Venue News & Notes: Plenty of Arenas to Go Around

Topping this week’s venue news and notes is a series of
reports from across the pond that Europe is
suddenly arena-rich. The NBA has long speculated that the day is at hand when
the 30-team league will expand to include a four-team division based in Europe,
a notion dismissed as far-fetched when first mooted by NBA Commissioner David Stern four years ago. The major stumbling
block — adequate arenas — is in the process of being hurdled thanks to the
O2 Arena in London and Berlin’s O2 World, built and owned by sports
conglomerate AEG, which has strong ties with the NBA. Similar arenas are at the
planning stage in Madrid and Rome, and talks about such projects are
ongoing in at least 10 other major European cities.

…On Tuesday, Sandy, UT, City Council gave its OK to plans to
offer a developer up to $15
million in tax incentives for building such a project on 6.5 acres that Real Salt
Lake soccer club owns to the north of
its stadium at 9256 S. State
St. The developer — whose name has not been
released — has presented Sandy with a feasibility study that concluded two 125-room
hotels, a 40,000-square-foot indoor water park, and 15,000 square feet of retail
and restaurant space could be successful on the site, a former Ardell Brown RV

…After months of meetings and studies, consultants
have recommended
a downtown site for the new Evansville
Events Center
in Evansville, IN. The recommended location is the 7-acre D-Patrick Ford-Executive Inn site bounded by Fourth, Locust, Seventh,
and Walnut streets. And the cost of the 11,000-seat arena will be between
$117 million and $127 million…

…City officials in Walnut, CA, will begin interviewing
attorneys as part of a plan to possibly sue neighboring Industry if that city approves an
environmental-impact report for a proposed NFL stadium. Once the EIR is certified, construction can
begin if the project is not delayed by litigation, officials said…

…The New Orleans Hornets have hired Virginia-based Octogon
sports-marketing firm to sell the naming
rights to New Orleans Arena. The Hornets are entitled to revenue from the
sale of the rights as part of the deal that brought the franchise to the Crescent City in 2001. But
efforts to sell naming rights to the arena, as well as to the neighboring
Louisiana Superdome, have been unsuccessful…

…Four development teams will compete to build a sports
and entertainment venue to replace Baltimore’s aging 1st Mariner Arena,
with their proposals envisioning added such twists as a seven-screen movie
theater, a hotel, concert hall, offices, or street-level shops, city officials
said this week…

…George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, FL, is getting a taste of the
Big Apple, courtesy of Hillsborough
County. Two
LED electronic displays from Yankee Stadium in New
York are coming to Tampa
to be installed at the Yankees’ spring-training facility. Each of the two
displays will be placed under the name “Yankees” at Steinbrenner Field along the
left- and right-field grandstands and will be used for advertising and in-game

…The Pittsburgh city-county
Sports & Exhibition Authority awarded $29.6 million in contracts this week
to continue
construction of the $321 million Consol Energy Center, the uptown arena
expected to open in time for the Penguins 2010-11 hockey season. That
brings the sum of trade contracts awarded for the arena to $162
million, said Executive Director Mary Conturo.

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