12 January 2006

Don't skimp on the seats

At the Reds' home, Great American Ball Park, some 20,000 seat pans (bottoms) will have to be replaced due to failing brackets. Since the ballpark opened in 2003, Hussey has had to replace seat hardware multiple times. Hamilton County (owner of the stadium) and Hussey have agreed to have any further issues resolved through nonbinding mediation.

This might not have been a problem at all if Hamilton County hadn't gone cheap on the seats in the first place. While $4.1 million was budgeted for the seating contract, Hussey submitted the lowest bid, $3.4 million. With the cheaper bid comes cheaper hardware. This is also not the first time Hussey has had issues. Hussey recently settled with the Tampa Stadium Authority over the fading color in the seats in Raymond James Stadium. The intense Florida sun had turned the seats pink in ionly 3 years, and a Hussey subcontractor failed to put proper UV protection in the seats. Hussey has its products installed at dozens of other stadiums nationwide without incident so it shouldn't be a reflection of Hussey seats as a whole. But the Cincinnati problem amounts to a black eye, something Hussey can't afford as the stadium-building boom slows down and opportunities become scarce.

SJ's Grand Prix Subsidy

In the midst of the chaos at San Jose City Hall, the City Council approved a $4 million subsidy for the San Jose Grand Prix. For those of you wondering how this was done, the explanation is quite simple. It was a backroom deal. Even with the mayor's censure and removal from four important committees, it would appear as though it was business as usual. The $4 million being granted to race organizers does not require a vote, as a stadium would, because it's for operational costs, not money being spent on venue development.