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Mercedes Benz Arena in Berlin is one of a number of AEG owned venues that were project managed by ICON Venue Group.

CAA Sports, a division of leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA), has acquired ICON Venue Group, an owner’s representative and project management firm. Founded by Tim Romani in 2004, ICON manages the development, design, and construction of sports, entertainment, and public assembly facilities worldwide.

The company will continue to operate as ICON Venue Group, headquartered in Denver, and will be led by Romani. ICON has overseen the development, design, and construction of major stadiums and arenas throughout North America and Europe, including The O2 Arena in London and the ongoing Wrigley Field Restoration Project in Chicago.

Howard Nuchow, Co-Head, CAA Sports said:

Tim Romani is a world-class executive who, in a short period of time, has grown ICON into a dominant player in the venue development space. Tim and his team’s expertise and experience are complementary with our wide-ranging service areas, and we look forward to working collaboratively to develop landmark opportunities in the global sports and entertainment marketplace.

ICON has overseen the development, design, and construction of major stadiums and arenas throughout the United States and Europe, and is currently underway on new construction or renovation projects for sports teams including the Sacramento Kings, Edmonton Oilers, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Colorado State University Rams, Toronto FC, Toronto Raptors, Orlando City Soccer, and AS Roma. ICON’s world-class portfolio is the most extensive in the sports and entertainment industry, and includes The O2 arena in London, Consol Energy Center, Prudential Center, Sprint Center, Rogers Place, Sports Authority Field, 10 of the 14 MLS stadiums constructed or renovated, and the Wrigley Field Restoration project, among many others. Romani said:

We could not be more thrilled to join such a prestigious and innovative company with an exceptional reputation in the sports and entertainment industries. There is so much value in the connectivity between CAA and ICON and we will utilize that link to expand into related business opportunities that will add unparalleled new value in the venue development marketplace. CAA Sports is an ideal fit for ICON and together we look forward to creating the most unique venues and fan experiences throughout the world.

CAA Sports and ICON share a likeminded collaborative culture and best-in-class approach to client service. Their combined resources will amplify and enhance their existing relationships in the sports and entertainment marketplace, with CAA Sports providing unmatched access to the agency’s global resources in sports and entertainment, while ICON creates a valuable new service area for CAA and its clients worldwide.

ICON Venue Group is the fifth strategic acquisition by CAA Sports in the past 10 months. CAA Sports’ industry-leading Property Sales group has completed more than $3.5 billion in new sponsorship business on behalf of its clients and orchestrated precedent-setting agreements for the new Yankee Stadium; the Marquee partnership deal at Madison Square Garden; the naming rights for the San Francisco 49ers Levi’s Stadium; and the recently announced Chase Center, the future home of the Golden State Warriors. CAA Sports Consulting advises, manages, and activates on more than $2.5 billion in sponsorship rights deals on behalf of leading global brands and is a leader in experiential marketing. In 2015, the agency launched CAA Premium Experience, a full-service hospitality and event management practice that works with Fortune 500 companies across hundreds of global sports and entertainment events annually, and acquired Fermata Partners, a specialized consumer products licensing agency focused on colleges and universities, global football clubs, and iconic sports and lifestyle brands. CAA’s merchant bank, Evolution Media Capital (EMC), provides traditional investment banking services, as well as a broad range of strategic advisory services to maximize growth and expansion for its clients. Since its inception in 2008, it has advised on more than $44 billion in transactions.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


ICON Venue Group is the leading Owner’s Representative and project management firm in the sports, entertainment, and public assembly industry with a portfolio of many of the most successful venues in the world. ICON provides a comprehensive spectrum of facility development services required to guide a new facility project from its initial conception through planning, design, construction and opening to ensure years of successful operation for both public and private sector clients in the USA, Canada, Europe and Asia. ICON has managed the development of home venues for NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB MLS, MLL, AFL, CHL, NBDL, DEL and BBL franchises totaling more than $6 billion.


