Venue News: Nets Blame Prudential Center Temp for Poor Play; Pistons To Eliminate 80 Suites

The concept of home is a bit convoluted for the Nets, what with the impending move to Brooklyn and some players’ sour feelings about their arena in Newark. But if their poor shooting at the Prudential Center is simply about getting familiar with a court not conducive to basketball — as players suggested — the Nets will have plenty of time to adapt.  The Nets’ relationship with the Rock this season has been uncomfortable. They’re shooting a league-low 39% at home — while the opposition is shooting a robust 49% — providing an opportunity for Deron Williams and Anthony Morrow to express their displeasure last week about the Rock’s design, its temperature, and its comfort level. The insinuations of basketball inadequacy are potentially harmful for the Prudential Center, if only because the city of Newark — which owns the arena — wants to lure a permanent NBA team once the Nets leave. According to a source familiar with the situation, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and former Newark resident Shaquille O’Neal have spoken several times about the subject and are in the process of arranging a meeting with the league…

…The Detroit Pistons are eyeing the elimination of nearly half the 178 suites at the Palace of Auburn Hills as part of a major overhaul under new owner Tom Gores, who is working to put his own imprint on the franchise. A plan under discussion calls for the team to convert 80 suites on the penthouse level, the arena’s highest point, into more profitable spaces with ideas of a restaurant, social media gathering sites, and a sports hall of fame all under consideration. The skyboxes are now sold on a game-by-game basis and have proved to be a tough sell. The team wouldn’t disclose specific pricing on the suites. No decisions have been made on what could be done and the costs associated with the project. The Pistons have not yet hired an architect for the revamp…

…According to County Executive Tom Santulli, Chemung County’s foreclosure process against First Arena – home to the ECHL’s Elmira Jackals – can’t be stopped. The county began foreclosure proceedings on First Arena about two years ago, but the arena’s owner, Southern Tier Economic Development Inc. of Elmira, isn’t the entity that’s supposed to be paying the taxes. According to a 1999 agreement with STED, Elmira Downtown Arena LLC, which is owned by Michigan businessman Mostafa Afr, is supposed to pay taxes and utility bills. Afr also owns the Elmira Jackals hockey team, the arena’s primary tenant. His son, Tamer Afr, is the team’s president. The foreclosure process started when notices first were sent to STED about the tax delinquency, Santulli said. The deadline for STED to pay the county $123,849 in overdue taxes for a period stretching back about three years was Jan. 17…

…Ramsey County’s third effort at a viable financing plan for a new $1.1 billion Minnesota Vikings stadium won’t be ready too soon, according to Commissioner Tony Bennett. Sen. Julie Rosen gave the county a deadline of last Friday to present a new plan. Last summer, the county put forward the first plan: a proposal to increase the county sales tax by a half percentage point to support the issuance of $350 million in bonds. St. Paul City Hall didn’t like the plan, nor did legislators who wanted a citizens’ referendum.  A referendum is likely to scuttle the project. In December, Ramsey County floated the idea of a 3% food and beverage tax, but tax-increase averse legislators didn’t like that either. Bennett and fellow stadium sponsor, Commissioner Rafael Ortega, repeatedly say they are waiting to see a detailed plan from Minneapolis, which is competing with Ramsey County to build a Vikings stadium.

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