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Dodgers Break Ground on AZ Spring Training Facility PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 19 November 2007 21:24

Dodgers Glendale Complex With the words “play ball” announced by Dodger Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, the cities of Glendale and Phoenix broke ground on the Cactus League’s newest Spring Training facility. In addition to Mr. Scully, dignitaries on hand for the much anticipated event included Governor Janet Napolitano, Mayor Scruggs and Mayor Gordon, Dodger Owners and Chairman Frank McCourt, Dodger Vice Chairman and President Jamie McCourt, Chicago White Sox Owner Jerry Reinsdorf, Dodger Hall of Fame broadcaster Jaime Jarrín, Dodger broadcaster Charley Steiner and White Sox General Manager Ken Williams.

(Select the renderings to see in high resolution)

The facilities will be shared between the Dodgers and White Sox. 

Dodgers and White Sox Spring Training FacilityA festive atmosphere, including hot dogs from Glendale ’s Dazzo’s Dog House and a seventh-inning stretch marked the start of construction for the facility. Members of the Arrowhead Little League also passed out commemorative baseballs and dignitaries officially broke ground in a ceremonial shovel dig.

Located just across the Loop 101 from Glendale ’s Sports and Entertainment District, the site is located at 111th Avenue, west of the Loop 101 between Camelback Road and Glendale Avenue , and reaches across both Glendale and Phoenix city borders. The two-team facility will be the new home to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox, and in addition to state-of-the-art baseball facilities, the site will include, residential, restaurant and retail development, 4-star hotel and 18-hole golf course, developed by Rightpath Limited Development Group.

The Dodgers claim that based on a 2006 Economic Impact Study conducted by Economic Research Associates (ERA), it is estimated that moving the Dodgers and White Sox will have a substantial economic impact for Glendale , Phoenix and the region. The exceptionally rosy claim is an anticipated economic impact for the region that could be as much as $19 million per year.

Details of the project are as follows:

  • * The 10,000-seat stadium, with 3,000 lawn seats will cost approximately $76 million to build.
  • The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority will provide 2/3 of the funding needed to construct the facility.
  • 118,000 sq. feet of Major and minor league clubhouses for the two teams
  • Four Major League practice fields
  • Eight minor league practice fields
  • Two practice infields
  • The site will include parking to accommodate 5,000 vehicles.

* Some reports have the cost as high as $80.7 million

As reported by MLB.com:

The remaining one-third is being funded by Glendale based on sales taxes and other revenues from a mixed-use project near the ballpark developed by Rightpath Development Group that will include residential and retail space, as well as a hotel and golf course. Five-hundred acres are being developed in total.

The big question will be, can it be completed by the projected 2009 opening date? With a short 15 months to do so, developer M.A. Mortenson Co. is expected to release a final construction schedule, including anticipated completion date, by mid-December.

If that were indeed the case, this upcoming Spring Training will be last at historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida.

(Images courtesy of the Los Angeles Dodgers and HKS Architecture)


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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus, Basketball Prospectus and is an available writer for other media outlets.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Orioles and MSA Agree On New Video System for Camden PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 18 November 2007 15:43
OriolesThe Orioles and the Maryland Stadium Authority Friday agreed to a contract with Mitsubishi to purchase a new video system for Oriole Park at Camden Yards. State of the art equipment that will be installed by Opening Day 2008 includes a Mitsubishi DiamondVision LED video board and LED scoreboard in center field, an LED out of town scoreboard display in right field, and LED “ribbon” boards along the club level and upper deck fascia.

In center field, the DiamondVision LED video board will sit atop the LED scoreboard, reversing the placement of the system used since the ballpark opened in 1992. The new LED out of town scoreboard in right field will feature statistical information in addition to game scores. The narrow auxiliary matrix boards along the club level and upper deck will be replaced with LED ribbon boards, providing better definition, brighter images and wider viewing angles.

New Video Display"The Orioles are excited about the major ballpark entertainment enhancements coming soon to Oriole Park at Camden Yards," said Orioles Director of Communications Greg Bader. "We are pleased to be able to provide our fans with a state of the art video system and LED boards that will both enhance the ballpark experience and preserve the traditional aesthetic that is a defining characteristic of Oriole Park. We appreciate the Maryland Stadium Authority’s efforts in working with us to accomplish this important goal.”

In order to preserve the traditional feel of Oriole Park while providing fans with the most modern technology, the Orioles retained Janet Marie Smith, who was instrumental in leading the Orioles’ vision in the original design of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles also retained the services of Gary McAuliffe of PMK Consultants, a respected audio visual technologies consulting firm. Together, Smith and McAuliffe worked to assist the Orioles and MSA in the evaluation and selection process. 

