How distribution could work A different kind of labor leader UFC plans new digital net The Sit-Down: Dave Brandon Coors Light passes Bud for the lead In MLB's licensing spotlight Fox will sell for L.A. Coliseum ATP adding Michelob Ultra to U.S. nets Powdr buys ‘World of Adventure Sports’ From the Executive Editor
SBJ/September 1 - 7, 2003/FacilitiesPrint All
NFL food service providers continue to upgrade regular concession fare and provide better quality and more variety for those not sitting in the most expensive seats. A sampling of new items in a departure from the normal hot dogs, nachos and peanuts:
Boston Concessions now sells crabcakes, strawberry shortcake, beef knish and Saratoga spiral fries at Pro Player Stadium, Miami.
Levy Restaurants at Lambeau Field in Green Bay has five bratwurst flavors as part of its sponsorship with sausage maker Johnsonville, including a patty-style brat burger.
Sportservice signed deals with several local vendors and suppliers at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, including Sang Key (Chinese), Termini Bros. (Italian), Dietz & Watson (hot dogs) and the Philadelphia Cheesesteak Co.
Centerplate features the branded Maui Wowie smoothies at Invesco Field in Denver.
Stadium Food & Beverage at Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte debuts microbrew Cottonwood Ale, and converted sit-down space to "markets" with grab-and-go foods such as chips, Moon Pies, cookies and ice cream.
The trend toward supersize food and drink portions is big in the NFL, as stadium concessionaires continue to push the envelope with larger sizes.
"It's a better value, and that's what the public is looking for," said industry consultant Chris Bigelow. "If they don't like waiting in line, they can buy a big portion so they don't have to come back as often."
Concessionaires also believe in the bigger-is-better theory because they make more money. Bigelow said, "It ends up being more profitable. Takes the same amount of labor whether you're serving a large or small size. Overhead is the same whether it's $9 vs. $4."Offerings at Heinz Field include a bucket of wings and tubs of celery and dressing.
MGR Food Service rolled out the half-pound Klement's "Bad Dog" hot dog and the same size hamburger at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Both are $6.50 and have been well-received, said MGR President Phil Noyes. "We do a fair amount of fan surveying, and some like the bigger products."
At Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Aramark introduced its own brand of double-stuffed pepperoni pizza with two layers of dough. "It's a 12-inch pie cut into four slices. It's huge, one of the best deals ($6.50) in the stadium," said on-site GM Kelly Romano.
Levy expanded its carvery stations from premium areas to the main concourse at Ford Field in Detroit, serving deli sandwiches with 9 ounces of meat for $7, said Vice President John McLean. Boston Concessions has a triple-decker club sandwich, also $7, at Pro Player Stadium in Miami.
Lincoln Financial Field, new home of the Philadelphia Eagles, joins the list of sports venues with 24-ounce cans of beer. Sportservice sells the domestic brands for $7.50, said GM John Nuttall.
Daryl Webb, director of concessions for Stadium Food & Beverage, the in-house operation at Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte, believes that, in the case of beer, there's a limit to supersizing. "There's already a trend in the insurance industry where they are trying to force you to [reduce] the beer size portions. The big thing is liability," he said.
Representatives of local Miller distributor I.H. Caffey told Webb that was the case at a recent Charlotte music festival. Officials were told at the last minute that they couldn't sell beer unless they reduced the size from 22 to 16 ounces.
The Panthers have the 22-ounce draft size but haven't been directly affected because they control beer sales with a two-beer limit per transaction, Webb said.
Bigelow, formerly with Aramark and the old Volume Services, recalled when "most of the leagues sold the 32-ounce beer" in the 1970s, when drunken driving was taken less seriously, he noted.
"We used to sell buckets of beer with four to five cups. Realistically, back then we didn't have security problems. That changed in the early '80s when leagues and teams said you've got to reduce the portions."
Glendale (Ariz.) Arena will tentatively open Dec. 26 with indoor lacrosse after signing a three-year operations contract with the National Lacrosse League's Columbus Landsharks, building GM Ron Woodbridge said.
Arena Management Group, the facility division of the NHL Phoenix Coyotes, secured the deal with Landsharks owner JA Columbus Sports Ventures. The agreement is a co-promotion. Both parties share in revenue and expenses, Woodbridge said.
The schedule had not been released, but the renamed team will play eight home games, including day-night doubleheaders with the Coyotes. Seating capacity is the same for both sports, 17,500.
