Venue News: Padres Consider Moving Outfield Wall; Warriors Make Oracle Arena More Mobile-Friendly

San Diego Padres interim CEO Tom Garfinkel said the club plans to study what effects reducing Petco Park’s spacious outfield might have on the team’s offense. The Padres could submit plans to Major League Baseball after the season in hopes of turning Petco into a more hitter-friendly park in time for the 2013 season. Since Petco Park opened in 2004, the venue has ranked last among MLB’s 30 ballparks four times in park factor, a metric that measures how pitcher-friendly or hitter-friendly each ballpark plays, according to ESPN. The park has never ranked higher than 26th and is rated 29th in park factor this season. A combination of cool air from the marine layer and deep dimensions — the park is 401 feet to left-center field and 400 feet to right-center — is believed to routinely keep would-be home runs in the field of play, especially in right field…

…The Golden State Warriors are trying to make the Oracle Arena a very mobile-friendly place. In recent months, the team has rolled out a free arena-wide Wi-Fi network, an indoor antenna system to help frustrated cellphone users get a better signal, and most recently, an iPhone app. The app, which the Warriors unveiled this month, shows team news, lists upcoming games, displays players virtual trading cards, includes promotional offers and has links to Web pages where users can buy jerseys and tickets online. The Warriors are already planning new features and updates. In the future, fans may be able to use the app instead of a paper ticket to gain entrance to a game. They could also use it to upgrade their seats after they walk into the arena or order food from the concession stands from the comfort of their seat and pick it up when ready at the nearest kiosk, rather than having to wait in a long line. Nearer term, team fans who don’t have iPhones should be able to join in the fun. This summer, the team plans to release an Android app, and is considering an iPad version…

…The plan for a nearly $1 billion Minnesota Vikings stadium — almost killed by lawmakers last week — is showing fresh signs of life, with votes expected in the legislature this week that could decide whether the National Football League team stays or goes. After a House committee last week voted down the plan to build a new Vikings stadium on the site of the 30-year-old Metrodome in Minneapolis, proponents inserted it into another bill Monday night and passed it on to the House floor, where it is expected be voted on by Friday. Under the plan, Minnesota would pay $398 million from expanded-gambling revenue, Minneapolis would pay $150 million from tax revenue, and the Vikings would pay $427 million. The Vikings have warned they will leave Minnesota without a new stadium…

…Penn State has broken ground on the building that eventually will house its hockey program, which is being elevated to Division I status. The school first announced in September 2010 that it was upgrading its club hockey teams to Division I, thanks in large part to an $88 million donation by Terry and Kim Pegula – the largest private gift in Penn State history. The money also was used to fund the ice arena, which will be named after the benefactor. The 6,000-seat arena is scheduled to open in September 2013 – just in time for the men’s program to join the new Big Ten hockey conference…

…Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson met with Kings co-owner George Maloof on Friday in Las Vegas in an attempt to revive talks about a new arena for the NBA team. The Maloof family has balked at terms of an agreement reached last month, though saying they want to remain in Sacramento. City officials, led by former NBA star Johnson, met with the Maloofs and league officials during the NBA’s All-Star weekend in Orlando in February, celebrating a tentative deal to fund the estimated $391 million arena that would open for the 2015-16 season in the downtown rail yards. But the Maloofs have since taken issue with some of the terms — particularly environmental and pre-development costs that Johnson said made up less than 1% of the project’s cost. Johnson has said Sacramento would be interested in keeping the Kings under another owner, but the Maloofs have repeatedly said they aren’t interested in selling, even as they have faced financial difficulties.

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