderings like you see above, along with the finer details of the renovation, and the funding aspects, select The Biz of Baseball’s Kauffman Stadium Renovations page.

To read The Biz of Baseball with HOK’s Earl Santee, select this link.

 
Miami Marlins? Miami-Dade Looks to Fund without State PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Staff   
Monday, 21 May 2007 01:47

New Marlins StadiumWith the Florida Marlins, yet again, coming up short on state funding for a new baseball-only stadium, Miami-Dade County is considering going it alone. If that were to occur, the County would like to see the team renamed the Miami Marlins, since the State of Florida isn't willing to pitch in. As reported by Sarah Talalay of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

[Commissioner Dennis Moss] also suggested that since the county plans to contribute millions of dollars in hotel bed and sports facilities taxes to the ballpark, which it would also own, the team should hold spring training at the Homestead baseball stadium once its lease at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter expires. After all, Moss said, the county also helped pay for the Homestead ballpark, which was meant to be the spring home of the Cleveland Indians, but was abandoned after it was damaged during Hurricane Andrew.

“I wholeheartedly support this,” Commissioner Rebeca Sosa said. If a stadium is built, Sosa said, “We agree to change the name to Miami Marlins. There’s a commitment with them that it stays. The state didn’t give you a penny, that means you don’t belong to Florida. We are going to build the stadium so you belong to Miami, you belong to Dade County.

Commissioner Carlos Gimenez also said it’s time to give up on state funding and put a ballpark proposal before the commission so it can decide whether to move forward.

“Waiting for this state money has probably cost us a couple hundred million dollars. I think it’s time we move on,” Gimenez said. “Forget the state … if we had just gone ahead and built it, it would have cost a couple hundred million dollars less than now. Forget the state, it’s not going to happen.”

As Talalay titles the artilce on her blog, welcome to Marlins Stadium Update No. 1,021

 
Monday: First Signs of New Twins Ballpark Construction PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 08:09

New Twins BallparkThe first signs of the new ballpark construction for the Minnesota Twins begins this coming Monday. That's the day dump trucks will begin taking away debris from the 10-acre site in preparation for construction. As reported by the AP:

Crews will begin hauling material out next Monday, said Dan Mehls, who is managing the project for M.A. Mortensen Company. Most of the concrete and asphalt will be recycled, he said.

On Tuesday, the Twins staged a mock diamond with home plate and the bases placed on their actual spots when the $522 million stadium opens for the 2010 season. The entire site has been fenced off for security.

"It's a start," Twins executive Jerry Bell said. "You have to begin someplace."

Official groundbreaking for the new facility is scheduled for August.

High resolution versions of images similar to above are available on The New Twins Ballpark page.

 
Nationals to Have Evironmentally Friendly Ballpark PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Sunday, 13 May 2007 13:38

Click on this image to see a larger version of the Nats green design Announced earlier this month, the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission (DCSEC) has authorized the new Nationals ballpark design team, through HOK Sport, to move forward with prerequisite services necessary in creating an environmentally friendly ballpark. Once certified, the DC ballpark will become the first Major League ballpark to reach LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification.

Select the image provided to see a larger image of the key details, or select Read More for information provided in HOK's press release. 

To see high resolution computer renderings of the new Nationals ballpark, like the image above, select this link 

Got something to say about the new Nationals Ballpark design? Make sure and add your comments

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Astros Have First Ballpark with Bluetooth Technology PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Friday, 11 May 2007 05:21

BluetoothMinute Maid Park is now the first ballpark in the US to offer Bluetooth-downloading capabilities.

Fans can download Astros pictures, wallpaper, promotions, and exclusive team content to their phones, including the home run spectacular shown on the Astros Smart Vision screen.

Bluetooth zones are located at two restaurants inside Minute Maid Park, Lefty's Bar-B-Que (left field concourse) and 9 Amigos (located in the concourse area behind center field). The interactive zones were first available on April 2, the Astros Opening Day. These specified areas deliver still photos and animations, video and audio clips, ticket offers, merchandise offers, sponsor offers, interactive applications, and links.

