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Rink for NHL Classic to be Setup at Wrigley Field Today PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 16 December 2008 09:16

Wrigley Field with Hockey Rink

Artist rendering of Wrigley Field rink for NHL Classic (courtesy of National Hockey League)

 Wrigley Field will move from the Field of Dreams to Rink of Dreams today as the NHL begins setting up the rink that will be used for the NHL Winter Classic to be played on January 1.

The game, which has become exceptionally popular, will feature the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks.

To add to the uniqueness of the event, fans will have an opportunity to skate on the rink after the game is played. Public skate is from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 4 in one-hour shifts for the price of $10.

Source: NHL, Chicago Tribune


Maury BrownMaury 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.

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Bloomberg Administration and Yankees Squabble Over Suite Use PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 30 November 2008 15:03

New Yankee Stadium Suite

The Bloomberg administration and the
Yankees are squabbling over the use of
a luxury suite, such as this rendering shows,
in the Yankees' new $1.3 billion stadium set
to open in 2009. (Source: HOK)

A series of emails shows that the Bloomberg administration and the New York Yankees have been squabbling over the use of a luxury suite in the new Yankee Stadium with issues ranging to the size of the suite, to whether free food should be granted the Mayor’s office.

(see images of new Yankee Stadium)

As the emails reveal, Mayor Bloomberg’s office was willing to give 250 parking spaces that were earmarked for the public to the Yankees, where they have been turned into spaces for Yankee execs and VIPs. The city has also turned over the revenue rights for three billboards as part of the suite deal.

The emails were obtained by Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, Democrat of Westchester. Brodsky  has been highly critical of the use of taxpayer dollars associated to the $1.3 billion stadium slated to open in 2009. The New York Times has reported that the use of the suite has been a bone of contention between parties for some time.

It is hard to determine the precise value of what the city gave the Yankees as part of the exchange. The public parking, though perhaps a convenience to those who drive to the stadium, was to be run by a parking garage operator, not the city, before it was turned over to the Yankees for team use. The billboards would most likely generate about $750,000 annually, given their location. The Yankees are expected to charge $600,000 to $850,000 a year for stadium luxury suites, according to reports.

The project required permission from the Internal Revenue Service because of the team’s desire to use tax-exempt bonds to finance construction. In one heated exchange, city lawyers threatened they would not make the request to the I.R.S. for the use of the tax-exempt financing unless the Yankees would consider providing the luxury suite.

Lonn Trust, the Yankees chief operating officer, wrote to the city on Jan. 26, 2006: “For clarity, no seats, no suites, no tickets, and as they say in Brooklyn ‘No nothin’.’ ”

In response, a lawyer for the city, Joseph Gunn, warned that “No nothin’ can go both ways,” adding that if the luxury suite was not included, “We do not submit the letter ruling request.”

The article shows that there was a steady stream of emails between the Yankees and representatives of Mayor Bloomberg’s office, including whether free food would be part of the deal for the city, as is the case with all other suites in the soon-to-be-open ballpark for those that are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for their use. When the Yankees balked at the notion of free food, Mayor Bloomberg’s office shot back.

“It’s really ridiculous, but it sticks like a bone in everyone’s craw, [said Stephen Lefkowitz, a Yankees lawyer]. “The Yankees feel the city should pay for any food it wants to consume, and I think it’s a little unseemly to require ‘free’ food.”

He added: “For this I went to law school — sigh.”


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.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

 
Marlins Bump Opening Date of New Stadium to 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 25 November 2008 12:48
Marlins StadiumWith the Florida Marlins locked in a legal battle that appears to have been resolved as of this week, the planned date for opening their new $515 million stadium at the current site of the Orange Bowl in Little Havana will have to wait a bit longer.

Marlins president David Samson announced today that due to the legal wranglings with South Florida auto dealer Norman Braman, the project will now have a 2012 completion date. As reported by MLB.com:

Even though the Marlins won all seven counts in the lawsuit, which was concluded last week, what was lost was time to get the building completed by the initial target date.
Samson makes it clear that the one-year setback in no way threatens the stadium from being built. The cost for the 37,000-seat, retractable-roof park at the Orange Bowl grounds will also remain the same -- at $515 million.

