Venue News: Vikings Reach Agreement to Build New Stadium; 49ers Secure Ground Lease in Santa Clara

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, various state politicians, and the Vikings announced today that they’ve reached an agreement to build a new, publicly owned “People’s Stadium” on the site of the Metrodome, which would keep the franchise in Minnesota for at least the next 30 years while creating more than 13,000 jobs. The Vikings have agreed to pay at least half of the new domed facility’s construction and operating costs, which projects to more than $750 million. The state and city of Minneapolis will pay the rest…

…In another step that solidifies the 49ers’ move from San Francisco, a ground lease for the football team’s new stadium was approved by the Santa Clara Stadium Authority Tuesday night. The authority voted 5-2 to approve the first of two parts of a 40-year ground lease, which authorizes use of the site to allow construction to start by July on the 68,500-seat stadium, which will cost a little more than $1 billion and be located next to the Great America theme park. It was the latest in a series of votes leading the 49ers away from their home of 66 years — an exit that is taking shape even as a grassroots organization is suing to block the stadium project…

…Nearly 20 years after the Rams arrived here from Los Angeles, this shrinking city wants taxpayers to open their wallets for a stadium overhaul designed to keep the professional football team from fleeing for the glitz of its former home. The fight to save St. Louis’s NFL franchise comes at a tough time. The city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and the state of Missouri together still owe $153 million on the downtown dome and face deep budget cuts in other areas. But they are proposing a $124 million plan to build new club seats and a 50,000-square-foot plaza at the dome—with nearly half the cost funded by taxpayers. The Wall Street Journal examines the economic impact of small-market teams versus their larger-market competition…

…Sun Life Stadium managers hope to respond to the wants and needs of every single visitor to the Miami venue by teaming up with IBM to track the ebb and flow of patrons inside the 75,000-seat building. The stadium’s new IBM’s Intelligent Operations Center allow the staff to respond almost instantly to changes in parking, weather forecasts, and even shortages of beer or nachos at a specific concession stand — the first real-world test is set for an soccer game between Mexico and Columbia this week. Stadium staff can already use IBM’s system to quickly redirect fans to free parking spaces and shut off full parking lots among the 24,000 available spaces. But, according to the Dolphins, the stadium could someday also have sensors to track each incoming car…

…The Montreal Impact is expanding its four-year-old soccer stadium to meet Major League Soccer standards at a fraction of the cost of the league’s newest venues. The Impact moves up to MLS this season after playing last year in the North American Soccer League. Before that, the team competed for several seasons in the United Soccer Leagues. The $23 million expansion, now under construction, will push Saputo Stadium’s seating from 13,034 to 20,341 and boost the number of suites from 16 to 35. The facility is next to Olympic Stadium and opened in 2008 at a cost of $17 million.

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