Venue News: Atlanta Falcons ‘Confident’ in Stadium Completion Date; Las Vegas Casino Exec Looks to Lure Oakland Raiders

With a little less than a year remaining before Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s scheduled completion date, Atlanta Falcons executives expressed optimism Thursday about hitting the June 1, 2017, target, writes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The completion date, originally set for March 1, 2017, was pushed back three months earlier this year because of complications with the steel structure that will support two of the stadium’s signature features: the retractable roof and massive halo-shaped video board…

…Billionaire Sheldon Adelson wants Las Vegas to ante up the biggest subsidy in professional football history to lure the Oakland Raiders to the gambling mecca, according to Bloomberg.  The chief executive of Las Vegas Sands Corp., the world’s largest casino company, teamed up with developer Majestic Realty Co. to propose a 65,000-seat domed stadium for the National Football League team. A committee of government leaders and casino executives met Thursday to review the plan, which would raise $750 million for the coliseum with a new tax on hotel stays. That would be the largest subsidy ever for an NFL stadium, exceeding the $620 million for the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis…

…The Milwaukee Bucks marked a milestone in the history of the NBA franchise when ground was broken for a new $524 million arena in downtown Milwaukee, writes the Associated Press. With the turn of a ceremonial shovel earlier this month, construction officially began on the 714,000-square-foot arena just north of the Bucks’ current home, the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mortenson Construction, which has built more than 160 sports and entertainment projects in the U.S., is the general contractor for the complex that is expected to be ready for the 2018-19 season…

…More than 32 years after the last changes were made to Welsh-Ryan Arena, a new era in Northwestern athletics will get underway with a $110-million renovation project next March after the men’s basketball season concludes, writes the Daily Herald. The Welsh-Ryan Arena, home to the men’s and women’s basketball teams, the volleyball team, and wrestling team, will undergo a top-to-bottom renovation that will include the installation of new seating, which will replace the wooden benches with back-chairs, five new elevators to make the arena more accessible, new restrooms and concessions, new suites, and new locker rooms and offices…

…United Arab Emirates-based airline Etihad will bring technology to the crowds packing Docklands Stadium in Melbourne, Australia with new “Smart Seats,” writes PSFK. The project will install in-seat screens on the backs of chairs in the sports and entertainment venue, giving fans access to features like scoreboard feeds and live broadcasts of the games. Launched through a collaboration with Telstra, an Australian communications company, and Samsung, the “Smart Seats” initiative aims to give sports fans another way to interact with the games they attend — and perhaps an added means of entertainment during the slow points.