Venue News & Notes: Cubs To Stay in Arizona

The fat lady hasn’t sung yet, but she’s warming up. It finally appears that the year-long competition between Naples, FL, and Mesa, AZ, has ended with the Chicago Cubs signing a memorandum of understanding that will keep the club training in Arizona. At a press conference in front of the state capital this week, the Cubs put a pen to the paper that will pave the way for the club to remain in the Cactus League. Mesa Mayor Scott Smith thanked Cubs owner Tom Ricketts for giving Mesa the opportunity to keep the team. Mesa must meet certain deadlines to put financing in place for the $84 million facility, or the Cubs could back out of the agreement…

…Citizens of Santa Clara, CA, are that much closer to having their say on whether to build a San Francisco 49ers stadium after the City Council signaled this week it would accept a pro-stadium group’s initiative and move it to the June ballot. “Ultimately, the people will decide, and they are smarter than all of us,” said Councilman Jamie Matthews. In a largely procedural move, the City Council unanimously voted to direct staff to draw up a resolution that would call for a special June 8 election on the $937 million stadium proposal. The council will vote on the resolution Feb. 9…

…The Rose Garden Arena in Portland, OR, has accomplished the greenest retrofit of a sports stadium in the U.S., an effort affirmed this week when energy-efficiency measures and operational improvements were certified by a rigorous green-building program. The efforts touch nearly every aspect of the building’s operations. With recycling and food composting, the arena will prevent more than 60% of its waste from going to landfills. About 30% of attendees at Rose Garden events use mass transit or bicycles to get there. The building will buy 100% of its electricity and natural gas from renewable sources…

…Aiming to raise public dollars to improve their privately owned stadium, the Miami Dolphins and team backers have hatched a plan: get state legislators to lift the ceiling on Miami-Dade County’s hotel tax and then ask county commissioners to increase the rate of the so-called bed tax. Backers of the plan, which has been presented to state legislators in recent weeks, say the move would generate millions of dollars for renovations on the Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium — along with upgrades of the Miami Beach Convention Center. State law now caps hotel taxes at 6%, the amount already assessed in Miami-Dade County. Revenues from the tax levied at Miami-Dade hotels are largely spoken for after county leaders agreed to use public funds to construct a new baseball stadium…

…The NFL season is almost over, but talk about a new stadium for the San Diego Chargers is never out-of-season. Case in point: a sports-financing consultant told city redevelopment officials this week that construction costs are too high for team owners or public entities to bankroll stadiums by themselves. The Chargers recently concluded that their original hopes of privately financing a new stadium were unrealistic. The 11 NFL stadiums built since 2002 were publicly underwritten — by an average of 55%.

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