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Arco is "winding down its time as an arena naming-rights partner in Sacramento," electing not to renew a relationship "that has seen its brand on the home court of the NBA Kings for the past 25 years," according to Terry Lefton in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Arco's rights expire in February, but sources indicated that a name change "before the end of the NBA season" is unlikely. The Maloof family, which owns the Kings and the arena, is in the "final stages of a review for an agency that would sell naming rights to the 22-year-old venue." Sources said that "finalists include IMG, Premier Partnerships and Gemini Sports Group." A decision is "expected imminently, although the Maloofs are hopeful of eliminating the need for a sales agency by convincing an incumbent building sponsor to upgrade." Lefton notes depending on the brand, an "interesting deal also could be devised by combining arena naming rights with other Maloof assets, which include The Palms hotel/casino in Las Vegas and the Maloof Money Cup skateboarding competition." Sources indicated that Arco, now owned by BP, pays around $750,000 annually for naming rights and around $1.2M total "with other media and building elements included" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/20 issue). BP spokesperson Scott Dean declined to say why Arco is ending the naming-rights partnership. He noted that the "decision was made several years ago" and is "not related to BP's financial woes from this year's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 9/21).
CREATING POSITIVE BUZZ: In Sacramento, Bill Bradley notes the Kings yesterday announced variable pricing for single-game tickets next season, "on the heels of smaller season-ticket packages," and it is "refreshing to see the Kings have adapted to the real world." For years, the team "marketed in a world where basketball tickets were the same price for every game, and season tickets were sold in 41-game blocks." Bradley: "It was hard to justify the Kings' old-school philosophy when they were rebuilding and the economy was tanking" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 9/21).
The Yankees honored late Chair George Steinbrenner with the unveiling of a monument dedicated to him in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park. In an emotional 20-minute on-field ceremony held before last night's Rays-Yankees contest, the club debuted a 35-square-foot, 760-pound monument devoted to Steinbrenner, who chaired the club for more than 37 years until his death in July. The monument reads in part, "A true visionary who changed the game of baseball forever, he was considered the most influential owner in all of sports." The ceremony was attended by Steinbrenner's widow, Joan, and all four of their children, including Yankees co-Chair & Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and his wife, Sue. Former Yankees Managing General Partner Steve Swindal, ex-husband of Steinbrenner's eldest daughter Jennifer and for several years thought to be the heir-apparent to run the Yankees before a drunk driving arrest and divorce in '07, was also present (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). In N.Y., Ben Shpigel notes it was the "first time this season that all four of Steinbrenner's children -- Hal, Hank, Jennifer and Jessica -- gathered in the Bronx for a game" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/21). ESPN N.Y.'s Andrew Marchand noted all current Yankees and the Steinbrenner family "walked out to Monument Park ... following a video tribute," and Joan "revealed the contents of the first new monument at the new Yankee Stadium." The monument is "twice the size: of the ones for Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio, "dwarfing all the honorees in the historic park that now sits behind the center field wall at the new Yankee Stadium" (ESPNNEWYORK.com, 9/20). In N.Y., Brian Costello notes it is the team's "seventh monument, and first in honor of a person since Joe DiMaggio's monument was added" in '99. A "remembrance for the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks was unveiled" in '02 (N.Y. POST, 9/21).
Vancouver-based mobile payment and marketing company Mobio Identity Systems has "cut a deal with the Jaguars to introduce its ordering technology in EverBank Field, the first NFL venue to get the service," according to Kevin Turner of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Patrons of the service "download the Mobio application to their iPhone and then use the phone's built-in camera to shoot a photo of a square, iconic computer code near their seat." The phone "then pulls up a menu of food and beverages available at the stadium" and allows fans to order anything on the menu and "have it delivered to their seats within minutes." The service currently is "in the testing phase in parts of the stadium's east club section, but the company hopes to roll it out to the entire club seat section soon." Mobio CMO Mark Binns said that the downloading of the Mobio app is "free and there is no extra charge added for the secure ordering service." He said that the Jaguars "pay Mobio a percentage of sales handled through the service" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 9/21). In Jacksonville, Kimberly Morrison notes Mobio "plans to roll out the test launch to 2,500 seats in the East side of the Touchdown Club" during Sunday's game against the Eagles "before further expanding it to both sides of the Touchdown Club." Mobio "plans to expand use throughout the NFL and then to other professional sports leagues such as the NBA and NHL" (JACKSONVILLE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/17 issue).
GETTING ON BOARD: In Pittsburgh, Malia Spencer reports YinzCam Inc., which "produces mobile apps that allow fans at games to access stats and replays from any camera angle," is "expanding its reach" to more NHL and NFL teams. In addition to the Penguins and Blues, two other undisclosed NHL teams are "in the process of developing a YinzCam app." Yinzcam also is working with three NFL teams: the Patriots, "who have launched a Patriots Game Day Live app," the Steelers and the 49ers. YinzCam President & CEO Priya Narasimhan said that the company is "breaking even and is expected to soon be profitable" (PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES, 9/17).
NEW WAVE: In N.Y., Elizabeth Olson notes "more sports teams and leagues are communicating with fans intensively by mobile devices." S.F.-based Phizzle CEO Ben Davis said the trend is because fans are "incredibly passionate and identify with their teams so they are accepting of receiving a lot of information." Teams also are "mindful" that "some two billion tickets -- for sports and other events -- are projected to be purchased via mobile devices this year, and rise to 15 billion by 2014." Sports marketing experts said that mobile marketing "raises a team's public profile and is especially valuable for collecting data on fans," which can "later be tied to commercial deals that benefit the team, like signing up subscribers to cellular carriers like Verizon or AT&T" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/21).
Measures are being taken to "not make lighting or twilight an issue” at the Marlins' new ballpark, including painting the bottom of the retractable-roof gray so it does not "present problems for the fielders," according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Marlins President David Samson said, “It is a gray color that very much is differentiated by the ball against it.” He added, “The building is closed from the west side, so there is no way the sun can come in while it’s setting. It can’t go through windows on the west side. ... We don’t think there will be any problems with the lights or the twilight because, frankly, the roof will be closed.” Sun Life Stadium, the facility the Marlins currently play in and share with the Dolphins, was “designed primarily for football.” The lights are “set up differently -- mainly higher -- than a majority of baseball-only ballparks.” Samson, Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria, President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest, VP & GM Michael Hill and Exec VP/Ballpark Development Claude Delorme recently visited the construction site of the new ballpark, set to open in ’12, to look at the bottom of the roof. The facility is “nearly 50 percent compete.” The supports for the roof "are in place, and the process of piecing together the roof is under way." Samson said, "We don’t think any balls will hit the roof. " Frisaro noted there will still be “ground rules in case a ball does reach the roof” (MLB.com, 9/20).