Venue News: Brazil’s Confederation Cup Venues Delayed Again; Sacramento Makes New Arena Push

Compiled by Karen Hogan, Associate Editor, Sports Video Group

There are signs all soccer stadiums may not be ready three months before the Confederations Cup begins in Brazil. The deadline for the completion of one venue has been delayed again this week. The few stadiums opened have revealed problems, including a faulty field. Only two of the six stadiums were finalized by December as originally expected by FIFA. The recent glitches raise doubts about whether they will be ready by the new mid-April deadline established by soccer’s governing body…

…For more than a year, Southern California grocery tycoon Ron Burkle and his business associates have pursued a plan to build a new arena in Downtown Plaza to cement the Kings’ future in Sacramento. On Thursday, that interest finally burst into the open. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announced that Burkle and 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov were teaming up on a bid to buy the Kings and construct an arena at the site of downtown’s lagging open-air mall. The bid for the team will serve as Sacramento’s counteroffer should the NBA board of governors next month reject the Kings’ deal to move the franchise to Seattle…

…The Thomas & Mack Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) has upgraded its control room to full HD production with equipment purchased through Advanced Broadcast Solutions. Primarily, the new system is used for in-house video scoreboard presentations, though some projects are produced for live and on-demand streaming. The recent HD upgrade included a Ross Carbonite 2M switcher, Fujinon XA50x9.5BESM HD telephoto box style lens, and Utah Scientific UTAH-100/UDS router from ABS. UNLV purchased equipment from ABS and other sources, but installation and integration, as well as the center’s control room remodel, was handled in house…

…North Carolina lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday that would allow the city of Charlotte to use existing taxes – but no new ones – to upgrade Bank of America Stadium. The plan apparently would leave the city more than $30 million short of what it hoped to give the Carolina Panthers.  At least one City Council member said the city might counter by offering a smaller tax increase than originally proposed. Mayor Anthony Foxx and the City Council have asked lawmakers for authority to double Charlotte’s 1% prepared-food tax to help raise $144 million toward a $250 million stadium renovation. In return, the Panthers would agree to keep the team in Charlotte for 15 years…

…About a decade ago, for an ESPN.com project about sports in the 21st century, writer Darren Rovell got in touch with a futurist named Watts Wacker. Wacker talked about the future with such certainty, his ideas so polished. At the time, Wacker told Rovell that we’ll eventually see sports stadiums of no more than a couple thousand people, optimized with the perfect elements to make the perfect TV broadcast. It made so much sense to me. Over time, rights fees have increased and ticket revenue has become less of a revenue stream. After all, so few people out of the total universe watching a game are actually in the stadium, why not optimize it for the people at home? Recently, Rovell called Watts for the first time since their conversation and asked him what he thinks is down the road in the stadium experience.

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