SBD/Issue 172/Franchises

Dallas Pro Sports Teams Working To Retain Corporate Clients

Cowboys' New Stadium Will Not Have Naming-
Rights Partner When It Opens This Summer
The current economic climate has "underscored the importance of corporate America to Dallas' professional sports," as the Cowboys, Rangers, Mavericks and Stars have "scrambled to retain and reward their best customers -- businesses that purchase suites and high-dollar tickets and, in good times, renew at season's end," according to Chuck Carlton of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. While Dallas has "weathered the economic downturn better than other cities, its four major pro teams have been forced to be inventive." Rangers Exec VP/Sales & Marketing Andrew Silverman: "We can't survive without the corporate client. Any sports team ... we need that corporate dollar." The Cowboys' new stadium will not have a naming-rights partner when it opens this summer, and Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said, "We are so sensitive, as everybody is, to the economic times that we're in. And that (stadium sponsorship) will happen at a time when it's probably more appropriate and less sensitive than it is right now." The Rangers "might have been the first Dallas-area pro team to feel the gusty economic headwind," as the team's season-ticket renewals "dropped by 10[%], much of that from the corporate market." The Rangers have "offered reduced ticket prices, aimed at both the corporate clients and the average fan." The Mavericks have already announced for the '09-10 season that it "will be lowering prices for 50[%] of its tickets while leaving the remaining half unchanged." Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban said businesses "realize it provides cheap incentives for their employees." Cuban: "It's easier to give somebody good Mavs tickets and say, 'Take your family,' than to give you a raise." Meanwhile, Stars President Jeff Cogen said that season-ticket renewals for the team are "down about 4[%] from the same point last year facing a mid-June deadline." Cogen said that "most of the decline can be traced to corporate clients' slower activity" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/24).

INTEREST PICKING UP: The DALLAS BUSINESS JOURNAL's Katherine Cromer Brock reports the MLB Rangers' season-ticket sales and corporate sponsorships "were down this year, but with early success has come a resurgence of attendance and game revenue for the organization." Rangers Exec VP/Communications John Blake said that attendance at Rangers Ballpark hit 104,859 during the three-day series against the Angels from May 15-17, the "highest attendance for a three-day stretch since June 2007." As of May 18, season attendance at the ballpark was "485,873, up 28,265 year-over-year." Blake: "That's significant. We were starting at a lower base with the season ticket drop-off from last year. We were battling it for season tickets and hospitality, corporate suite rentals and nightly suite rentals." Silverman said that corporate ticket sales were "off less than 10%." But Blake said that game revenue this year has "seen a 6.4% increase from the same point in last year's season" (DALLAS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/22 issue).

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