Venue News: US Open Shows Off Venue Upgrades; Buffalo Bills Unveil Ralph Wilson Stadium Renovations

World-class tennis deserves a world-class venue, and as fans file in from Flushing Meadows-Corona Park into the East and South gates for the start of the 2014 US Open, they certainly will experience something grand, writes In the first phase of a five-year transformation of the US Open grounds, new elevated seating has been constructed around the practice courts and tournament courts 4, 5, and 6 to create a unique three-court viewing experience for fans. For the first time, fans will be able to watch competitive action on three tournament courts simultaneously and will have enhanced, unobstructed views of the player practice courts. The elevated viewing area will hold more than 1,300 fans, and fan amenities will be available on the ground level…

…The Buffalo Bills unveiled $130 million in renovations to Ralph Wilson Stadium at a sold-out preseason home opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, writes the Associated Press. The upgrades include new fan-friendly amenities, such as larger concessions stands, a sports bar, easier access into the stadium and wider concourses. While not entirely completed, the key renovations include 3 million feet of linear cable to improve communications and technology in the stadium. There are also two new video boards and 53 more points of entry…

…The Minnesota Vikings are kicking in another $19.7 million for their new stadium to make sure it has the features they want, writes the Associated Press. Rising steel prices and refined cost estimates for the stadium’s massive pivoting glass doors created a budget shortfall and left the Vikings with a choice: Scrap certain features to cut costs or increase their share of the project. Combined with tapping a $26.4 million contingency fund and previous additions for larger video boards and more televisions and escalators, the Vikings have added $49 million to the project over the past year. Their contribution now stands at $525.6 million, a little more than half the $1.023 billion project, with taxpayers covering the rest…

…The Oakland Athletics are checking out the possibility of building a new stadium on the same site of their current home, writes the Associated Press. The A’s announced Friday that architectural consultant 360 Architecture will evaluate design options for a new ballpark which would keep the team in Oakland. Team owner Lew Wolff has been stymied in his efforts to get a new stadium. At one point Wolff tried to get approval to move the A’s 30 miles south to Fremont but met resistance by the San Francisco Giants who claim territorial rights…

…Curious about the prospects for a Major League Soccer arena near Yankee Stadium? So is Paul Seifried, vice president of the elevator business that would have to relocate to make way for the city’s first professional soccer team, as envisioned by Michael Bloomberg and tentatively embraced by his successor, Bill de Blasio. In December of last year, writes Capital New York, following a much-ballyhooed, hastily abandoned bid to site a stadium for a Major League Soccer club in the middle of Queens’ largest park, the Bloomberg administration cobbled together a tentative replacement deal: New York City Football Club would build a soccer arena on a 10-acre site in the South Bronx containing a portion of 153rd Street, three of Yankee Stadium’s publicly subsidized, financially depleted parking lots, and the building controlled by Seifried’s elevator parts company, GAL.

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