Venue News: Qatar’s Sports City Stadium Could Be Most Expensive Ever

The Sports City stadium proposed for Qatar could be the most expensive sports facility ever built, now that FIFA plans to play a 2022 World Cup semifinal there, according to the project’s designer. The stadium’s original design covered 45,000 seats with a construction cost of $1.6 billion. Now that Sports City is expected to be among the World Cup’s primary venues, the project will be expanded to 65,000 seats, with the final cost anticipated around $2 billion. Typically, in a hot climate such as Qatar, a stadium would be built with a dome, and for World Cup, the surrounding development would be built outside the facility. Sports City takes that development and puts it all under one protective roof. The stadium would also be one of the world’s most technologically advanced sports facilities, with removable seats that can scale the building down to a 10,000-seat amphitheater…

…Competitors will have a chance to state their case for why they should manage the Oakland Coliseum instead of SMG, which has run operations there for 13 years. Two operators have already surfaced. One is Global Spectrum, a subsidiary of Comcast-Spectacor, an SMG co-owner until 1998. The other contender is AEG, which owns STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and belongs to Philip Anschutz, owner of the San Francisco Examiner. The municipally owned and subsidized sports and entertainment complex, made up of the Oracle Arena and Coliseum, will still be governed by the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority board. Competing firms will have to account for the unusual condition of juggling two buildings and three sports franchises, including the A’s, whose ownership wants to move the team to San Jose. Global Spectrum, based in Philadelphia, controls 11 stadiums and a long list of entertainment venues; AEG controls 226 entertainment facilities worldwide, but does not yet have a stadium in its portfolio…

…The major upgrade to Saputo Stadium, home of the Montreal Impact, will be delayed until September. While the Impact is set to join Major League Soccer in 2012, the team wants to be fiscally responsible with $23 million of public money. The upgrade of the stadium consists of increasing seating capacity to 20,341 from 13,034, constructing a roof over the upper rows of the grandstands to cover approximately one-third of the seats, and the addition of 24 corporate loges for a total of 40. Work was expected to start this summer with completion of the expansion set for March, in time for the Impact to make its MLS debut as the league’s 19th team and third from Canada (behind Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC). Under the new timetable, the stadium won’t be ready until the beginning of next summer. The Impact will start the MLS season, which begins in mid-March, indoor at Olympic Stadium…

…While lawsuits continue to arise against Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards, the future home for NBA’s Nets franchise, the project is starting to take shape. At the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Aves, construction workers have reached the halfway mark on the building’s steel skeleton and expect to start putting up its facade by the end of the month. Designed so that half is below ground level and half above, the building will fit into the bustle of the surrounding area, home to the nearby Atlantic Terminal Mall and Atlantic Center. As an added bonus, the arena sits beside the convergence of nine subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road, with several additional subway lines and buses within a few blocks. The schedule calls for the Nets to play the 2012-13 season in the building, while college basketball, boxing, professional tennis, concerts, the circus, and other users also take up residence.

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