[...]

"This is because of Braman," Samson told MLB.com. "It's not because of the economy. It's not because of any issues with the [final] documents. It's not because of any of that. We are on schedule [for 2012], and everything is going to be fine."

Braman has said he would appeal the ruling set forth last week.

The Marlins and HOK plan on releasing updated renderings of the designs of the new facility (see the last renderings released) in a couple of weeks.

To have the facility ready by the 2012 Opening Day, the Marlins say that the groundbreaking would have to occur no later than May 2009.


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.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

 

 
Amidst Near Collapse, Cititgroup Confirms Retaining Naming Rights Deal with Mets PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Saturday, 22 November 2008 14:14

Citi Field

Despite losing half its value in three days this week, and announc-
ing massive layoffs, Citigroup remains committed to the most
lucrative naming rights deal in history with the New York Mets.

As The Biz of Baseball first reported on Monday, a spokesman for the New York Mets said that the record 20-year, $400 million naming rights deal for the new Mets stadium -- christened Citi Field (see images and details on Citi Field) -- is not in peril even as 53,000 Citigroup workers, or 20 percent of the company workforce, will be laid-off. The layoffs came after Citigroup had already cut their assets by 20 percent since the first quarter of 2008.

Now, word comes from Citigroup that the naming deal is, indeed, going to continue.

“We remain committed to our relationship to the Mets; it is important to us,” Steve Silverman, a spokesman for Citgroupi, said in a telphone interview Friday with the New York Times.

The confirmation of Citigroup's commitment comes after an incredible decline for the financial company. Citi's value dropped by half in just over three days this week, helping to drive the S&P 500 down 24 percent for the week.

News this week is that Citigroup is weighing whether to sell the company outright or consider a merger amidst the heavy declines.

The naming rights deal with the Mets -- the most lucrative deal in U.S. sports history -- will have Citi paying the Mets $20 million annually over the life of the agreement. The deal between Citigroup and the Mets can also be extended from 20 to 35 years.


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.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

 
Marlins Clear Legal Challenge on New Ballpark Financing PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 21 November 2008 13:35

The Florida Marlins have cleared the final legal hurdle for their proposed new ballpark at the site of the Orange Bowl in Little Havana, when a judge ordered that no voter referendum would be required for the stadium’s financing plan.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jeri Beth Cohen made the ruling. Cohen has also ruled in favor of the Marlins on other legal challenges, most notably from auto magnate Norman Braman, who has promised to appeal the ruling.

The Marlins hope to break ground on the new 37,000-seat ballpark in 2011

(see renderings of the proposed Marlins ballpark)


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.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

 
Dodgers & White Sox Name New Spring Training Facility "Camelback Ranch" PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 20 November 2008 23:16

Camelback Ranch - Dodgers & White Sox

Select the image above to see larger version

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox announced Thursday that their two-team, state-of-the-art Spring Training campus in Glendale , AZ will be named Camelback Ranch. Dodger Owner and Chairman Frank McCourt and White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf made the announcement.

“The name ‘Camelback Ranch’ inspires the pioneering spirit of the Dodgers’ original move west in 1958 and with our relocation this spring to Arizona , that move is now complete,” said McCourt. “We believe this facility will be the best in all of Major League Baseball and will provide our team with an unparalleled place to prepare year-round for championship-caliber baseball.”

“Camelback Ranch in Glendale soon will be known as the crown-jewel of the Cactus League,” said Reinsdorf.  “Starting this spring, baseball fans will be able to enjoy a world-class complex that features the Cactus League’s largest ballpark with state-of-the-art amenities and one of the most scenic environments in all of sports and entertainment.”

The 141-acre site is located on Camelback Road just west of the Loop 101. The first-rate baseball facility includes more than 118,000 square feet of Major and Minor League clubhouse space, 13 full baseball fields, and three half-fields. The site will feature picturesque walking trails, landscaped grounds, and an orange grove. There will also be two ponds and a fully-stocked lake between the Dodgers and White Sox facilities.

