Venue News: Atlanta Falcons To Construct New Stadium for 2017 Season; Details on Vikings’ Stadium Emerge

Compiled by Karen Hogan, Associate Editor, Sports Video Group

On Thursday, the Atlanta Falcons and the city of Atlanta agreed to basic terms on a deal that will finance the construction of a $1 billion stadium for the team. It’s estimated that the new building, which will replace the Georgia Dome as the Falcons’ home, will be ready for business in time for the 2017 season. The Falcons and the city had been going over terms for years, but team owner Arthur Blank and Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed were finally able to announce the broad strokes. According to the agreement so far, public financing of the stadium will cop at $200 million, which will come from hotel taxes in Atlanta and Fulton County. All other costs will be shouldered by the Falcons and “other sources”…

…The new home for the Minnesota Vikings will be taller and bigger than the Metrodome and will have a sloped roof and possibly sliding walls, windows, or doors that open to the downtown Minneapolis skyline, according to a public document released Monday. Those details, spelled out in a nearly 400-page draft Environmental Impact Statement made public by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, provide the first glimpse of a project that is expected to replace the Metrodome by the 2016 NFL season. The authority, which is working with the Vikings to develop the $975 million multipurpose stadium, plans to unveil the architect’s preliminary design at a special meeting May 13 at the Guthrie Theater…

…Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts for the first time threatened to move the team out of Wrigley Field if the team doesn’t get approval for more signs in the outfield, including a giant video scoreboard. He made the remark in answer to a question during an event at the City Club of Chicago Wednesday, after unveiling plans for $300 million in upgrades to the nearly 100-year-old baseball stadium. The team’s renovation proposal calls for re-creating green terra-cotta canopies, along with the windows and wrought-iron fencing, that graced parts of Wrigley’s exterior in the 1930s, according to drawings released to the media Tuesday…

…Developer Bruce Ratner and Madison Square Garden officials yesterday pitched rival plans to renovate Nassau Coliseum that closely resemble Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and the major renovation of MSG. The Coliseum’s current anchor tenant, the NHL’s New York Islanders, will be moving to Barclays Center after the 2014-15 season. MSG’s $250 million plan would use BBB Architects, which designed the Garden’s ongoing, $1 billion top-to-bottom makeover. Both plans – which promise to bring more than 300 events a year and new development — are considered the front-runners among four submitted to redo the 41-year-old, 17,686-seat eyesore in Uniondale, LI…

…The San Francisco 49ers and the city of Santa Clara are ready to take out a new mortgage, and they expect to spend a lot less than previously thought — perhaps saving $90 million over the long run. The project’s financial advisers Tuesday laid out a game plan to refinance the $850 million public loan taken out 14 months ago to pay for the bulk of the team’s new stadium. Big fees and interest costs will add hundreds of millions of dollars to the $1.2 billion construction cost while the city and team pay back the loan over the next three decades. But since construction began a year ago, interest rates have dropped. In addition, officials need to borrow less money because fans have gobbled up costly seat licenses quickly, giving the Niners and city officials a chance to take on less debt…

…The University of Notre Dame announced that it is exploring an innovative approach to campus planning that would take advantage of the central location of the football stadium to make it a hub for, among other possibilities, a student center, media center, and classroom and conference center. Costs and other details related to possible projects will be unknown until specific plans – if any – are put in place. Under all circumstances, however, the University will keep the original stadium intact.