“The contribution of the Orioles’ experts, along with the Orioles and MSA design teams, will ensure that Oriole Park at Camden Yards will remain true to its status as baseball’s premier ballpark,” added Bader. “Oriole Park has been an outstanding venue for Orioles baseball for more than 48 million fans over the last 16 seasons, and we believe these improvements will provide even more excitement for millions more fans in the years to come."


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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus, Basketball Prospectus and is an available writer for other media outlets.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Year VII Fenway Park Improvements Include 800 New Seats PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 16 November 2007 12:38
Fenway

The Boston Red Sox today announced their Year VII Fenway Park Improvements to "America's Most Beloved Ballpark," which celebrates its 96th anniversary in 2008. More seats, more space, more information, more food, and improved circulation highlight the list.

(See drawings and schematics for Fenway here on the Biz of Baseball)

SEATS: More than 800 new State Street Pavilion seats, plus standing room tickets, will be available for each game. Most (approximately 620) will be installed on the third base side of the park; the remaining (approximately 220) on the first base side.

"It's important to note that many of the tickets are intended to be affordable and available for day of game purchases, group sales, and 10th man plans," said Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino. "We understand the demand for such seats; thus we are adding to the supply."

SPACE: Beyond the seats on the third base side, a dedicated area, "Standing Room Corner," will provide a unique view of the field. In addition, the club is adding permanent upgraded restrooms and concessions that will serve the State Street Pavilion and the Green Monster.

INFORMATION: New, linear scoreboards will line portions of the EMC Level fascia. The "LED" technology gives full color, clear information regarding the batter, the pitcher, the count, and other key game information. This improvement helps fans with compromised views of the scoreboards in centerfield and left field.

FOOD: A Bleacher Bar & Grill, a year-round restaurant in center field, is scheduled to open at the start of the 2008 season. Beneath the Bleachers that previously sat atop the visitors' batting cages, it will open onto Lansdowne Street, with a view into the ballpark as well.

CIRCULATION: A new staircase from the Gate A area on Yawkey Way to the back of the Grandstand at Section 27 will improve vertical circulation, as will a new elevator and stairway in left field.

SUITES: Eight new private suites, available on a single game basis, will replace the six that were housed in the temporary boxes placed on the pavilion for the 1999 All-Star Game. Those two boxes, the "K" and "B" suites (named for their proximity to Kenmore Square and Boylston Street, respectively), are scheduled to be removed starting today. In addition, 12 private suites will be renovated (just as 26 were renovated in 2007).

INFRASTRUCTURE: Improvements also include waterproofing the seating bowl in the Bleacher area, a project that requires replacing the seats (already sold to fans) in these sections. The seating replacement gives the club the opportunity to add wheelchair locations with sightlines and companion seating that comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

Structural upgrades and stabilization are underway in all seating areas, and service level improvements include additional sprinkler systems in the concourses and automatic exit doors in the roll down grates.

As a part of the club's commitment to bring the Red Sox clubhouse up to par with those of other Major League Baseball teams, the Red Sox plan to provide a fully equipped kitchen and new restrooms on the clubhouse's Mezzanine Level. The club plans also to install new restrooms adjacent to the Red Sox Interview Room.

The club has made annual improvements since Principal Owner John Henry, Chairman Tom Werner, Lucchino and their partners purchased the club before the start of the 2002 season.

"We are pleased to be on the path to achieve goals that were once thought to be unachievable," Lucchino said. "For decades, there was a presumption that Fenway Park had outlived its useful life and, sentiment aside, would have to be replaced by a modern facility in another location. We are eager to see, in 2012, this ballpark become the first ever to celebrate its 100th anniversary."

On March 25, 2005, Henry, Werner, Lucchino, and their ownership group announced a long-term commitment to the park, ending years of uncertainty. Since making their commitment, they have worked to preserve and protect the jewel.

"These improvements continue our efforts to make Fenway Park more comparable to other MLB parks in terms of number of seats and fan amenities, while still preserving the scale and character that had made Fenway Park 'America's Most Beloved Ballpark,'" said Janet Marie Smith, the Red Sox' Senior Vice President/Planning and Development. (Read The Biz of Baseball interview with Janet Marie Smith)"Changes are being made in accordance with the standards set by the National Park Service and are reviewed in advance by the Massachusetts Historic Commission, the Boston City Landmarks Commission, and Boston Redevelopment Authority.

"We are committed to not only making Fenway Park more convenient and comfortable for our fans, but ensuring that the safety of our park is in line with current codes."

The improvements for 2008 were designed by D'Agostino Izzo & Quirk of Somerville. McNamara Salvia is the structural engineer, and SEI is serving as the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineer with both firms based in Boston. The code and life safety consultant is Howe Engineers of Sandwich, MA. Construction is being done by William A. Berry & Son, Inc. of Danvers, MA. The Boston office of Struever Brothers Eccles & Rouse is acting as the Red Sox program manager.


