Venue News: MSG Undergoing Phase II of Transformation; Dodgers Stadium Renovation To Start this Winter

Compiled by Karen Hogan, Associate Editor, Sports Video Group

Madison Square Garden has spent its second consecutive summer undergoing the most comprehensive renovation in its 42-year history. Phase II of the three-year, nearly $1-billion project to transform the Garden has focused mostly on the suites that ring the middle level, and on the upper seating bowl, which has been rebuilt from scratch. Net result: Seats that are about 10 feet closer to the playing surface and 17 degrees steeper than they used to be, an upgrade after decades of complaints about sight lines. Also, the concourse that used to ring the arena on the inside is gone, meaning no more obstructions for fans seated toward the front of the upper bowl. Phase III in 2013 will include the two distinctive “bridges” that will span the arena and provide a unique seating view, a new scoreboard and a rebuilt lobby/entryway…

…The renovations of Dodger Stadium that were promised by the Dodgers’ new owners will start this winter, President Stan Kasten said Monday. The Dodgers have already hired someone to oversee the multiyear project in Janet Marie Smith, who worked on stadium projects in Boston, Baltimore and Atlanta. Smith will be looking to incorporate kids’ areas, more restaurants and bars, history displays, and interactive areas into the ballpark without altering its feel, similar to how she did at Fenway Park in Boston…

…Power Balance Pavilion could get renamed yet again – and Sleep Train is one of the candidates. Sleep Train Mattress Centers said Tuesday it’s negotiating with the Sacramento Kings for naming rights to the team’s arena. The Rocklin-based retailer is one of several companies talking to the Kings about naming rights. The Kings began looking for a new naming-rights partner after their year-old deal with Power Balance was cut short abruptly. The sports-wristband company left the team high and dry after filing for bankruptcy protection last fall. Power Balance paid the Kings just $700,000 before cutting off payments, according to court records…

…The official plan for a massive NHL-caliber hockey arena north of Toronto was unveiled Wednesday and celebrated by city officials as a cultural cornerstone of the emerging downtown in Markham, Ontario. A site plan application for the GTA Centre was released by GTA Sports and Entertainment alongside city officials at a press conference on Wednesday. The design of the massive arena shows a rounded entertainment center with a glowing greenish-blue roof and a headline ticker running above the building’s entrances. The building will also meet all the environmental requirements requested of downtown Markham developments and will be capable of facilitating solar roof development in the future. City staff will need to review the site plan application before approving a building permit and allowing construction to begin on the $325-million venue.

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