"The Astros are excited to be able to offer Bluecasting to our fans," said Astros Senior Director of Marketing Jennifer Randall. "We are always looking for new and innovative ways to reach the Generation Y demographic. The Astros are able to offer several pieces of free content during each home game. Bluecasting allows us to send brand-building messages such as custom phone wallpapers and exclusive videos along with sales-driven messages, including ticket and sponsor offers."

Bluecasting is an interactive proximity-based marketing tool which allows the consumer to initiate a communication between the individual and a particular brand. Bluecasting differentiates itself from more traditional mobile content delivery with its ability to provide an immediate, site-specific call to action, and the speeds at which it is capable of delivering content to mobile devices. Astros fans now have the ability to interact with their favorite team and take value-rich content home with them through use of their cell phone.

Bluetooth wireless technology is a short-range communications technology intended to replace the cables connecting portable or fixed devices while maintaining high levels of security. The Bluetooth specification defines a uniform structure for a wide range of devices to connect and communicate with each other. Bluetooth technology has achieved global acceptance such that any Bluetooth enabled device, almost everywhere in the world, can connect to other Bluetooth enabled devices in proximity. The process of transferring information from the Bluetooth Zones to the Bluetooth receiver is also known as Bluecasting.
 
Land Transaction for Cisco Field Completed PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Staff   
Thursday, 10 May 2007 09:20

Cisco FieldOakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff, Cisco and ProLogis announced today that they have signed land agreements enabling the Cisco Field ballpark process to move forward. The A’s now have completed the land transaction and control 226-acres of land in the City of Fremont where the new Cisco Field ballpark and the urban village will be built. In addition, the A’s will continue to work with the City staff on the steps necessary to commence the public application process.

"I am pleased that this important stage in our goal of creating
Cisco Field and the Baseball Village is complete," said Wolff. "Our agreements with Cisco and ProLogis are a critical milestone in giving us the opportunity to create Major League Baseball’s most exciting and intimate fan friendly venue. Our organization believes the development program we will implement will generate very positive benefits for the City of Fremont, Alameda County and the fans that we serve. Remaining in Alameda County and having an exciting venue will also impact the A’s ability to attract and retain Major League Baseball talent."

“We are truly excited to begin the next phase of our strategic relationship with the A’s,” said Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers. “We believe
Cisco Field will provide the Bay Area community and major league baseball fans alike with an experience that is unparalleled in sports today. By teaming with the A’s, Cisco will be able to use technology to help create a ballpark of the future—and connect communities."

The 226-acres of land will include
Cisco Field and an urban village featuring an integrated mixed-use life-style center and pedestrian oriented residential community.

On Tuesday, Lew Wolff presented an economic analysis of
Cisco Field and the surrounding Ballpark Village to the City of Fremont. The economic analysis report, prepared by Economics Research Associates of San Francisco, is intended to present an evaluation of the near and long-term benefits created by Cisco Field and Ballpark Village to the City of Fremont, Alameda County and the surrounding communities. To view the report (in PDF) format, select the following link.

To see artist renderings of Cisco Field, select this link on The Biz of Baseball

 
A's Wolff Submits Report. No Application for Development PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Wednesday, 09 May 2007 06:07
Cisco Field

Lewis Wolff, the co-owner and managing partner of the Oakland A's (read The Biz of Baseball interview with Wolff here) met with the Fremont City Council last night giving the Council a 60 page report (read here in PDF) conducted by Economic Research Associates touting the economic impact that Wolff's proposed 143-acre Ballpark Village would generate. Not surprisingly, the report is skewed heavily toward the benefits of the ballpark and the ancillary development showing, among other details, the honeymoon effects of new ballparks built. Matters such as how public resources such as police, fire, and other services would be off-set is not covered. Taken in total, it’s clearly not a wholly “independent” report by ERA; it’s designed to work to the A’s favor. As reported by the Fremont Argus:

 Titled the "Ballpark Village Economic Analysis," the report also says the village would:

-Create about $109 million in direct economic impact to Alameda County.

