Sports stadiums going green?

By Sarah McBride

Stadium owners dragging their heels on finding greener ways to power up their high-definition scoreboards and retractable roofs just got a kick in the pants from their league commissioners.

Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and Major League Soccer have dished out letters to their teams and facilities asking them to embrace solar power. Fenway Park in Boston is one of the select few that have installed solar panels.

Fenway Park in Boston is one of the select few that have installed solar panels.

Sports suck up a lot of energy—but exactly how much is unclear. A spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is working with the professional sports leagues to encourage their teams and stadiums to go green, says offering an estimate “could be premature and misleading, because it varies from team to team, based on size, location/climate, efficiency and type (indoor vs. outdoor) of stadiums.”

Some venues already use solar power. At the Staples Center, home to the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, solar panels provide around 5% of the venue’s total power. If all arenas and stadiums had solar installations equivalent to Staples, they would reduce carbon emissions by about 86.6 million pounds a year—the equivalent of taking about 8,000 cars off the roads, the NRDC says.

from Left field:

New York City eyeing NHL Winter Classic

For the third straight year, the National Hockey League hit all the right notes at its annual outdoor extravaganza at one of baseball’s most revered shrines: Fenway Park. The Boston Bruins fought back to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime in front of nearly 40,000 fans.

"It was neat," Boston defenseman Derek Morris said. "We were trying to yell and scream to each other, but you couldn't hear yourself it was so loud. It was amazing. We wanted to win that game for the fans. It's a fairy-tale ending. It was pretty special."

While backyard and frozen pond hockey are ubiquitous parts of the Canadian winter landscape, the NHL borrowed the concept from U.S. college hockey. The 2001 “Cold War game” between arch rivals University of Michigan and Michigan State University set the world record for the largest crowd at an ice hockey game at 74,544.

from Summit Notebook:

NHL commish: Bigger not always better

If you want a new National Hockey League team, you'll definitely need a spanking new arena, or at least one that's been gussied up in a significant way. But that doesn't mean it need be a super-sized arena,  Commissioner Gary Bettman said at the Reuters Global Media Summit.

"While we play to 93 to 94 percent capacity, we'd like to play to 100 percent capacity," Bettman said. "A 15,000-16,000 seat arena might work better in some markets than a 19,000 seat arena."

That's promising news for Quebec City  and Winnipeg, who were  once homes to the NHL's Nordiques and Jets respectively, and are said to be on the league's potential expansion shortlist. Bettman told Reuters that both cities, and "even Southern Ontario" would be given a serious look if the league were to expand.

from Summit Notebook:

NHL commish takes dim view of Canadian billionaire Balsillie

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman all but ruled out the prospect for Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie one day owning a team in the hockey league.

Balsillie, the co-CEO of BlackBerry wireless device maker Research in Motion, failed in a bid to move the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton, Ontario in September when a U.S. judge blocked the attempt.

It wasn't the first time Balsillie had tried and failed to buy a National Hockey League franchise and move it to Canada, attempts that have not sat well with the NHL. (Other efforts involved the Nashville Predators and the Pittsburgh Penguins).

from DealZone:

Desert Hockey

James Balsillie, the co-CEO of Research-in-Motion, can't seem to catch a break. Having failed in previous efforts to buy NHL teams in Pittsburgh and Nashville and move them to Hamilton, Ontario, he's now been shut out in his bid to buy the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes. Arizona bankruptcy Judge Redfield Baum ruled late on Monday that a June 29 deadline set by Balsillie did not allow enough time to settle the complex case. It's a shame things were so rushed. The decision could yet be a game changer for struggling sports franchises.

Balsillie (pictured above enjoying the game from the ice) and the owner of the Coyotes, trucking magnate Jerry Moyes, offered to put together a $212.5 million deal in May, when the franchise filed for bankruptcy protection, to move the team to Hamilton, about 200 miles northwest of Buffalo, N.Y. But NHL says the franchise is contractually obligated to stay in Phoenix.

Being a judge, Baum took the liberty to say both sides are wrong. He rejected Moyes' attorneys' argument that antitrust law allowed the sale and relocation of the Coyotes without NHL approval, and he dismissed concerns of other sports leagues that allowing the Coyotes to relocate would encourage other financially struggling teams to use bankruptcy court to get around league rules.

from DealZone:

BlackBerry maker’s CEO sends letters of reference to sway NHL

balsillieJim Balsillie, the co-CEO of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion desperately wants a National Hockey League franchise and relocate it to his native Southern Ontario.

Balsillie has tried twice in recent years to buy a hockey team, only to be blocked by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who this week assured people there was nothing personal between him and Balsillie. Balsillie is currently locked in a court battle with the NHL in his efforts to move the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton.

On Monday, Balsillie sent in his application to the NHL explaining why the Phoenix Coyotes should move to Hamilton, Ontario and why he'd make a good owner. Late Tuesday, he supplemented that with 22 letters of recommendation from a variety of mostly Canadian VIPs.