Venue News & Notes: Contemplating a New Arena Near Citi Field

Jeff Wilpon, the New York Mets’ COO, said he talked to the New York Islanders’ owner, Charles Wang, about building an arena near Citi Field and possibly buying the money-losing hockey team. “We’ve had discussions with the Islanders — in addition to those we’ve had with Major League Soccer — about building a sports/entertainment facility near Citi Field,” the Mets said in a statement. The talks between Wilpon and Wang were first reported on Wednesday by Newsday. Building an arena — or a soccer stadium — would mean eliminating parking spaces and erecting garages. Such a facility is not part of the city’s plan to redevelop the nearby 62-acre Willets Point industrial property…

…Lifelong Pittsburgh Hill District resident Brenda Tate remembers the sights, sounds, and smells as homes and businesses were razed to clear space for a civic auditorium in the 1950s. Tate, 61, a Pittsburgh police detective, said the Mellon Arena “needs to go” to make room for housing and other amenities the Hill District has long needed. “It leaves a bad taste in my mouth,” she said. “We’re not talking about sports. We’re talking about lives.” Tate was one of about 35 people — including residents and developers — who attended a meeting at Ebenezer Baptist Church Thursday evening to discuss the future of Mellon Arena and the 28-acre site owned by the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority…

…The Glendale, AZ, City Council this week guaranteed the NHL up to $25 million to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in Jobing.com Arena for the 2010-11 season. But both City Manager Ed Beasley and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told the council that the sale of the Coyotes is still expected to close by the end of June and the payments may never be needed. Beasley also said that both Ice Edge Holdings and a group headed by Chicago sports mogul Jerry Reinsdorf are still talking about buying the Phoenix Coyotes. Reports have had Reinsdorf’s group dropping out in recent days…

…Teams from two of Europe’s top soccer leagues will face off in an exhibition match July 31 at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium. Manchester City from the Premier League (English) and Inter Milan from the Serie A League (Italian) will meet weeks after soccer’s biggest event, the World Cup, ends July 11 in South Africa. Organizers will hold a news conference Monday at the Ravens’ stadium to announce the game. Last summer’s friendly match between AC Milan and Chelsea at M&T Bank Stadium was held in front of a sold-out crowd of 71,000…

…A strategic plan being drafted by Hillsborough County, FL’s main sports governing agency contemplates its playing a role in development of a new baseball stadium. Officials with the Tampa Sports Authority say the agency is simply making sure it is prepared for anything that may come its way in the future. They say they are not and won’t be making a pitch for any new stadiums. “It says, ‘If asked, we stand ready to do whatever is necessary, whether it’s baseball, soccer, tennis, other golf courses,’” Sports Authority spokeswoman Barbara Casey said. “It has absolutely no plan for anything to build a stadium or be involved with it — nor soccer or tennis or golf”…

…Voters have cleared the way for a new arena for the University of Nebraska men’s and women’s basketball teams. A proposal that will help fund a $344 million downtown-Lincoln revitalization project was approved Tuesday during Nebraska’s primary election. The arena will be the project’s focal point. Cornhusker basketball teams will move into the 16,000-seat facility in 2013-14. The teams have played at the Devaney Sports Center on campus since 1976…

…There could be the commissioner’s party at the American Museum of Natural History and another party with a view of the Statue of Liberty from Liberty State Park. Maybe a breakfast at Tiffany & Co. for team owners and their families. Perhaps even a Super Bowl float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The bid to host the 2014 Super Bowl at New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, portions of which were obtained by the New York Times in advance of its Wednesday unveiling, dresses the Super Bowl in a giant “I Love New York” T-shirt, spinning even the prospect of bad weather as a chance to go “old school” and embrace a link to some of the NFL’s storied cold-weather games.