SBD/Issue 245/Facilities & Venues

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  • Giants, Jets Could Net $30M From Allianz, But Is It The Right Move?

    Allianz In Naming-Rights Talks
    For New Meadowlands Stadium 
    The Giants and Jets are negotiating a naming-rights sponsorship for their new Meadowlands stadium with Germany-based insurance and financial services company Allianz, which "would put [$25-30M] a year in the teams' pockets for the next 10 to 20 years," according to sources cited by Maura McDermott of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. However, Allianz had "strong ties to the Nazis during World War II, providing insurance to death camps such as Auschwitz." NJSEA Chair Carl Goldberg, whose company owns the land where the stadium is being built, said that he "understands that not everyone would welcome Allianz as a stadium sponsor." Goldberg said Giants Owners the Tisch family are "hugely invested in Jewish philanthropy, not only in the [U.S.] but around the world, and they're very sensitive to these kinds of issues" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 9/11).

    SHOULD THEY THINK TWICE? In N.Y., Oren Yaniv reports Jewish organizations and football fans are "outraged over the prospect" of the possible naming-rights agreement with Allianz." Anti-Defamation League National Dir Abe Foxman said of the potential naming-rights sponsorship, "It would be an insult. It's putting their name in lights for generations to come." Allianz of America Senior VP Peter Lefkin said, "Our record of trying to redress the evils of the Third Reich have been significant over the years." A source said that the New Meadowlands Stadium Corp, which is representing both the Giants and Jets owners, is "convinced that Allianz has done enough to correct its past." North American Board of Rabbis Secretary General Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum said, "I have found Allianz to be receptive, to be sensitive and a friend of the Jewish people today. We need not live in the past" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/11). Also in N.Y., Gary Myers writes under the header, "Considering Firm With Nazi Ties For Naming Rights Is Wrong Move." The company's "past will prompt a damage control campaign if Allianz remains the front-runner and wins the naming rights" to the new stadium. Myers writes even if Allianz is "willing to pay more than anybody else -- perhaps as much as $30[M] per year -- could" Giants Chair & Exec VP Steve Tisch and co-Owner John Mara and Jets Owner Woody Johnson "take a little less money and be a little more sensitive?" Neither the Giants nor Jets commented yesterday on the matter, but "combined with the recent PSL announcements, the news about Allianz's potential involvement is likely to be met with resistance in parts of the Jewish community" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/11). ESPN.com's Matt Mosley writes, "If the Giants and Jets decide to go with Allianz, I'm sure Tisch, who is Jewish, will take the lead on the P.R. front. This is a highly sensitive topic, and writers like Myers and community leaders aren't going to remain silent, nor should they" (ESPN.com, 9/11).

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  • L.A. Council OKs Sale Of Convention Center Signage Rights To AEG

    L.A. City Council Agrees To Sell Signage
    Rights For L.A. Convention Center To AEG 
    The L.A. City Council yesterday voted 12-1 in favor of selling signage rights for the L.A. Convention Center to AEG, a move that "could allow dozens of billboards and video displays to sprout on a public facility along one of the city's busiest freeway interchanges," according to Phil Willon of the L.A. TIMES. Under the deal, AEG will receive the facility's exclusive signage rights. In turn, the company will pay the city of L.A. "at least $2[M] a year over the next decade and also share a portion of the net advertising profits from the signs." Council members said that they were "largely swayed by the stream of cash that the deal will deliver to the city at a time when the economic downturn has forced budget cuts and fee increases." L.A. Council member Janice Hahn: "This is revenue we've never had before." The city now will hold "separate hearings on AEG's detailed plans to adorn the convention center with more than 50,000 square feet of billboards and flashing electronic signs." The "most visible would be two massive signs that would cover portions of the center's landmark glass towers, and four digital billboards would blink out to drivers on the 10 Freeway and 110 Freeway interchange." Council members yesterday "emphasized that they had only approved the business agreement with AEG, and that issues regarding the size, location and features of the signs still must be reviewed by the city Planning Commission and, eventually, will come before the council for a separate vote." In addition, the California Department of Transportation also "must review the plan to ensure that freeway drivers will not be distracted by the signs" (L.A. TIMES, 9/11). L.A. Council Member Bill Rosendahl, who cast the lone "no" vote, said that "giving a no-bid deal to a company that gets more than $300[M] in city subsidies from the L.A. Live project is bad business" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 9/11).