The shared stadium, which will be the focal point of the complex, is the largest in the Cactus League with a capacity of 13,000 which includes 3,000 lawn seats, 12 luxury suites, a party deck, and a unique center field rotunda entrance. Fans will enjoy the ballpark’s modern amenities and design as well as dramatic mountain views from within the park that will create one of the most inviting Spring Training atmospheres in all of baseball.

 

Camelback Ranch Construction

Select the image above to see larger view

“It is my sincere hope that generations of families will create lifelong memories at Camelback Ranch,” said Dodger President Jamie McCourt . “This idyllic setting – only five hours by car and a one-hour flight from Los Angeles – could not come at a more perfect time for Dodger fans, many of whom have waited a long time to take part in the Spring Training experience.”

“Many former Chicagoans now call the Valley home,” said Reinsdorf. “That large contingent of people, along with the thousands of current Chicagoans who travel to the Phoenix area during the winter months, now will have the opportunity to enjoy White Sox baseball in an incomparable sports and entertainment facility.”

In addition to serving as the Spring Training home of the White Sox and Dodgers, the campus will become the home for all Dodger minor league operations throughout the year, including the team’s Arizona League entry and Fall Instructional League team. The White Sox also will use Camelback Ranch in Glendale as the home for their Fall Instructional League.

Camelback Ranch will become a multi-use facility, available to host concerts, sporting events, and corporate outings, in addition to Spring Training baseball.

The 2009 Spring Training schedules will be released shortly for each team, while the joint venture offers six different season ticket options:  Home Plate Club, Dugout Field Box, Baseline Field Box, Premium Infield Box, Infield Box, and Baseline Reserved, along with day-of-game Lawn seating.

Source: Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox


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.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

 
A’s Inch Closer on Environmental Impact Report for Ballpark Development PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 19 November 2008 00:48

Cisco FieldOver a year and a half in the making, the Athletics have finally seen some movement on the long-awaited Environmental Impact Report process for the proposed 32,000 seat facility located on 226-acres of land in the Pacific Commons area in Fremont.

(see details and computer renderings of the proposed Athletics ballpark)

Late Tuesday afternoon, the A’s announced that City officials presented a Notice of Preparation to affected local, state and federal agencies, and neighboring property owners.

 A Notice of Preparation (NOP) is a document stating that an EIR will be prepared for a particular project, a required and significant step for final city approval of the A’s ballpark proposal.

The NOP is designed so that interested parties, including Fremont residents, can submit comments specifically on the project description and alternatives. These comments will be incorporated by Fremont planning officials in the drafting of key environmental documents. The public comment period will be open for 30 days. A public workshop has been scheduled for December 8, 2008, 6:30pm at Fremont City Hall. Following the public comment period, the City will prepare and submit a Draft Environmental Impact Report to the Fremont Planning Commission for consideration next year.

According to the Athletics, if approved, groundbreaking on the project will commence as soon as possible thereafter.

“The planning process hasn’t always moved as fast as we’d like, but we are optimistic that we can succeed after listening to the community and engaging experts in the fields of transportation, architecture, and technology,” said principle owner, Lewis Wolff (see The Biz of Baseball interview with Wolff). “Our intention is to win approval of a plan that we believe will benefit both the City and the A’s”, added Wolff.”

The ballpark is part of a larger real estate development plan by Wolff, including 3,150 residential units and adjacent commercial development.

The baseball park will be named Cisco Field as part of a 30-year naming rights partnership with Cisco Systems. The naming rights agreement is for $4 million annually over the life of the agreement, or $120 million.

Source: Oakland Athletics, Business of Sports Network research


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.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

 
White Sox Announce 2009 Spring Training Move to Glendale PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 18 November 2008 15:10

White SoxThe Chicago White Sox announced today that the organization will move to its new spring training facility in Glendale, Ariz. in time for spring training 2009.

Today’s approval of an agreement by Pima County Supervisors enables the White Sox to immediately move to the new facility in Glendale, which will be shared with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The city of Tucson, located in Pima County, was the previous site of White Sox spring training.

