SBD/Issue 49/Facilities & Venues

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  • Tax Break Clears Way For MLS Wizards Stadium Construction

    New Home For MLS Wizards Set To Be Built
    The Missouri Development Finance Board Thursday approved $30M in tax credits toward The Trails development in southeast K.C., clearing the way for LANE4 Property Group and MLS Wizards ownership group OnGoal LLC to "begin demolition of the old Bannister Mall site and start construction" of a $1B mixed-use project, according to Randy Covitz of the K.C. STAR. The "centerpiece of the project" will be a $100M, 18,500-seat soccer stadium, which is scheduled to open late in the 2010 MLS season or for the start of the 2011 season. OnGoal is investing about 71% of the capital required for the project, which will include the stadium, 12 soccer fields, 590 hotel rooms, 1.13 million square feet of mixed-use retail, 1.7 million square feet of office space and 18,249 parking spaces. Public taxing districts will "provide the additional 29[%], mostly through" tax-increment financing. OnGoal is also spending $60M on what OnGoal LLC CEO and Wizards President Robb Heineman "called 'eligible costs' such as  demolition, site preparation, land acquisition, road and parking lots in return for the $30[M] in tax credits that provide cash value to be reinvested in the project." Heineman conceded the current economic climate "may impact us a little bit." Heineman: "If you look at the broad credit markets right now, they're not great. So far for our group, that hasn't been an issue. ... The retail piece may lag behind just based on everything that is going on, but hopefully the stars align" (K.C. STAR, 11/21).

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  • Dodgers, White Sox Want More Than $1M For Spring Naming Rights

    Camelback Ranch To Feature 13,000-Seat
    Ballpark, 13 Other Fields For Dodgers, White Sox
    The Dodgers and White Sox are asking for more than $1M in naming rights to the field and $250,000 to $300,000 for nine charter partnerships at Camelback Ranch, their new $80M Spring Training ballpark, a Dodgers executive said. The teams are jointly operating the publicly owned facility and are selling naming rights without using a third party, said Dennis Mannion, the Dodgers' Exec VP & COO. The Dodgers hired William Morris Agency to find naming rights for parts of Dodger Stadium in L.A. Naming rights for Spring Training stadiums range from 12 years, $1M for Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida, to 15 years, $4M at Tucson Electric Park, the facility that the White Sox shared with the D'Backs for the past 10 years. In Glendale, the 13,000-capacity park and the rest of the complex, including 13 baseball fields and three half-fields, will not be named for corporate entities, Mannion said. The nine founding partners will get brand exposure inside the stadium, which is about one mile southwest of Univ. of Phoenix Stadium and Jobing.com Arena, where the NFL Cardinals and NHL Coyotes play. The joint venture will start concentrating on doing all those deals after the stadium is up and running in February, Mannion said. Camelback Ranch's eight suites are available for lease, selling for $36,000 annually tied to multiyear contracts, said Brooks Boyer, VP & CMO for the White Sox. Contract terms include first rights to buy tickets to other events at the park. Craig Callan, who has spent the last 30 years as the Dodgers' VP of Spring Training & Minor League Facilities, retains that role in moving to Glendale from Vero Beach, Florida. Greg Corns, a former Ticketmaster regional manager in Phoenix, is VP/Business Operations (Don Muret, SportsBusiness Journal).  

    SPRING FEVER: MLB.com's Kelly Thesier reported Camelback Ranch also will be used to host a "fall instructional league for both the White Sox and Dodgers," and the Dodgers will use it as "home for all of their Minor League operations throughout the year." Plans also call for the facility to host "concerts and other sporting events when baseball isn't taking place" (MLB.com, 11/20). In L.A., Sherry Stern reported the facility will have "some of the priciest tickets" in the Cactus League. The best seats will sell for $90 and include parking, water, sunscreen and cool scented towels, while lawn seats will sell for $8. Tickets will "go on sale soon" (LATIMES.com, 11/20).

