Venue News & Notes: For World Cup Prep, No Time To Lose

Whether the country is ready or not, the World Cup is headed to South Africa in 2010, but FIFA would prefer that the country be ready. World soccer’s governing body warned the organizers of the Cup this week that, when it comes to preparations, there is no time to lose, after strikes at several stadiums have added to costs and delayed construction.
…World soccer’s governing body, FIFA, warned the South African organizers of the 2010 World Cup that “a single day” cannot be lost if the world’s most watched sporting event is to be ready on time. “There’s nothing that we’re late for, but there’s nowhere where we’re ready,” FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke said in an interview in Johannesburg, where the competition’s final will be played in July 2010. “What we have to make sure is that we keep all this work on track and we don’t lose a single day, because we have no time”…
…While the Tampa Bay Rays enjoy time off after their winning season, the idea of a new stadium is still floating around. The latest possibility to surface is to put the park at the site of the Albert Whitted Airport — a suggestion that leaders on the stadium task force have heard several times…
…The Kansas City Wizards’ new soccer-specific stadium took one major step toward reality this week. The Missouri Development Finance Board approved $30 million in tax credits for The Trails development in southeast KC. That clears the way for the LANE4 Property Group and the Wizards’ ownership group, OnGoal LLC, to begin demolition of the old Bannister Mall site and start construction of a $1 billion mixed-use project…
…The good news for the New York Mets is, they still have a name and a sponsor for their new stadium. The bad news for a franchise that has had two straight late-season collapses is that it is now linked to a bank trying to stave off its own collapse. Citigroup, which agreed in 2006 to a 20-year, $400 million contract to name the Mets’ new stadium Citi Field, has absorbed billions of dollars in losses because of the subprime-mortgage crisis and the floundering economy…
…Since the Olympic Games ended in August, 35,000-40,000 visitors a day have streamed through the 91,000-seat Bird’s Nest stadium, according to ticketing officials. The smaller, whimsical Water Cube nearby draws its own share of visitors: 20,000-26,000 daily…
…There are no more legal reasons why the Florida Marlins cannot have its new desired downtown ballpark. A judge rejected the last piece of a lawsuit Friday challenging the project. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jeri Beth Cohen said Friday that no voter referendum was required for the proposed new stadium’s financing plan…
…The New York Giants are claiming that Lehman Brothers owes the team $301.8 million from a complex financing deal for its new stadium in the Meadowlands. The battle centers on a high-risk financial contract — the kind that has contributed to America’s economic meltdown — between football’s reigning champs and Wall Street’s leading chumps…
…The Madison, WI, Parks Division announced this week that it received a $100,000 grant from Dane County and Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau Sports Venue Development Fund. The grant will help fund the Phase 2 renovation of Breese Stevens Stadium, primarily a soccer facility.