Monday, July 07, 2008

Pepsi Center construction starts today

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Regardless of where Obama gives his acceptance speech, construction at the Pepsi Center to support the convention starts today, a full seven weeks before the convention begins:

The Pepsi Center hands over the keys to construction teams for the Democratic National Convention Committee at 8 a.m. Monday, and the on-the-ground, multimillion-dollar race to transform the arena into a convention hall by Aug. 25 begins.
The Pepsi Center is outfitted with 576 miles of phone lines, computer lines and high-speed cable. But that's not enough. The DNCC's needs, due in part to security, create a system "so massive it exceeds the Pepsi Center's." So the DNCC contractors will overlay all those cables with their own.

Many of the 95 suites will be stripped of their furnishings and transformed into broadcasting booths. Walls in some of them will be knocked down to allow for bigger networks. The carpeting will be covered with hardboard sheeting. Some of the boxes will exist as hospitality suites. Their bars can stay.
The first work to take place is to protect the existing Pepsi Center structure and move equipment such as the basketball parquet floors and the hockey walls into storage.
So here's the thing. I understand why all this work needs to be done. The party needs to essentially turn the arena into a television studio so that the convention looks great on TV and the party is presented in the best way possible. And the press has technical requirements of their own in order to do their job properly.

But the most important night of the convention is Thursday when Obama speaks, and it looks like he won't be speaking at the Pepsi Center. And they only have five days to prepare Invesco Field before the speech. So if they can get Invesco ready in five days for the most important speech of the convention, which obviously means a lot less infrastructure being put in place, and therefore a lot less money spent, what does that say about all the effort being put into the Pepsi Center? The DNCC and the Obama campaign are going to have to answer a lot of questions this week.