Venue News: Lucas Oil Stadium Deemed A Success; Pirates Replace Rarely Used Seats with Bar

Lucas Oil Stadium was the first NFL venue designed and built specifically to host the Super Bowl, and early reviews from its big test on Sunday were encouraging. Early-arriving fans sailed through security screenings and arrived at their seats well before kickoff. Lines for restrooms and concessions didn’t get too long. Fewer in-stadium advertisements allowed fans to focus on the game. And if the dining options didn’t draw rave reviews, well, stadium food is stadium food. In many ways big ways and small, the feedback on Lucas Oil Stadium did nothing to discourage the city’s ambitions of hosting another Super Bowl. A week of superlative mid-winter weather pushed more than 1.1 million fans through Super Bowl Village downtown—about double what the host committee originally projected and about 30% more than revised projections made Wednesday…

…The Pittsburgh Pirates are developing a new branded destination in the right-field corner at PNC Park. The Budweiser Bowtie Bar, named after the beer’s signature logo, debuts April 5, the Pirates’ first home game. The covered lounge will be open to all ticket holders, and a portion will be reserved for group sales. The bar, at the right-field end of the main concourse, replaces an old space containing about 20 permanent seats that went largely unused for Pirates games, according to club President Frank Coonelly. The new design, with a U-shaped bar as the centerpiece, doubles the amount of space to 5,000 square feet. Fans in front will have views to the game, and the back of the bar extends over the Allegheny River. A rear glass wall provides protection from winds coming off the river….

…West Ham will face competition from 15 other bids in their quest to inhabit the Olympic Stadium after London 2012 this summer. The Olympic Park Legacy Company confirmed that a total of 16 interested parties had submitted a bid prior to the January 30 deadline, after the process was reopened following the collapse of West Ham’s original winning arrangement. The Hammers remain the favorites to win the second round of bidding, but will have to beat off 15 rivals, with OPLC confirming they will consider joint-bids from clubs of different sports, as long as the athletics track remains in place. The stadium is due to host the World Athletics Championships in 2017…

…The Kansas City Royals are getting greener with an in-stadium solar array generating electricity. The 120 solar panels, which have been installed and tested, are expected to produce 36,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, which is enough to power for four homes. That won’t be enough to meet all the stadium’s electricity needs but should provide most if not all of a crucial element of the game. The move into solar energy comes as Major League Baseball is making a push to encourage teams to be energy efficient and use more renewable energy. The Royals approached KCP&L about four months ago about a solar installation and wanted to move quickly so that it would be ready and running for this season. The Royals will play host to the All-Star Game, and the team wanted renewable energy to be part of putting its best foot forward for the national audience watching that game…

…The University of Colorado will add two new digital video boards to the north and south ends of Folsom Field in time for the 2012 season if the Board of Regents approves the $7 million project this week. The stadium currently uses boards that are 13 years old and feature outdated technology. The boards have malfunctioned numerous times on game days and during other events in recent years. The new boards will fill the existing framework of the old boards 100% with video. The current boards only use about 40% of the available space for video. They were installed in 1999 at a cost of $3.6 million and had a 10-year life expectancy. The new boards are expected to last 12 years. Boulder’s notoriously high winds limit the size of the boards the school is able to use in the stadium. This is the first facilities upgrade at Folsom Field since 2003 when the east side expansion was completed, adding 1,903 club seats and 41 suites to the stadium at a cost of $42 million.

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