(see details and images of the Dodgers/White Sox spring training facility)

“We are very pleased to be moving to our new facility in Glendale in 2009, and we are excited to start a long and successful partnership with the Dodgers and the city,” said White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.  “The city of Glendale has done a tremendous job of creating a state-of-the-art spring training facility for the Dodgers and White Sox.  Glendale has become a first-class, year-round sports destination that our fans will thoroughly enjoy.”

For the first time, both Chicago and both Los Angeles-area baseball teams will train and play spring training games in the same league (Cactus League) and area.  Glendale is located in the rapidly growing northwest part of the Phoenix metropolitan area.

“With fans from Chicago wanting to see the White Sox, and fans from Los Angeles able to drive over to see the Dodgers, we believe Glendale will quickly become the most popular spring training site in the Cactus League,” said Reinsdorf.  “A large number of former Chicagoans now call the Valley home, and others spend the winter in the Phoenix area.  Those fans will have the opportunity to enjoy White Sox baseball on a daily basis each spring.”

The new facility and ballpark, under construction at Camelback Road and 107th Avenue, is set to open in February.  The facility sits on a 125-acre site and includes two ponds with picturesque walking trails throughout the complex.

The Glendale facility also features the Cactus League’s largest ballpark – with 10,000 fixed seats and capacity for an additional 3,000 people on the outfield lawn.  The ballpark’s modern amenities and design, which includes dramatic mountain views from within the park, will create one of the most inviting atmospheres in spring training baseball.

The facility boasts more than 118,000 square feet of major and minor league clubhouse space, four major league practice fields, eight minor league practice fields and two practice infields. In addition to spring training baseball, the facility and ballpark, which is a joint venture between the two baseball teams, will host a variety of sports and entertainment events throughout the year.

The White Sox will announce their 2009 spring training game schedule as soon as it is finalized.

The White Sox began holding spring training in Tucson in 1998 after the team moved from Sarasota, Fla. where it trained from 1960-97.

Source: Chicago White Sox


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.

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Citi Field Name Safe, According to Mets PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 17 November 2008 15:07

Citi Field Logo

Is this name safe on the new Mets stadium?

UPDATE: Citigroup confirms retaining the naming rights deal with the Mets. See details.

Just over two years ago, the New York Mets announced that they had reached an agreement with Citigroup for the naming rights to their new ballpark slated to open in 2009 for a record $400 million over 20 years, or $20 million annually.

The extraordinary deal highlighted the power of MLB and naming rights allure in the New York market. And, even at $20 million annually over 20 years, it has a provision by which the parties can extend the deal for up to 35 years, showing the investment and returns that Citigroup saw in the Mets' new stadium. Given that naming rights for new Yankee Stadium were not up for grabs, the Citigroup deal was seen by many as the next best thing.

It was a staggering deal, eclipsing the record amount for a naming rights deal brokered by the NFL Houston Texans and Reliant Energy for $10 million annually to 2032. The deal brokered in 2002 is $100 million less than the Mets will pull in from Citigroup.

The deal with the Mets was before the economic downturn. Even before the heavy slide in the credit market, Citigroup had begun to cut costs, reducing their assets by 20 percent since the first quarter of this year.

Today, Citigroup announced that 53,000 workers will be laid-off – a staggering sum totaling 20 percent of their workforce.

According to The Associated Press, “a Citigroup spokesman said that while certain regions and businesses might have higher concentrations of job cuts, they would generally be across the entire company and around the world.”

And while the steep declines in the financial sector have Citigroup deeply entrenched within it, in the naming rights world, one is reminded of the self-inflicted collapse of Enron that cut short the deal that the energy giant had with the Houston Astros for the name of their stadium.

So, the question is, will the steep losses at Citigroup scuttle the most lucrative naming rights deal in American sports history with the Mets?

The answer from the Mets is, no.

Reached for comment, Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz simply replied that the deal with Citigroup is not in peril.

“Everything is fine with our naming rights deal for Citi Field,” Horwitz replied by email.

