Sep 29, 2010

Tournament of Roses says Rose Bowl renovation plan ‘fair and equitable’

By Brenda Gazzar, Staff Writer
Pasadena Star News - Wednesday, September 29, 2010

PASADENA - A Tournament of Roses official said Wednesday he is “fully comfortable” with a $152 million finance plan to renovate the historic Rose Bowl.

The three-year plan, which is expected to be finalized in the coming days, hinges on the agreement of stadium tenants UCLA and the Tournament of Roses to sign 30-year leases. The TofR's lease is due to expire in 2019, while UCLA's lease is due to expire in 2023.

“We are very comfortable with the financial arrangement as it stands,” said Scott McKibben, executive director of the Tournament of Roses/Rose Bowl Game. “We think it's a fair and equitable program for all of us.”

Among its foremost priorities, the TofR wanted a stadium that would enhance the experience for fans, sponsors and spectators of the Rose Bowl and Bowl Championship Series title games, McKibben said.

In addition, the organization wanted to make sure it was playing a role in helping to preserve “all of the historic tradition of the Rose Bowl.”

Stadium and city officials revealed details of the renovation finance plan this week, which they say is intended to preserve the 88-year-old Rose Bowl's historical character while making the venue financially viable for decades to come.

The plan would expand the press box to increase the number of premium or expensive seats from about 500 to 2,500. It would also widen 12 access tunnels, double the number of concession stands and expand restroom facilities.

About $128 million of the $152 million plan would be financed through bonds - mostly federal stimulus bonds that have to be issued by Dec. 31.

Another $15 million would be financed through cash contributions, including $6 million in combined TofR and Rose Bowl Operating Co. profits from the 2010 Bowl Championship Series (BCS) title game.

The remaining $9 million could be financed in a variety of ways, including favorable construction bids, revenue from the 2014 BCS title game and private donations from a newly established philanthropic organization, officials say.

According to officials, UCLA and the TofR will receive about 25 percent of all surplus revenues distributed after the debt service is paid.

If $3 million of surplus revenue is generated as expected, that would result in about $750,000 a year for each of the tenants.

The other $1.5 million would go toward reserve funds for the Rose Bowl Operating Co., such as for supplemental debt service or capital repairs, according to the plan.

UCLA athletics spokesman Marc Dellins called the renovation project “exciting” but declined to comment on the plan.

“We're still negotiating and until UCLA and the Rose Bowl has reached an agreement and the project is's premature for us to comment,” he said.

UCLA has been a tenant of the Rose Bowl since 1982 and hopes for a “good long partnership” with the stadium in the future, said Dellins.