Venue News: Big House To Get Big Screens

The big screen is coming to the Big House. The University of Michigan Board of Regents approved high-definition scoreboards for Michigan Stadium at its meeting this week, along with similar scoreboard enhancements for Crisler Arena and Yost Ice Arena in time for the 2011-12 school year. The project is expected to cost $20 million. The new, end-zone scoreboards will be significantly larger than the current ones but will not close off the possibility of future expansion of seating in those areas…

…Newly sworn-in Minnesota Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chairman Ted Mondale told reporters this week that the Metrodome may not be ready for the start of the Vikings 2011 preseason. “We expect an answer in the next two weeks,” he told twincities.com. “If it needs to be replaced, it will cost $15 million and take six months. That’s the worst-case scenario.” The NFL squad has one more year left on its lease at the stadium, whose roof collapsed under the weight of snow in December, and will likely ask that a new facility be built…

…Pending Board of Regents approval this week, the University of Washington will accept an offer to award the naming rights for the arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion to Alaska Airlines. The school’s 10-year, $5 million deal with Bank of America expired last year. Alaska Airlines offered the UW a five-year deal worth at least $700,000 annually, including $400,000 per year in cash; $25,000 in travel benefits; 20 MVP Gold memberships valued at $5,000-$10,000 each; and $175,000 in sponsorship opportunities…

…Towson University’s new $68 million sports arena could mean big opportunities for the fast-growing Maryland school — and area businesses. The school is marketing various naming-rights deals to the 5,000-seat arena, set to break ground in May and be completed in spring 2013. The biggest sponsorships up for grabs are naming rights for the arena, the arena’s basketball court, and the overall complex, which includes the current Towson Center and, potentially, new academic buildings down the line…

…Stung by criticism of its commitment to athletics in the wake of the football team’s first losing season in 12 years, Clemson University kicked off a capital fundraising campaign by rolling out plans for $50 million in facility upgrades, including projects on the backburner for nearly a decade. Funded exclusively through gifts and athletic revenue, they include a new football indoor practice facility. In addition, the university and city of Clemson, SC, will partner on a pedestrian bridge over State 93 near the entrance to the soccer stadium. Baseball, basketball, golf, soccer, and tennis will also benefit from the latest wave of improvements.