CAA Sports represents more than 1,000 of the world’s best athletes, coaches, broadcasters, and sports personalities, and leads all agencies in contract value under management exceeding $6.3 billion, more than double the next closest agency, according to Forbes. Beyond traditional athlete representation, CAA Sports provides unique opportunities for clients off the field, in areas including licensing, endorsements, speaking, philanthropy, books, and video games. CAA Sports also works in the areas of broadcast rights, corporate marketing initiatives, and sports properties for sales/sponsorships, for which the agency won “Best in Property Consulting, Sales, and Client Service” at the 2014 Sports Business Awards. CAA Sports is a division of leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA). CAA represents the most creative and successful artists working in film, television, music, theatre, video games, and digital content, and provides a range of strategic marketing services to corporate clients.


Excitement builds around the construction of the Edmonton Arena District (EAD)

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The Edmonton Arena District (EAD) is the city’s hub and heart. It will offer a world-class destination where both residents and visitors from across the world will be able to come to live, work and play. Anchored by a vibrant public plaza and Rogers Place arena – a sustainably-designed state-of-the-art 18,647-seat sports, entertainment and event venue – the EAD will be a dynamic mixed-use urban destination that is true to Edmonton’s character and unlike anything in North America.

The EAD’s iconic architecture and innovative design will create a distinctive gathering place, and Rogers Place Arena is primed to be the first LEED Silver-certified NHL Facility in Canada. The venue will offer high-speed Wi-Fi alongside technical tools to help visitors find everything from the shortest concession and washroom lines, to interactive apps for hockey fans and concert goers alike.

With construction of the EAD already well underway, the footprint of this neighbourhood is taking form. By the autumn/fall of 2016, the Edmonton Oilers will be playing in Rogers Place Arena, and the Winter Garden, Community Rink, the first office tower, and a number of new parkades will all be open.

The EAD is being developed by a joint venture between Katz Group and WAM Development Group. The EAD Joint Venture is working with the City of Edmonton to develop a sustainable, vibrant, well-designed and accessible downtown area and realize the goals of the Capital City Downtown Plan.

This master planned community connects Edmonton to the North, East, West and South using public transportation, pedway systems, pedestrian-friendly streets and parking facilities.

Speaking about Rogers Place, Daryl Katz Owner of the Edmonton Oilers, said:

We have always believed Edmonton’s need for a new arena was a huge opportunity to help transform our downtown into the vibrant, diverse and dynamic community that is the hallmark of every great city.

Don Iveson Mayor of Edmonton added:

The look of Rogers Place is bold and forward-looking, just like Edmonton. As part of our downtown vision, it will serve as a symbol of our city’s great future.

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Sheffield Eagles announce Olympic Park Legacy Park Stadium

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Sheffield Eagles will return to the site of the old Don Valley Stadium in 2016, when they move in to a new state-of-the-art community stadium in the Olympic Legacy Park.

The Eagles have secured a significant investment to help fund the building of the stadium, which will feature a high quality synthetic pitch, an impressive main stand, a 50-bed hotel, catering and hospitality areas, and facilities developed in partnership with Sheffield’s second University Technical College.

Plans for the new Legacy Park are well advanced and the first phase of the re-development is already underway with the building of a new school catering for children from 2 to 16 years. The school will open its Primary phase in September 2015, with the Secondary phase opening a year later. At the same time, Sheffield’s second University Technical College (UTC) will open on the same site, specializing in human sciences and digital technologies.

Sheffield Eagles new community stadium will be at the hub of these developments and the club is already working in partnership with the school, the UTC, Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Hallam University to a common vision for education, health and wellbeing in the community.

The Eagles have secured a GBP£6m investment to build a main stand, incorporating a 50-bed hotel, restaurant and hospitality facilities along one side of the ground, and there are plans to develop joint facilities with the UTC within the stadium complex.

Additional funding has also been agreed for a high quality synthetic pitch similar to those used by Saracens and Newcastle Falcons in Rugby Union’s Premiership. The pitch will have a specification for use at Super League, Rugby Union Premiership and international level, but will also be used by the school and the UTC for their PE and Sport needs and be available for community use.

