Venue News: Yanks Follow Through on Heritage Field; Is $1B The New Norm for Stadiums?

When the new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009, not even the loudest of Yankee fanatics could drown out the outraged howls over its costly tickets, its tax-exempt financing and, of course, its construction atop two city parks. But now, in a bid for redemption, New York City officials have delivered on a long-promised, $50.8 million public ballpark across the street from the stadium. Heritage Field opened this week, more than a year behind schedule, on the site of the old Yankee Stadium — the last of which was demolished in 2010 — and nearly every inch, from the pavement stones underfoot to the three natural grass ball fields, has been elaborately designed to pay homage to the Yankees and their celebrated former home. Even the sod is the same that the Yankees, professional baseball’s biggest spender, chose for their new stadium…

…Can $1 billion stadiums put an end to cold hot dogs, flat beer, and lousy seats?  In an interview with NYSportsJournalism.com, Legends Hospitality Management’s Chairman/CEO David Checketts says yes.  Legends Hospitality Management, founded in 2008, is jointly owned by the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, Goldman Sachs, and Checketts Partners Investment Fund. It was formed, in large part, to handle the hospitality (including food and beverage), merchandising, premium ticketing services and other fan amenities at the new Yankee Stadium, which opened in April 2009, and Cowboys Stadium, which opened in June 2009.

 The cost to build each of those stadiums was put at more than $1 billion, a figure that has now become the standard for proposed stadiums…

…Cal’s Memorial Stadium has undergone a $321 million renovation and seismic retrofit, and the school will return to its home field after one season at AT&T Park and 89 years after Memorial Stadium originally opened. A recent tour of the stadium — and its companion facility, the $153 million Simpson Student-Athlete High Performance Center — provided an in-depth look at a complex transformation. A 2 1/2-level outdoor facility has become an eight-level structure. A modern gameday experience will be available in a structure that still has historic feel of its 1923 origin. An aesthetic priority for Cal was preserving the Neo-Roman facade, a key element in Memorial Stadium being added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. Inside, the facility will include stadium clubs for season-ticketholders, improved restrooms, concessions and circulation flow in the concourses, a modern two-level pressbox and a new Hall of Fame that stretches 100 yards along the lowest level…

…Baseball is back in Flushing, only this time with much cozier confines. The Wall Street Journal’s Shane Ford created a panoramic view of Citi Field during the stadium’s first pre-baseball National Anthem of the season. Fans with a keen eye will notice a change: The dimensions of the Mets’ playing field shrank significantly over the off-season, in a bid to make the stadium friendlier to sluggers…

…Staggered by a financial scandal that unfolded on their watch, the public officials who run the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum are preparing to turn over control of the taxpayer-owned stadium to USC under a lease that would deliver it into private hands for up to 42 years. The deal would essentially end the Coliseum Commission’s stewardship of the 88-year-old landmark — built as a memorial to World War I veterans — whose mismanagement led to a sweeping criminal indictment of key executives last month. USC would be responsible for staffing, day-to-day operations, and event scheduling, among other duties. The government panel, composed of state, county and city appointees, would perform only a limited oversight role. The confidential lease draft, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, states that the school would receive lucrative naming and advertising rights to the Coliseum.