Venue News: Toronto Readies for 2015 Pan Am Games; Qatar Ramps Up Prep for 2012 World Cup

Compiled by Karen Hogan, Associate Editor, Sports Video Group

Organizers for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games say they are on budget and have five venue projects under construction. TO2015 has released its first quarterly report to the public, saying it remains on track with its $1.44-billion budget. Out of a total of $674 million slated for capital projects, the committee says it is currently $57.5 million under budget. That figure takes into account the Milton Velodrome that is projected to come in $6 million more than planned. Five construction projects are currently underway — including Toronto’s athletics stadium, aquatics center, and fieldhouse — with four other venue projects expected to start over the next two years…

…Qatar says that all of its stadiums will be built or renovated by the 2021 Confederations Cup in a sign the petrol-rich country is ramping up preparations for hosting the 2022 World Cup. Yasir Al-Jamal, technical director of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, told a Doha sports conference on Friday that organizers would break ground in early 2013 on the first of a dozen stadiums, and by the end of the 2013 would have design consultants for all the stadiums. Meanwhile, Qatar 2022 bid spokesman Nasser al-Khater said the country was sticking with a summer tournament, although their plans “would not be affected” if the international community chose to switch to winter. UEFA President Michel Platini and many top footballers have called for a winter tournament citing Qatar’s brutal summer heat…

…Alabama State University debuted its expansive new $62 million stadium on Thanksgiving. Hornet Stadium, which holds 26,500 but is built to allow for expansion to 55,000 seats. For the predominantly African-American ASU alumni and surrounding community, the “state of the art” facility is a symbol of great pride and evidence that state and local leaders are committed to the university. The facility boasts 200 loge seats, 750 club seats, two party terraces, 20 luxury box suites, and a 64-foot, high-definition scoreboard. Early next year, they also will have a merchandise store and restaurant in which to browse or dine…

…The Chicago Bulls plan to build a new practice facility near the United Center. The team and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office announced details of the plan Friday. The Bulls have practiced at the Berto Center in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield since 1992. The new 55,000-square-foot facility will be built in what’s now a parking lot just east of the United Center, on the city’s West Side. The project will be funded completely by the Bulls and is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2014-2015 season…

…Architects for arena investor Chris Hansen have submitted conceptual designs for the proposed Seattle sports arena in the Sodo neighborhood. These aren’t the architectural drawings that will show what the arena will actually look like. Those are likely to be released by the end of the month. But they do show the general plans for a 725,000-square-foot arena with seating capacity for between 18,000 and 20,000. The illustrations show the arena being used for basketball, hockey, and concerts. A practice facility is also included at the northeast end of the site…

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