Tonight in Unpacks: Today’s stadiums are complicated beasts, with factors that include green building and advanced technology. As SBJ’s Bret McCormick reports, outfits like Turner Construction place a great deal of importance and trust in the partnerships they form with other companies to build venues like the Bills’ and Titans’ new stadiums.
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Partners key to Turner Construction's NFL stadium projects
For at least the third time, Turner Construction has two NFL stadium projects going at once: the Bills’ New Highmark Stadium, and the Titans’ new venue in Nashville. And in both cases, reports SBJ’s Bret McCormick, Turner is building the stadiums as part of a joint venture with another contractor. In Buffalo, where work is already underway, Turner is partnered with Gilbane, which has a strong presence in the Northeast. In Tennessee, Turner is partnered with AECOM Hunt, a firm it has worked with for building or renovating 17 NFL stadiums.
“The jobs have doubled in size and they’re so advanced, technology-wise. Major stadiums now are major architectural statements,” Turner Construction SVP/Sports and Public Assembly Dewey Newton said. "They’re not just bricks and mortar and concourse and toilets. The complexity, the capacity that we have to service a billion-dollar job, versus a $600 million job, requires us to take on a partner, and the same [applies to] our competitors.”
Turner has offices in 45 U.S. cities, including one in upstate New York, where Gilbane incidentally has an office, too. Turner has had a booming office in Nashville for over two decades, but that outpost has little pro sports experience. Turner will have between 70 and a hundred people on-site running the Titans’ project, which would sap the Nashville office’s total capacity. AECOM Hunt, the construction brand of AECOM's multinational conglomerate, helps Turner in both situations. Turner’s fees are usually in the 2% to 3% range for these NFL projects, which is a consistent range for their competitors, too.
“We take on what we can, but we’re always looking for, in my group, sports people to build capacity even when the market slows down because the world goes on. People retire,” Newton said. "These are big, giant buildings that [take] three to four years to build, and sometimes people get tired of traveling. I look for people no matter what the market is.”
The Bills' New Highmark Stadium is one of two NFL venues Turner Construction is building right now
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One race remains to determine who gets the final NASCAR Cup Series playoff spot.
One very unpredictable race.
Cup drivers head to where they started 2023 as the regular-season ends Saturday night with 400 miles scheduled for Daytona International Speedway. Many know their destiny while others know they face win-or-in situations at a track where the cars run in tight packs, which can cause big wrecks, and where the aerodynamic draft evens the field where the right push from the car behind at the right time will result in the win.
The 2020 Cup champion, Chase Elliott, who faces a must-win situation to make the playoffs, indicated just how precarious a task he and others face.
"To show up there and be in a must-win situation is like going to Vegas and having to hit the nearest slot machine for the jackpot," Elliott said. "That's just silly."
While some years there could be plenty of math going on as far as who could be in and who could be out, this year it is relatively straightforward.
The Cup playoff field consists of the 16 drivers based on number of wins with ties broken by points. The regular-season champion, in the rare instance of being winless, would get one of the spots.
"We run 26 races in the regular season, and they all are the same," said Cup driver and team owner Denny Hamlin, whose driver, Bubba Wallace, is among those on the bubble. "So Race 3 meant just as much as this one. It just does. We're talking about five points here, 10 points there.
Sam Mayer won the Xfinity Series race by making an aggressive move that resulted in a wheel hop and taking out Ty Gibbs on the green-white-checkered finish.
It was a mistake in the sense that he wheel-hopped, but it didn't seem Mayer was likely going to avoid that as hard as he went into the corner.
It was a move that a driver should make to win a race to get into the playoffs. But is it a move a driver should make when the driver already has a win, as Mayer had?
It would seem that this close to the playoffs, it's best not to make other drivers angry, and Mayer made Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress Racing drivers upset.
The JR Motorsports driver got the valuable five playoff points and another trophy. But only time will tell if it was worth it or if it comes back to bite him when he might need a favor during the playoffs when it comes to give-and-take battling for position on the track.
They Said It
"I don't think I had one lap where I said I was going to suck, so it was good." — Bubba Wallace on his 12th-place finish at Watkins Glen