SBD/Issue 204/Facilities & Venues

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  • Ticketmaster Suing Cavs, Flash Seats Over Ticket Designations

     
    The Cavaliers and sister company Flash Seats are being sued in U.S. District Court in Cleveland by Ticketmaster, according to the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER's Damian Guevara, who reported the trial before District Judge Kate O'Malley “included two days of testimony last week.” Lawyers will submit written arguments, and O'Malley will rule next month. Ticketmaster claims that the team violated its contract with the company when it “established Flash Seats as a way for people to buy, sell or swap tickets.” Ticketmaster attorney Robert Platt said, “For each ticket sold through Flash Seats that otherwise would have been sold through Ticketmaster, Ticketmaster loses revenue." Guevara wrote the “central issue in the case is whether an unsold ticket in an area designated for season tickets should be classified as a season ticket or a single-game ticket." If it is a season ticket, the Cavaliers control the rights to it, but Ticketmaster has the rights to sell single-game tickets. Ticketmaster “contends that for games in which season tickets go unsold, the Cavs sell those seats directly through Flash Seats, instead of releasing the tickets into a pool that would be sold through Ticketmaster.” The Cavaliers and Flash Seats are both owned by Daniel Gilbert, and they countersued Ticketmaster, saying that the company “is trying to squash Flash Seats' expansion in the competitive ticket-vending industry.” They claim that the Flash Seats Web site is "simply a convenient way for season ticket holders to get rid" of tickets they cannot use. Cavaliers and Flash Seats attorney Joseph Castrodale said that the team has “traditionally sold season tickets directly to fans with no involvement from Ticketmaster.” Ticketmaster has had exclusive rights to all Cavaliers single-game ticket sales since Quicken Loans Arena opened in '93. In '05, the company paid the team a $4.3M advance to secure those rights, which runs through 2010 (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 7/13).

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  • Cleaning The Dish: Centerplate Could Be Sold By End Of The Month

     
    Centerplate, the concessionaire serving fans at this week's MLB All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, could be sold to a competitor by the end of July, sources representing Aramark and Comcast-Spectacor's Ovations Food Services said. Those firms, as well as Delaware North Sportservice, are evaluating Centerplate's deals at 22 big league facilities. UBS Investment Bank, hired by Centerplate in May to explore strategic options that include selling the company, recently circulated a book listing the publicly-traded firm's assets and liabilities. Delaware North, rumored to be the front-runner, issued a statement that it is "actively looking for potential acquisition candidates that would enable us to maintain and grow our global reputation and market share in our respective industries." Aramark and Ovations officials declined to speak publicly. Centerplate Dir of Communications Gael Doar said, "I'm not going to comment on a rumor." Centerplate's stock, an income deposit security that combines common stock and a bond, has fallen to about $2 a share today on the American Stock Exchange, compared with $17 in mid-July '07. The company stopped paying monthly dividends in June. Centerplate's contract at Yankee Stadium expires after the '08 season; that deal represents about 18% of the company's cash flow. The Yankees have formed their own food and retail firm, Legends Hospitality Management, for their new ballpark opening next spring. A sale of Centerplate would be subject to SEC approval.

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  • Newark To Keep Eye On Prudential Center's Finances, Maintenance

    Newark Official Shuts Down Prudential
    Center On Friday Over Expired Permit
    The Prudential Center was "hit with a nearly daylong shutdown Friday after its temporary certificate of occupancy had expired," and whether it is the "building's maintenance or its financial performance, Newark officials said they intend to keep a close eye" on the $375M venue, according to Maura McDermott of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. Newark Downtown Core Redevelopment Corp. (NDCRC) COO William Crawley said that the agency next month will launch a "national search for a firm specializing in financial performance and maintenance of arenas." Crawley said that the "goal is to make sure the Devils pay the city what they owe, maintain the arena properly and stay competitive." Crawley: "We invested $220[M] in this building. So we need to make sure that the property is being well-cared for." Crawley added that the NDCRC aims to have the management firm "measure how the venue stacks up against its competitors." Devils Owner Jeff Vanderbeek said that the Prudential Center "expects to book 175 events in its first year." That is a "less ambitious goal than Vanderbeek set in December, when he said he hoped to fill 200 dates." But Vanderbeek said, "We're very happy with our acts, we got our fair share of acts and we only think it's going to grow." Concert industry magazine Pollstar Editor Gary Bongiovanni said of the arena, "The fact they did that well is probably pretty good, actually, given that the industry is reacting to the worsening economy" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 7/14).

    FRANTIC FRIDAY: In Newark, Jeffery Mays reported New Jersey Judge Paul Vichness Friday "reinstated a temporary certificate of occupancy that allowed the Prudential Center to reopen after it was closed ... by a Newark construction code official." Vichness extended the certificate until August 25. The city has until July 21 to file a response, and a hearing is scheduled for August 8. The "completion of a smoke evacuation system to help clear the stairwells in the event of a fire is the subject of the dispute." But Devils co-Owner Michael Gilfillan said, "It's safe. It's just technicalities, paperwork, bureaucracy and miscommunication" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 7/12).

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  • Facility Notes

    In West Palm Beach, Dave George wrote there is "every reason to believe" that Miami will get an MLB All-Star Game, "if not in 2013 then two years, or maybe four, beyond that." The "real clincher, though, is the fact that [MLB] owes Miami one." The Marlins were officially scheduled as hosts of the '00 All-Star Game but MLB's "big guns got spooked by poor attendance and general disillusionment over the team." The expectation of a new Marlins ballpark opening in 2011 "should swing the momentum just as hard in a positive direction" (PALM BEACH POST, 7/12).

    Dodgers Officially Terminate Facility Agreement
    With Indian River County For Dodgertown
    ON THE MOVE: In Florida, Laurel Scheffel reported the Dodgers are "officially ending a 61-year relationship with" Indian River County (FL). Dodgers VP/Spring Training & Minor League Facilities Craig Callan Thursday "delivered a letter" to Indian River County Administrator Joe Baird and Vero Beach City Manager Jim Gabbard, "informing them the team is exercising its option to terminate the facility lease agreement this year." The Dodgers and Baird "agreed to terms of an exit agreement in February, and the team has until next week to inform the county -- without penalty." The Dodgers are expecting to begin hosting their Spring Training in Glendale, Arizona, in '09. Callan: "The delivery of the letter was more of a formality. It's not a surprise to anyone that our intention was to move to Glendale in 2009" (TCPALM.com, 7/13).

    CHANGING THE SIGNS: In S.F., Jonathan Curiel noted the name of the 49ers' stadium in June reverted from Monster Park to Candlestick Park, so "why do the freeway signs near the stadium still refer to 'Monster Park'?" Caltrans spokesperson Benjamin DeLanty, whose agency handles freeway signs, said, "We are waiting for final approval of permits. It should happen soon." The stadium also still advertises itself as 'Monster Park,'" and "huge banners herald the name to everyone who drives up to the gates" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/13).

    CONCERT REPORT: A report released last week by concert industry trade magazine Pollstar indicates concert tours from January-June "grossed $1.05[B] in North America, the same as the mid-year gross" in '07. But with "grim economic forecasts, many in the industry are bracing for a sharp downturn for the rest of the summer and the fall." Since tickets for the "most popular tours are often bought months in advance, sales for recent shows may not reflect the jump in fuel prices over the last couple of months." However, concert promoters said that the "true test ... will be over the next few months, as consumers decide whether to buy tickets for the fall." AEG Live President & CEO Randy Phillips: "There's been a delayed effect. Most of these shows went on public sale in February, March and April, and it wasn't as dire as it got right after that" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/12).

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