-Create about 1,760 jobs within Alameda County and generate more than $191 million per year in county economic output, when including indirect effects and other economic impacts of the project.

-Generate more than $10 million in development fees for the Fremont Unified School District.

- Generate more than $3.6 million per year for Fremont's general fund balance.

-Generate more than $15 million annually for the city's Redevelopment Agency, in the form of property tax increments and set-aside funds for low- and moderate-income housing.

Wolff told council members that the team would cover any ballpark cost overruns. And the A's will pay the city of Fremont $1 million annually to support city services connected to the project, according to the report.

What did not come at the meeting was the much anticipated development application for the project. Wolff has said he will file the application once the deal to purchase the 143 acres from Cisco Systems is completed. When asked if he planned on filing soon, Wolff replied, “No.” Asked if he had a target date in mind, “I wish I did,” a smiling Wolff was reported to say.

To see artist renderings of Cisco Field, select this link on The Biz of Baseball

 
A's Co-Owner Wolff to Update Fremont City Council PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Staff   
Tuesday, 08 May 2007 01:40

Cisco FieldLewis Wolff, the co-owner and general partner of the Oakland Athletics (read The Biz of Baseball interview with Wolff here), will update the Fremont City Council regarding their efforts to build an expansive Ballpark Village, including a $500 million baseball-only stadium, to be called Cisco Field. The question today will be, will Wolff file the development application for the project? Wolff has said he will not file the application until finalization of the sale of the 143-acres of land for the Ballpark Village. As reported by the Oakland Tribune:

"We are not sure specifically what (Wolff) is going to address," Fremont Economic Development Director Daren Fields said.

"I think he's giving a general update, trying to put some timelines (on the project), but we don't know for sure," Mayor Bob Wasserman added.

When reached by phone in his Los Angeles office Friday, Wolff also didn't reveal much about what he will tell council members.

"Come to the meeting and find out," Wolff said.

The report will be the second time in 31/2 months Wolff would formally address Fremont's five-member City Council.

To see artist renderings of Cisco Field, select this link on The Biz of Baseball
 
ANC & Mitsubishi Selected for Nats Video Display Systems PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Monday, 07 May 2007 07:34
Nationals Diamond VisionANC Sports Enterprises and Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision Systems have been selected by the Washington Nationals to create and install a state-of-the-art high-definition scoreboard and video display system for the team’s new ballpark, scheduled to debut Opening Day of the 2008 Major League Baseball season.

ANC Sports will spearhead the installation, content creation and operation for the stadium’s Diamond Vision light-emitting diode (LED) display and rotational signage systems.

Nationals Park will feature a 47- by 101-foot high-definition video screen, more than 700 feet of animated fascia, and an LED display covering over 2,600 square feet of the outfield wall. Operated through ANC’s 3D VisionSOFT (patent pending) control system, the displays will feature uncompressed images providing the clearest video possible for Nationals’ fans.

“We are excited to partner with the Nationals to provide Washington, DC with a premier sports and entertainment venue through our state-of-the-art signage technology,” said Jerry Cifarelli, president and chief executive officer of ANC Sports Enterprises. “ANC’s revolutionary software system and dynamic content creation combined with Mitsubishi Electric’s Diamond Vision LED displays will create an unparalleled signage solution that delivers the preeminent event experience in professional sports.”

Highlighted by a right-center field high-definition video screen with over four million LEDs, the new ballpark will feature more than 9,000 square feet of Diamond Vision signage. The stadium will animate four different locations of fascia, including the main level, the club level, and above the home and visitors bullpens. Additionally, two side-by-side 51-foot long LED video screens will be built into the right-center field outfield wall.

