Venue News: 2012 Olympic Venues On Schedule and Under Budget

Construction work for next summer’s London Olympics is ahead of time and under budget. Recently released figures show that the anticipated final cost of the Olympic Delivery Authority’s program has fallen to £7.25 billion, a drop of £16 million since May. Venue and infrastructure construction for the Games is 88% complete, with five venues now finished and the aquatics center due to be completed by the end of the month. The latest figures show that a total of £870 million has been saved since the baseline budget was agreed on in November 2007, including £33 million in the last quarter. The overall funding package for the Games remains at £9.298 billion…

…In response to a new Oilers arena proposed for downtown Edmonton, Northlands, which owns the Oilers’ current home, will continue to host concerts at Rexall Place, even if that means competing with a new venue.  Built in 1974, Rexall Place is one of the oldest arenas in the NHL. While Northlands does not believe the city can support two large concert venues, the company insists that it is not Rexall Place’s job to stop operating.  Negotiations between the Katz Group, which wants a new arena for the Edmonton Oilers by 2014, and city administration are ongoing. The Katz Group has said that it will need a “non-compete” clause in the contract to ensure a new arena is financially viable. Northlands rents Rexall Place and the 160 acres it sits on from the city for $1 annually in exchange for operating it as an events center. The current contract runs until 2034…

…While the iconic Madison Square Garden is closed for renovations this summer, WNBA’s New York Liberty has found a home in Newark, NJ. In addition to the 18 home games slated for the Prudential Center, both the arena in Newark and the Izod Center in East Rutherford are seeing an increase in concerts as artists seek replacement dates. The Newark venue also presented the NBA draft last month, another event that had to move from the theater at the Garden, where it was held for nearly the past decade. The Garden will close this summer and the next two for a major renovation, during which time the seating will be replaced, suites will be added and current ones improved, the concourses will be widened, and a new scoreboard will be installed. Renovations are estimated to cost more than $775 million. The three phases of the project will allow the NHL’s New York Rangers and the NBA’s Knicks to maintain their home schedules while the arena gets an overhaul…

…Following last week’s announcement that the American Royal Rodeo would be moving out of Kansas City’s Kemper Arena, its long-time home, and into the nearby Sprint Center, the future of Kemper Arena has been thrown into jeopardy. This year, Kemper Arena cost the city $1 million in operating costs, including utilities, maintenance, staffing, and management fee. While last year’s revenue from the arena totaled about $253,000, the financial situation is not yet desperate because revenues from the Sprint Center cover Kemper’s operating costs. Options for Kemper include razing the 37-year-old facility, finding new management (currently, Kemper and the Sprint Center are both owned by AEG), or repurposing. Officials believe that the only way to keep Kemper as a viable arena is if Kansas City could attract an NHL or NBA team to the Sprint Center.