Ian Anniss, Sheffield Eagles Director of Community, Development and Education, said:

When we heard that Don Valley was to close we realised that this could be a terminal blow to Sheffield Eagles as a club, but we have always had to work hard against the odds to survive, so we rolled up our sleeves, thought creatively and formed partnerships with others who have shared a common vision of securing a long term legacy in sport, health and well-being for the site.   At first many said that it was just a pipe dream that would never happen, but we had to make it happen if Eagles were to survive and thrive in Sheffield and the game of Rugby League not be lost to this great city.

We have worked with some remarkably talented and visionary people on this project and it is an outstanding testament to what can be achieved by genuine partnership working.

The new stadium will be like no other in this country, in that it will be designed and managed to have multiple uses that reflect the needs of the broader community as well as being a top class facility for performance rugby of both codes. Unlike many sports stadia that has limited uses this one will be constantly in use – for educational and research purposes, community activities, sports development and health and well being support, as well as a venue for professional rugby – and Sheffield Eagles are proud to be part of that as a true community club.

Whilst it is important to appreciate the Eagles role in the broader partnership for the Olympic Legacy Park, it also should not be under estimated just how critical the new stadium will be for the club’s ambitions on the field.

Sheffield Eagles Chief Executive and Head Coach, Mark Aston, said:

The new ground gives us the impetus to challenge for and achieve Super League status, something we have never given up on. When we nearly lost the club back into 1999 and reformed with a new direction, the Directors and I have always kept as a key goal that of returning to the highest level. We have had to be patient and work within our means, but now we will be ready to take the next step. Having the best facilities at the new stadium will allow us to continue the development of our own local talent, retain and attract quality players and be very competitive as a Club.

Establishing Rugby League in Sheffield has often been a struggle, and the loss of Don Valley Stadium was an additional challenge for the Eagles and their fans. Despite being back-to-back Champions in 2012 and 2013, it looked as if the club’s steady upward progress had been checked with the loss of their home ground. At one point it even seemed that the club might have to leave the City permanently to survive. However, the Eagles stuck with their fans and with Sheffield and are now set to reap a big reward.

Anniss commented: “I am especially pleased for our fans, who have been remarkably loyal. The new stadium will give us a fresh start in a venue that we can call our own. It will be a brilliant place to watch rugby and I am sure we can then build our support further and go from success to success. It allows us to build our profile, engage more people and get more people watching and playing rugby. Our ambition is to be one of the best clubs in Rugby League and this is a massive step in that direction.”

Sheffield will take centrestage in the delivery of an exciting Olympic legacy project for health and sport that will bring long term benefits for the nation‘ was the message delivered at a briefing by former Sports Minister the Rt. Hon Richard Caborn and Sheffield City Council leader Julie Dore earlier this week. At the ‘heart’ will be the creation of an Olympic Legacy Park on the site of the former Don Valley Stadium in the city’s East End.

It will feature a new Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) which represents a unique opportunity for the practical development of the country’s wellbeing agenda and delivering the 2012 Olympic Legacy on Health. The AWRC will be based in a multi-million state of-the-art facility, the centrepiece of the new Olympic Legacy Park, which will feature exciting new indoor and outdoor facilities allowing the design, research, evaluation and implementation of products linking the medical, physical activity, leisure and sports sectors.

The development will see the Sheffield Eagles Rugby League club move into a new community stadium and facilities developed in partnership with Sheffield second University Technical College (UTC). A new sustainable multi-purpose indoor community arena will be the future home of the Sheffield Sharks. The facility will be built through private investment and crucially deliver an affordable, functional and flexible building for sport, culture and business. With 3 full size courts and seating up to 3,000 people, the venue will complement the other facilities on the Park, increasing community and education access and attracting further events to the City. The Sheffield-based sports and events business, MLS, will also move into the new facility.

The Park – a joint venture between Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Sheffield City Council and the private sector – has attracted nearly £40m of investment from the private sector (for basketball, rugby and a hotel), a second University Technical College and a school. A further £10m is being sought from the Regional Growth Fund.

