Venue News: St. Louis Rams Denied Public Funding for Stadium Upgrades, Can Break Lease After 2014 Season; Dodgers Face WiFi Delays

Compiled by Karen Hogan, Associate Editor, Sports Video Group

The organization that runs the Edward Jones Dome has made it official: The facility will not get a publicly funded $700 million upgrade that the St. Louis Rams requested, possibly leaving the city without an NFL team for the second time in almost 30 years. St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission President Kathleen Ratcliffe informed the Rams of the decision in a letter dated Tuesday. The outcome was no surprise. After arbitrators ruled in favour of the Rams’ plan over a much more modest CVC proposal, the CVC said in February it was unlikely to implement the plan. The Rams can now break their lease with the dome after the 2014 season…

…A funny thing happened on the way to approximately $100 million worth of stadium upgrades and a $230 million payroll at Dodger Stadium, writes the Los Angeles Daily News. The WiFi project got delayed, the stars underperformed and got injured, and the all-star voting predictably tanked. “The wiring process has been the thorniest of all our renovations,” Dodgers president Stan Kasten said. “I told you guys we’d have it by June. Now it’s going to be later in the summer. I wish it was `Put up a machine and everyone has WiFi.'” Installing universal WiFi in a 51-year-old stadium is not that simple, of course. Kasten said the process has been a test of his staff’s mechanical and legal know-how…

…A word of advice for NFL owners who are looking to fill seats at their stadiums, writes the Boston Globe: start emphasizing what makes the stadium experience great (camaraderie, passion, and live action) and stop trying to emulate the home experience. The Jaguars, whose average attendance of 64,984 ranked 20th in the NFL last season, told the SportsBusiness Journal last week they might air the NFL’s widely popular Red Zone Channel on the giant video boards at EverBank Stadium during home games this fall. They are also turning one of the concourse platforms into an air-conditioned fantasy football lounge. Owners need to understand that attending a game in many cities is now a hassle more than anything else…

…The Phoenix Coyotes took a big step toward stability last Tuesday night when the Glendale City Council ratified an arena lease agreement with a prospective owner of the franchise. After making a few alterations, the council voted 4-3 in favor on a 15-year, $225 million lease agreement with Renaissance Sports & Entertainment during a special session. The vote clears the way for RSE to purchase the Coyotes from the NHL, which has been running the team the past four years. The decision had been in doubt as RSE and the city went through tense negotiations over the past few weeks.

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