“Partnering with ANC Sports enabled us to offer the Nationals and their fans with a one-of-a-kind signage solution that redefines the game day experience,” said Mark Foster, general manager for Mitsubishi Electric Power Products Diamond Vision Systems Division. “We are thrilled Diamond Vision will be a part of the new state-of-the-art ballpark in our nation’s capital and look forward to expanding our relationship with ANC to provide the professional sports market with the most energetic and visually impressive displays.”

Driven by ANC’s VisionSOFT software, each of these displays will be able to simultaneously transition from live video, replays, and full motion team graphics to real-time statistics, out-of-town scores and other game information. ANC’s new StatsLIVE solution will interface with the VisionSOFT operating system to display real-time comprehensive game statistics from league and third party sources. Additionally, ANC Design, a division of ANC Sports Enterprises will create animations, advertisements and statistical templates for the entire display system.

In addition to the LED display system, ANC will provide the Nationals with over 60 feet of field level rotational signage along both baselines, at “on-deck” locations and behind home plate.
 
Once Again, Marlins Fail to Land Stadium Funding PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 04 May 2007 08:53

Proposed Marlins StadiumOnce again, the Florida Marlins have struck out in the Florida Legislature.

The Florida Senate adjourned in Tallahassee today, and the chances to bridge a $60 million funding gap for a new baseball-only stadium went with it until they reconvene next year, although the possibility of a special session where the matter might be addressed has not been completely ruled out. This year was seen as the best chance for a deal to happen, but in the end, politics between the House and Senate was seen as the main issue killing the deal. As reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

The measure's failure is a significant blow to the team, Miami-Dade County and Miami city officials who thought the state would finally grant the funding on the sixth try in the past eight years.

"It's very disappointing. I thought this was going to be the year," Miami Mayor Manny Diaz said Friday afternoon when it looked as if the bill wouldn't be considered by the Senate. "Everybody did."

But as he did after the funding request wasn't heard in the Senate in 2005, Diaz vowed not to give up on completing a deal.

"What happens is I'm going to go back and fight harder than ever to find a local solution to the building of the stadium and keeping the Marlins," Diaz said. "I think if we put our heads together, I think it can still be done."  
 
Bloomberg Unveils Plan to Redevelop Area Near Shea PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Wednesday, 02 May 2007 00:47

New Mets StadiumYesterday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a plan to transform the Willets Point area near Shea Stadium from a series of junkyards and auto repair businesses into 5,500 housing units, 1.7 million square feet of retail and entertainment and 500,000 square feet of office space. The area would be repleat with a 700-room hotel and a 400,000-square-foot convention center. The project would take several years to complete and come with the touchy and expensive job of dealing with the environmental clean-up. As reported by the NY Times:

The city has said it intends to acquire the land through eminent domain if owners are unwilling to sell their property, and today Mr. Bloomberg reiterated his belief that cleaning up Willets Point — also known as the Iron Triangle — would satisfy the definition of public purpose that the Supreme Court’s eminent domain decision requires.

“But my hope is that we don’t have to use eminent domain at all,” he said.

According to the report, there is one residential resident in the Willets Point area.

“For far too long, the Willets Point peninsula has been an area marked by unrealized potential and neglect, inhibiting growth in Downtown Flushing and Corona and steadily becoming more polluted,” Mayor Bloomberg said this afternoon. “Today, finally, we’re doing something about it.”

To view high-resolution computer renderings of the new Mets Stadium design (Citi Field), such as seen above, select this link on The Biz of Baseball 

 
Slots Bill Tied to New Marlins Stadium Funding PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Tuesday, 01 May 2007 02:05

New Marlins StadiumIn a case of two sides working to get something they want, the Florida legislature has brought forward a bill that would allow slot machines at 10 racetracks and jai-alai frontons, including four in Miami-Dade County. How does this impact the Florida Marlins? Tax revenues would be used to fill a $60 million gap to fund a new stadium for the club. As reported by the Miami Herald:

The deal would work like this: The House hates gambling but wants to give a $60 million subsidy to the Marlins to build a retractable-roof stadium. The Senate doesn't care for the Marlins stadium but has already voted to allow parimutuels throughout the state to put in slot machines.

