Venue News: Groundbreaking Date Set for Minnesota Vikings Stadium; Qatar Unveils Soccer Venue Design

Compiled by Karen Hogan, Associate Editor, Sports Video Group

The ceremonial groundbreaking for the nearly $1 billion Minnesota Vikings stadium is now scheduled for Dec. 3, more than a month later than originally planned. But the 65,000-seat stadium will still be ready for the 2016 NFL season, according to Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the public body overseeing the massive construction project. The date of the groundbreaking was released after the authority, the team and the project’s construction manager, Golden Valley-based Mortenson Construction, agreed on how to reach the $737.7 million “guaranteed maximum price” (or GMP) for the stadium’s total construction costs…

…Qatar on Saturday unveiled the design for a new soccer stadium, inspired by a traditional fishing boat but with a cooled pitch, as it presses ahead with plans for the 2022 World Cup despite the dispute over when it can be held due to the heat. Soccer governing body FIFA has launched a consultation process to decide whether the tournament, initially scheduled to be held in the traditional June-July slot, when temperatures can reach around 50 degrees Celsius (120 Fahrenheit), should be moved to a cooler time such as November-December…

…The Browns and the city of Cleveland reached a tentative agreement to fund a two-year, $120 million makeover of FirstEnergy Stadium. The deal announced Tuesday by Mayor Frank Jackson and Browns CEO Joe Banner calls for the team to finance the entire cost for the renovation while recouping $42 million from the city. The Browns will use a low-interest, $62.5 million loan from the NFL and private funding. Also, the team will be paid $2 million per year by the city over the next 15 years, funds that are already obligated under the team’s lease…

… Hamilton’s new stadium isn’t quite half finished with just seven months before it’s scheduled to open, but Pan Am Games CEO Ian Troop and Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina vow it will be done on time and on budget. The CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats are slated to move into the $145.7-million state-of-the-art facility on June 30, 2014. The stadium, which will host all 32 men’s and women’s soccer games at the Pan Ams, is being built on a 5.45-hectare parcel of land where the historic Ivor Wynne Stadium once stood. Bratina said if there are things that aren’t completed by June, they will be minor and won’t threaten the scheduled opening…

…The Durham Bulls Athletic Park will undergo $19 million worth of renovations, including three new video displays.
The largest of the high-definition boards will be 25 feet by 63 feet, three times the size of the current board, and smack dab in the middle of the “Blue Monster” in left field. A new LED display will run the length of the outfield wall from center to right field. In addition, a video display will be installed above the new Club Level within the main seating bowl. In total, there will be 3,838,464 LED lights installed as part of the total renovation project.

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