Both the Park and the AWRC have the backing of the city’s two Universities, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield College, the local authority and the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.

The AWRC model will mirror the highly successful Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (straddling the Sheffield-Rotherham border) which has successfully created a £150m Advanced Manufacturing Park where companies such as Boeing and Rolls Royce are located.

The AWRC will take services and products from concept to market,  maximising wealth and job creation opportunities from the intellectual property and knowledge and products developed in the centre.  It will be home to around 50 researchers who will have fully instrumented indoor and outdoor laboratories capable of carrying out research on most physical activities. The facility will allow research on all sports but will be of particular benefit to those housed in the nearby English Institute of Sport.

There will be clinical facilities on site, working in conjunction with the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM). Facilities will include MRI, X-ray and ultrasound. The AWRC will be the research hub for the NSCEM with a remit to use physical activity as medicine. Through the NCSEM, the AWRC will use the city of Sheffield as a ‘field lab’ for the testing of new innovations.

The Olympic Legacy Park project leader Richard Caborn said:

We are taking the city’s heritage into a modern setting.

This project has three clear objectives. We will deliver a multi-sports community stadium which can accommodate professional sports and will wash its face financially. Through the AWRC, we will bring academia, the medical profession and the full spread of physical activity across the City, from sedentary lifestyles to elite and professional athletes. In the words of Lord Coe, Sheffield will undertake world-class research and provide services that will deliver long-term, systematic change to benefit the health of the nation.

Finally, we will deliver knowledge, intellectual property and practical development of products and services to the wealth creating sectors of health, wellbeing and sports sectors with the Sheffield City region.

Mr Caborn added that he will be addressing a conference next week focusing on the AWRC and the private sector. International and local companies such as BBraun, Siemens, Panosonic, Toshiba and Medi Link will be attending along with representatives of the Cabinet Office, the International Olympic Committee and Public Health England.

Professor Karen Bryan, AWRC Board member and Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean for the faculty of Health and Wellbeing at Sheffield Hallam University, said:

As the top modern university in the north of England, Sheffield Hallam puts the science into sport. With our world-renowned expertise in health-care and sports science, we are delighted to be working with our partners to continue to realise the vision for the AWRC.

Richard Wright, Executive Director of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce added:

The commercial opportunities around the whole wellness agenda and its associated technology are possibly one of the biggest opportunities Sheffield has seen for years. In many ways it is one of the legacies of our investment in sport in the region. The city now has over 100 sport/activity related businesses and by linking that expertise to health we can be one of the best cities in the world for improving the health of a population. The Chamber cannot think of a more fitting use for the site of the Don Valley Stadium.

Fort Worth to vote on enabling taxes for downtown arena

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Fort Worth, Texas, voters will decide on 4 November on financing measures which may begin a process towards building a new multipurpose arena adjacent to the Will Rogers Memorial Center.

The result may be a $450 million, 14,000 arena. Target opening date is currently 2019. Private donors led by businessman Ed Bass have pledged to pay half the million cost, plus any overruns.

The new arena would host the annual Stock Show Rodeo, equestrian and livestock events, concerts, sporting events and family shows.

Event Facilities Fort Worth proposes to manage the arena on a not-for-profit basis. Bass told the Star-Telegram that the group’s studies have shown that 14 to 16 concerts a year would pay all the operating costs of such an arena.

Amalie picks up naming rights to Tampa Bay Lightning arena

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Amalie Oil Company has agreed a long-term partnership with Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment to take on the naming rights of the home arena of NHL ice hockey team Tampa Bay Lightning.

The renovated 19,200-capcity venue, which is also home to Arena Football League gridiron team Tampa Bay Storm, will know be known as the Amalie Arena.

Motor oil and industrial lubricants supplier Amelia has held the naming rights to the arena football field for Tampa Bay Storm since 2011.

Terms for the agreement between Amalie and the operating group for the Lightning, the Storm and the arena were not disclosed.

