Venue News: Olympics Strive to Balance Creativity and Sustainability; Earls Court’s Days May Be Numbered

Compiled by Karen Hogan, Associate Editor, Sports Video Group

As the Summer Olympics progress, we learn a lot more about London than we ever anticipated. Cameras pan the city, helicopters film sweeping aerial shots of buildings and landmarks large and small. Hosting the Olympics creates a unique opportunity for a city to show off its character and style. And there’s no better way to empower a forward-thinking, progressive population than by constructing bold, progressively designed event spaces and stadiums. Thus, constructing venues for Olympic events has become a competition in itself. But at what cost? Mashable examines the drive to balance creativity with sustainability

…Permission to flatten London’s art deco Earls Court exhibition center and its 1930s-style fixtures should come shortly after the venue finishes playing host to the Olympic volleyball tournament, its owners said on Tuesday. Capital and Counties, which owns London’s Covent Garden tourist hot spot, has an eight billion pound ($12.6 billion) plan for 7,500 homes across a 77-acre neighborhood in west London that will take two decades to complete. The Earls Court site played host to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in the late 19th century before a permanent venue was constructed in the 1930s. The exhibition center served as the venue for a British Union of Fascists rally in 1939 and for the manufacture of London’s air defense balloons during the Second World War…

…One vote down and plenty more to go in the quest to build a new arena that could bring the NBA back to Seattle. The Metropolitan King County Council took the initial step on Monday afternoon, approving the amended proposal from investor Chris Hansen by a 6-3 vote. After four hours of public testimony and statements from council members, the Hansen’s proposal – with a few tweaks – got the required number of votes to move forward. Now the plan goes to the Seattle City Council, but if its actions earlier Monday are any indication, Hansen’s $490 million arena plan that includes nearly $300 million in private funds and $200 million in public contribution has plenty of adjustments and changes yet to come. Eight of nine Seattle councilmembers unveiled a letter to Hansen saying changes must be made to the proposal before they could support it…

…The San Francisco 49ers began propping up the skeleton of their new stadium on Monday, the most visible sign of progress yet. Crews working on the $1.2 billion Santa Clara stadium have been drilling 3,000 holes five stories deep and filling them with concrete as a base to support 14,000 massive steel beams. It’s been pivotal work, but not exactly visible. That changed at the crack of dawn Monday, when workers operating four giant specialty cranes shipped in from Austria began installing the first steel bars that will make up the outline of the stadium next to Great America. The beams were delivered from Utah, Idaho, Texas, and elsewhere, with the biggest piece towering 90 feet high and weighing 18 tons, more than all the 49ers players put together. This serves as the first construction milestone on the path toward the NFL stadium’s planned opening in summer 2014…

…Fights at big outdoor stadiums are mainly a thing of the past in the United States, although there was a major fight at Yankee Stadium in 2010 when Miguel Cotto stopped Yuri Foreman to win a junior middleweight title. Now there will be another, as junior welterweight Danny O’Connor is scheduled to headline a mini card at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA, on Aug. 12. It will be the first time a boxing event has been held at the stadium. The Revolution, along with promoter Lou DiBella, are putting on the three-fight card following a Revolution soccer game. The ring will be set up in the end zone behind the Revolution’s goal.

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