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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus, Basketball Prospectus and is an available writer for other media outlets.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Yankees Continue to Gouge NY Taxpayers Over Stadium PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 16 November 2007 10:42

New Yankee StadiumCost of New Yankee Stadium Continues to Rise

Remember last year when NY Mayor Bloomberg announced that capital improvements to infrastructure around New Yankee Stadium would not go above $145 million?

Think the costs to the taxpayers ended there? Think again. As reported by the NY Daily News:

A new analysis of the capital budget by City Controller William Thompson says City Hall has slated $235 million for stadium improvements between now and 2011.

That's a $90 million increase over what the public was told before the City Council approved the stadium deal in April 2006.

Then last week the Yankees suddenly claimed an extra $5 million in retroactive deductions from the city to their stadium rent for 2005.

The Yankees say all of that was connected to planning for the new stadium.  

Those asking about those write-offs (the $5 million a year in what is deemed “planning expenses"), remember there has been talk of serious gouging by the Yankees, including, “a bill for 12 crystal baseballs that came to $1,825, including a “rush charge”; and thousands of dollars in meals billed by the Stadium Club restaurant for the clubhouse, umpires and ‘new business’.”

And remember, that $235 million that the City Controller reported doesn’t include the issuance of $225 million in tax-free bonds for new parking structures and renovation of existing parking garages around the facility.


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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus, Basketball Prospectus and is an available writer for other media outlets.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Natastic: Nationals to Test New Ballpark Against Orioles PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 13 November 2007 10:31
New Nationals Ballpark The Washington Nationals will test out their new ballpark on the shores of the Anacostia River on March 29th by playing an exhibition game against the Baltimore Orioles.

(See renderings of the New Nationals Ballpark)

According to The AP, tickets will not be sold for the event, but rather season-ticket holders will be able to attend for free, while other tickets will be given away.

Team president Stan Kasten (read The Biz of Baseball interview with Stan Kasten) is awaiting word to hear from the commissioner's office whether the new ballpark will host their first regular season game the following day (March 30) or April 7.


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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus, Basketball Prospectus and is an available writer for other media outlets.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Rays Plan New $450 Million Water-Front Ballpark PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Saturday, 10 November 2007 06:14

Tampa Bay RaysComing on the heels of their new name change, the Tampa Bay Rays announced plans for a new $450 million, 35,000 seat water-front stadium at the current location of Al Lang Field in downtown St. Petersburg, just a few miles from their current home, Tropicana Field.

If funding were to arrive without issue, the ballpark could be open as early as 2012. That, however, seems a bit remote. As reported by the St. Petersburg Times:

Financing is still being worked out, but a primary source would be proceeds of the sale of the Tropicana Field site to a developer who would build a large retail/residential complex there. The Rays also would make a contribution, perhaps as much as $150-million, covering one-third of the cost.

The team also would seek legislative approval for $60-million of state money in future sales tax revenue from food, beer and merchandise sales in the new park.

The plan faces several hurdles. The city charter requires voter approval of any deal involving a long-term lease of city-owned waterfront property such as Al Lang. The plan also may involve the city selling the Al Lang site to Pinellas County to avoid property taxes; a similar deal was constructed to create a tax shelter for Tropicana Field.

Al Lang Field. Proposed location for new Rays ballparkAnd, it’s not as if the Rays are the only MLB franchise looking to land public subsidy in Florida. The Marlins have been struggling for over a decade to finance and build a new stadium. The latest effort sees them focusing on the current Orange Bowl site. That brings into question whether the Rays are too late at the table, whether they feel the Marlins are close to finally reaching their long quest for funding, or, whether the two MLB teams seeking public funds will split the focus in the Legislature and kill both efforts.

One thing is certain, the site location is a gem. Can’t help but see a bit of the Giants’ AT&T Park with the Al Lang Field location.


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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus, Basketball Prospectus and is an available writer for other media outlets.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
A's Submit Application to Build Ballpark Village in Fremont PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 08 November 2007 11:03

Cisco FieldThe owners of the Oakland Athletics formally submitted a development application to the City of Fremont today to develop 226-acres of land in the Pacific Commons area of the city to include a baseball-only ballpark, a surrounding ballpark village that will consist of residential and commercial properties along with a new elementary school.

The formal submission caps over a year of planning by the A’s and the City of Fremont which will allow the A’s to relocate from Oakland to Fremont.

Filing the development application will also allow the Environmental Impact Report process to begin. The City of Fremont is expected to take between 12-18 months to review the application. If approved, groundbreaking on the project will commence as soon as possible thereafter.

Simultaneous to the environmental review process, ProLogis, owner of the Pacific Commons Shopping Center, will conduct a targeted outreach program with its tenants at Pacific Commons and the adjacent Auto Mall regarding the transportation and parking impacts of the proposed ballpark village. ProLogis will work collaboratively with both the A’s and the City of Fremont as this project progresses.