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  • Coca-Cola Gets Food Court Naming Rights As Part Of New SSE Deal

    Coca-Cola Branding Prominent At BankAtlantic
    Center's Newly Renamed Food Courts
    Coca-Cola has signed a multi-year renewal of its marketing partnership of the NHL Panthers and BankAtlantic Center that will see the soft drink giant receive the naming rights to the arena’s six food courts. The Coca-Cola Food Courts, which are open for all events in the venue, will feature the company’s colors, as well as Coca-Cola signage. The company has been an official partner of Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, which runs both the hockey club and the arena, since the team's inception in '93, and during that time Coca-Cola primarily activated through traditional static and LED signs in the arena. But SSE President & COO Michael Yormark said the expiration of its previous deal with the soft drink company allowed SSE to market Coca-Cola in a more immersive way. “Over the last couple of years their presence in our building has been somewhat passive,” he said. “We decided that we wanted to do something a little bit different for Coke.” The deal includes signage throughout the arena, a "significant presence" at the Panthers’ practice facility and in-game promos and retail components. But Yormark praised the food courts in particular for their ability to give people “an opportunity to experience their brand,” as 90% of beverage and food sales take place in the food courts. “Most of their visibility, and most of their exposure, really comes from these food courts, these dominant food courts, which is obviously a very important point-of-sale for them." Benefits of the deal have indeed already been felt, as Yormark estimated Coca-Cola product sales have increased 10% this year.

    PART OF SSE'S LARGER STRATEGY: The branding of the food courts is part of a larger advertising strategy by SSE in which several official partners have their own branded destination in the BankAtlantic Center. “What we’ve tried to do is put brands on destinations in the building, and in some cases create new destinations around those brands,” Yormark said. “Especially in today’s marketplace, as you can imagine, it’s not about throwing up a sign, putting an ad in the gameday program. It’s about activating the brand on-site and off-site and bringing that brand to life in a very relevant way.” The branding of the food courts, however, is particularly unique, as Yormark noted that it is the first time the food courts have been branded by a single company and marks the first-time Coca-Cola has branded an entire arena’s food courts. Yormark: “I believe it’s going to be a new best practice for them.”

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  • Johnson, Mara Believe New Stadium Will Overcome Economy

    Jets, Giants Owner Give Media
    Tour Of New Meadowlands Stadium
    Jets Owner Woody Johnson and NFL Giants President & CEO John Mara Thursday gave media a tour of the new Meadowlands stadium and "proudly announced that the project was on budget and on schedule," according to Joshua Robinson of the N.Y. TIMES. Mara said of the economic slowdown's impact on the stadium, "We haven't noticed it so far, but until the process is completed, it's pretty hard to determine one way or the other. I don't expect it to have a big impact on the sales." Johnson and Mara "put a brave face on things," as the two said that they are "confident that their fans from the old Meadowlands would follow the teams across the parking lot." Mara said that he originally expected the Giants' PSL plan to "generate a strong reaction among fans, but reported that it had been less than anticipated." The "economic strain the plan puts on fans, however, has been of concern." Mara: "That's why we tried to come up with as many different pricing options as possible, and we're trying to be flexible and work with people in terms of the payment schedule." Mara added that if someone informs the Giants that they "can no longer afford their season ticket, ... the club will contact that person by phone or by mail to make sure they are fully aware of the available pricing options, including a range of financing packages" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/21). Johnson added that "despite the financial crisis, he believes fans will look past the immediate problems and try to find a way to make it work." Johnson: "I do think they'll be shocked and awed by the stadium, that's for sure. Every time I've been into the stadium, I'm in awe at what's been accomplished and how different it is than the stadium we've played in" (NEWSDAY, 11/21).

    Jets Owner Feels Facility Will Have Naming-
    Rights Deal Despite Struggling Global Economy
    FALLING PRICES: In New Jersey, John Brennan reports a billion-dollar naming-rights deal "may not be in the cards for the new Meadowlands football stadium, as the global economy sags and two of the sectors that most commonly vie for such deals -- automakers and financial services -- suffer the most in the downturn." SportsCorp President Marc Ganis: "If you sold the naming rights today, it would surely be at a discount, and that's not a good situation to be in." But Johnson insisted that "even given the difficult times, he sees no reason to worry about finding a stadium naming-rights partner." Johnson: "Having two teams in a brand-new stadium, basically in Manhattan, is unprecedented. And with the proximity to Europe and this being the media capital of the world -- it's still a very attractive opportunity." Mara added that about 60% of the 216 luxury suites "have sold, a figure ahead of the teams' original estimates." Brennan notes the suites are priced at up to $1M annually for access to all stadium events (Bergen RECORD, 11/21).

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