"Lacrosse is trying to team up more with the NHL because of the synergies involved, ticket sales and advertising. There's a lot of cross-marketing we can do," Woodbridge said. Regional rivalries with Denver, Anaheim and San Jose should keep travel expenses down, he said.
The Coyotes also renewed their sponsorship with America West Airlines, signing a three-year deal at the new venue. The financial value was not disclosed. America West receives in-arena signs, media promotions, suite use and season tickets.
AWA's "Skyler" blimp, formerly floating at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, is also part of the deal and will move to Glendale Arena. The Coyotes will travel exclusively with the airline. "They've been with us since day one," said Dave Groff, senior vice president of corporate sales and broadcasting.
America West's run as the official airline of the Phoenix Suns ended in June when the Suns signed a deal with Southwest Airlines. America West's name remains on the arena where the Suns play.
New Chicago Fire-themed television and radio spots will break next week, promoting the MLS team's return to Soldier Field for its last two regular-season home matches this year.
The TV and radio ads are part of a multimedia promotional push designed to "remind fans that soccer returns to Soldier Field in October," said Steve Pastorino, the Fire's assistant general manager. In addition to local TV and radio time, the campaign includes newspaper and billboard ads.
The campaign's ads encourage consumers to buy tickets for the Fire's Oct. 10 and Oct. 18 regular-season games at the newly renovated Soldier Field and for an Oct. 15 match there between the men's national teams of Mexico and Uruguay.
Because Soldier Field was undergoing a $606 million renovation, the Fire moved its home games last season and for most of this season to Cardinal Stadium in nearby Naperville, Ill.
According to Pastorino, the campaign's local TV spots will air on Fox Sports Net Chicago, on the Telemundo affiliate in Chicago and, through a deal with the RCN Cable system, on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox News Channel and The Learning Channel. Radio spots are scheduled to run on at least one Spanish-language station in the market and on four Chicago-based English-language stations whose primary target demographic is 18- to 34-year-olds.
"We need to do a lot of work so that our return [to Soldier Field] isn't lost in the shuffle," Pastorino said. The NFL's Chicago Bears — Soldier Field's primary tenant — open the new stadium with a Monday night game Sept. 29 against the Green Bay Packers.
As part of the Fire's new promotional push, the Chicago-based Rosen Group, the MLS team's agency of record since 1998, created a logo that appears on all the print, billboard and TV ads, the icon serving as a centerpiece for the campaign. That logo depicts a Puma soccer ball rising out of a representation of the new stadium, said Jerry Rosen, president and chief creative officer for the Rosen Group. Puma is a partner of both MLS and the Fire.
Neither Pastorino nor Rosen would disclose the dollar size of the ad campaign. Industry sources estimated it to be in the mid-six figures.
The print ads, which were to launch late last week, are running in several newspapers in the Chicago market, including the Chicago Tribune, Pastorino said. Also up in the market are five Fire-themed billboards.
The campaign's headline: "Red October." That theme has been used by the Fire to brand the team's playoff games in previous years. Fire players wear all-red uniforms for their home games.
Ticket prices for the Fire's two regular-season games at Soldier Field range from $15 to $40; regular-season games in Naperville this season ranged from $15 to $35.
University of Colorado officials project an increase of up to $3.5 million, or 33 percent, in football ticket revenue this year following the completion of a $43.8 million expansion of Folsom Field.Meeting, banquet bookings expected to grow.
Bookings of the new meeting and banquet facilities at the stadium also are expected to become a significant source of revenue, although no specific line item exists in the school's 2003-04 budget for these rentals. School officials are hoping to attract 50 non-game-day events to the venue this year, up from only a handful in each of the past two years.
CU's 2003-04 athletic department budget is $36.5 million, a record high. That total represents an increase of $6.2 million (also a record), 20 percent over the 2002-03 budget, which university officials attribute largely to the stadium's projected improved revenue streams.
City: Boulder, Colo.
Tenant: University of Colorado football
Owner/operator: University of Colorado (both)
Construction manager and architect: Shaw Turner Sink Combs Dethlefs (design-build team)
No. of seats: Adding 2,641, for a total of 53,425, plus 325 SRO spaces
No. of suites/club seats: Adding 40, for a total of 47, including one double-suite/adding 1,903, for a total of 2,943
Projected cost: $43.8 million
Funding: 100 percent from a university capital campaign. Bond payments of about $3.1 million per year over 25 years will be made via projected stadium revenue.
