SBD/Issue 2/Facilities & Venues

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  • Target Signs 25-Year Deal For New Twins Ballpark Naming Rights

    Twins Ink Target To 25-Year Naming-
    Rights Deal For New Ballpark
    The Twins announced this morning they have reached an agreement in principle on a 25-year naming-rights deal with Target Corp. for their new ballpark, set to open in 2010. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal could be worth $4-6M annually based on the team's market size, said Premier Partnership's Randy Bernstein, who helped the A's complete a 30-year, $120M deal for Cisco Field in '06. The A's have yet to build their park. The average annual value for naming rights at MLB ballparks is $2.6M, according to SBJ research. For Target, the ultimate value to put its name on the Twins ballpark depends on its full sponsorship package, Bernstein said. The basic elements have been agreed on, but a final contract has yet to be signed and it is still too early to determine the scope of Target's brand activation at the $412M facility, Target Dir of Communications Lissa Reitz said. In addition to Target Field, the Twin Cities-based retailer also gets naming rights to Target Plaza, a pedestrian bridge and public gathering space connecting the ballpark to downtown Minneapolis. There is a plan for Target to sell Target Field-branded merchandise at the ballpark, which would have no effect on Delaware North Sportservice's stadium retail exclusive, confirmed Twins President Dave St. Peter. Those new items will be available at Sportservice stands. "The question is if Target is going to do any on-site sales and if the deal is tied to any type of licensed products," Bernstein said. "The dollar value really jumps when it's tied to extended business and other platforms."

    TARGET PRACTICE: The deal is Target's second naming-rights contract for a major league venue in Minneapolis. The company bought naming rights for 15 years to Target Center in '90 and extended that deal, valued at $1.25M annually, for an additional five years in '05-06. That deal is set to expire about the same time the ballpark opens, SBJ research shows. "We value both partnerships and those deals are mutually exclusive," Reitz said. "Anything that happens further with the [T'Wolves] and Target Center will be an independent decision."

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  • Reliant Stadium Suffers Hurricane Damage, Ravens-Texans Moves

    Experts Today To Examine Damage To Reliant
    Stadium Roof Sustained During Hurricane Ike 
    SMG, which manages Reliant Stadium, is "bringing in experts to assess the damage to the roof as well as other parts of the stadium" as a result of Hurricane Ike, which moved through the Houston area over the weekend, according to John McClain of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. SMG Senior VP/Stadiums and Reliant Park President Shea Guinn: "We're still in the process of cleaning everything up. There's water and wind damage throughout the stadium. ... We won't know anything concerning when the stadium will be ready until we sit down with them (the experts) midweek." McClain notes due to the "extensive damage to Reliant Stadium ... the Texans have asked all employees to stay home until Tuesday" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/15). McClain reported the storm "took five panels out of the stadium roof." Guinn: "There is some structural damage to the roof. Part of it is off. There's also other damage on the property caused by wind and water." The Texans and the NFL "didn't want to comment about the possibility of not being able to play at Reliant Stadium, referring questions about the damage to Guinn" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/14).

    NEW SCHEDULE: The Ravens-Texans game originally scheduled to be played in Houston yesterday and then moved to tonight has been rescheduled for Sunday, November 9 at 12:00pm CT at Reliant. The Bengals-Texans game that was to be played on November 9 has been moved to October 26, the bye week for both clubs. The Ravens were scheduled for a bye on November 9, but instead this past weekend will count as a bye week for both the Ravens and Texans (Mult., 9/13). In Baltimore, Jamison Hensley reported the NFL had discussed playing Ravens-Texans tonight at an "alternate site -- possibly New Orleans or Atlanta -- but it ultimately decided to move the game to a later date." One reason for the "postponement was the potential problem of getting the Texans to one of those sites because the airports in Houston have been shut down." Ravens President Dick Cass said that when the NFL was "talking about alternate sites, moving the game to Baltimore wasn't discussed." The NFL "felt some backlash in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when it forced the [Saints] to play a scheduled home game against the [Giants] at Giants Stadium." Hensley noted while NFL teams "have had their games relocated because of severe weather, reshuffling the schedule is an unusual move" (Baltimore SUN, 9/14). ESPN's Chris Mortensen: "The networks were involved certainly in this decision as well" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/14).

