Venue News: Edmonton Approves Arena Deal; New Vikings Stadium by 2015?

Edmonton’s new downtown arena moved much closer to becoming a reality Wednesday after city council approved a financial deal with Oilers owner and project proponent Daryl Katz. The motion passed by a 10 to 3 margin. The vote came after a motion was introduced that featured a number of amendments to the financial framework reached in New York City earlier this month between Katz, Mayor Stephen Mandel, and city officials. One of the amendments would have Katz immediately pay $30 million of the additional $100 million to spur development around the arena…

…Minneapolis-based Mortenson Construction, currently advising the Minnesota Vikings’ stadium plans in Ramsey County’s Arden Hills, believes that the project can be completed by 2015. Two weeks ago, the Metropolitan Council and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission concluded that the proposed $1.1 billion project in Arden Hills was “aggressive” and “unrealistic.” The study was requested by Governor Mark Dayton, who would like a special legislative session by Thanksgiving to reach a verdict on the long-running Vikings stadium issue and whether $650 million in public subsidies should help build the 65,000-seat facility. According to Mortenson, for the stadium in Arden Hills to be built by 2015, the company needs legislative authorization by the end of this year and an immediate start on design in order to begin construction in late 2012…

…Daktronics will design, manufacture, and install a new, integrated LED video display system in William ‘Dick’ Price Stadium at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, VA. Installation is scheduled for later this year with first use at a Spartan home football game in fall of 2012. On the west side of the football field, a new video display measuring more than 17 feet high by 47 feet wide will be installed. This display will feature Daktronics 15HD technology and provide excellent clarity and contrast, multiple levels of protection from the elements, and a more robust cabinet design with an improved ventilation system. On either side of this display, two more video displays will be installed. Featuring 26mm line spacing, these displays will give NSU more options for showing advertisements and graphics. On the east side of the field, another set of video displays will be installed. The main display, which will also utilize Daktronics 15HD pixel layout, will measure 12 feet 6 inches high by more than 31 feet wide…

…The state agency that runs U.S. Cellular Field is reexamining Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s lease agreement with the stadium. The deal currently requires Reinsdorf to pay $1.5 million annually in rent while keeping all proceeds from ticket sales, parking, concessions, and his growing merchandise operations.  According to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, the Sox pay the lowest rent of any professional sports facility in the country. Plans to re-evaluate the contract come as the White Sox owner prepares to open a retail location across from the South Side ballpark on state-owned property. The store, which will sell sports apparel and paraphernalia, represents another revenue stream for Reinsdorf at the stadium he persuaded the state to build back in 1990. The arrangement with the new retail venues is an extension of Reinsdorf’s lease agreement, which runs through 2029 and allows all profit on the state-owned property to go to Reinsdorf.