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Kansas City Mayor Sly James; Dayton Moore, General Manager of the Kansas City Royals; Tony Reagins, Major League Baseball (MLB) Senior Vice President of Youth Programs; Darrell Miller, Vice President of Youth & Facility Development; Royals players and other civic and community leaders broke ground on the Populous-designed Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy late last month.

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When Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros take the field on April 11 against the Kansas City Royals at Minute Maid Park, it will be under Musco’s cutting-edge SportsCluster Green™ LED system. As part of continued upgrades to Minute Maid Park, the new lighting system will provide unprecedented levels of energy efficiency and enhance the spectator experience at the ballpark.

The new system, which replaces the original metal halide lighting equipment that was installed when the 40,000-seat stadium opened in 2000, will consume less energy, require less maintenance and offer special effects to enhance the ballpark’s entertainment experience. That’s why the Astros looked to Musco for a customised solution.

Astros President of Business Operations, Reid Ryan, said:

We are continuously looking for ways to improve the stadium experience for both our fans and our players. The new LED lighting system will help us provide a top of the line experience while increasing our energy efficiency all year long. We look forward to seeing the field of Minute Maid Park under new lights in 2016.

Musco’s lighting solution will provide a variety of benefits that will help conserve energy, and improve the experience for spectators, athletes, and television broadcasts.

  • Cuts energy consumption by 52 percent, enough to power 380 Texas homes for each hour of use
  • Reduces glare with specially designed optics allowing players to see the complete trajectory of the ball
  • Creates a stage-like atmosphere for fans
  • Eliminates maintenance with Musco’s long-term parts and labor warranty

Jeff Rogers, Vice President, Musco Lighting, added:

We’ve been helping customers for four decades provide energy-efficient solutions that improve the playing environment for athletes and fans. The new system will not only improve the Astros’ energy efficiency, but will bring a new level of entertainment with special effects and our patented optics.

Minute Maid Park will become the second MLB venue to install Musco’s innovative LED solution and joins an extensive list of premier facilities that feature a customised Musco LED lighting system. That list includes the Houston Texans’ NRG Stadium, the San Antonio Spurs’ AT&T Center and Arsenal Football Club’s Emirates Stadium.

 

Image: The Houston Astros will unveil Musco’s LED lighting solution at Minute Maid Park on April 11, 2016. (Photo: Houston Astros).

 

About Houston Astros / Minute Maid Park
The Astros have been Houston’s hometown baseball team since 1962, when the Colt .45s first took the field in Colt Stadium. Three years later, the team became the Houston Astros, now in their 55th season in Major League Baseball. In 2013, the Astros moved to the American League West Division, becoming the first franchise to move from the National League to the American League. For 81 games a year, the Astros can be found on their home field at Minute Maid Park, where families and friends come together to enjoy America’s favourite pastime in one of baseball’s most comfortable and fan-friendly ballparks. In addition to striving for success on the field, the Astros take pride in their local community and are committed to making Houston a better place by honoring our nation’s military, combatting homelessness, aiding in the fight against cancer and supporting youth baseball and softball through the Astros Foundation’s cornerstone programs.

For more information on the Astros, please visit www.astros.com.

About Musco Lighting
Since 1976, Musco Lighting has specialised in the design and manufacture of sports and large area lighting solutions around the world. Musco has pioneered systems using metal halide and LED technologies that have made dramatic improvements in energy efficiency and provided affordable ways to control spill light and glare. Permanent and temporary lighting solutions range from neighbourhood pitches to Olympic Games. Musco has a global team of experts that partner with customers to plan, complete, and maintain a cost-effective, trouble-free lighting solution for their facility.

For more information on Musco’s innovative lighting solutions, visit: www.musco.com.

Oakland’s ‘sport city’ project promised new investment soon

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The Coliseum City development project that is designed to keep Oakland’s professional sports teams in the city, remains in the balance but a group of investors has been given a chance to bring finance to the table.

Oakland City Council has granted a 90-day extension to the Coliseum City stadium development group of its exclusive negotiating agreement with the city. San Diego asset manager adviser Floyd Kephart, chairman of the board of Renaissance Cos., is expected to take the lead role in a newly reconstituted group, New City Development LLC.

The group is seeking an additional developer and approvals from the Raiders and NFL, the city and Alameda County before it can begin detailed planning for a new football stadium. The stadium would be the centrepiece of a development that would also include housing, retail, offices and perhaps a ballpark for the A’s.

Mayor Jean Quan said:

This is an important step forward in the work we kicked off three years ago [to keep the Raiders playing in Oakland]. There is room for all three teams in this project.

The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority (JPA), the public agency that manages the O.co Coliseum and the Oracle Arena, in August voted unanimously to approve a ten-year license agreement with the Oakland A’s.  The Warriors have announced plans to move to San Francisco’s Mission Bay.

