Venue News: Georgetown Nears Groundbreaking for On-Campus Athletic Facility; AEG Expected to Fetch $10B

Compiled by Karen Hogan, Associate Editor, Sports Video Group

Georgetown’s long awaited on-campus athletic facility has taken a significant step forward in the planning process, men’s basketball coach John Thompson III said, with only a final fund-raising push standing in the way of groundbreaking. The 130,000-square-foot building will be constructed on the site of existing tennis courts next to McDonough Arena, which was built in 1951, when Georgetown fielded just nine athletic teams for 250 athletes (all men). The new facility, estimated to cost $60 million, is designed to alleviate that congestion and keep Hoyas basketball competitive with its Big East rivals, providing new practice courts, locker rooms and meeting rooms for the men’s and women’s basketball teams. It will also house a weight room, academic center, training room, and locker rooms for all athletes…

…Billionaire Phil Anschutz has kicked off the auction of his Anschutz Entertainment Group, with an expectation that the sports and entertainment giant should draw bids in the $10 billion range, higher than previously believed, according to sources familiar with the situation.  The initial, 25-page AEG information memorandum that describes the business but has no financial information was expected to go to “dozens” of potential buyers on Monday, the sources said. The initial group of recipients is expected to include rich individuals, rivals, sovereign wealth funds, real estate firms, and private equity firms, they said. Anschutz is likely to start signing non-disclosure agreements and send out the books with financial details by the end of the month, the sources said…

…Jay-Z has been playing sold-out concerts at the 19,000-seat Barclays Center Arena in Brooklyn and, so far, the biggest traffic problem has been caused by crowds of people coming up from the Atlantic Avenue subway stop and streaming across the street to the arena before the shows. So few people are driving, the scant official parking spaces aren’t even filling up. That’s according to Sam Schwartz, who was hired by Barclay’s  Center management to come up with a traffic plan for the area during arena events. Neighbors had feared traffic bedlam because the center sits at a complicated intersection of three major thoroughfares notorious for its danger to pedestrians, and that’s before the sports and entertainment complex came to town. Schwartz says more than half of all concert-goers so far have come and gone by subway.

…It appears the Seattle arena project has a date for final votes of approval from the city and county councils — Monday, October 15. King County Councilmember Joe McDermott and Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess both said late Monday that they have agreed on minor language changes to the arena project legislation and hope to have a “dual vote” of the councils next Monday.
McDermott, who chairs the county council’s budget committee, said negotiations between the two bodies have been going on for a couple of weeks, and both sides have now “shored up” the language to address certain concerns.