Venue News & Notes: Marlins’ Plans Hit a Snag

The Florida Marlins’ new baseball stadium has received official approval, but the team still has plenty of work to do, starting with finding $300 million to pay for the facility. Commissioners this week repeatedly quizzed County Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Manager George Burgess about whether they will be able to win acceptable financing terms in a bond market that has already proved troublesome for government funding. Adding to the urgency, the bond sale needs to be well under way before the planned groundbreaking this summer.

Fresh from arguably the biggest victory in team history — approval for a stadium to call its own — the Florida Marlins must still clear a string of obstacles before ground can be broken this summer. The biggest obstacle: borrowing more than $300 million that will go toward construction of the 37,000-seat stadium in Little Havana. To do it, the county must sell bonds — backed by the promise of payment from tourist taxes — in a market roiled by the worst credit crisis in decades…

…As the MLS’s Houston Dynamo said it has all but secured the funding needed for construction of an $80 million soccer stadium just east of downtown and had begun to daydream about its groundbreaking ceremony this fall, its apparent partners in the project had their own message: not so fast. Dynamo President Oliver Luck said Tuesday that team ownership has secured financing of about $20 million to cover what the team is hoping the city of Houston and Harris County will contribute to the project…

…The city of Walnut, CA, filed a lawsuit yesterday to stop proposed construction of a pro-football stadium to lure an NFL team back to the Los Angeles area. The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court accuses City of Industry of approving the stadium without sufficiently reviewing its environmental impact. Neighboring cities “would realize significant traffic impact, noise, air and light pollution and other impacts that would jeopardize the health, safety, and welfare of its residents,” officials in affluent, suburban Walnut said in a statement…

…The NCAA has done a remarkable job of making each venue look just like every other venue in this month’s basketball tournament. The court in Boston looks like the one in Glendale, AZ, even if one is set inside a basketball arena and the other inside a football stadium. The NCAA brought in its own basketball courts and outlined them in black and blue. On one black baseline in Glendale, it reads “Glendale” in blue letters. On the other, it reads “University of Phoenix Stadium.” In Boston, the letters read “Boston” on one end and “TD Banknorth Garden” on the other. There are small on-court logos for the host school. Otherwise, the courts look identical.