Amalie Oil Company ends the Tampa Bay Times’ 10-year run as the venue’s naming sponsor, although the newspaper group remains the exclusive print partner of Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment under a new agreement signed with the organisation this week.

The Times’ new partnership includes the naming rights to one of the arena’s two hospitality lofts, interior and exterior signage, an LED presence during Lightning and Storm games and extensive community and hospitality functions.

Arena Information

From 2011-2013, Amalie Arena had more than US$62m in improvements that have clearly revolutionised the industry and made it the premier entertainment venue in the state of Florida.

The renovated Amalie Arena is home of the 2004 Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning and five-time Arena Football Champion Tampa Bay Storm.

Boasting unique features like lightning-throwing Tesla coils, an 11,000sqft Bud Light party deck with incredible views of the city and a massive five-manual, 105-rank digital pipe organ, Amalie Arena consistently ranks among the very best venues in the United States.


Source: Sport Business and Tampa Bay Lightning

Red Wings’ new arena to be part of a sports & entertainment district

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Olympia Development of Michigan has announced plans for a transformation of dozens of under-utilised blocks between downtown and midtown Detroit into a sports and entertainment district that will feature a new arena for the NHL Detroit Red Wings.


The district will encompass dozens of blocks along and near Woodward Avenue. Development will be integrated with existing sports and entertainment venues in or adjacent to the space, including the Fox Theatre, Comerica Park, MotorCity Casino Hotel, Ford Field, the Detroit Opera House, the Fillmore Detroit and more. The project will connect existing and new development efforts in downtown and midtown Detroit along Woodward Avenue with five walkable, livable mixed-use District neighborhoods.


The Red Wings have been playing their home games at Joe Louis Arena since 1979. Their new, world-class arena will be built concurrently with the District and will be a model of innovation for such a facility in a downtown setting. It will serve not only as a powerful, continual generator of activity, but also as a good urban neighbour.


The revolutionary design will focus the arena on its most fundamental elements, while concurrently building and integrating a new, mixed-use neighbourhood surrounding it. As the design is scaled and planned to fit with both new and existing development, it will also offer a dynamic urban environment that is uniquely ‘Detroit’.


Red Wings owner and governor, Mike Ilitch said:

It’s always been my dream to see a vibrant and energized downtown Detroit. I want people to look at Detroit’s new sports and entertainment district and see what I see: the potential for something very special. I couldn’t be more excited and proud to bring this vision to life.


Christoper Ilitch, President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc., added:

We’ve done business in Detroit for nearly 50 years, and this is our most significant and ambitious project here yet. Our great city is home to some of the world’s most legendary people, teams and venues in sports and entertainment. Detroit deserves no less than the best – a world-class sports and entertainment district we can all be proud of. And that’s exactly what we will build.

Our vision for the new arena is for a one-of-a-kind facility that fits in with its neighbourhood, that is authentic to our Detroit roots and offers an unmatched fan experience. We will build a revolutionary venue for hockey, music, entertainment and community events, and at the same time, a vibrant mixed-use neighbourhood surrounding it.


The Ilitch organisation has expanded its planned investment in the District to include tens of millions of dollars in new neighbourhood public infrastructure improvements, such as lighting, sidewalks, green spaces and streets. These investments will occur concurrently with the development of the new District neighbourhoods and arena.
Groundbreaking is expected to commence this autumn/fall, with the Red Wings new arena expected to open in 2017.


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About Olympia Development of Michigan

Olympia Development of Michigan is a Detroit-based full-service real estate company owned by Detroit entrepreneurs Michael and Marian Ilitch. The company is responsible for developing and investing in some of Detroit’s most recognized and visited venues, including the nationally acclaimed Comerica Park. Other Ilitch companies in the food, sports and entertainment industries include: Little Caesars Pizza, Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, the Detroit Red Wings, Olympia Entertainment, Little Caesars Pizza Kits Fundraising Program, Champion Foods, Ilitch Holdings and Uptown Entertainment. Michael Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers and Marian Ilitch owns the MotorCity Casino Hotel.



