SBD/Issue 197/Facilities & Venues

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  • Levy Takes Over Concessions At Conseco, Palace Of Auburn Hills

    Levy Restaurants has replaced Aramark and Centerplate as the general concessions operator at Conseco Fieldhouse and the Palace of Auburn Hills, respectively, confirming information published in Monday’s SportsBusiness Journal. In Indianapolis, Levy assumes all food service in the arena after having managed the premium portion since Conseco opened in '99. The contract runs more than five years, said Pacers Sports & Entertainment COO Rick Fuson. He would not give the exact length but said it runs concurrent with Levy’s suite catering deal. Palace Sports & Entertainment signed a five-year agreement with Levy after Centerplate and its predecessors, Volume Services and Volume Services America, enjoyed a 20-year run dating back to the arena’s opening in '88. The deal includes the arena’s 190 suites in addition to DTE Energy Music Theatre and Meadow Brook Music Festival, the two Detroit area amphitheaters Palace Sports operates. Palace Sports has been talking to Levy for the past two years about taking over concessions, according to Mario Etemad, the group’s Exec VP/Facilities Operations. In both cases, the teams wanted to upgrade regular concessions and saw Levy as the best option, officials said. For Chicago-based Levy, wholly owned by Compass Group, the deals are its 16th and 17th accounts with facilities housing NBA or NHL teams.

    ANOTHER DROPPED CONTRACT FOR CENTERPLATE: Centerplate has now shed four contracts in the span of a month as its new owner Kohlberg & Co., a private equity firm, continues to evaluate which current deals make the most sense to retain as it rebuilds a firm that struggled financially as a publicly held entity. Besides the Palace, Centerplate is no longer the food provider at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, the Greensboro Coliseum and the Rose Bowl. Centerplate President & CEO Des Hague said he was disappointed to lose the two major league accounts. The Palace, for which Centerplate was paid an annual management fee tied to performance incentives, was the only one of the four venues that ranked among the vendor’s 50 most profitable deals, Hague said. “Both were lost due to improved terms by the competition ... and not through a failure of Centerplate to provide great service,” he said. Palace Sports will offer jobs to the 200 employees who worked for Centerplate, including 12 to 14 full-timers, Etemad said.

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  • Design Details: Cowboys Unveil Logo For New Arlington Stadium

    The Cowboys yesterday revealed the logo for Cowboys Stadium. The logo, created by Dallas-based design firm Rovillo + Reitmayer, is a stylized blue and gray depiction of the stadium that emphasizes the football-shaped lines used in the architecture and the futuristic feel of the building. The logo will appear on branded merchandise and several highly visible locations throughout the facility (THE DAILY). Cowboys Exec VP/Brand Management & President of Charities Charlotte Jones Anderson said, "We think this logo will soon be instantly recognizable and appreciated as the mark of a significant and important venue for sports" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 7/1).

    CONSTRUCTION ON WAREHOUSE BEGINS: In Dallas, Steve Brown reports the Cowboys began construction yesterday on a "new warehouse complex that will house the retailing operations" for the team. Dallas-based real estate firm Bandera Ventures is building the 400,000-square-foot facility near Dallas/Ft. Worth Int'l Airport that will include the warehouse and "office space for Dallas Cowboys Merchandising, Dallas Cowboys Pro Shops and Blue Star Graphics & Design." Financing for the building was provided by American Bank of Texas (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 7/1). The Cowboys said that they "plan to move into the new building by January and be fully operational by March 15." The facility, which will house about 450 employees, will "import, print and distribute goods to nearly 800 wholesale customers and 35 Cowboys retail stores" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 7/1).

    Writer Raves About New Cowboys Stadium
    ONE OF A KIND:'s Tim Keown reviewed the new Cowboys Stadium, and wrote, "It's utterly insane. It's impossible to describe. The obvious comparison is to a spaceship, but that's too facile. Maybe it resembles the imaginary place where spaceships are built." The stadium during a recent Monday night "sat there with its millions of lights blazing into the suburban night, existing solely because it can." Keown: "It's remarkable and insane at the same time. ... It's one of the coolest buildings I've ever seen in my life, and easily the most ridiculous" (, 6/30).

