Venue News: Atlanta Thrashers May Be Headed North to Winnipeg

The Atlanta Spirit, which owns the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers is in negotiations with True North Sports and Entertainment on a sale of the team that would result in relocation to Winnipeg. The parties have not entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement nor has a deal been reached. It is not known how long the two sides have been negotiating and an agreement involving the teams’ potential new arena has also not been reached…

…As debate over a new Vikings stadium intensifies, some of the region’s top business executives are working to shape how and where the new stadium will be built. Their efforts didn’t get much attention until last week, when Jac Sperling, the sports executive who helped land the NHL Wild in St. Paul more than a decade ago, registered as a lobbyist for the corporate coalition known as the Minnesota Competitiveness Fund. Turns out, eight to 10 CEOs of some of the Twin Cities largest companies have contributed $25,000 each to hire Sperling and analyze the various stadium site proposals…

…Global Entertainment was hired to build and manage the Santa Ana Star Center that opened in 2006, but failed to book enough events, and the minor league hockey team it recruited folded. Attendance was light because of high ticket prices and the arena’s remote location. The arena, which Global Entertainment said would be profitable in a year, has lost so much money that Rio Rancho has had to spend millions of dollars each year to keep it afloat. The city fired Global Entertainment in 2009 and sued it to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills. Rio Rancho is not alone. Global Entertainment persuaded nine other cities that it could build them an arena and turn a profit. Yet in most cases, Global failed to meet its financial projections and was replaced, leaving the cities to pay for expensive arenas…

…Schematic designs of the $52 million second phase of the renovation of Crisler Arena are up for approval Thursday when the University of Michigan regents meet in Dearborn. The first phase of the renovation is under way and involves new seating and changes to the infrastructure of Crisler Arena, which opened in 1967. The second phase includes new entrances, retail space, ticketing areas and a private club space. More restrooms and concession areas and new scorebords also are part of the plan. Funding for the both phases comes from the athletic department.

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