“The intense planning process has helped us create a proposal that we believe will benefit both the City and the A’s,” said team owner Lew Wolff, “We have spent a lot of time in the last year listening to the community and engaging experts in the fields of transportation, architecture and technology.

“We have engaged the people who know Fremont best. We listened to city staff, elected officials, community leaders and most importantly we listened to members of the community,” added Wolff. “The development plan we submitted today will create a true community asset for Fremont and the best ballpark in the country.”

(Read the Biz of Baseball interview with Lew Wolff)

On May 10, 2007, A’s owner Lew Wolff announced the completion of a land transaction agreement with Cisco and ProLogis giving the A’s ownership group control of 226-acres of land in the City of Fremont enabling the new Cisco Field and baseball village.

The effort has not been all easy going.

The relocation of Scott Specialty Gases is one aspect, a possible environmental issue due to toxic soil at the location.

The other has been public transportation and parking issues. Currently there is no mass transit to the location, and there has been concerns about the level of traffic that will flow into the proposed location.

The A’s are looking to develop a 32,000 seat facility as a cornerstone development of the ballpark village. The ballpark village will include a maximum of 3,150 new multi-family housing residences. It is envisioned that a significant number of the units will be designed as townhouse/row housing.

(See architectural renderings of the proposed Cisco Field design)

A total of approximately 540,000 square feet of high-quality retail/residential mixed use is also planned for the project.

The estimated cost of the Ballpark Village project is approximately $1.8 billion. According to the Athletics, the project will be primarily financed by a combination of private equity and real estate development proceeds generated by the ballpark and the surrounding village, although the exact nature and total public subsidy has not been addressed in full by Wolff and the Athletics at this time. When interviewed by The Biz of Baseball in April of this year, Wolff said, “I have to admit that it’s more complex than any single project that I’ve been involved with.”  

The proposed ballpark and village site is approximately 22 miles south of the A’s present facility, McAfee Coliseum, and will be located five miles north of the Santa Clara County line and 12 miles from downtown San Jose.


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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus, Basketball Prospectus and is an available writer for other media outlets.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
MLB, Marlins Sole Focus Orange Bowl Site for New Ballpark PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 07 November 2007 10:42
New Marlins stadium The Florida Marlins and Major League Baseball have resigned themselves to the fact that a downtown ballpark is not feasible at this time, and instead will focus on working to get funding for a ballpark at the aging Orange Bowl site, which is now available due to the University of Miami moving into Dolphin Stadium.

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

The forced location isn’t what is considered the optimal spot, and MLB COO Bob DuPuy has already set the table that due to the location, ownership’s financial contribution will be lessened. As reported by The AP:

"We all hope the Orange Bowl site will be every bit as good as downtown, but there are concerns about it," DuPuy said. "The last thing you want to do is build a brand new ballpark down there and have the team fail, and everybody recognizes that the level of contribution that the team makes has to be commensurate with what they believe they are going to be able to generate from a new ballpark and be viable."

Those “concerns” include its non-urban core location in downtown and lack of mass transit.

"In terms of the county and the city, that's the only site that's on the table right now," Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, said Tuesday. "And while we believe that the downtown site had a lot of attractive features, including egress and access, given the exodus of the University of Miami from the Orange Bowl to Dolphin Stadium, the Orange Bowl site is the site that's under consideration at the moment."

The move of the Hurricanes out of the Orange Bowl has opened up funds that were targeted for the facility. The plan now calls for $50 million from the county's general obligation bond toward Orange Bowl renovations, the more coming largely through historic tax credits and stadium revenue bonds.

County commissioners voted in March on broad parameters for a construction deal with the Marlins and Major League Baseball.

The terms included $145 million from the county, $108 million from the city and $30 million in special tax breaks from the state. The Marlins would contribute $45 million in cash and pay $162 million in rent to cover bonds issued to finance construction.

But, given DuPuy’s comments, it seems possible that the figures mentioned for the Marlins’ contribution would look to be adjusted. This author wonders if the time-worn, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”, cliché is appropriate here.


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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus, Basketball Prospectus and is an available writer for other media outlets.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Final Design of New Twins Stadium Unveiled PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 30 October 2007 22:00

Aerial View - Latest Twins DesignNew Renderings Show New Upper Deck Seating and Family Picnic Area

Images of the final design for the new Twins Stadium were unveiled on Tuesday which includes newly added upper deck seating above right-field. Along with the new seating, a family picnic area will look down on the field from above centerfield.

The Hennepin County Board will vote on the plan next week.

The images are courtesy of HOK Sport. We also offer up a 3-D Modeling animation for those with Windows Media Player (Quicktime version coming shortly).

Look for the New Twins Stadium page on The Biz of Baseball to be updated with these images and more shortly. Those interested in seeing modeling animations of other stadium designs, including Citi Field for the Mets, and the New Nationals Ballpark, can do from the following: Modeling Animations

Select from the images on the page to see in large, high resolution format. Select the final image at the bottom to see flythough 3-D animation.