Sacramento Kings receive approval for new entertainment & sports centre arena

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The City of Sacramento has given the go ahead to plans to build and finance a new US$477m (€348m) Entertainment and Sports Center (ESC) for NBA basketball franchise, Sacramento Kings.


The Sacramento City Council approved the plans at a meeting on Tuesday by a 7-2 margin. The ESC will be constructed at the Downtown Plaza Mall in Sacramento and the agreement will tie the Kings to Sacramento as tenants of the ESC for 35 years.


According to the team, the 17,500-seat arena will be slightly larger than the Kings’ current aging facility and will feature a see-through entrance and a silver exterior with diamond-shaped windows.


The City’s cash contribution to the ESC will be US$233m, with the majority of this financed through a parking revenue bond. In addition, the City will pay US$21.9m per annum in debt service, which will be paid through lease payments from the franchise.  The City is also transferring US$32m-worth of land and allowing the team to operate six digital billboards. In return, the Kings will contribute US$254m to construct the arena and develop surrounding land with a hotel, office tower, and retail.


Kings President, Chris Granger, opened Tuesday’s meeting by calling it a ‘historic day for the team and Sacramento region’, saying the arena would serve as a hub for economic development, with the project to bring 11,000 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs. He added:

This is certainly bigger than basketball. But it doesn’t just end there. At the very core, this project is about community.


Demolition on the existing site at the Downtown Plaza Mall is due to begin this summer with groundbreaking expected to start in the autumn. The new ESC is scheduled to open in time for the 2016-17 season.


Sacramento Mayor, Kevin Johnson, speaking after Tuesday’s vote said:

Tonight’s vote is a historic moment for Sacramento and the culmination of years of hard work from so many in our city and our region. Sacramento has had a vision for its future and I am so proud of our community for their fight and resolve to ensure that vision became a reality.


The Kings first moved to Sacramento in 1985 from Kansas City and have played at the Sleep Train Arena for the past 26 seasons. They finished fourth in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the 2013-14 NBA season.


The Sacramento Kings' new arena. Images courtesy: AECOM

The Sacramento Kings’ new arena. Images courtesy: AECOM


AEG and MGM Resorts International break ground on new Las Vegas Arena

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Located west of the Las Vegas Strip, between New York-New York and Monte Carlo resorts, the new 20,000-seat Las Vegas Arena will host boxing, UFC, and other sporting events, as well as major headline entertainment, awards shows, and special events.


On hand to welcome guests to this week’s special ground-breaking ceremony, which signalled the start of construction of the venue being built on a 16-acre site, were Dan Beckerman, President & CEO of AEG, and Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International. Joining the partners to put the first shovels in the ground were Chair of the Board of Clark County Commissioners, Steve Sisolak, President of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Dana White, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, Richard Schaefer, NBA and NCAA legend and Hall of Famer, Bill Walton, NHL legend and Hall of Famer, Luc Robitaille, and W B C Welterweight World Champion, Floyd Mayweather, who took time away from final preparations for his Saturday night title defense to participate in this historic ceremony.


MGM Resort International’s Jim Murren said:

We are committed to ensuring that Las Vegas retains its title as ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’ for generations to come. The addition of this world-class arena, which will attract new events to the market and enable existing events to grow in scale, is an integral component in that strategy. No destination can deliver the level of energy and excitement found in Las Vegas, where every day has the vibe of a big event day.


AEG’s Beckerman added:

We are excited to be breaking ground today on this iconic project. Together with MGM, we have designed an arena with some of the most unique features, offerings and amenities for our fans and sponsors. We look forward to bringing the best sports and entertainment events to this new state-of-the-art arena in one of the most vibrant entertainment markets in the world.


Expected to host more than 100 events annually, the Arena – designed by industry-leading architecture firm Populous – will house multiple locker facilities, premium dressing rooms, complete broadcast facilities and a variety of staging innovations that will bring the biggest stars and most important events to Las Vegas’ newest landmark.