With cuts being made by Citigroup over the course of the year, and today's announcement, if the Mets' comments are true, it may be that nothing short of a total collapse by Citigroup will derail the record naming rights deal.


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.

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Economy Slows Interest in New Yankee Stadium Suites PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 12 November 2008 08:47

New Yankee Stadium Suites

Bitter suite? The economy has slowed sales
of luxury suites for the new Yankee Stadium

Even baseball’s most popular team isn’t impervious to the slow down in the economy.

Sales for suites in new $1.3 billion Yankee Stadium, slated to open next year, have stalled, with seven of the luxury suites priced at $600,000 still remaining.

That was the same number of suites available in August, as well.

As reported by Ronald Blum of The AP, even in MLB’s largest market, the downward spiral of the economy is taking its toll.

“There’s no getting away from the fact that the world is different than it was, so traffic slows,” chief operating officer Lonn Trost said Tuesday. “So you don’t have 10 people banging on the door. You may only have two people.”

Trost said in August that 44 of 51 suites priced at $600,000 to $850,000 had been committed, and that the $650,000 and $850,000 suites had sold out.

“We’re entertaining proposals from different folks,” he said. “I’m not going to put them into the sold column until somebody sends me an e-mail and says, `Done.’ It’s so hard to say close when you get attorneys involved and you start fighting over terms, and we don’t want to change terms.”

This isn’t to say that there haven’t been takers for the most expensive seats in The House That George Steinbrenner is Building. Trost reports that 3,500 of the 4,300 premium seats have been sold, including the Legends section – $500-$2,500 per-game tickets near home plate in the first nine rows of 25 sections ringing home plate.

The economy has also slowed the completion of an in-stadium naming rights deal with Bank of America.

“Things are slow to come to fruition, but they’re getting there,” Trost said.

 


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.

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ISFA to Make Improvements to U.S. Cellular Field PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 10 November 2008 13:28
A significant capital repair project currently is underway at Gate 5 of U.S. Cellular Field, located across from the ballpark north of 35th Street .

The project, which was undertaken by the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority (ISFA) as part of its capital repair responsibilities for the ballpark, will cost approximately $15 million and includes the following:

  • Demolition of the eastern-most portion of the Gate 5 pedestrian ramp, located north of 35th Street ;
  • Removal of the top two levels of the eastern-most foot bridge across 35th Street , reducing the bridge to one level with continuing access to the ballpark on the main concourse level.  The second foot bridge at Gate 5, approximately 75 yards west of the east bridge at 35th Street , will continue to offer access to the ballpark on three levels.
  • Installation of escalators within a new, weather-protected enclosure at Gate 5;
  • Installation of elevators at Gate 5 (expected after the start of the season), which will provide additional access to the ballpark for fans with disabilities entering from the north parking lots.

“ISFA’s offseason improvement project at Gate 5 makes entering and exiting the ballpark for White Sox fans that much easier,” said Terry Savarise , White Sox senior vice president of stadium operations.  “The new escalators, which will be protected from the weather, will make the process even quicker for fans arriving from the north side of the ballpark.  With the changes made during past renovations, we no longer require as many walkways over 35th Street connecting the ramps to the ballpark.  Fans will really see a difference this April.”

“The capital repair and maintenance project currently underway at Gate 5 of U.S. Cellular Field is part of our continued commitment to provide White Sox fans and the city of Chicago a world-class facility,” said ISFA chief executive officer Perri Irmer .  “Prior renovations, along with this project, have helped the ballpark evolve into one of the premier venues in baseball.”

The demolition of the ramp at Gate 5 started last week, and ISFA is currently in the process of evaluating general contracting bids for the construction portion of the project.

The project is scheduled to be completed by Opening Day, April 6, 2009.

Source: Chicago White Sox


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.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

 
Red Sox Announce Year VIII Improvements to Fenway Park PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 06 November 2008 12:20

FenwayThe Boston Red Sox today announced their Year VIII Fenway Park Improvements, which will celebrate its 97th anniversary in 2009. A repair of the portion of the lower seating bowl that was originally constructed in 1912 and the addition of seats and dedicated standing room areas to the Right Field Roof highlight the 2009 list.

