Venue News: Cubs To Add Electronic Sign in Right Field; Marlins Park 97% Complete

A landmark review panel last week gave the Chicago Cubs permission to install an advertising sign with game information above the wall in the ballpark’s right-field bleachers. But the Cubs may need to jump through more hoops before making their latest change to the iconic ballpark. Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) said he’s backing an ordinance that would force the Cubs to get City Council approval before installing the sign. Tunney, whose ward includes Wrigley Field, said the ordinance would apply to any electronic sign of at least 100 square feet. While he conditionally backs the sign, he wants the Cubs and city officials to agree on overall rules for future advertising within the park. The sign, about 7 ft. by 75 ft., would be part of the Budweiser Bleachers near the right-field corner. Behind it would be a patio and seating area that would replace existing rows of bleachers. The Cubs already have removed the old seats and hope to have the sign in place by Opening Day, April 5. Team spokesman Julian Green had no immediate comment on Tunney’s ordinance…

…Last week, the Miami Marlins installed sod at their new home, Marlins Park, which is now 97% complete. The shade-resistant Bermuda sod — called Celebration — is the same sod used at the Marlins’ spring training site at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. The team chose it for their new $515-million ballpark after testing several types of shade-resistant grasses that were planted more than a year ago in a parking area outside the ballpark’s construction site. The retractable roof will stay open until the regular season starts so the new sod gets plenty of sun and rain for optimal growing chances. The Marlins plan to keep the grass three-quarters of an inch long, which the team hopes will help slow ground balls and allow Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio to beat out infield hits. The ballpark also has two aquariums behind home plate. Fish will be added in about two weeks. As a precaution, the Marlins two weeks ago asked first baseman Gaby Sanchez to test the sturdiness of the glass tanks…

…Honda Center officials, including Ducks owner Henry Samueli, broke ground on a $20 million dining project expected to help attract an NBA team to the Anaheim venue. Grand Terrace will be a private members-only dining facility on the club level. A separate sports-themed restaurant, yet to be named, will be built at the ground level for the public. That full-service restaurant, outfitted with several flatscreen TVs, will seat up to 200 people and be open during arena events. The entire project, which will triple the size of the Ducks merchandise store, is expected to be complete by February 2013. It is the largest Honda Center improvement since the venue was built 19 years ago…

… Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson expects negotiations on the funding plan for a new downtown Kings arena to intensify, now that 13 firms have expressed interest in leasing the city’s parking operations. The mayor told reporters that the city is “on track and in striking distance” of developing a financing plan for the $387 million arena. City officials are hoping to raise as much as $200 million for the project from the leasing of downtown parking garages, spaces and enforcement. With more than a dozen firms expressing interest in those parking assets, the mayor said “it’s going to be constant negotiations with (arena operator) AEG, the Kings, and the NBA and all the interested parties” as the sides work on a funding plan before a March 1 deadline. If a plan does not materialize before then, the NBA has told the Maloofs — the family that owns the Kings — that they can explore moving the franchise…

…Britain’s Paralympics Games organizers celebrated the 200 days-to-go milestone Friday by completing the only permanent Paralympics venue, Eton Manor. The venue, located in the northern end of London’s Olympic Park, will host the wheelchair tennis event, where 112 players will compete for six titles. The venue seats 10,500. Eton Manor will also host temporary aquatic training facilities during the games. Afterward, it will become a multipurpose sport and leisure facility. Some 4,200 athletes will take part in the Paralympics Games from Aug. 29 to Sept 9.

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