Designed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s standards for LEED® Gold Certification, the Arena will feature 50 luxury suites, more than two dozen private loge boxes, and other specially-designed exclusive hospitality offerings never before featured in a facility of its kind.


Commission Chair, Sisolak, commented:

This Arena should symbolize for everybody watching that Las Vegas will continue to emerge from the recession a stronger, smarter, healthier and more vibrant destination for international tourism. Projects such as this create much-needed jobs and are true economic drivers.


AEG Global Partnerships, an affiliate of AEG that collaborates with more than 100 venues and other AEG assets worldwide to create sales and marketing platforms, is overseeing the sale of naming rights, sponsorships, premium seating and luxury suite sales for this new Las Vegas showpiece.

Plans for new $650m Red Wings Arena and entertainment venue unveiled

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Image: AP


Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) have this week announced a plan and approved an MoU to build a new home for the Original Six hockey club, the Red Wings, owned by Olympia Entertainment founder, pizza magnate, and Detroit Tigers’ owner, Mike Ilitch.

The new 18,000-seat arena will offer some 650,000sqft of total event centre space, north of Comerica Park and Ford Field, in the area long rumoured to be eyed for a new hockey stadium.

“We will have incorporated all three of our major league sports venues into an exciting, walkable sports and entertainment district that will rival anything in the world,” said George W. Jackson, Jr., President and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, which managed negotiations on behalf of the DDA.

The construction area lies along Woodward Avenue, between Temple Street and the Fisher Freeway. The district will include a US$450m sports and entertainment centre and US$200m in new residential, retail and office development in an area stretching from Grand Circus Park to Charlotte Street, according to a statement released by the DDA.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing expressed excitement about the plans: “I’m extremely pleased that a framework has been established for the development of a new downtown arena and a commercial, entertainment and residential district that will continue to add momentum to the transformation of our city.”

The new arena will offer smaller capacity than the existing 20,058-seat Joe Louis Arena – which opened in 1979 and is currently the National Hockey League’s fourth-oldest hockey venue – and will be owned by the DDA, managed by Olympia Development, and funded with US$285m of public money.

“A project of this scale requires strong commitments from both private and public partners,” said Jackson. “That’s exactly what this agreement represents.”

Plans for an entertainment district, mentioned under the MoU, include the following options, included in the DDA statement and as reported in the Huffington Post:

  • A 140,000sqft new mixed office and retail development on Woodward at Sproat St.
    • A 25,000sqft office and retail development along Woodward
  • Several parking structures with a total of 25,000sqft of retail
    • Renovation of the Detroit Life Building at 2210 Park Ave. for 3,645sqft of retail and 35 residential units
    • Renovation of the Blenheim Building at 81 W. Columbia St. for 1,833sqft of retail and 16 residential units
    • Renovation of the building at 1922 Cass for 70,000sqft of office space
    • A new hotel-retail development with a 20,000 sqft ground floor
    • Parking lots and other amenities

“This is more tangible proof of the very real business and employment opportunities in Detroit’s future, which is important to highlight as the city works through its financial challenges,” said Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah.

Source: Huffington Post

Bristol arena project gets council funding

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Bristol is having a second try at building an arena, with the backing of Bristol City Council and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The proposed site, known as the Diesel Depot, has received clean-up funding of £11 million from the Homes and Communities Agency. The proposed 11,000-seater (cost £80 million) would be in the heart of Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone (pictured). The city council has budgeted £250,000 for preliminary work and appointed AECOM as cost consultant and agent on the scheme.

Elected mayor George Ferguson has said that there will be a design competition. Council Project Director for the arena Stuart Woods said:

We are delighted to appoint AECOM as cost consultants on the scheme, and we look forward to working with them as the project develops.

A previous arena project by the South West Regional Development Agency was abandoned.

Downtown sports and entertainment centre for Detroit

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The Detroit Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has approved a memorandum of understanding among the DDA, Olympia Development of Michigan and Wayne County that describes the proposed public and private financing and location for a new sports and entertainment district Downtown.