    ADDITIONAL CHANGES COULD COME: Fox' Jay Glazer reported if there is a "lot of damage to the stadium, there’s already talk about swapping" the Colts-Texans Week 5 game to Indianapolis, then playing the Week 11 game between the teams in Houston (“Fox NFL Sunday,” Fox, 9/14). McClain suggested if Reliant Stadium is not ready for Colts-Texans on October 5, the team could look at nearby Rice Stadium. McClain: "While it's not up to NFL standards, it seats 70,000. (The Texans) don't want to have to relocate like the Saints did from New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina drove them all the way to San Antonio. So I suspect they will not be leaving Houston because they've got a stadium close by that they could use in an emergency” (“NFL GameDay Morning,” NFL Network, 9/14).

    MORE IMPORTANT PRIORITIES: Fox' Glazer noted the Ravens “wanted to play (and) it really came down to the reaction of the Houston Texans players,” who worried about leaving their families in the wake of damage in the Houston area from Ike. Glazer: “Commissioner Goodell, obviously very sympathetic to that” (Fox, 9/14). SI.com's Peter King writes, "For much of Saturday, I was on the side of the Ravens, who wanted to play their game with Houston somewhere -- New Orleans if not Houston -- tonight." However, he changed his mindset after talking to Texans TE and player rep Mark Bruener. Bruener: "You'd have to see what's happened here to believe it. ... If we had been asked to leave town and play a game somewhere else, it'd have been hard to have our minds in the right places, especially for guys who had to leave families behind" (SI.com, 9/15).

    NFL Receives Praise For Postponing
    Ravens-Texans Game Until November 
    NFL HANDLED SITUATION WELL: In Baltimore, David Steele wrote, "Give the NFL a big hand for figuring out how to not move the game to another city. ... Anything else would have been unfair to Houston and the Texans." The NFL's "juggling of the schedule to accommodate the two teams and the city was more deft than the league usually shows itself to be." The NFL "worked this out in about four days, max," and in that span, the league "bought itself time by initially bumping the game back a day, then kept the idea of moving the game to a neutral, distant site as a next-to-last resort." Steele: "Helmet stickers for everybody" (Baltimore SUN, 9/14). The HOUSTON CHRONICLE's McClain wrote the NFL "did the smart thing Saturday by postponing" the game until November (CHRON.com, 9/13). But in Baltimore, Mike Preston wrote under the header, "Goodell Handled This Situation Incorrectly." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "should have just asked the Texans and their families to leave early and come to Baltimore." Preston: "From what I understand, [Texans Owner Bob McNair] didn't want to lose the home date, but under the circumstances, he shouldn't have been given any options" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 9/13).

    RECOVERY FIRST, GAMES SECOND: In Houston, Richard Justice wrote under the header, "In Due Time, Games Will Help Greatly." Justice: "Not one cent, not one man hour should be spent on getting [Reliant and Minute Maid Park] ready to play until we're on the road to recovery in our neighborhoods and schools, until we begin to become whole again. ... At some point, we'll get back to the games. When we do, those games may feel more important than they were before. They're going to be an island of normalcy" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/14).

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  • Giants/Jets End Stadium Naming Rights Talks With Allianz