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  • Live Nation Inks Five-Year Deal To Sell Most Tickets For SMG

    Live Nation has signed "a five-year deal to sell tickets" for SMG, which manages "more than 200 major venues," including the L.A. Forum and Soldier Field, according to Ethan Smith of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Under the deal, which will begin in '09, Live Nation will sell the "vast majority of tickets to events at SMG venues -- at least 25 million of about 30 million tickets." Those sales "represent an estimated [$50-60M] in ticketing fees." While Ticketmaster President & CEO Sean Moriarty said that SMG "lacks authority to make a deal on behalf of the municipally owned venues it runs," SMG said that "only a small fraction of its agreements require competitive bidding." Live Nation North American Music CEO Jason Garner said that Live Nation "plans to seek more avenues to get into the ticketing business." Terms of the deal were not disclosed (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/11).

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  • Cotton Bowl Stadium Renovations Complete, Set To Be Unveiled

    Dallas Officials Today To Unveil $50M
    Renovation Of Cotton Bowl Stadium 
    The $50M renovation of the Cotton Bowl stadium is complete, and officials from the Univ. of Texas and Univ. of Oklahoma, as well as State Fair of Texas and City of Dallas officials, are "expected to unveil the stadium's significant upgrades" this afternoon, according to Brandon George of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. The renovations make the Cotton Bowl the "ninth-largest stadium in the nation." While the stadium "has always lacked an adequate number of restrooms and concession areas," a source said that the "number of restrooms and concession stands has doubled." The source added that the stadium for the first time "will meet city code for both," as the "upper and lower decks in both end zones will feature wall-to-wall restrooms and concession stands." The source also said that the seating capacity "has grown from 76,000 to 92,180." There will be a "new upper concourse, and 18,000 bleacher seats -- 9,000 on each end -- have been added." In addition, the end zone area "will have a wider concourse," and the upper deck "will wrap 360 degrees around the stadium." Also, a three-story structure "has been added above the players' tunnel at the end of the stadium that will feature the coaches' locker room and a new media area that will replace a tent that had been used." The source said that the media room "will accommodate 250 people" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/11). 

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  • Facility Notes

    In San Diego, Tim Sullivan writes of a possible new stadium for the Chargers, "In denying the Port of San Diego's request for an immediate stay, the Fourth District Court of Appeal yesterday removed the last obstacle to a public vote on a massive waterfront makeover at the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal." City Attorney Mike Aguirre said, "If the voters approve it, it probably has to go forward." Though the Chargers "have yet to publicly endorse" the initiative, Aguirre's "stated neutrality could be a critical consideration." Sullivan: "Should the election eliminate either Aguirre himself or his potential objections, it could signal a significant break in the city's stadium stalemate" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 9/11).

    Landowners Claiming City Of Arlington
    Unconstitutionally Obtained Their Land For Stadium 
    LAND SWAP: In Ft. Worth, Andrea Ahles reports Arlington, Texas, landowners "argued in court Wednesday that the city acted unconstitutionally when it obtained their land through eminent domain for the new" $1.1B Cowboys stadium. Attorney Bob Cohen, who is repping four landowners, argued before the 2nd Court of Appeals that the city's lease with the Cowboys "is illegal because it is too broad and the city has no control over the new stadium." If the landowners succeed, the city "could be forced to renegotiate the long-term stadium lease with the Cowboys and the land purchases" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 9/11). Cohen said that he is "not trying to stop work on the ... stadium, which opens next year" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/11).

    MUSICAL CHAIRS: In Louisville, Sheldon Shafer reported the Kentucky State Fair Board (KSFB) and AEG have signed a "long-term deal" to bring concerts and other acts to the planned downtown arena and to Freedom Hall. Louisville Arena Authority Chair Jim Host said the agreement with AEG "is a huge deal." KSFB President Harold Workman said that "most of the Freedom Hall concerts and other acts in recent years have not been 'top tier,' and that 'almost all of the acts have been individually signed by our sales staff' and are not touring performers." Workman said that "typically, the top acts have been bypassing Louisville in favor of venues that have deals with AEG or other leading promoters, such as Live Nation" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 9/7).

    THE CALM AFTER THE STORM: SMG business analyst Todd Unterseher, in a report to the Superdome Commission, indicated that the Superdome, New Orleans Arena, Zephyr Field and other local state-owned sports facilities "suffered extensive but for the most part easily reparable damage from Hurricane Gustav." Unterseher, whose company operates the Superdome and New Orleans Arena, "gave the commission a three-page checklist of damage to the various facilities the commission oversees for the state." About half the list "was devoted to Zephyr Field," which Unterseher said suffered "quite a bit of damage." Officials declined to "put a price tag on the damage" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 9/11).

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