The district would include a $450 million sports and entertainment centre and $200 million in new residential, retail and office development in an approximately 45-block area that generally reaches from Grand Circus Park to Charlotte St. between Woodward Ave. and Grand River Ave.

The multipurpose event centre is anticipated to be an approximately 650,000 sq. ft. facility with 18,000 seats that can accommodate Red Wings hockey games, as well as other sports and entertainment events year-round. It will also include premium seating and amenities of a contemporary first-class professional sports and entertainment complex.

The new district anticipates expanding the boundaries of the DDA several blocks north of I-75 and west of Woodward Ave. to accommodate the centre, redeveloping several properties, building new parking decks and mixed-use developments.

The new development is anticipated to create approximately 5,500 jobs for the events centre alone and approximately 8,300 jobs for the entire residential and commercial mixed-use district. Michigan can anticipate an estimated economic impact of $1.8 billion from the completion of this project.

George W. Jackson, Jr., President and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, which managed negotiations on behalf of the DDA, said:

We have outlined a deal that will do far more than build new home ice for the Red Wings. When it’s done, it will redefine Detroit’s Downtown. We will have incorporated all three of our major league sports venues into an exciting, walkable sports and entertainment district that will rival anything in the world. A project of this scale requires strong commitments from both private and public partners, and that’s exactly what this agreement represents.

The primary public funding mechanism for the $450 million centre is a continuation of a projected $12.8 million-per-year property tax capture authorized by the State Legislature last December. The DDA is also expected to contribute an average of just over $2 million per year. Olympia Development is expected to contribute $11.5 million per year. All three of those commitments would be used to retire 30-year private activity bonds issued through the Michigan Strategic Fund.

Additional private sources are expected to fund the remainder of the $650 million total investment anticipated for the entire district.

Overall, approximately 56 percent of the total development costs of the district would be privately funded and approximately 44 percent would come from public economic development funds requiring no new taxes.

The DDA would own the events centre and Olympia Development would manage it under a long-term contract. Before that concession management agreement can be finalised, the City of Detroit has to approve the expansion of the DDA boundaries and other matters related to the development.

The Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit has to review and amend plans for the area and transfer property it owns. Wayne County, the State of Michigan Strategic Fund and others also have to approve aspects of the development plan before construction can begin.

Jackson added:

Today’s agreement represents one step among many that all the partners have to take together, but it is a very significant step.

Sacramento arena has downtown advantage

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The City of Sacramento is moving forward with an environmental review and working with the owner of the Sacramento Kings team on plans for a new entertainment and sports centre (ESC). Proposed construction will begin in 2014 for an opening in October 2016.

The tale of Sacramento’s on-off arena project has taken too many twists and turns for a Digest new story. PanStadia & Arena Management magazine’s Facility Watch has followed the project. Despite earlier attempts grinding to a halt, the NBA decided in favour of the basketball franchise staying in Sacramento under new ownership, which has revived the arena project and the city is back to where it was when the previous owner requested a new publicly funded arena.

The big difference this time around is the proposed location, Downtown Plaza in the heart of the city, not a railyard or expo site. The city’s contribution to an overall $450 million project is put at $258 million (and up). The debate in the city is back on, between opponents of the subsidy and proponents who cite 2,000-6,500 jobs and downtown revitalisation through retail and residential developments alongside the arena.

Sacramento's proposed arena is part of a downtown redevelopment.

Sacramento’s proposed arena is part of a downtown redevelopment.

Warriors SF waterfront arena design update

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The Warriors NBA team has unveiled new detailed designs for the proposed San Francisco waterfront arena and nearby development. Public hearings in the coming weeks may determine if the arena gets built in the waterfront location or not.

Craig Dykers of architect Snøhetta, which was selected along with AECOM to design the project, said the new plans include a walkway that encircles the pier, more open space on the raised area surrounding the arena, and pedestrian access that continues up the arena itself with a ramp that wraps around the facility.

The design also now incorporates some very large areas of transparent glass that give views out toward the waterfront.

Warriors' arena design features views of San Francisco's waterfront.

Warriors’ arena design features views of San Francisco’s waterfront.