So each chamber would hold its nose to pass a bill it dislikes to get something it badly wants.

House leaders denied Monday there is any direct link between the gambling bill and Marlins measure, but the sponsors are hopeful that since the gambling money would be steered to property tax cuts, both will survive.

''It appears to me there is a desire on the part of leaders of both chambers to give each issue a vote,'' said Sen. Steve Geller, the Senate Democratic Leader and sponsor of the slots bill. He added that the extra revenue from gaming would make the cost of the Marlins bill -- $2 million a year for 30 years -- "easier to stomach.''

As reported yesterday, the Marlins are running out of time as this Friday marks the end of the Florida legislative session.

To view artist renderings of the proposed Marlins stadium, like the one you see here, select this link to the Marlins renderings page on The Biz of Baseball.

 
Mystery Solved: Batter's-Eye for A's Cisco Field PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 30 April 2007 06:49

Cisco FieldWhen 360 Architecture, the Oakland Athletics, and Cisco Systems rolled out renderings for the proposed ballpark in Fremont, CA., the one thing that came to mind is that it would harken back neighborhood park designs such as Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, yet have a great many unique and modern touches that would come with being associated with 360 Architecture and Cisco.

As I looked over the renderings closely for an article I did on the design for Baseball Prospectus, there was one design aspect that was mysterious to me: the batter's-eye design.

If you look at the image we provide here (click on the image to see a larger version in a popup), you'll notice that the batter's-eye (the black background in centerfield that allows batters to see the ball against a solid background, and thus protect them from misreading the ball spin and potentially being hit in the head) is missing. This confused me as it clearly would not be allowed when games are played, as all MLB ballparks require the background to protect hitters. How would the A's get around not having a batter's-eye? The answer is, they will have one... just not before games, as this rendering falsely leads one to believe. As reported by the Boston Globe:

 [Lewis] Wolff explained some of what he's planning.

"In the batter's-eye area in center field, that will open up into a public park where fans can look into the stadium before the game and watch batting practice. At game time, the area will close up and we'll provide either a feed of the game if it's sold out or a movie for people to enjoy. The area will also open up to our version of Yawkey Way, about a half-million square feet of shopping areas."

So, the batter's-eye will most likely be rolled up in some fashion to allow fans to peer in, thus removing the mystery. Just one more innovative design aspect to look forward to when Cisco Field opens.

To see artist renderings of Cisco Field, select this link on The Biz of Baseball

 
Fate of New Marlins Stadium Comes Down to Last Week PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Monday, 30 April 2007 03:32

Proposed Marlins StadiumOnce again, the Florida Marlins are staring down the last week of a Florida legislative session in their hopes of landing state funding to breach the $60 million gap for a new $490 million ballpark. Even though one of the bills targeting funding for the Marlins cleared a House floor vote last week, with the session schedule to end this coming Friday, every day becomes more and more critical as the clock ticks. As reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

"In my mind, they're dead for the session," Senate Majority Leader Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden, said last week. "It never has been a done deal. The votes we have had have barely passed every time. There still is about half the chamber against this issue. It's an uphill battle, no matter what."

But team supporters, primarily Miami-Dade County senators, aren't conceding yet.

"There are high-level negotiations going on," said Sen. Rudy Garcia, R-Hialeah, a sponsor of one of the Senate bills to help the team. He and Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, who also sponsored a Marlins bill, said it's difficult to predict what can happen in the final days of a legislative session, as hundreds of bills are passed and chamber leaders make a series of trade-offs to adjourn on time.

"In this process, I don't think it's over until it's over," said Diaz de la Portilla, whose district would be home to the new stadium. "I think that a lot of things happen in the last days of session that no one can possibly imagine."

To view artist renderings of the proposed Marlins stadium, like the one you see here, select this link to the Marlins renderings page on The Biz of Baseball.

 
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