    Giants And Jets Shut Down Stadium
    Naming-Rights Talks With Allianz 
    The Giants and Jets Friday said that they "had ended talks" with Germany-based insurance and financial services company Allianz about a potential naming-rights agreement for the teams' new $1.6B stadium, according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. The decision to end the talks "came after two days of largely negative reaction to the possibility of a deal with Allianz," which insured concentration camps during WWII. Meadowlands Stadium Co. President & CEO Mark Lamping: "We paid very close attention to what people were saying this week. Whether those opinions were expressed directly to us, or through the media, we paid attention and was one of many factors that went into our decision." Lamping and Allianz spokesperson Sabia Schwarzer noted that there had "never been a final deal for Allianz to pay $25[M] a year for naming rights." Schwarzer said Allianz' BOD last Tuesday decided it was "too early to decide on such a big financial commitment, that it was too large and it wanted more time to consider it.” Schwarzer "played down the impact of the criticism of the potential deal," indicating that the negative feedback "had not yet begun when the Allianz board expressed its need to spend more time evaluating the financial commitment." Sandomir wondered, "So if Allianz’s enthusiasm -- if not a signed deal -- was known to the teams, was the public reaction to its connections to the Nazis the final blow to the discussions?" Lamping said, "We didn’t isolate it that way. We looked at the collection of all the factors, including assessing where we were in the negotiations" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/13).

    LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE: Lamping said that the "'depth of feeling' from the public led him to scuttle the potential sponsorship deal, and he broke the news to Allianz on Friday morning" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/13). Lamping: "It's fair to say that the reaction was strong and we certainly noticed that and it may have been a little stronger than we had expected." Anti-Defamation League National Dir Abraham Foxman said the decision "reflects that they are listening to the voices in the community, both from Holocaust family survivors and from veterans of the Second World War who don't believe that we can have normalcy" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 9/13). Giants Treasurer Jonathan Tisch, when asked to comment about the deal, said, "I'm not the spokesperson for the team, so you have to talk to others about that" (AP, 9/13).

    LESSENING THE BLOW: On Long Island, Neil Best noted many companies, "foreign and domestic, have sordid histories, and many people buy their products without thinking twice." But this deal was different "partly because of the vileness of the history, partly because the name would have been emblazoned in big letters on a sports palace paid for with the help of fans via PSLs, a slap in the face too harsh to bear" (NEWSDAY, 9/14). In N.Y., Gary Myers wrote this "should be one of the greatest times ever" for football in N.Y., but "raising funds to pay for the [stadium] is the cause of an awful lot of aggravation and bitterness among their loyal fans." And news of the potential deal with Allianz "caused an uproar in the Jewish community in the New York area." For the Giants and Jets, "bowing to public pressure ... was the right thing to do, but it's still surprising it got that far." Giants co-Owner John Mara and Chair & Exec VP Steve Tisch and Jets Owner Woody Johnson "have taken a public relations beating over the last couple of months between the PSLs and Allianz" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/14).

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  • Vikings Hope To Take Page From Colts' Book On Stadium Financing

    Vikings Hoping To Use Hospitality Taxes To 
    Help Finance New Stadium In Minneapolis 
    After spending two days last week meeting with Colts execs and getting a tour of Lucas Oil Stadium, the Vikings are apparently hoping financing for a new stadium "can involve hospitality taxes," according to Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley said, "That's up to the Legislature and the governor to determine what's the best package of taxes to solve the issue. ... We're working on some finance options, along with the sports commission, but we're not ready to lay those out yet." Zulgad notes the public funding the Colts used included "increases of 3[%] for a county hotel tax, 2[%] for a county rental car tax, and 1[%] for a six-county restaurant tax and county admission tax." Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Thursday is "scheduled to select one of four architectural firms to work on the design for a stadium." Candidates include Ellerbe Becket, HOK Sports, 360 Architecture and HKS (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/15).

    OUTSIDE OPINION: Colts Owner Jim Irsay said of the Vikings' stadium need, "The key is, it is urgent. They simply can't remain in this facility. It's not possible." Irsay said that the Colts "ultimately were able to generate support for their new stadium because of local and state leaders' ability to recognize the importance of the team's presence as well as the new stadium, which, with a retractable roof, can host a number of major events." Irsay added, "You have to understand. If you're a mayor or governor of a city or state, you don't do this because, 'Oh, I like the Wilfs. Or I just like football.' That's not what it's about. The public-private partnership is about a win-win situation." Irsay added, "The Wilfs can't put $600[M] into a stadium. That's never going to happen. You'd never make it back in five lifetimes" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 9/15).

