Venue News: NHL Plans to Play Six Outdoor Games Next Season; NFL Makes Another In-Stadium Change

Compiled by Karen Hogan, Associate Editor, Sports Video Group

The NHL is preparing to add extra outdoor games to the 2013-14 regular season schedule to go alongside the Winter Classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings at Michigan’s Big House on New Year’s Day. As reported by TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger on the NHL on TSN’s Insider Trading on Tuesday, the league – subject to contracts being signed off – will hold five more outdoor games next season following the Jan. 1 game…

…Last week, teams were notified they must place cameras in their locker rooms to provide video only, with the footage being displayed on the video boards and also on team apps. Now, the NFL will allow teams to use video scoreboards to encourage crowd noise in stadiums during entire plays. Although the scoreboards can only use audio prompts until 20 seconds remain on the play clock — down from 30 seconds — video prompts now can be used any time. Those videos also were limited to the final 30 seconds on the play clock until the 2013 season. That’s the latest change the league is allowing in an attempt to enhance the fan experience in stadiums. Teams have control over content…

…Bayer Leverkusen, who are on course to return to the Champions League next season, unveiled plans on Tuesday to turn their ground into a high-tech friendly “Stadium of the Future” for football fans. Most supporters have experienced the frustrations of poor phone coverage in stadiums, or being unable to receive emails or text messages due to high demands as other mobile phone users upload pictures onto their social media accounts. But those gripes will be a thing of the past at Leverkusen’s BayArena from July with plans to provide 350 wireless Internet connection points as part of the StadiumVision system, so that up to 20,000 football fans can surf the net or upload videos and photographs in the stadium…

…FIFA will intensify its monitoring of the stadiums being prepared for the upcoming Confederations Cup after local organizers delayed the finish date of the venue hosting the opening match in Brazil. Soccer’s governing body also reiterated Tuesday that such delays “will not be tolerated” ahead of the 2014 World Cup. A day after the delay announced in Brazil and less than two months before the Confederations Cup, FIFA met with local officials and the local 2014 World Cup organizing committee in the nation’s capital and announced it will make a new inspection visit at the Estadio Nacional in two weeks. The stadium was expected to be open Sunday, but problems with the field forced organizers to change the date to May 18, just three days before FIFA takes over all six Confederations Cup venues…

…Amid the debate about the public portion of funding for Miami Dolphins’ stadium renovations, confusion arose last week about how much money the team would actually contribute to the project. Dolphins owner Steve Ross has pledged at least $191 million toward modernization of Sun Life Stadium. What raised eyebrows of Miami-Dade commissioners was a report from an outside consulting firm that up to $150 million of that could come from a NFL fund that the team already is required to pay into, “making that portion of the financing cash flow neutral” to the Dolphins.

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