“Our ‘Year VIII Improvements’ is a continuation of the steadfast commitment by John Henry, Tom Werner and ownership to preserving and enhancing Fenway Park and taking that Fenway experience to higher levels,” said Larry Lucchino, Red Sox President/CEO.  “This series of annual improvements represent a significant private investment on the part of our ownership in the expansion, protection, and preservation of America’s Most Beloved Ballpark, and these actions will help to ensure baseball will be played in this historic facility for 100 years and many years beyond.”

Select Read More to see the planned improvements at Fenway. See schematics and artist renderings of the overall improvements

Read more...
 
When All the Scoring Will be in the Infield, Eh? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 29 October 2008 14:50

Winter Classic Seating Chart - Wrigley FieldTake a peek. This is what Wrigley Field will look like New Year’s Day.

What you are looking at is the seating configuration of this year’s NHL Winter Classic where the Blackhawks will host the Stanley Cup champion Red Wings.

Tickets are going for $75, $225 and $325

Yes, here’s one case where all the scoring at Wrigley will happen just around the infield.

Source: Chicago Tribune


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.

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Small Fire Burns Famous Fenway Landmark - CITGO Sign PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 15 October 2008 16:07

CITGO signIt has withstood five hurricanes, all packing winds over 80 mph, but now is it shot down in flames?

Is it a bad omen for the Red Sox?

The famous CITGO sign that is perched just above the Green Monster at Fenway Park was subjected to a small fire today.

The damage was minimal with some of the panels of the sign being darkened by soot.

The fire was quickly extinguished. Total damage is estimated at $5,000.

The sign has been a visiable landmark since 1940 when it was built over a Cities Service divisional office.

The sign has recieved incredible media coverage due to homerun balls being hit out of Fenway.

Source: The AP, CITGO


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.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

 
What Financial Crisis? Mets Sell Out $500,000 Suites in Citi Field PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 09 October 2008 15:19

Citi FieldIn the midst of a national financial crisis, the New York Mets are proving that if you are in baseball’s biggest market, you can still sell the most expensive seats in the house.

Dave Howard, VP of business operations for the Mets reported today that all suites in the new Citi Field slated to open next season, are sold out. Some suites at the new $800 million ballpark going for as much as $500,000.

(see high resolution computer renderings and a "fly-through" animation of Citi Field)

To add to that, fan interest remains high, regardless of the fact that the Mets have missed the playoffs on the last day of the season two years in a row. As reported by Bloomberg News:

Mets season-ticket holders also are renewing at “extremely high'' rates -- even with price increases -- for the team's first season at Citi Field next year, Howard said.

“We haven't seen the effects of the economic situation, but certainly we are mindful of the economy and especially in our community and market place,'' Howard said in an interview. ``We have a unique historical situation that maybe gives us a little bit of an advantage to withstand some of the challenges that the economy is presenting.''

The Mets have been on the verge of selling out the suites for some time, with the majority of the sales coming before the financial crisis that has rocked Wall Street. Still, the milestone outlines that in large markets where teams have good brand recognition, some clubs will clearly be less damaged by the current economic climate than others.


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.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

 
Final Stats on Yankee Stadium PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 22 September 2008 13:50
Goodbye, Yankee Stadium

With last night’s 7-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees have officially ended their 85-year tenure in Yankee Stadium.

Next year, Yankee players and fans will walk across the street to new Yankee Stadium, the next home for the Bronx Bombers.