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  • Bruton Smith, County Officials Clash Over Lowe's Incentive Deal

    Smith Clashing With Cabarrus County
    Officials Over $80M Incentive Package 
    SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith, who owns Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS), and Cabarrus County (NC) officials are in a "clash over his $80[M] incentives deal" for the track, as Smith "wants to get his money within three years, and the governments want to take up to 40 years to pay him," according to Adam Bell of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. When the two sides "reached a general agreement in November, no one had talked about how long the deal would take to complete," but now Smith is "throwing around terms like 'snake in the woodpile' and 'fraud.'" Bell noted "no one knows when the issue will be resolved, although local leaders have indicated they're willing to negotiate." The two-page letter last November from the city of Concord and Cabarrus County officials to Smith "committing to the deal was short on details," and the "only time reference in the letter was for the city and county to secure $20[M] of the $80[M] within three years if they could not get the state to provide it." Cabarrus County Commissioner Bob Carruth said of the agreement, "We were under the gun. If we had two or three months, there would have been more specificity." The offer was a "standard economic incentive package," but "instead of three years, a typical period for Cabarrus County, the payout could take up to 40 years." Smith last week said that he "no longer trusts local officials and that his lawyers are looking into potential fraud by the governments." Smith added that while he cannot "move his track now," he still has "bargaining chips." Bell noted "one possibility is moving a top race -- perhaps the Bank of America 500 -- to another of his tracks, such as" Las Vegas Motor Speedway (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/14).

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  • N.Y. Facility Notes: Mets Selling All Imaginable Items From Shea

    Mets Dugout One Of Items To Be
    Auctioned Off From Shea Stadium
    In N.Y., Olshan & Mokha reported "more than 2,500 items [at Shea Stadium] have been put up for sale, including absurdly big-ticket items like the Mets' dugout, with an asking price of $100,000." The Mets' '69 and '86 World Series banners "are also available, for $50,000 apiece." MeiGray Group Vintage Dir Stu Oxenhorn, whose company is conducting the sale, said that in order "to be eligible to buy the memorabilia, fans must plunk down a $2,500 deposit." Olshan & Mokha noted that "almost everything in the ballpark -- including the letters S, H, E and A on the outside of the stadium -- is fair game" (N.Y. POST, 9/13). Olshan also reported the Shea Stadium apple "won't be rotting on some big-buck bidder's lawn," because it is "heading to Citi Field." Oxenhorn: "The old apple will have a home at the new stadium." A new apple "will also be installed there" (N.Y. POST, 9/14).

    KEEPING A SECRET: In N.Y., Greg Smith reports the city of N.Y. and the Yankees "secretly crafted a letter" that U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) "used to lobby the IRS for tax changes that would save the team $66[M]." Records indicated that this was done at the "same time Yankees [Chair] George Steinbrenner and the team's law firm, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, raised almost $25,000 for Rangel." Akin Gump's political action committee (PAC) also "donated an additional $30,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in this election cycle," and Rangel is the Chair of the committee's BOD, while Yankees President Randy Levine is a Senior Counsel at Akin Gump. The N.Y. Daily News obtained "internal e-mails and correspondence ... under the Freedom of Information Act [which showed] how the Yankees and [N.Y. Mayor Michael] Bloomberg's top deputies have worked hand in hand to win special tax breaks" for the Yankees. Additionally, Yankees execs, Akin Gump lawyers and Akin Gump's PAC "have raised $45,000 for Rangel" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/15).

    Rangers Unveil Renderings Of New Rangers
    Locker Room And Fitness Center At MSG
    HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?: In N.Y., Mark Lelinwalla reported NHL Rangers C Scott Gomez and four of his teammates Friday were at MSG to "unveil artists' renderings of the new Rangers locker room and fitness center that are part of a planned $500[M] renovation of" MSG. Part of the renovation includes "curving in the middle and upper bowl areas 17 degrees to bring fans closer to the action, plus a spacious, skylit lobby entrance area and wider concourses in the arena." MSG Senior VP/Corporate Communications Barry Watkins Friday said that he "did not know how seating capacity would be affected." Construction is scheduled to begin this spring and be completed by the 2011-2012 season (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/14).

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