Venue News: Cincinnati Residents Brace for Tax Burden

Ohio’s Hamilton County is bracing for the impending rollback of a property-tax break promised as part of a 1996 plan to entice voters to pay for two new stadiums — one for the Bengals, the other for the Reds. At the time, Hamilton County assumed more than $1 billion in debt to help finance the stadium and county voters overwhelmingly approved a half-percent sales tax increase; in exchange, residents were promised a property-tax rollback and more funding for public schools. With the Bengals driving negotiations, Paul Brown Stadium was completed in 2000, but far surpassed its $280 million budget. Although the team estimated the final cost at $350 million, the county claimed the final tally was $454 million, and private researchers have put the tab well over the $500 million mark. No other NFL stadium has ever received that much public financing, and the annual cost continues to escalate, accounting for 16.4% of the county budget last year. The Reds’ Great American Ballpark, completed in 2003, didn’t go over budget and is largely self-supporting…

…Construction is nearly completed on Tulane University’s $14 million, 43,000-square-foot Hertz Practice Facility.  The two-story building features two full courts, offices, conference rooms, and training facilities for the Green Wave men’s and women’s basketball teams, and the volleyball team.  With the new facility, the three teams no longer have to compete for practice and game time on Fogelman Arena’s lone court. In addition, Hertz Practice Facility’s close proximity to the Wilson Center will solve logistical issues caused by Fogelman Arena’s isolated location and limited parking access…

…The Pittsburgh Sports & Exhibition Authority, which owns the Civic Arena, has awarded Noralco of Penn Hills a $2.9 million contract to demolish the former home of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The company will get salvage rights to most of the arena, according to the contract.  Some items will be saved, including center ice, gate pylons, and a portion of the outdoor marquee, and will be incorporated into any redevelopment at the 28-acre site. Other materials, including ceiling and floor tiles, some lighting, and electronics, will be donated to nonprofits. The demolition should begin with asbestos removal in August and take nine to ten months…

…Manchester City FC has struck a 10-year, £400m sponsorship deal with Etihad Airways, in a bid to boost revenues and its global appeal. The agreement incorporates a number of sponsorship elements, including the renaming of the Eastlands stadium, a new 10-year kit sponsorship deal, and financial support for a nearby sporting facility. Etihad is the team’s existing kit sponsor. The sporting facility will be called Etihad Campus and will include a training ground and academy. Manchester City FC executives will pay Manchester City Council £20m to secure naming rights for the facility…

…Home to Sporting Kansas City, Livestrong Sporting Park delivers state-of-the-art technology designed to elevate the viewing experience for soccer fans.  The stadium, which has been open for a month, features 146 miles of 10-gigabyte fiber optic cables, more than 300 Panasonic HD TVs, two HD scoreboards, HD video boards that enclose the playing field, a touchscreen smart board in the locker room, and 16-megapixel security cameras. The team plans to make available a free Sporting Explore app for Android and iPhone users, designed by the club and Kansas City mobile technology company Moblico. The app will be easily accessible in-stadium, thanks to over 150 WiFi access points and an on-site cellular network.