With the closing of baseball’s cathedral, here are some vital stats to consider…

  • First Yankee Game: April 23, 1923
  • Last Yankee Game: Sept. 21, 2008
  • Total Attendance: 151,959,005
  • Total Attendance, 2008: 4,298,543 (a new AL record)
  • Final Game Attendance: 54,610
  • Cost to Build Yankee Stadium: $2.5 million
  • Cost in Today’s Dollars: $30,140,103.57
  • Cost for new Yankee Stadium: $1.3 billion
  • Total days to build Yankee Stadium: 284 days
  • Total days to build new Yankee Stadium: 1 year, 8 months (if on time)
  • Final Yankees Record at Yankee Stadium: 4,133-2,430-17
  • Last Yankees at bat: Derek Jeter
  • First home run: Babe Ruth
  • Last home run: José Molina
  • First Game Score: 4-1 (Yankees over Red Sox)
  • Winning Pitcher (first game): Bob Shawkey
  • Losing Pitcher (first game): Howard Ehmke
  • Final Game Score: 7-3 (Yankees over Orioles)
  • Winning Pitcher (last game): Andy Pettitte
  • Losing Pitcher (last game): Chris Waters
  • There have been 24 managers who called Yankee Stadium home (from oldest to most recent)
    • Miller Huggins
    • Art Fletcher
    • Bob Shawkey
    • Joe McCarthy
    • Bill Dickey
    • Johnny Neun
    • Bucky Harris
    • Casey Stengel
    • Ralph Houk
    • Yogi Berra
    • Johnny Keane
    • Bill Virdon
    • Billy Martin
    • Dick Howser
    • Bob Lemon
    • Gene Michael
    • Clyde King
    • Lou Piniella
    • Dallas Green
    • Bucky Dent
    • Stump Merrill
    • Buck Showalter
    • Joe Torre
    • Joe Girardi
  • Factoid #1: First ballpark to be named a "Stadium"

Got More Stats on Yankee Stadium? Don’t Forget to Leave Your Comments


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.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

 
Twins Reach 25-Year Naming Rights Deal. New Ballpark to Be Named "Target Field" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 15 September 2008 13:49
Target FieldThe new Twins ballpark set to open in 2010 has a new name: Target Field.

(See high resolution computer renderings of Target Field)

Target Corporation and the Minnesota Twins today announced that they have reached an agreement in principle on an exclusive 25-year partnership that includes the naming rights for Target Field, the new ballpark for the Twins. Beyond Target Field, Target and the Twins also will collaborate on the design of Target Plaza - a pedestrian bridge and public gathering space connecting Target Field to downtown Minneapolis. The Minnesota Ballpark Authority, the public owner of the facility, will oversee the design, construction and operation of the new ballpark and plaza. Financial terms were not released.

"The Minnesota Twins are extremely pleased to announce our partnership with Target Corporation, which includes the naming of our new home, Target Field," said Twins owner Jim Pohlad. "Our state is lucky to have many businesses that provide outstanding support and commitment to our community but none do it better than Minnesota-based Target. We are honored to be their partner."

"We are excited about our partnership with the Minnesota Twins and the opportunity to continue our long history of community support. We are confident that Twins fans and community residents will enjoy this wonderful addition to our area for many years to come," said Gregg Steinhafel, President and CEO of Target.

In addition to naming rights for Target Field and Target Plaza as well as an extensive brand presence at the new ballpark, the Twins and Target plan to jointly develop a wide variety of marketing and promotional programs to delight Twins fans and Target guests alike. They also plan to partner on community programs across TwinsTerritory.

While financial terms were not released, according to Don Muret of the Sports Business Journal, “The deal could be worth $4-6M annually based on the team's market size, said Premier Partnership's Randy Bernstein, who helped the A's complete a 30-year, $120M deal for Cisco Field in '06.”

A tip of the hat to Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites

Source: Minnesota Twins, Sports Business Daily


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.

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Marlins Get Backing of Judge on Stadium Funding PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 10 September 2008 13:58

Proposed Marlins StadiumThe Florida Marlins got a big boost yesterday in their efforts to build a baseball-only facility on the site of the Orange Bowl. The ruling by Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Jeri Beth Cohen stated that funding with public tax dollars “serves the public good.”

With the ruling the Marlins and Miami-Dade County will move forward on the construction of a $515 million, 37,000-seat, retractable-roof stadium in Little Havana. As reported by the Miami Herald:

''This is the one we've been waiting for,'' said Marlins President David Samson. "It's a complete victory. It took a long time.''

County Mayor Carlos Alvarez on Tuesday restated what he told the court during his deposition: Building the ballpark will revitalize the neighborhood and create much-needed jobs.