Soda pouring rights: Pepsi
Beer pouring rights: Coors, Buffalo Gold (Rock Bottom Restaurants)
Seat provider: Hussey Seating Co. (general and club); Irwin Seating Co. (suites)
First game: Sept. 6 vs. UCLAFolsum Field Subcontractors
Subcontractor Work performed A-1 Glass Inc. Glass/glazing Advanced Consulting Engineers Inc. General consultant All Metro Door & Dock Services Doors and windows Alpine Site Services Inc. Site construction Andrex Insulation Ltd. Insulation Aon Risk Services Insurance Aramark Concessions Arborist Arms Tree Co. Site clearing Armstrong Sweeping Inc. General requirements Arrow Striping Co. Striping BCI Commercial Interiors Finished floor elevation BH Waterproofing Inc. Thermal and moisture protection Black Roofing Inc. Thermal and moisture protection Bret Terry Masonry Masonry Centerplate Concessions Champion Fence Fence Christopher Concrete Inc. Concrete Colorado Asphalt Services Inc. Asphalt Colorado Security Services Inc. Security Complete Mechanical Balancing Inc. Balancing Concepts in Millwork Inc. Millwork Continental Partitions Partitions CTC Geotek Inspection agency Custom Environmental Services Inc. Site construction Data Presentation Graphics Audio/visual equipment Denver Drywall Drywall Design Concepts Landscape architect Diversified Caulking & Waterproofing Sealants D&L Entertainment Services Inc. General requirements Drake Contractors Inc. Potholing Duray Food service equipment E.B. Berger Inc. Thermal and moisture protection Elevators Unlimited Conveying systems Empowercom Inc. Electrical ET Environmental Sitework Falcon Surveying Surveying Gordon Sign (dba Visual Products) Signage Graff’s Turf Farm Turf Guy’s Floor Service Finishes Interior Concepts Inc. Interior specialties Interstate Express Courier ISEC Construction Services Interior construction Jamison Steel Steel JD Steel Co. Steel JOMY Safety Products Inc. General requirements Lafarge West Inc. Asphalt paving Lerch, Bates & Associates Inc. Vertical transportation LMS Drilling Inc. Caisson driller Martin/Martin Structural engineer M.E. Engineers MEP engineer Metro Door Specialists Inc. Doors Mile High Roll-Off Trash and temporary toilets Miller Safety Consulting Consultant Minnesota Elevator Inc. Elevator Natkin Contracting Mechanical subcontractor Nothhaft & Son Fire protection NPW Contracting Inc. Fire safing On-Time Steel Steel Piper Electric Co. Electrical subcontractor Raw Construction Inc. Site construction RCD Industries General requirements RMS Concrete Concrete contractor Rocky Mountain Recycling Trash subcontractor Schuff Steel Steel contractor Scott Cox & Associates Civil, structural engineer Serengeti Enterprises Inc. Building equipment Stresscon Corp. Concrete precast Telesupport Services Inc. Electrical subcontractor Thomas A. Mason Co. Finishings Thoutt Brothers Concrete Site construction Trane (American Standard Cos.) Mechanical Urban Farmer Landscaping Waco Scaffolding Scaffolding Western Waterproofing Waterproofing William Caruso Food service Wireless Advanced Communications Electrical subcontractor Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams Inc. Audio/visual Wyatt Crane & Rigging Co. Rigging Source: Shaw Turner Joint Venture
Upgrade added suites, expanded seating.
Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field, the oldest on-campus stadium in NCAA Division I-A, will mark the end of a two-year renovation when Georgia Tech hosts Auburn in the Yellow Jackets' season opener on Saturday.
The $68 million upgrade features 30 new luxury suites for a total of 74, a 7,000-square-foot locker room, a 3,300-square-foot players lounge and expanded stadium seating, to 55,000.
Funding for the two-phase project came from bonds issued in the fall of 2001. Bond payments will come from $50 million in private donations and the sale of luxury suites and club-seat licenses, according to Paul Griffin, Georgia Tech's senior associate director of athletics. The bonds covered renovations for the football venue as well as Georgia Tech's baseball facility, Russ Chandler Stadium, which saw $10 million in improvements prior to the 2002 baseball season.
In the first phase of the football effort, completed after the 2001 season, the playing field was shifted about 30 feet north and 15 feet west to allow for the addition of a new south end zone seating area. The second phase of construction brought the 30 new luxury suites, north end zone seating, a sports medicine facility, coaches' offices and a lounge for the Georgia Tech Letterwinner's Club.