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  • Marlins Agree To Fill Gap After Ballpark Bond Sale Falls Short

    Marlins Committed To Filling Funding Gap
    In Order To Complete Retractable Roof Ballpark
    Miami-Dade County fell "short by $6.2[M] in its effort to sell bonds for a new Marlins ballpark" yesterday, but the team has "agreed to fill the gap should the dollars be needed to complete the 37,000-seat retractable roof ballpark," according to Sarah Talalay of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Miami-Dade County Manager George Burgess at a meeting on the matter said that the county had "planned to sell $306[M] in bonds, but fell short," while a portion of the bonds "were set at a higher interest rate than the county had expected." This means the county's "commitment to payments will remain the same, but the gap needed filling," and Burgess said that "neither the county, nor city were willing to step up." Marlins President David Samson said, "If this building costs $515[M], the team will put in what's required. If it costs $512[M] that is what the team will do." County commissioners at their meeting last night also "approved three items, including agreeing to a higher interest rate on ... some of the bonds and adjusting the county's commitment to the project" to $341M, down from $347M. Talalay noted site preparation work on the ballpark is "expected to begin" today, and a "formal ground-breaking is scheduled on July 18" (, 6/30). In Miami, Matthew Haggman notes it was unclear last night if that schedule was "still on pace." Samson also "pledged that the project will not be scaled back at all" (MIAMI HERALD, 7/1). 

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  • San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed Discusses City's Efforts To Attract A's

    San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed Says City Would
    Like To See A's Come To San Jose
    San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed appeared on CSN Bay Area's "Chronicle Live" Monday to discuss his city's efforts to "free San Jose from the territorial restrictions imposed a long time ago to put San Jose into the Giants' territory," allowing the city to pursue the A's. Reed: "We'd like to see the A's come to San Jose and other cities would as well." Reed said city officials are "taking a public stand in support of trying to let San Jose make some sort of an arrangement," which is why city officials in April sent a letter to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig detailing their desire to host the A's. Reed: "We're not trying to get into the middle of the discussion within (MLB), so we're not trying to negotiate with the Giants. That really is a job for the ownership of the A's.  ... We're going to let that play out." Reed: "We're working to be prepared so that when we get the sign from (MLB), we're ready to go." However, S.F. Chronicle columnist Ray Ratto noted there are a "number of owners who are not convinced even now that San Jose is a better place to have a (MLB) team than Oakland." But Ratto said if the A's "can get a shovel in the ground, the deal is done, and the only question is whether the Giants want to go to court and turn this into a bloodbath or whether they'll take the quiet check that baseball would like to give them to make the problem go away." San Jose Mercury News columnist Mark Purdy: "There's a way to settle this. It's money." Meanwhile, when asked about the 49ers' efforts to build a new stadium in Santa Clara, which could appear on the same ballot as an A's initiative, Reed said, "Whether or not it would be good to have a baseball measure on in San Jose and a football measure on in Santa Clara, we'll have to do some political analysis to figure out when is the best time to do that. Personally, I think that the best possible time for an election would be in November of 2010" ("Chronicle Live," CSN Bay Area, 6/29).

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  • Facility Notes

    In N.Y., Rich Calder reports the New York state Court of Appeals has "agreed to hear a legal challenge over the use of eminent domain to seize private land for Brooklyn's controversial Atlantic Yards project" beginning in October. The decision "raises new uncertainty" over whether Nets Owner Bruce Ratner "will be able to build the planned $4.9[B] development," which includes the Nets' Barclays Center and 16 office and residential towers (N.Y. POST, 7/1). Also in N.Y., Erin Durkin notes the appeal is from nine plaintiffs who "sued to prevent the government from taking their homes and businesses under eminent domain." After the initial court ruling, Ratner had said that it was the "'last hurdle' to the project and vowed to break ground in September," but this "latest court action will likely push that date back" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/1). In New Jersey, John Brennan notes Nets officials have "estimated it will take 24 to 26 months to build" the $772M Barclays Center, so a fall '11 opening "may no longer be a possibility -- unless the developer wants to try to break ground before the legal process is concluded" (Bergen RECORD, 7/1).

    London 2012 Olympic Stadium Could Be Used
    To Stage World Cup Games In Future
    SECOND LIFE: The London 2012 Olympic Stadium "may not be downsized after the Olympic Games," as London Mayor Boris Johnson is "now hoping it will stage World Cup football matches if England's bid for the 2018 tournament is successful." Johnson: "I'd be very foolish to rule it out now." With Olympic officials "unable to find a football club to take residence in the stadium after 2012 it is estimated" the US$945.8M development could cost US$16.5M "annually to maintain." But Johnson hopes the site "could become one of the 12 designated venues" for a potential World Cup (Manchester GUARDIAN, 7/1).

    CLEARING THE WAY: The PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL's Kostelni & George report the investment group developing MLS Philadelphia Union's stadium and its ancillary residential and commercial projects last week secured $25M in private "financing for the venue, and plans to break ground this fall on a speculative office building." The developers have "initially focused on lining up funds" for the $110M, 18,500-seat stadium, which broke ground in December. They recently "arranged for funding from Sovereign Bank," while the remainder of the costs are "coming from funds already secured from state and local public sources" (PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/26 issue).

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  • No one else has detailed naming rights data like this

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