Venue News: Vikings Hit Snag, Montana Backs 49ers as Stadium Proposals Heat Up

During a hearing on the Vikings’ proposed stadium in Arden Hills, MN, councilwoman Ady Wickstrom opposed the plan, citing her consultation with economist Art Rolnick, a senior fellow and co-director of the Human Capital Research Collaborative at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. Rolnick shot down the generally conceived notion that new stadiums are a catalyst for local economies. “Stadiums are a form of entertainment,” he told the Shoreview Press, “and generally speaking most businesses don’t want to locate around a stadium because there’s a lot of dead time … and very few benefits…”

…Supporters of a new stadium for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers received a boost as an investment group headed by Hall-of-Fame quarterback Joe Montana issued a proposal to build a luxury hotel across from the team’s planned location in Santa Clara, CA. The future of the stadium remains in question, however, even though city officials claim that the facility will be ready for the 2015 season. Financing for the deal is in doubt as costs for the construction have soared by $50 million, pushing the project’s price tag up over $1 billion. Construction is scheduled to begin on a parking garage next month, which could serve as a small, yet notable, sign of the project’s development…

…True North Sports & Entertainment announced that it has expanded its deal with Manitoba telecommunications provider MTS. The agreement includes the continuation of the naming rights for MTS Centre, which is soon to be the home of Winnipeg’s newly-acquired NHL franchise. Under the new 10-year agreement, MTS remains the exclusive telecommunications provider to MTS Centre and also has the option to extend its partnership with True North well past 2030…

…Despite the fact that there is still no financing plan in place, a labor union battle is breaking out over who will earn the rights to construct Sacramento’s proposed new downtown arena. According to the Sacramento Bee, a business group is pushing a pair of ballot initiatives attacking “project labor agreements” – umbrella contracts that effectively steer the bulk of the work on construction projects to union contractors. The initiatives would prohibit such agreements on taxpayer-funded projects, including the new arena, in the city and county of Sacramento…

…Akron University announced that it has reached a deal with FirstEnergy Corporation that includes the naming rights of the school’s men’s and women’s soccer stadium. The venue, previously titled Lee R. Jackson Field and most recently Cub Cadet Field, will now be named FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field. FirstEnergy’s gift to the University will also provide the funding necessary to add more than 300 additional bleacher-backed seats, restrooms, and a concession stand. Construction is scheduled to begin in the next two weeks.