Venue News: At Columbus Casino, Blue Jackets May Win Big

More than two years after going public with their financial problems, the Columbus Blue Jackets appear to be in substantive talks toward an agreement that would help offset losses caused by the club’s lease agreement with Nationwide Arena. According to sources, a portion of the revenues generated by the Hollywood Casino Columbus could be used to help the Blue Jackets. No exact dollar figures have been decided. Because Nationwide Arena was privately funded — a rarity in major-league sports today — the Blue Jackets do not draw revenue from naming rights, parking, and luxury boxes at the same rate as other NHL clubs. The Blue Jackets lost nearly $25 million in the 2010-11 season and have lost roughly $53 million combined during the past three seasons. Of that total, the Blue Jackets said, between $10 million and $12 million per year is directly the result of their lease agreement…

…Ole Miss officials have announced a $150 million capital campaign that will help finance a new basketball arena and significantly enhance Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Ole Miss, which has an athletic department budget of $47.58 million, plans to generate $100 million. Phase one of the project will be additional premium seating at Vaught-Hemingway, the school’s football stadium, and more concessions stands and restrooms along the concourse. Phase two will bowl in the north end zone of Vaught-Hemingway and add a large plasma screen overlooking The Grove. Seating will rise from 60,580 to more than 70,000 when the plan is completed. The proposed new arena will be in the range of 10,000 seats…

…The Chicago Bears and SMG, the company charged with tending the grass at Soldier Field, have formed a “field committee” to prevent another debacle like last week’s cancellation of an open practice for fans because the sod hadn’t been watered sufficiently. The field committee first met over the weekend to make sure the right steps were being taken to get the grass ready for the Bears’ first preseason game Saturday. Officials from the Bears, Soldier Field, and SMG will continue consulting with each other going forward to make sure both sides are satisfied with the care of the grass. According to SMG, the search continues for a different company to supply the sod, since part of the problem with the current field appears to be that the soil has too much clay in it. The Bears have opposed a change to artificial turf…

…The New York Islanders may still get a new arena on Long Island, but in a different county. Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy says he welcomes the idea of the hockey team moving to the eastern end of the island, as long as it’s good for the team and for the community. Over the weekend, Levy called team owner Charles Wang to discuss the idea. Voters in neighboring Nassau County rejected a plan Monday to borrow $400 million for a new hockey arena. Wang has said that he hopes to keep the team on Long Island.

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