Venue News: Oakland Raiders Reduce Capacity to Avoid TV Blackouts; University of Houston Breaks Ground on New Football Stadium

Compiled by Karen Hogan, Associate Editor, SVG

Capacity for Oakland Raiders games at Coliseum will be reduced by nearly 10,000 to 53,200 in 2013, and approximately 4,850 season-ticket holders from the east side high-rise structure known as “Mount Davis” will be relocated, in order to avoid television blackouts. Raiders CEO Amy Trask described the decision as a “tool” to ensure games remain on local television as well as to promote more of a community and family-friendly atmosphere. The Raiders had just one television blackout in eight regular-season games in 2012 with help from the NFL’s “85 percent” rule, which allowed them to declare a sellout (and give the NFL a bigger cut of the ticket sales) if 85 percent of their non-suite tickets were sold by Thursday…

…University of Houston officials stuck silver shovels in dirt Friday in a ceremonial groundbreaking for the school’s new on-campus football stadium. Wearing red hard hats with the UH logo, school officials, city and state dignitaries and major donors took part in the ceremony held just a few steps away from where the 40,000-seat stadium will be built. The stadium, at an estimated cost of $105 million, is scheduled to open Aug. 30, 2014. Robertson Stadium, the Cougars’ longtime home, was demolished in December. Among the stadium’s amenities: a 12,400-square foot club, 26 suites, 34 loge boxes and additional premium seating. The design of the stadium will allow for future expansion to 60,000…

…The Charlotte City Council gave tentative approval Friday to a plan that would provide $143.75 million to keep the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte for the next 15 years. The bulk of the money – $125 million – would go toward upgrades at Bank of America Stadium, the uptown home of the team since 1996. Other money would go toward stadium maintenance and paying for traffic control on game days. The vote came after a three-hour closed door session by the City Council, including a talk with Panthers owner Jerry Richardson…

…After years of false starts, St. Louis Cardinals executives joined their development partners and political leaders on Friday to cheer the groundbreaking of a long-awaited but scaled-down Ballpark Village. And they vowed, despite the stumbles of the past, to continue the development beyond its initial steps and still reshape the neighborhood. Ballpark Village’s $100 million first phase calls for two buildings and a canopied space, with a total of 100,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment outlets to open by spring 2014…

…The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority passed the much-anticipated Construction Services Agreement Equity Plan today. The plan outlines how the Construction Manager will engage women, minorities and veterans in the building of the new stadium. The plan is a continuation of the equity efforts that began during the design phase. For the Design Services Agreement, the Authority and the Minnesota Vikings adopted goals of 11% and 8% women and minority inclusion respectively. The Authority announced the majority of the subcontractors who are fulfilling those goals at its last meeting on January 18, 2013. The Targeted Business (TB) goal will be 20% – 11% women owned businesses and 9% minority owned businesses…

…Commercial Integrator travels around the NFL and checks out some of the best and worst scoreboards in the league. Who’s on the cutting edge? Who needs major work?

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