Venue News: Rainy Skies Cause Roof Chatter to Rise at US Open

As rain threatens play at the US Open and the tournament appears headed for a fourth straight late finish, players and spectators alike are calling for a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium. With 23,771 seats, Ashe Stadium is the largest tennis arena in the world. Its size makes covering it a conundrum for reasons having to do with structural integrity and the bottom line. The Australian Open, which has had a roofed stadium since 1989, now has two covered courts and plans for a third. Wimbledon unveiled its high-tech roof over Centre Court in 2009. And at the French Open, where weather is seldom a factor, a retractable roof is in the works as part of the renovations planned for Philippe Chatrier Court. Arthur Ashe Stadium, which opened in 1997, was built for $254 million, and it has been estimated that a retractable roof would cost at least another $150 million. This year marks the first time since 1971 that the Open lost two consecutive days of tennis…

…Crisler Arena, home to the Michigan Wolverines since 1967, began undergoing a major facelift in March 2011 and one phase is nearly complete after new larger-than-life, high-definition (HD) video scoreboards were installed. The first phase also addressed the highest priority infrastructure needs such as repairs to the roof, electrical, plumbing, and air handling systems. Lower bowl seats were also replaced, with the expansion of seating for people with disabilities, addition of handrails, and other code-related issues. Next month, Michigan will open a new Player Development Center (PDC). The state-of-the-art practice facility will include two basketball practice courts, team locker rooms, a video theater, spaces for strength and conditioning, athletic medicine, and coaching and staff offices…

… In spite of a lackluster season, Marlins fans have something to look forward to next year: a new, retractable-roof stadium that is now over 80% complete. According to team president David Sansom, the building will be finished on time and “not one dollar over budget.” Sansom said he has sat in each of the 33,500 seats installed so far (out of 36,000) to ensure there is no bad seat in the house. When the roof is closed, which the team believes it will be for over 70 games this season, the stadium will be a climate-controlled 75 degrees.  Railings have also been raised throughout the stadium, ranging from 35 to 54 inches. Thus far, the Marlins’ 2012 payroll has not been determined, but Sansom expects it will be “at levels previously unseen,” giving the team more flexibility…

… When the Southeast Asian Games open on Nov. 11, Indonesia’s athletes will likely be in the same boat as the others as they see the venues for the first time. 

SEA Games organizing committee Inasoc announced that test events for aquatics and athletics had been postponed as their venues at Jakabaring Sports City in Palembang weren’t finished. Inasoc claims that the government had yet to distribute the Rp 177.5 billion ($20.8 million) it had pledged for buying sports equipment for Games venues, and that the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs had yet to distribute the Rp 6.5 billion it had allocated for test events.