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SBD/March 9, 2011/Facilities
Livestrong Becomes Naming-Rights Partner For Sporting K.C.'s New Stadium
Published March 9, 2011
THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX: Livestrong Founder Lance Armstrong, who attended yesterday's press conference to announce the partnership, is "particularly pleased to learn that Livestrong Sporting Park will be completely tobacco free inside the stadium and outside on the grounds." He said that the partnership is an "amazing opportunity for the entire community to get involved in something special" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 3/8). In K.C., Terez Paylor notes "no stadiums or arenas" in MLS, MLB, the NBA, NFL or NHL are named after a charity. The "hope is that by partnering with Armstrong, who has the ear of several popular musical artists, the club can easily recoup, through concerts, the estimated $2 million to $3 million a year it gave up by giving away the stadium’s naming rights." Heineman said, "I believe we’ll have entertainers who otherwise wouldn’t have played our venue." The partnership is "similar to one forged" between FC Barcelona and UNICEF in '06. The La Liga club agreed to pay UNICEF to "put the nonprofit's logo on its jerseys." Heineman said that it "didn't influence Sporting KC's thinking much," and Paylor notes fans should not "expect to see the Livestrong logo on Sporting KC’s uniform anytime soon." adidas provides jerseys for all MLS teams, and Livestrong is a Nike-affiliated brand. Heineman noted that he talked to MLS Commissioner Don Garber "about the fact that Sporting KC’s biggest partner has direct ties to Nike, one of adidas’ rivals." Livestrong Sporting Park's logo is "absent of any swooshes" (K.C. STAR, 3/9).
A GOOD SPORT: In Kansas, Tom Keegan writes under the header, "Sporting KC Hits Home Run." Keegan: "Until Monday, I always thought nobody ever had crushed a ball farther out of the park with a stadium naming than the New York Yankees when they branded their spring training home Legends Field. Now it ranks no better than second place, and a distant second at that" (LAWRENCE JOURNAL-WORLD, 3/9). In K.C., Sam Mellinger writes under the header, "Sporting KC's Stadium Name Is Nearly Pitch Perfect." This is "business mixed with charity, which would otherwise be perfectly fine because Sporting KC is a business and Armstrong is an American icon." But Sporting K.C. also is "heavily invested in children and their parents, and Armstrong’s personal and professional lives are by now muddied with ugliness including an ongoing grand-jury investigation regarding allegations of illegal performance-enhancing drug use." Mellinger writes, "There are traces of self-interest in this deal between Sporting KC and Livestrong, more than either side would let on publicly. And that’s fine, as long as we all understand it. The net result is more money to fight cancer. More sports owners should use their self-interest like this" (K.C. STAR, 3/9).