Venue News: New College World Series Home Gets Positive Opening Reviews

Opening night at Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Park received generally positive reviews from Creighton University, the NCAA, and the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority, which manages the ballpark. The $131 million downtown stadium opened Tuesday night with Nebraska posting a 2-1 victory over Creighton. A total of 22,197 tickets were sold for the inaugural game, and more than 18,000 fans passed through the gates. The NCAA’s Dennis Poppe said the turnout, in temperatures better suited for football than baseball, underscored the excitement the Omaha community has for the new home of the College World Series…

…The Anschutz Entertainment Group and the Los Angeles City Council need to reach an agreement on the Farmers Field project by early summer to show a skeptical NFL that the city is serious about bringing the league back to the nation’s second-largest market, AEG CEO Tim Leiweke said Tuesday. Leiweke also said he appreciates the concerns of some city officials that an NFL team be locked into a 20- to 30-year lease for the downtown stadium. He added, however, that AEG would not be able to act as a guarantor on $350 million in public bonds to pay for replacing the Los Angeles Convention Center’s West Hall.

The Santa Clara, CA, City Council voted unanimously this week to sell up to $25 million in bonds to refurbish public buildings in the Bayshore area and possibly up to an additional $10 million to help fund a new 49ers stadium. The amount of bonds sold by the city will depend on the financial market, and officials are not overly optimistic that they will have takers for the full $35 million offer. The first $25 million in bond proceeds will be spent on maintaining several city buildings in the Bayshore North area, including the Santa Clara Convention Center and its parking garage…

…Tampa Bay Buccaneers season-ticket holders who have already paid for 10 games in 2011 will be receiving a refund. Even though there is uncertainty whether the Bucs will actually play the Chicago Bears in London at Wembley Stadium Oct. 23, as scheduled, the organization will be sending out refunds. The NFL has scheduled a regular-season game in London for the fifth consecutive season, but the league announced that, if there isn’t a resolution to the labor situation by Aug. 1, the game will be moved to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Season-ticket holders who have already sent in their checks have obviously paid for 10 games — eight in the regular season and the two preseason games that come at full price…

…Visions of bigger, stronger, faster UMass running backs and linebackers butting heads with their new Division 1-A football rivals in state-of-the-art Gillette Stadium have even skeptical state-budget watchdogs cheering the prospect of higher ticket sales and more tuition-paying students. “They get a higher turnout from games and a higher payout,” said Michael Widmer, president of the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Association. “Their applications could also increase. It’s not just Division 1 football, but it’s part of strategy to enhance the reputation of the university.”

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