Venue News: MLS Pursues NYC Franchise; AEG Moves Closer to L.A. Stadium Reality

Eager to find a home for a new team in New York, officials from Major League Soccer met officials from the Hudson River Park Trust on Thursday to discuss a potential stadium on Pier 40 on the West Side of Manhattan. The meeting, which included about 30 politicians, park officials and other city representatives, was the first full discussion at the trust about the possibility of building a soccer stadium on the 14.5-acre pier at Houston Street, which now has several soccer fields and long-term parking. Though M.L.S. has several designs, any stadium at Pier 40 would take up about nine acres, seat 20,000 to 25,000 fans, and include youth soccer facilities. Before anything happens many significant hurdles must be cleared, including repairing the dilapidated pier, which could cost about $100 million; finding money to build a stadium; and winning over skeptics who park at the pier and use the existing soccer fields…

…In another step that could potentially pave the way for the NFL to return to Los Angeles as early as next year, Anschutz Entertainment Group delivered its long-awaited environmental impact report to City Hall on Thursday for its $1.4 billion proposed football stadium in downtown Los Angeles. AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke presented the 10,000-page report, which took 18 months to complete at a cost of $27 million, along with members of local construction and trade unions and called it a significant step in bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles for the first time since 1994. The EIR will be subject to public comment for 45 days after it is released and if city officials approve the EIR and the project, there will then be a 30-day window for legal challenges, which will be resolved within 175 days. If everything goes according to plan, Farmers Field would be in position to begin construction by March 2013, similar to a competing stadium proposed by real estate magnate Ed Roski in the City of Industry, which has been ready to push dirt since 2009…

…Four years after Beijing hosted a spectacular summer Olympics, China’s bustling capital sees vastly improved public transport and infrastructure, but many of the venues built for the event languish unloved, underused, and draining public finances. The main Bird’s Nest stadium and the Water Cube aquatics center are better known for the steady stream of curious tourists they attract — some 4.61 million visitors in 2011 — rather than as locations for major sporting events. Other venues have fared even worse than the Bird’s Nest or Water Cube. The kayaking venue sits all but abandoned, what water remaining in it being sucked up by a large pipe to quench a surrounding park…

…Residents of the neighborhood surrounding the Barclays Center fought the arena’s liquor license application at a special Community Board meeting this week, where Barclays reps appeared to answer questions about their application. Thus far, the arena has not provided any details about how they’ll handle crowd control outside the venue, which will unleash thousands of inebriated Nets fans upon Prospect Heights, Park Slope, and Downtown Brooklyn. Some critics simply want Barclays to stop selling booze at halftime, not just at the end of the third quarter, as NBA rules mandate…

…Police reported a dip in the number of arrests and public drinking citations at the opening day game at Dodger Stadium, where there was a heavy police presence one year after a Giants fan was beaten into a coma in the parking lot. Two arrests were made and 72 public drinking citations were given on Tuesday, down from 89 arrests and citations last year, said Officer Bruce Borihanh. Security was a “paramount priority,” the team said in a statement as fans swarmed to the hilltop stadium for the gala opening, which marked the 50th anniversary of the first game played there and the start of a season that will see a change in ownership. According to Borihanh, officers wearing rival team jerseys will be at every game this season.

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