SBD/Issue 86/Facilities & VenuesPrint All
Sun Life Financial's Five-Year Deal With Dolphins
Reportedly Averages Around $7.5M Annually
YET ANOTHER NAME CHANGE: The Sun Life deal puts yet another name on the 22-year-old facility that has been called by five additional monikers since opening as Joe Robbie Stadium. It has also been known as Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, and Land Shark Stadium, after an Anheuser-Busch beer licensed by Jimmy Buffet. The insurance category has been fertile territory for those selling sports sponsorships and sports media, even during the recession. Allstate has a USOC and BCS deal, along with its compelling branding on goal-post nets, Nationwide bought title rights to NASCAR's No. 2 circuit last year, and Progressive has naming rights to the Indians' home ballpark. Geico is an NHL sponsor and a large buyer of national and local sports media. State Farm has MLB and NCAA sponsorships, and had NFL rights until this season.
Kenney Says Wrigley Field Renovation Will
Allow Cubs To Use Park For Another 100 Years
TIME FOR A CHANGE? In Illinois, Bruce Miles reports the Cubs are "not considering personal seat licenses" for Wrigley Field, and team Owner the Ricketts family is "not considering increasing the number of night games from 30 or seeking Friday night or Saturday night home games." Cubs BOD member Laura Ricketts said that "any profits the team makes under the family's ownership would be put back into the team." Meanwhile, the Cubs "continue to lobby" MLB to "host the 2014 All-Star Game to mark Wrigley Field's 100th anniversary" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 1/17). MLB.com's Carrie Muskat noted the Ricketts family is "weighing proposals" for Spring Training facilities from Mesa, Arizona, and Naples, Florida, and they are "expected to make an announcement this month." Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts: "The fact is that our goal is to have the best facilities in baseball when it comes to Spring Training" (MLB.com, 1/16). In Chicago, Paul Sullivan reported the family also is "looking to hire what it called a 'Chief Hospitality Officer' to bring fans suggestions and complaints to ownership." Tom Ricketts added that they are "looking into asking the city to block off some streets before games, making it less of a 'bar-like atmosphere outside the stadium'" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/17).
FAMILY MATTERS: The Illinois DAILY HERALD's Miles reports the "clear winners" of the Cubs Convention over the weekend were the "members of the Ricketts family." The new owners "met face to face with fans and took all their questions," marking the "first time in the 25-year history of the convention that fans actually got to see and talk to the owners of the Cubs." The Ricketts "talked of winning, improving Wrigley Field with 'respect' to its history and listening to the fans." They added that they "wouldn't be as visible -- or as loud -- as" Yankees Chair George Steinbrenner, but that they "would be at the games." The family's presence "alone this weekend seemed to put the fans in a better mood after they came loaded for bear following an extremely disappointing 2009 season" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 1/18). In N.Y., Dave Seminara reported the family "received several rousing ovations over the course of the weekend," during which "some 15,000 fans attended" the Cubs Convention (N.Y. TIMES, 1/18). ESPNCHICAGO.com's Melissa Isaacson wrote the Ricketts family "doesn't deserve anything harsher than guarded optimism" currently. Not even "raised ticket prices caused any serious wrath, the subject coming up as a polite plea from one fan." The fan asked, "Will you please reconsider your decision to raise ticket prices considering the economy and job losses, so fans can afford it?" Isaacson wrote, "To the Ricketts' credit, there were honest, straightforward answers." Tom Ricketts said, "If we're going to compete with the bigger teams in the league, if we're going to try to compete for talent with the Red Sox or the Yankees, we're going to have to have some financial flexibility. With that said, we don't have any plans for any ticket increases in the future" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 1/16).
Sacramento Arena Task Force Could
Combine Ideas From Several Proposals
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE? In Sacramento, Marcos Breton wrote under the header, "Is Land-Swap Arena Proposal Too Bold For Sacramento?" It seems an "amazingly clever and innovative deal -- and too good to be true." Putting aside the "environmental questions and neighborhood opposition, it's unclear whether the state can sell Cal Expo to one group without putting it out to competitive bidding." Also, the new arena "would go up on city-owned land at the railyard -- though the city is headed to arbitration with the railyard developer over the value of that land." The developer, Thomas Enterprises, "has its own arena bid competing against the Kamilos plan." Breton noted Kings Owners the Maloofs are "on board" with an arena plan "for the first time," supporting the Kamilos plan. The new Kings arena at that location "would be paired with a new transit station that could be the hub of a revitalized downtown," and Cal Expo "could become a thriving commercial and residential area instead of a worn-out fairground." Breton: "It's a bold vision that transcends our sensible-shoes landscape" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 1/17). A SACRAMENTO BEE editorial stated it is "appealing that Arco could be reused as a Cal Expo exhibit hall, instead of tearing it down or building housing on this floodplain property." But there also are some "open questions about how this deal would be structured." The city "has lent the Kings" $70M, and Moag said the loan would be "retired" as part of the proposal. The NBA insisted that it is "not expecting the city to 'forgive' the loan," but the editorial wondered, "If not, what will be the source of funding for retiring this debt? And what would the city get out of this deal, in exchange for giving up land?" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 1/16).
Canadiens' New HOF Opened Its Doors
Saturday At The Bell Centre
Tsakalakis Argues Fan
Choice Being Eliminated
Phoenix Int'l Raceway's Grandstand
Capacity Has Dropped By 20,000 Seats
NIGHT MOVES: In New Orleans, Bob Fortus noted the New Orleans' Fair Grounds Race Course held it's first night race card of the season on Friday, and the atmosphere was "part nightclub, part racetrack." Dancers in "short shorts entertained in a track-side tent while people ate oysters." A band "played in the clubhouse," and "well-dressed people mingled, drinks in hand." Attendance figures for the card "weren't available as of Saturday, but it was evident that this wasn't a typical Friday gathering." Track President Austin Miller: "I'm just as pleased as I can be. I can tell you, it's not your grandfather's racetrack. ... In terms of creating an environment or creating a vibe, it all went fantastic" (NOLA.com, 1/17).
CUTTING BACK? DAILY RACING FORM's Steve Andersen reported Santa Anita is "considering reducing its racing calendar at the current winter-spring meeting, with the possibility of running fewer races per day or one fewer day per week." Santa Anita President Ron Charles Friday said that the track is "concerned about field size after eight-race programs on Wednesday and Thursday drew 52 and 49 starters, respectively." Charles said that "ontrack handle is down" 10% and that the Southern California intertrack network is "down a 'little less'" (DRF.com, 1/15).