Friday, December 15, 2006

Converting the Pepsi Center into a TV studio

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

An overview of what Denver has to go through to convert the Pepsi Center for use as host of the 2008 Democratic Convention, if Denver gets the convention:

It will cost millions of dollars to get the Pepsi Center ready for the Democratic National Convention if Denver is chosen to host the event.

The sports and entertainment arena would be unavailable for other events for up to eight weeks around the Aug. 25-28, 2008, convention in order to accommodate interior construction, setup and breakdown.


At national political conventions this decade held in Los Angeles, New York and Boston, more than $10 million apiece was spent to renovate the respective arenas.

"It would be a substantial number" at the Pepsi Center, said Mike Benson, senior vice president of business affairs and treasurer at Kroenke Sports Enterprises, which owns the 700,000-square-foot arena, the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche. Benson declined to provide renovation cost estimates.

Some expected changes would be converting 50 of the Pepsi Center's 93 luxury suites into TV anchor booths, according to bid documents. Other upgrades could include additional audio systems and the installation of a teleprompter system.

The bid documents also detail how the host committee would be responsible for all associated construction costs and for returning the sports arena to Kroenke Sports in a "condition acceptable" to the company.


The Staples Center in Los Angeles underwent $10 million in alterations to host the 2000 Democratic National Convention. That included the temporary removal of 4,000 seats, according to Michael Roth, the arena's vice president of communications.

The center also converted nearly 40 of its 160 luxury suites into broadcast booths. That required removing furniture, adding air-conditioning units to handle the heat generated by television lights and upgrading wiring to meet broadcasting demands. "You turn over your building to the DNC and work closely with them for two to three months," Roth said.


Madison Square Garden in New York underwent a reported $11 million in renovations to prepare for the 2004 Republican National Convention. An estimated $150 million was spent overall for the New York event.

The Pepsi Center would have to be back in working condition by mid-September 2008 to accommodate the Colorado Avalanche hockey team's preseason schedule, said Benson.

"It is a concern," he said. "It's a big undertaking."

It shouldn't be a concern. You won't see anyone at Madison Square Garden saying "it's a concern" - they've done it 4 times in the last 30 years. And while a quote today won't make a difference, if concerns like that were expressed in the past, it's not surprising the DNC is wondering if Denver is really up to this.