Venue News: Japan Looks to Scale Down Olympic Stadium; Miami Faces Hurdles Over Proposed MLS Team

Compiled by Karen Hogan, Associate Editor, Sports Video Group

Japan may scale down its plans for a new Tokyo stadium for the 2020 Olympic Games in an effort to curtail rising costs and fend off criticism the originally planned building is too large. Olympics minister Hakubun Shimomura told a parliamentary committee last week that the new stadium could cost as much as 300 billion yen ($3.08 billion), as opposed to the 130 billion yen in Tokyo’s bid proposal, and that the government would consider scaling back. The spaceship-like stadium was designed by London architect Zaha Hadid, who also designed the aquatics center for the London 2012 Olympics…

…While reports continue to come out that international soccer icon David Beckham is ready to pick Miami as the home of a new Major League Soccer team; the reality is there are still several big hurdles to bringing MLS to Miami, the biggest of which may be where the team will play. Call it the Miami Marlins stadium effect, but people in South Florida are now loathe to giving any public money to help fund stadiums for professional sports teams. MLS sources have previously said neither Sun Life Stadium nor FIU’s football stadium are ideal venues for a Miami-based MLS team. Instead, the league would likely want a soccer-specific stadium if at all possible…

…The Chicago Cubs last week briefly put a mock-up sign in right field in a test run designed to allay fears of the owners of nearby rooftop clubs with lucrative views into the park. A horizontal sign meant to mimic the 650-square-foot script advertising sign already approved by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council went up in the morning. The sign, which read “Wrigley Field,” came down quickly, a team spokesman confirmed. The display was meant to show rooftop club owners how their views would be affected if the right field wall was moved back 15 feet, as planned, and the sign was put up. The Ricketts family, which wants to renovate the park at a cost of about $300 million and to redevelop the surrounding neighborhood at a cost of about $200 million, has declared it won’t start until the rooftops agree not to file a lawsuit over blocked views…

…Construction work on Sao Paulo’s Itaquerao World Cup football stadium has reached over 90% completion. Brazilian constructor Odebrecht, who is responsible for the project, released a series of photos last Friday showing the venue in the final phase of development, with the turf and most of the 68,000 seats already installed, reports Xinhua. More than 1,500 workers are finishing work on the dressing rooms, bathrooms, and stadium’s roof, Odebrecht said. Itaquerao, also known as Arena Corinthians, will host the opening match of the World Cup June 12 and one of the semifinals…

…Voters in a Houston-area school district are being asked to approve a $69 million football stadium that would be the most expensive in state history. The 14,000-seat stadium in Katy would surpass by $10 million the stadium that opened last year in the North Texas city of Allen. Katy voters on Tuesday will consider a bond of nearly $100 million that would cover the cost of the stadium along with construction of an agriculture arena and other facilities.