''When the economy is hurting, it means thousands of jobs -- good-paying construction jobs -- for people who need them now,'' he said.

Legal challenges are not yet down for the project, even as updated stadium renderings are to be unveiled shortly (see current renderings of the proposed stadium). Billionaire auto magnate Norman Braman has seven outstanding lawsuits that have yet to be adjudged.

''It reminds me of a football game that you lose when all the statistics are on your side,'' Braman said after the ruling. "It's not what we believe the constitution of the state of Florida states, and we will appeal the judge's decision to the Supreme Court.''

Replied Samson: "Let's cut right through it. The trial court's job is to apply the law -- not to make the law.''


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.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

 
BofA Close to Major Sponsorship Deal at New Yankee Stadium PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 08 September 2008 14:01

New Yankee StadiumBank of America is close to wrapping up a deal to become the largest sponsorship partner at the new Yankee Stadium.

(see high resolution computer renderings of new Yankee Stadium)

While the Yankees have said that they will not sell naming rights for the new $1.3 billion facility slated to open next season, in-stadium naming and other tie-ins are seen a lucrative revenue stream for the Yankees.

As reported by Terry Lefton of the Sports Business Journal, BofA is near to closing the deal, beating out JPMorgan Chase. BofA has an extensive portfolio with MLB, including “an MLB league deal; 10 MLB team deals, including the Yankees and Red Sox,” on top of deals with the NFL and several of its teams including “New England, Washington, Dallas and Carolina [and] naming rights to the Panthers stadium in Charlotte.”

Bank of AmericaAs reported by the SBJ, the deal at Yankee Stadium is reportedly not as high as the CitiGroup deal that the Mets have for the naming rights to their new stadium ($20 million annually for 20 years), but this deal is in the “mid-teens per annum.”

The deal includes a comprehensive financial relationship between the franchise and Bank of America. It also offers the company a vast array of inventory within the new ballpark, which will open next year, including prime signage in and around the park, large signs on the highways around the stadium, prominent exposure on Gate 4, the stadium’s main entrance, several fixed signs on top of the stadium affording an aerial view, a large sign atop the right-field scoreboard, even bigger signage on the back of the scoreboard that will face a new subway stop, signs on interior gates leading to the field, fixed and LED signs inside the stadium and the stadium bowl, permanent dugout branding and behind-the-plate signage and a logo on all Yankees tickets.

Also included are media on Yankees rights holder YES and flagship radio WCBS radio and access to some of the front-row Legends seats in the new stadium, which the Yankees will price at $500 to $2,500 a seat.


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.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

 
HOK to Transfer Ownership to HOK Sport Division PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 28 August 2008 14:41
HOK LogoThe Board of HOK Group, Inc. and managers of HOK Sports Facilities, LLC have jointly agreed to transfer ownership of HOK Sport Venue Event to leaders of that practice.  HOK Group shareholders approved the transaction at an August 28 meeting. 

HOK Sport Venue Event has been a part of HOK Group for 25 years and has operated independently as a wholly-owned subsidiary since 2000.  The buyout will have no impact on clients or projects of HOK or HOK Sport Venue Event, and both practices will continue to collaborate on projects where their combined expertise will benefit the client and project.   Upon completion of the buyout, HOK Sport Venue Event will become an independent company.

Patrick MacLeamy, CEO of HOK, said, “Both practices are enjoying the strongest financial and operational positions in their history.  This strategic step will facilitate the continued growth and leadership of both HOK and HOK Sport Venue Event within their respective markets.”

Joe Spear, Senior Principal of HOK Sport Venue Event, said, “We are proud of our 25-year association with HOK; indeed it has helped us to grow and build what has become the world’s leading design firm of sports facilities and convention centers.  We are very excited about this next phase, in which we intend to build on that success and grow our specialist Sport Venue Event business to the benefit of our clients and our people alike.”

Subject to final terms, the buyout is expected to be complete by the end of 2008.  In time, under the terms of the arrangement, HOK Sport Venue Event will launch a new corporate name and brand.

Source: HOK


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.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

 

 
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