Venue News: Reliant Stadium To Get Widest Video Display in Pro Sports; University of Cincinnati Plans Stadium Makeover

Compiled by Karen Hogan, Associate Editor, SVG

The Harris County Sports and Convention Corp. voted Dec. 19 to enlarge Reliant Stadium’s video display boards to enhance the city’s bid to host the Super Bowl in 2017. The boards are expected to be the largest in Texas and the widest in professional sports. Construction is expected to start at the end of the current season and to be completed by August. The new displays will provide exclusive video content, real-time information and enhancements to improve the viewing experience…

…Casting a renovated Nippert Stadium as “part of our brand,” University of Cincinnati leaders are about to find out if fans and big donors believe the same thing. 

For a price tag of up to $70 million, UC will try to sell up to 30 luxury suites, newly constructed on the west side of the on-campus stadium, and more than 1,000 other premium seats with access to a new club lounge. If officials can pull it off, it will help UC’s case for admission to the Atlantic Coast Conference and put the athletic department on sound financial footing for the first time in a decade…

…The Steelers say that a 3,000-seat expansion in the south end zone at Heinz Field — now at the center of a court battle — is needed to keep the stadium competitive with others in the National Football League. In a formal lawsuit filed Friday, the team contends that Heinz Field ranks 25th out of 31 NFL stadiums in terms of seating capacity and that temporary seating must be added for some events. The team has gone to court to force the city-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority to pay for two-thirds of the expansion. It bases its argument on a clause in the lease that requires the SEA to pay that much for a “designated expansion” of no more than 10,000 seats in the south end zone…

…The city has about six weeks left to reach an arena deal with Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz or an agreement will never be completed, Mayor Stephen Mandel says. Katz Group executives appeared at city council last week for the first time in 18 months, dropping demands for a $6-million annual subsidy as part of an arena accord and asking the city to restart negotiations it cut off in October. One major issue in the talks is how to fill a $100-million gap in funding for the now-$475-million structure. Premier Alison Redford has refused to put money directly into the project, although city officials hope the provincial government will increase municipal infrastructure funding or make money available in some other form…

…The renovation of Sun Devil Stadium will give the aging football facility a long-overdue face-lift but could displace the Arizona State University football team and reroute fans to as far as downtown Phoenix or Glendale for at least a year. In a best-case scenario, an overhaul of the massive stadium, known for its picturesque setting nestled between two desert buttes in Tempe, would start after the Sun Devils’ 2013 football season ends, said Arizona State University Athletics director Steve Patterson last week at a Tempe Chamber of Commerce luncheon. The demolition and initial renovation could be limited to areas that would allow the team to keep playing in the stadium during the 2014 season, but there would be fewer seats due to construction, he said…

…One of the original architects for Thomas & Mack Center has been selected by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to study renovations to the arena. Don Dethlefs, a principal with Sink Combs Dethlefs, was a project consultant for the 18,500-seat arena, which opened in 1983 for the Runnin’ Rebels men’s basketball team and the National Finals Rodeo. While working on the arena in the early ’80s, before architects routinely used computers to develop blueprints, Dethlefs drew the seating bowl by hand. Fast forward 30 years. To deliver the study on potential upgrades, Sink Combs Dethlefs has teamed with Klai Juba, a local firm specializing in gaming resorts, and Woods Bagot, whose global director of sports, Dan Meis, is designer of a proposed $800 million stadium on the UNLV campus.