Bobby Dodd Stadium, which hugs the edge of downtown Atlanta, was built in 1913 by members of the student body. Because of its aged infrastructure, several environmental and historical studies were performed before beginning the renovation process, said Bill Morrison, project manager for Carter & Associates.
Prior to this effort, the most recent significant stadium renovation was completed before the 1992 season, bringing the addition of the Bill Moore Student Success Center behind the west stands, as well as 32 new luxury suites, a president's box and a press area.
Approximately 26,000 season tickets had been sold as of mid-August, up 12 percent from the same point last season, said Georgia Tech officials.
Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field
Tenant: Georgia Tech football
Owner/operator: Georgia Board of Regents/Georgia Tech Athletic Association
Architect: HOK Sport
Construction manager: Carter & Associates/Turner Construction (joint venture)
General contractor: Turner Construction
No. of seats: 55,000 (up from 43,719)
No. of suites/club seats: 74 (up from 44)/2,000 (none previously)
Projected cost: $68 million
Funding: Bond issue, backed by stadium-related revenue and private donations
Pouring rights: Coca-Cola
Scoreboard provider: Daktronics Inc.
Turf provider: The Motz Group
Seat providers: Irwin Seating Co. (suite seats), American Seating Co. (club seats), E&D Specialty Stands (stadium seats)
First game: Sept. 6 vs. Auburn
Bobby Dodd Stadium
at Grant Field Subcontractors
Subcontractor Work performed Accessories Unlimited Specialties Adaptive Equipment Sales Wheelchair lifts Alpha Insulation Fireproofing American Athletic Field wall pads Architectural Signing Signage Art Plumbing Plumbing Atlas Piers of Atlanta Inc. Driller piers Bonitz Contracting Flooring CAE Diversified Services Mechanical and HVAC systems Classic Woodworking Specialty millwork Donako Construction Group Final cleaning Engineered Products Group Expansion joints Engineering Specialties Doors Excel Electrical Technologies Electrical and teledata Goodman Decorating Paint and wallcovering Hudgins & Co. Demolition J&J Masonry Masonry Kim-Side Contractors Subroof Kone Elevators Vertical transportation M&J Materials Miscellaneous metals McElroy Specialty Interiors Gypsum board and acoustic ceiling Metro Roofing Roofing Metromont Prestress Co. Structural and architectural precast Mortensen Woodwork Millwork Overhead Door Co. Roll-up doors Precision Concrete Co. Cast-in-place concrete ProSound Distributed TV and broadcast cabling systems Re:Source Georgia Carpet Richard Goettle Inc. Soil retention Richard R. Harp Excavation Excavation Russo Corp. Caissons SECO Architectural Systems Metal wall panels Southeast Restoration & Fireproofing Waterproofing Steel Inc. Structural steel Structural Preservation Systems Specialty structural systems Superior Rigging & Erecting Miscellaneous metals Therrel-Kizer Roofing Roofing Tom Barrow Co. Louvers Trainor Glass Co. Windows and storefront systems Williams Erection Steel erection Wink Davis Laundry equipment Worsham Sprinkler Fire protection systems Zebra Construction Co. Concrete Sources: Georgia Tech, Carter & Associates, Turner Construction
Big East football coming to Rentschler Field.
Season-ticket sales through early August were up to about 24,000, already more than double the season record of 11,300 set just last year. That translates to revenue from season-ticket sales having tripled from the $1 million the school posted last year, said Tom McElroy, UConn's deputy director of athletics. The increase was fueled by sales of luxury seating that was not available at the team's former home, Memorial Stadium.
Most of the 38 suites in the new stadium seat 16 people and sell for $50,000 annually. Club seats cost $1,400 a year.
In addition to having luxury seating, the new stadium increases the overall capacity for football games by 150 percent, up from 16,000. The school also increased ticket prices and changed its ticket pricing structure to offer better seats to donors.
Ticket sales have been further aided by the recent shakeup in the Big East, with Miami and Virginia Tech scheduled to leave for the ACC after this season. Big East officials announced last month that Connecticut would join the Big East as a full-time playing member in 2004, one year earlier than originally planned. The promise of a stronger 2004 schedule caused a spike in ticket sales immediately after the announcement, said Leigh Torbin, assistant director of athletic communications for the school. Fans are buying tickets for the 2003 season in part to have priority on those same seats in 2004, when the Big East schedule takes effect.