(All Images Courtesy of HOK Sport)

Homeplate View - Latest Twins Images - OctLatest Twins Renderings - 3rd Base
Photo merge of new Twins Stadium Latest Twins from Overlook

Quicktime Animation of New Twins Stadium

Select the image above to view animated flythrough of new Twins 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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus.and is an available writer for other media outlets.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Cubs Could Start on New Field for Wrigley Today PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 24 October 2007 06:50

CubsThat annoying crown on the playing surface at Wrigley Field will start to go away, most likely beginning today. If the Chicago Cubs get approval from the city of Chicago’s water department, the club will begin the process of making the field nearly level. As reported by the Illinois Daily Herald:

"What will happen, really, is that the crown will be eliminated and you will have an effectively flat surface," [Mark McGuire, the Cubs' executive vice president for business operations] said. "It's not as dramatic as has been reported or what was talked about a few months ago."

The playing field at Wrigley has been a topic of conversation for some time, especially among players, who have expressed unhappiness with the crown, which causes a severe drop-off from the baselines to the walls.

The upcoming work will shave about 12 inches from the height of the field at its highest point with the elimination of the crown.

There had been discussions around whether more seating might be added closer to the field earlier this year. McGuire said that he wasn’t sure if any new seating would be added. The height of the outfield wall will not be altered, as well. It will stay it’s current height (11½ feet under the bleachers and 15 feet in the corners).


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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.and is an available writer for other media outlets.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Goodyear Approves $10.7 mil For Spring Training Facility PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 11 October 2007 12:56

Indians Spring Training Facility The City of Goodyear yesterday approved $10.7 million toward the new Cleveland Indians Spring Training Ballpark complex. The complex will have the Stadium as the cornerstone of Ballpark Village at Wood Corporate Campus, a $1 billion, 240-acre mixed-use development of office, retail, housing and hospitality. (see more details, including artist renderings here). As reported by the AZ Republic:

The city will contract with Barton Malow for mass excavation, grading and underground utilities for the playing fields.
The total public cost for the project is $74.8 million, which includes building the stadium and training facilities and buying the land.

(Select the image above to see in higher resolution)


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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus contributed to the 2007 Pro Football Prospectus and is an available freelance writer.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here

 
New Yankee Stadium: $225 Million More in Public Subsidies PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 10 October 2007 11:06

New Yankee StadiumA stadium development project that was sold on not requiring public subsidy has turned into something far removed. That’s the story with the financing of New Yankee Stadium.

Yesterday, New York’s Industrial Development Agency approved the issuance of $225 million in tax-free bonds for new parking structures and renovation of existing parking garages around the facility. That’s a $35 million increase from what was originally proposed. The State of New York will be pitching in $70 million, with closing costs rolling in at a cool $4 million. According to Good Jobs New York, “The city estimates this will mean over $2.5 million in forgone city taxes (in addition, there will be approximately $5 million and $51 million in forgone taxes at the state and federal level, respectively).” The total cost per parking space? $800.000. How much will the public pay per spot? $25.00. How many spots will be set aside – at no cost mind you – to the Yankees? 600. According to Good Jobs New York, the development of the stadium and parking structures, involve "city, state, and federal subsidies for the project [reaching] almost $800 million in direct spending and tax breaks."

But that’s far from what is really raising eyebrows.

Wait till the “planning expenses” are displayed. The Yankees were allowed to deduct up to $5 million in “planning expenses” from their annual rent. What is a “planning expense”? As reported by the NY Times:

The impression given by this paperwork — mistakenly, the Yankees say — is that no one associated with the team ate a meal, parked a car, or drew a breath that could not be counted as part of the cost of planning the new ballpark, thus foisting it onto the taxpayers.

Included in the documents the team provided was a bill for 1,896 souvenirs for a raffle on Fan Appreciation Day in 2005 — $1 trinkets bought from a concession at the stadium. The team ran an online sweepstakes and hired a law firm to spell out the rules; the bill for the legal fees was in the planning expense box. So was the tab for thousands of dollars in baseball caps handed out to people in the luxury suites; a bill for 12 crystal baseballs that came to $1,825, including a “rush charge”; and thousands of dollars in meals billed by the Stadium Club restaurant for the clubhouse, umpires and “new business.”

Other expenses included gasoline bought by the grounds crew at the Singh Auto Mart on the Grand Concourse, the cost of shipping batting helmets to Tampa, Fla., and a cake inscribed “NY Yankees Welcomes Starwood.”

As mentioned, the Yankees said the delivered receipts are an oversight error.

“It has now been suggested that all items that were submitted were the subject of a rent credit request by the Yankees,” Alice McGillion, a spokeswoman for the team. “This is entirely, absolutely and definitively incorrect.”

