Venue News: Leafs Fight for ‘Gardens’ Legacy; Lightning Arena Gets Facelift

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), fighting to preserve the legacy of the iconic Maple Leaf Gardens, has sought an injunction against the current co-owners of the building, Ryerson University and Loblaws Properties. Ryerson plans to expand its compact downtown campus by turning the arena into a home for its own hockey team, and use the historic venue as a recruiting tool. MLSE has demanded that Ryerson stop using the ‘Maple Leaf Gardens’ name in connection with the site, claiming that it infringes on MLSE’s trademark and implies that Ryerson is affiliated with the NHL club.  Furthermore, in MLSE court filings, the company claims that when it sold the downtown building to Loblaws in 2004, it was understood that the venue would be redeveloped into a food store.  Maple Leaf Gardens opened in 1931 and was the Leafs’ home until 1999, when the franchise moved into the Air Canada Centre…

…A $35 million-plus facelift to the 15-year-old St. Pete Times Forum is underway, and scheduled to be mostly complete by the Lightning’s home opener in October. The overhaul will give the Forum a revamped look, with new sight lines, plush cushioned seats with drink holders, and modernized suites.  In addition, four feet were added to the concourse, fifth-floor suite bathrooms were removed to create additional square feet, and an 11,000-foot outdoor deck and party area is being built on the roof of the arena’s west side. Tesla coils will be installed on either side of the scoreboard that will shoot lightning 25 feet, and a new lighting system will add more brightness to the arena, enhancing the experience for fans at the game and watching on TV…

…The Cal Bears’ Memorial Stadium is in the midst of a $321 million renovation and the new Student-Athlete High Performance Center is nearing completion. The 142,000 square-foot SAHPC, which is being constructed at the cost of $150 million in private donations and is adjacent to Memorial Stadium, will be home to all of Cal’s football facilities, as well as 12 other sports in the school’s athletic department. Under construction since the fall of 2008, the SAHPC is supposed to open in October, but the football team likely will hold off moving in until after its season is complete. The SAHPC will be divided into three areas — one-third is devoted to football, one-third is the high performance core where athletes from all 13 sports sharing the building can train, and the remaining third is reserved for facilities for the other 12 sports. Memorial Stadium is scheduled to open in time for the 2012 season…

…Putnam Investments and the Kraft Sports Group announced a multi-faceted, multi-year marketing partnership that will give Putnam high-profile branding opportunities at Gillette Stadium. One of the primary features of the partnership will be the Putnam Club, consisting of two 60,000 square-foot indoor club spaces for more than 6,000 club seat holders. Putnam also plans to implement high-resolution digital signage and interactive messaging throughout the facility. The Putnam Club is scheduled to open in September, at which time additional features of the partnership will be unveiled.

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