Venue News: Panthers To Renovate Stadium; ASU Gets Go-Ahead for Facility Developments

After 16 years, the Carolina Panthers have decided to renovate Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers chose the architectural firm that designed the stadium to lead a year-long study for renovating it. Populous, known as HOK Sports Facilities Group when the 73,778-seat stadium opened in 1996, was selected over three other firms. According to the team, the Panthers are not interested in increasing the capacity of the stadium, but provided few details of what the might renovation might entail, beyond a desire to improve the fan experience. In the past, Team President Danny Morrison has talked about bringing the home-viewing experience to the stadium. The Panthers installed new videoboards four years ago, although they are considered small compared to some of the newer, bigger boards at other venues…

…Maricopa County has created a special revenue district that will allow Arizona State University to develop or refurbish athletic facilities, the first step in a long-term plan by ASU to create an amateur sports destination. The county Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to create the district, giving ASU the ability to collect revenue from commercial developments on 300-plus acres of property the university owns on or around its Tempe campus. The first project in line is a full renovation of Sun Devil Stadium that is projected to take about 10 years at a cost of at least $170 million. According to the university, the stadium is more than 50 years old and long overdue for a structural and aesthetic makeover. University officials estimate they could save $18 million to $23 million if ASU partnered with the Chicago Cubs to share the baseball team’s new spring-training facility in Mesa. The cost to upgrade or replace Packard Stadium would be $20 million to $25 million…

…The Vikings have finally issued a formal statement after two days of negative developments regarding the proposed construction of a new stadium in Minnesota.  Needless to say, the team is not pleased with either the decision not to allow a sales tax without a public vote or the sudden opposition by legislative leaders to a special session later this month aimed at resolving the issue. With less than 60 days remaining on the team’s lease, the Vikings will soon be free to leave, barring a new lease at the Metrodome…

…Sacramento city officials believe that city garages and on-street parking revenues could play a key role in financing a downtown sports and entertainment facility. The idea was first put forward a month ago by the mayor’s Think Big Sacramento arena task force to jumpstart financing of a downtown arena. The City Council agreed to hiring a consultant to review the idea. City officials have been working for three weeks with consultant Walker Parking and with financing experts at Bank of American and Merrill Lynch on the potential for leasing garages to a private operator in exchange for a significant up-front cash payment. That payment, estimated by some as potentially in the several hundred million dollar range, has been identified by arena advocates as a critical part of financing a $400 million downtown arena.