What seems obvious is that a huge loophole was made available to the Yankees by way of Rudolph W. Giuliani when he was mayor (note that Rudi’s security companty was retained by the Yankees after his tenure as mayor), and then continued in practice after Mayor Bloomberg took over.


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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus contributed to the 2007 Pro Football Prospectus and is an available freelance writer.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here

 
HKS Selected for Dodger Stadium Renovation PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 04 October 2007 09:29

Dodger Stadium Renovation by HKS HKS Sports & Entertainment Group has been selected to serve as architect on the next phase of the multi-year renovation of Dodger Stadium

The multi-million dollar construction project will expand the field-level concourse to include nearly double the number of points of sale and restrooms, two new all-inclusive clubs for baseline seat ticket holders, and a new energy-efficient and environmentally friendly cooling system. More than $60 million has been invested in stadium renovations over the past three years, and with this phase, the cumulative investment will more than double.

Dodger Stadium renovation by HKS “Dodger Stadium is such a significant piece of architecture, this multi-year project is as much a restoration as it is a renovation,” said Bryan Trubey, AIA, principal designer with HKS’s Sports & Entertainment Group.  “Frank and Jamie McCourt embraced this attitude about the stadium from the beginning.”

According to Trubey, the design team focused on heightening the fan experience in this phase of improvements. 

Dodger Stadium renovation by HKS“Our goal as designers is two-fold – the first is to increase the number of restrooms and improve the quality of food and beverage concessions, allowing fans better access to these important amenities. Second, and just as important, we created a higher quality look and feel to the concourse architecture that projects the unique southern California, mid-century modern design of the exterior of the stadium.”

 “One of our primary goals as stewards of the Dodgers is to provide the best fan experience,” said Frank McCourt, owner and chairman of the Los Angeles Dodgers.   “When Dodger Stadium opened in 1962, there were 2.7 million fans. This year, we will welcome more than 3.8 million fans. Dodger Dodger Stadium renovation by HKSStadium is one of the finest stadiums in all of sports, but in order to provide better service and more amenities for this increased fan base, we need to create more space and redesign the concourses."

 “We will take this same approach in future phases,” said Trubey.  “Ultimately, our goal is to create a cohesive architecture that maximizes and extends the mid-century look and feel of the stadium.  Over time, this approach should reveal one of the most unique ballparks and continue Dodger Stadium’s place as one of the most beautiful sports properties in the world.”

HKS has been renovating Dodger Stadium for the past two seasons.  During that time, every seat within the primary seating bowl was replaced using Dodger Stadium renovation by HKSthe stadium's original color palette.  Traditional yet modern box seating was incorporated at the baselines and video display boards were added around the loge level and outfield wall. 
 
The first phase of construction will be completed prior to the Dodgers' opening 2008 season.   The project is being completed in tandem with HKS’s Los Angeles office, which celebrates 20 years in the area. 

(All Images Courtesy of HKS Architecture) 

Select any of these images to view in a high resolution format 


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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus contributed to the 2007 Pro Football Prospectus and is an available freelance writer.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here

 
Royals to Have World's Largest HD-LED display PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 03 October 2007 13:27
Royals High-Def LED Display The Kansas City Royals and Daktronics announced today that the world’s largest high definition (HD) light emitting diode (LED) video display will be installed at Kauffman Stadium prior to the start of the 2008 Major League Baseball season. (select the image to see details)

Daktronics HD-X LED technology will be installed in a huge outfield structure behind center field measuring more than 100 feet high by 85 feet wide, topped with the familiar Royals’ iconic golden crown. The LED display will contain more than 1800 full-color lines of resolution with lines on 16 millimeter (.63”) spacing. The display will be the largest HD LED board in the world, surpassing the former record holders designed and manufactured by Daktronics for Dolphin Stadium in Miami and Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin.

“The Kansas City Royals organization is extremely excited about this high-tech addition to Kauffman Stadium,” said Kevin Uhlich, Senior Vice President, Business Operations for the Kansas City Royals. “We’ll be installing the very latest in Daktronics HD LED video technology to provide the best game day presentation for fans, in incredible detail that is larger than life. The sheer size of the main display will allow us to show live and recorded video in high definition, while at the same time provide much more statistical information, graphics, animation and other energizing content. Imagine replays, highlights and images that are 100 feet tall. It will be very impressive.”

“Our new HD-X technology offers great new features, including ultra-wide viewing angles, increased contrast with deeper blacks and more vibrant colors, and world-class video processing for improved image quality,” said Reece Kurtenbach, Vice President of Daktronics Live Events unit. “The HD-X technology is an important development in the LED video marketplace and we are pleased to have the Royals among the recent venues to choose it.”

The 2008 season upgrade will also include Daktronics LED technology incorporated into the fence in left field, which will be used to display up-to-the-minute scores and information from other games in progress. The outfield fence display will measure approximately 8 feet high and 128 feet wide.

