Venue News: Fans Foot the Bill for New Stadiums; Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Created

Negotiations on a new downtown stadium for the Atlanta Falcons continue behind closed doors. But one thing seems clear: Much of the cost will be passed along to fans, some of whom are already bracing for a hit. An examination by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of the three NFL stadiums built in the past five years shows that ticket prices jumped by an average of 26% in the season the stadiums opened, and that many fans paid thousands of dollars more in personal seat licenses merely for the right to buy tickets. If the same happens in Atlanta, some of the Falcons’ most ardent fans could be priced out of the games, especially those in the most marketable lower-level seats. And the ticket cost doesn’t account for the concessions and souvenir prices that also sometimes rise with a new stadium…

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority has been created to oversee the many decisions on the horizon for a new Vikings stadium. From design and construction to finances, the new commission’s  job will be to keep construction of a $975 million Minnesota Vikings stadium on budget. They will hammer out details of a 30-year lease binding the team to Minnesota for another generation and turn the lights on in a new arena as it hosts everything from high school sports tournaments to monster truck jams. Five appointed members will make up the new Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, holding sway over the massive public investment at the downtown Minneapolis site of the Metrodome. Gov. Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak have until mid-June to name the members, in a decision Dayton described last week as “the first and very important responsibility” in turning the stadium deal into a 65,000-seat reality…

…The University of Minnesota’s Williams Arena isn’t getting any younger, but with improvements, the nearly 84-year-old basketball facility may take a step toward the flashy fashions of modern game-day entertainment. The University’s athletics department recently announced the old scoreboard has been removed to make way for a new LED scoreboard and sound system that will be installed in August and functional before the 2012-13 season. Those updates, along with similar renovations at Mariucci Arena, will cost $8 million. Athletics spokesman Garry Bowman said the funding will come from premium seating system changes, which include forced donations of $100, $250 or $400 depending on the seat location…

…Returning to San Francisco is not going to come cheap for the Golden State Warriors.  East Bay officials say the team could still be on the hook for upwards of $70 million to their old landlords at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. Oakland and Alameda County spent $140 million to modernize and expand the arena in the mid-1990s under the Warriors’ previous ownership. As the building’s main tenant, the team has been paying as much as $7.4 million a year to help pay off the bill. Under the Warriors’ lease, if the team pulls out “for any reason” before the construction bonds are retired in 2026, the Warriors still owe the money — minus whatever events the arena can book to replace NBA games…

…To improve their game day workflow (and add fiber connectivity for stadium cameras, which had not been done in 2011), the Portland Timbers Major League Soccer Team hired Advanced Broadcast Solutions (ABS). ABS recently restructured the in-house video production control room at JELD-WEN Field in Portland, OR, keeping costs down by re-engineering the existing workspace. The control room redesign included a variety of updates, including moving the audio operator (and a compact mixer) into the lower part of the control room. Positioned between the PA announcer and scoreboard operator, the audio operator now serves a producer role during games as well. Meanwhile, the video content workstations — including technical director, graphics generator/LED operator and replay operator — were re-clustered together on the second level.  ABS also provided new fiber connectivity to the control room, which upgraded the camera locations around the stadium to HD. During a match, the production team has access to up to eight cameras to cover promotions and game action…

…Broadcast Pix has made available for download the release version of its new Fluent Rapid CG 2 software option for its Granite and Mica Video Control Centers. The second-generation software can be integrated with Daktronics scoreboards controllers so as scores, clock, and other data change on a scoreboard, Fluent Rapid CG 2 automatically updates graphics created within Broadcast Pix’s built-in Harris Inscriber CG. The new Fluent-Rapid CG 2 software operates with Daktronics All Sport 3000, 5000, or 5500 series scoreboard control consoles. Supported scoreboards include baseball, basketball, football, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and volleyball. All information on the scoreboard can be attached to on-air CG templates. Plus, Fluent-Rapid CG 2 can use a second channel to supply player statistics and graphics from a database.