Photo credit: O.co Coliseum courtesy of Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority.

Montreal 36,000 capacity ballpark recommended result of feasibility study

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A new downtown ballpark is at the heart of a project to bring a Major League Baseball (MLB) team back to Montreal, Canada. Following a thorough analysis of the results of a feasibility study, this is the conclusion of a group comprised of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal (BTMM), the Montreal Baseball Project (MBP), EY and BCF LLP. Warren Cromartie, President and Founder of the Montreal Baseball Project, said:

Based on several realistic assumptions, including broadcasting revenues and ticket sales similar to MLB averages, baseball’s return to Montreal is definitely feasible. Keep in mind that Montreal is currently the largest market in North America without a Major League Baseball team.

According to an analysis of MLB trends and the opinion of architectural firms Populous and Provencher Roy, building a new stadium near downtown would be the best option for Montreal. This would ensure the stadium is easily accessible by public transit and reach more business clientele. Sylvain Vincent, Managing Partner for Quebec at EY said:

Three of the sites that were studied meet our criteria: the land adjacent to the Bonaventure Expressway, the Wellington Basin, and the area around the Montreal Children’s Hospital. What’s more, building a stadium will have a positive impact on the urban development of each of these locations.

In addition to having the capacity for approximately 36,000 people, the feasibility study shows that the new stadium will benefit from being an open-air facility. Vincent continued:

Given that the cost of building a retractable roof varies between $150 million and $180 million, we have concluded that doing so would undermine the financial viability of the stadium. Note also that the Twins’ open-air stadium in downtown Minneapolis, which has a climate comparable to ours, shows that this type of stadium could be suitable for Montreal.

Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, said:

The feasibility study shows that Major League Baseball can be profitable in Montreal. For the project to now become a reality, we need private and public champions to stand and commit to working on it. The road will be long, but we’ve successfully completed an important step.

The total cost of this project is estimated at $1.025 billion, which includes $500 million to build a new stadium and $525 million to acquire an existing team. It’s also important to note that the majority of MLB teams use a hybrid funding model that requires both private and public involvement. Leblanc suggested a possible public private funding split:

According to this model, the team owner typically funds 67% of the project, or $690 million, while government funds 33%, or $335 million. The amounts required are clearly significant. We estimate, however, that this project can offer private investors an interesting business opportunity and satisfying returns, especially if they can combine this asset with sports content broadcast activities. Furthermore, to the extent that the government gets involved, it would recover its investment in eight years through the QST on stadium and team sales activities, income taxes paid by companies and workers involved in the baseball team project, as well as taxes induced by them, on top of taxes on players’ salaries. Once its investment is recovered, the government’s cumulative earnings are estimated at $1.188 billion for the following 22 years.

The economic benefits of this project would be significant, as in addition to creating thousands of jobs to build and operate the stadium, it will have a positive impact on Quebec’s GDP. In fact, according to the Conference Board of Canada, the impact on the GDP would be $130 million annually during the construction of the stadium, and $96 million when it’s in operation.

According to a Léger Marketing survey of 1,589 Quebecers and 392 representatives of corporations of all sizes located in the Montreal area, 69% of the general public and 81% of businesses support the idea of bringing a Major League Baseball team back to Montreal. As well, Léger Marketing notes that 40% of the population would be very interested in purchasing tickets to see an MLB game in Montreal and season tickets would represent approximately 60% of all tickets sold per game. Finally, the average projected attendance would be between 27,600 to 31,600 people per game.

Sydney Cricket Ground for MLB 2014 opening series

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Sydney Cricket ground,

Sydney Cricket Ground’s renovation includes a baseball event mode.

The Sydney Cricket Ground will host Major League Baseball’s 2014 Opening Series. The games between the National League West rivals Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks will be Major League Baseball’s first regular season games to be staged in Australia. The Sydney Cricket Ground will be fully renovated to a baseball configuration and Major League standards in order to host the games.

MLB has previously opened seasons in Monterrey, Mexico (1999); Tokyo, Japan (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012); and San Juan, Puerto Rico (2001). Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said:

The globalisation of our game continues to be paramount to Major League Baseball, and Australia is an essential part of our long-term efforts to grow the sport. We look forward to writing an exciting new chapter in international baseball history at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground next March.

The groundbreaking event was announced by the Premier of New South Wales, Barry O’Farrell, at a press conference in Sydney, which was attended by Tom Nicholson, Director of MLB’s Australia & Oceania Office, and Tim Slavin, Chief of Business Affairs and Senior Counsel for the MLBPA.

Major League Baseball’s history at the Sydney Cricket Ground dates to December 1888, when Spalding’s World Tourists played a series of exhibition games, including a December 15, 1888 contest that attracted 5,500 spectators.