Additional equipment will be installed prior to the start of the 2009 season. Two LED displays will be positioned on the fascia of the upper deck seating along right field and left field. These ribbon boards will measure approximately 4 feet high by 380 feet long. Also included will be two additional LED displays positioned in the outfield above the new restaurant/bar and above the new Hall of Fame, each to measure approximately 5 feet high by 108 feet long. Fans near the Little “K” baseball field, and by the “Taste of KC” plaza area, will also be able to catch the action on Daktronics LED video displays.

“We are pleased to partner with the Kansas City Royals, HOK Sport and Hunt Construction to help make Kauffman Stadium one of the premier sports facilities in Major League Baseball,” said Tony Mulder, Daktronics Regional Sales Manager. “Combined with all the new ballpark enhancements, the world’s largest HD display will provide fans with the ultimate game day experience.”

The addition of the new HD video board and outfield fence display are two of many significant improvements that will take place over the next two years at the ballpark. The renovation of Kauffman Stadium, designed by HOK Sport, includes a grand open entrance into the ballpark; improved concourse areas with more food options and shops, which will double the size of the current concourse; enhanced outfield plaza areas; additional fan-friendly seating; and a new Royals Hall of Fame. The entire project will be completed by opening day 2010.


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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus contributed to the 2007 Pro Football Prospectus and is an available freelance writer.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here

 
New Stadium to Remain PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 01 October 2007 09:59

New Yankee StadiumThe Yankees have hired Hollywood talent agency CAA to represent the them in their search for sales and marketing as they prepare to enter New Yankee Stadium, slated to open in 2009, according to the Sports Business Journal.  According to sources, CAA will be charged with doing something never done in MLB before: come up with a naming rights-sized sponsorship package without offering up naming rights to the stadium. The move means that the name that was known for The House That Ruth Built since 1923, will remain the same when the doors are flung open in 2009. As reported by the Sports Business Journal:

“We are not changing the name of Yankee Stadium or the field or the plaza or the building,” [Yankees COO Lonn] Trost said. “CAA will do a lot for us, including assisting us in creating a magnitude of new relationships for the new stadium and attracting international companies. We have a global brand and we’re looking for global relationships which we think CAA can work with us to create like no else.”

Just how much the top ticket item at a new facility for one of sports’ most iconic franchises will bring was the subject of much speculation last week.

The new stadium for the New York Giants/Jets is already on the market looking for a naming-rights buyer at an asking price of about $30 million a year. So while some said the Yankees deal could bring $15 million to $20 million annually, its unprecedented nature had many industry types scratching their heads trying to think of something analogous.

As the article continues to report, it may be difficult for naming rights deals at the proportions seen prior, as the market may be slowing down, and with that, gaining the high dollar figures seen for the likes of new Mets stadium by Citigroup, may not be attainable in the near term.

(See high-resolution renderings of the New Yankee Stadium design)
 

 
The End of “Jacobs Field” is Near PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 19 September 2007 07:38

 

Jacobs FieldCleveland Indians Look to Sell Naming Rights to Jacobs Field

The Cleveland Indians today announced a partnership with IMG to search nationally, regionally and locally for a naming rights partner for Jacobs Field.

The Cleveland Indians are in search of a partner to name the ballpark that has greeted more than 36 million fans through the turnstiles since it first opened in 1994.

When the ballpark opened, Indians owner, Richard E. Jacobs, purchased the naming rights of “Jacobs Field” for a 13-year term, which expired at the conclusion of the 2006 season.  At present, the name Jacobs Field remains while the Indians organization actively pursues a new naming rights partner.

To help with the search, the Indians have partnered with sports, entertainment and media firm IMG.  IMG partners with the world's leading marketers and media networks to help grow their businesses through event properties, media production and distribution, talent brands, sponsorship consulting, brand licensing, sponsorship sales and other services.

 “Selecting IMG was an easy decision for us as we seek a naming rights partner for our ballpark,” said Cleveland Indians President Paul Dolan.  “IMG will allow us the opportunity not only to partner with another home-town team, but also expand our naming rights search due to the stature and credibility IMG has earned nationally and worldwide in the sports and entertainment business industry.”

Andy Pierce, IMG’s Senior Corporate Vice President, Managing Director Consulting, added: "With our long ties to the Cleveland area, IMG is looking forward to working side-by-side with the Indians organization to identify and secure a naming rights partner for Jacobs Field that will not only benefit the entire Cleveland and northeast Ohio community, but further grow the team's success as one of baseball's most-recognized brands."


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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Nationals Take First BP at New Stadium PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 18 September 2007 16:51

Wily Mo Pena takes BP at new Nationals Stadium

The Biz of Baseball gives a huge tip-'o-the-hat to Miss Chatter at the "Just a Nats Fan" blog for some spectacular pictures of the first batting practice at the new Nationals Ballpark, slated to open next season. This is always one of the coolest traditions in baseball, where the team gets in some swings before the final touches are made to a new stadium.

