Venue News: Fenway Park Seeking First Football Game Since 1968; NHL Lockout Threatens Winter Classic

Compiled by Karen Hogan, Associate Editor, Sports Video Group

The Red Sox are actively seeking to bring college football back to Fenway Park, specifically a game between Notre Dame and the University of Connecticut in 2014. Talks are in the early stages, according to sources involved in the discussions. But UConn officials feel the idea has merit and Notre Dame may be willing to shift a home game to Boston. There hasn’t been a football game played at Fenway Park since the Patriots beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 33-14, on Dec. 1, 1968. The park hosted football for six decades before that, with high school, college, and professional games played there regularly…

…The NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium is expected to bring in millions of dollars of spinoff revenue to Ann Arbor and surrounding businesses in January. That is, unless the event gets canceled. Cancelation of the New Year’s Day outdoor hockey game scheduled between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs looks like a distinct posibility after players and owners were unable to reach agreement on a new labor deal over the weekend. The National Hockey League locked out its players at 12:01 a.m. Sunday. The NHL can cancel the annual New Year’s Day outdoor game as late as Jan. 1 should a work stoppage stem from a lack of a contract between players and owners. Should that happen, the league would owe the University of Michigan $100,000 of the $3 million dollar rental fee for the use of Michigan Stadium…

…Last week, the Seattle City Council announced a tentative agreement on a new arena, to be built in the Sodo (south of downtown) neighborhood where Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field already stand. The revised plan is the product of months of negotiation with hedge fund investor Chris Hansen, who’s long made it his goal to bring an NBA team back to the city. However, Mariners VP Bart Waldman was among the signees of a letter sent to the city council yesterday, complaining that the Sodo site has been “pre-selected,” and the city’s obvious favoring of that specific plan is going to prejudice the environmental review that must take place before ground can be broken. The Mariners are adamant that more time should be spent investigating other sites, and if one of them turns out to be a better fit, that’s where the arena should be…

…The expansion Penn State had planned for its aging indoor swimming facility along with construction of a new tennis center are both on hold indefinitely, with funding from university athletics coming up short. University spokeswoman Lisa Powers confirmed that the projects — with a $65 million combined price tag — have been stalled and can’t be pursued at this time. Money to pay for the projects was to come from three sources: $30 million from student activity fees; $25 million from Intercollegiate Athletics; and $10 million from donations.

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