Here we see Wily Mo Pena letting one rip in front of the VIPs.

Do yourself a favor and swing by the posting on Just a Nats Fan to see the rest of the collection.


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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Nationals Hire Former Hillary Clinton Staffer, Bari Lurie PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 18 September 2007 16:33
Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals today announced that they have created a new division, Nationals Ballpark Enterprises, to develop and market non-baseball events at the new stadium and that they have hired Bari Lurie as the Director of Ballpark Enterprises.

Ballpark Enterprises will manage the event planning and rental of all venues in the new Ballpark for non-game day activities and events, such as private receptions, corporate meetings, trade shows, tours, concerts, etc. In addition to the use of the Ballpark’s hospitality venues such as the President’s Club, PNC Diamond Club and Stars and Stripes Club, every area of the new ballpark will be available to create an opportunity for unique and memorable events.

Lurie will be charged with attracting events to the new Ballpark and will oversee the Special Events department for the Washington Nationals, the entity responsible for the management of a full-service event execution team for all non-game activities. “I couldn’t be more excited about all of the opportunities that the new ballpark presents,” Lurie said. “This truly will be a world class facility with the capacity to host events of all shapes and sizes.”

Prior to joining the Nationals, Bari worked on the Senate Re-Elect and Presidential Campaigns for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton; with her most recent stint as Chief of Staff to the Campaign Manager on Clinton’s presidential bid. Lurie is a graduate of George Washington University where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Communications.


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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Indians Break Ground on Spring Training Facility in AZ PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 18 September 2007 04:57

New Indians Spring Training Facility (click to see larger version in popup) With Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller manning a skip loader, and a 75-piece marching band playing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “Wild Thing”, the Cleveland Indians broke ground on a new Spring Training facility in Goodyear, AZ yesterday. More than 350 people were in attendance for the ceremonies. The move shifts the Indians back to the Cactus League where they played from 1947 to 1992.

The facility designed by HOK is unique in that it will mark the first time mixed use development is married with a Spring Training facility.

The Spring Training component will house an 8,000-seat ballpark with an additional 500 premium seats, six suites and 1,600 berm seats as well as a 400 party-seat area in the outfield.

The complex also includes a separate clubhouse/practice field area that will serve as a year-round training facility for the Indians and provide Goodyear’s residents with a recreational sports and events complex.

Suite The ballpark will be the centerpiece of Ballpark Village at Wood Corporate Campus, a $1 billion, 240-acre mixed-use development of office, retail, housing and hospitality. The ballpark’s ground-level concourse is being planned to integrate with the surrounding restaurants, offices and a hotel/conference center. The Indians’ year-round portion of the practice field area will consist of a clubhouse, two major practice fields, one half-field and batting practice areas. (select the images provided to see details).

The remaining four major practice fields will be for the use of Goodyear residents except during the two months of Spring Training. The City also expects to use both the ballpark and practice field area for special events throughout the year.

“This is a great day in Goodyear when we break ground to bring the Cleveland Indians and Cactus League baseball to the Southwest Valley ,” stated Goodyear Mayor Jim Cavanaugh. “By owning and operating this incredible facility, the City of Goodyear will control a wonderful, year-round amenity in our community.”

Ballpark elevation - (Select the image to see in a larger view) “The Cleveland Indians organization is excited about the opportunity to develop our players year-round in the warm Arizona weather,” said Indians President Paul Dolan. “Having such a great ballpark and state-of-the-art training facility in Goodyear will be a real asset to our team, and we are really looking forward to the 2009 Spring Training season in the Cactus League.”

(All images courtesy of 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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Nationals to Name New Media Center After Shirley Povich PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 11 September 2007 04:37
NationalsThe Washington Nationals will announce Sunday that the press box in new Nationals Park will be named the "Shirley Povich Media Center", in honor of the late Hall of Fame Baseball writer. A ceremony celebrating the dedication will be held soon after Nationals Park opens in 2008.

Shirley Lewis Povich was a longtime sports columnist and reporter for The Washington Post, in addition to having served as Editor of Sports for 41 years. Povich was selected in 1975 as the Baseball Writers Association of America’s J.G. Taylor Spink Award recipient, the Baseball Hall of Fame honor for sportswriters. Although he retired in 1973, Povich continued to write hundreds of articles and cover the World Series for the Post and was the author of The Washington Senators (1954) and All These Mornings (1969).

Those that will be in attendance at Sunday's announcement will be:

  • Washington Nationals Principal Owner Mark D. Lerner
  • Washington Nationals President Stan Kasten
  • David Povich, son of Shirley Povich
  • Lynn Povich, daughter of Shirley Povich
  • Maury Povich, son of Shirley Povich

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 and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
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