Plans for Memorial Stadium, the Huskies' home for 50 years, are still up in the air, Torbin said. The stadium may be demolished and the site used for an indoor practice facility. The facility is on UConn's campus in Storrs, Conn. Rentschler Field is 25 miles from campus.
As part of the school's marketing effort related to the new venue, the slogan "New Dog in the Show" was developed to help drive ticket sales.
City: East Hartford, Conn.
Tenant: University of Connecticut football
Owner: State of Connecticut
Architect: Ellerbe Becket
General contractor: Hunt-Gilbane Joint Venture
No. of seats: 40,000
No. of suites/club seats: 38/700
Projected cost: $91.2 million
Funding: The state of Connecticut approved $90.2 million in general obligation bonds, backed by stadium-related revenue. The school is responsible for the remaining $1 million, plus any overruns. Hartford, Conn.-based Pratt & Whitney donated 75 acres of land for the stadium, which will be named after the company's founder, Frederick B. Rentschler.
Pouring rights: Coca-Cola
Scoreboard provider: Daktronics
Turf provider: SRI Sports
Seat provider: Hussey Seating
First game: Aug. 30 vs. IndianaRENTSCHLER FIELD SUBCONTRACTORS
Subcontractor Work performed A&J Caulking Co. Caulking Architectural Graphics Inc. Signage Berlin Steel Construction Co. Structural and miscellaneous steel Blakeslee Prestress Inc. Precast Cardi Corp. Site development C.H. Nickerson & Co. Masonry and H.C. plank Daktronics Scoreboard and videoboard DuPont Flooring Systems Flooring E&D Specialty Stands Inc. Stadium seating Har-Conn Hardware Doors, frames and hardware Hartford Roofing Co. Roofing L-C Associates NA Legere Woodworking Finish carpentry Mackenzie Service Corp. Painting Manafort Brothers Inc. Cast in place McPhee Electrical Ltd. Electrical Merritt Contractors Toilet partitions MRS Enterprises Metal siding Norwalk Marine Contractors Inc. Piling Otis Elevator Co. Elevators Partitions Inc. Drywall Schumacher Landscaping Inc. Grass parking Suntech of Connecticut Inc. Glass and glazing S.W. Franks Construction Co. Playing field Tilcon Connecticut Inc. Site improvements, utilities and paving Tucker Mechanical Plumbing, HVAC and fire protection U.S. Foodservice and Contract Design Food service equipment Wesconn Co. Fireproofing Sources: University of Connecticut, Connecticut Office of Policy and Management
Three-year, $50 million renovation added 5,000 seats, 3,000 club seats and 34 suites.
Virtually all of the new premium seating being added was sold before the Gators began their 2003 summer practices, though sales efforts started just this year. As of early August, all 350 seats on the premier Bull Gator Deck had been sold and all but two of the suites had been leased — with nothing more than a low-key marketing campaign having been used for the new-look stadium, affectionately known as The Swamp.
With a $48,000 annual contribution required for each new suite, a $14,000 annual contribution for a grouping of four seats on the Bull Gator Deck and a $2,000 per seat cost on the club level, revenue for the school will grow along with the stadium. Greg McGarity, Florida's associate athletic director, said projections put 2003 revenue from premium seating at $8 million, compared with an estimated $1.5 million last year.
Other new features in the stadium, originally built in 1930, include renovated press areas and a $1.7 million Daktronics scoring system for the existing scoreboard.
The stadium's new 90,000-seat capacity also ensures that it stays among the 10 largest in college football for this season.
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
City: Gainesville, Fla.
Tenant: University of Florida football
Owner/operator: University of Florida (both)
Architect: DLR Group
General contractor/construction manager: Turner Construction and PPI (joint venture)
No. of seats: Adding 5,000, for a total of 90,000
No. of suites: Adding 34, for a total of 62
No. of club seats: Adding 3,000 (none previously)
Projected cost: $51.7 million
Funding: The University Athletic Association issued $49.5 million in 30-year, tax-exempt bonds to be repaid with stadium revenue. The balance comes from private contributions.
Seat provider: Hussey Seating Co.
First game: Aug. 30 vs. San Jose StateBEN HILL GRIFFIN STADIUM SUBCONTRACTORS
Subcontractor Work performed Akira Wood Millwork All Florida Electric Electrical contractor Architectural Graphics Inc. Signage and graphics Bliss & Nyitray Structural engineer Cives Steel Steel DH Griffin Demolition Florida Greenkeepers Landscaping Gate Precast Precast concrete Kone Corp. Elevators and escalator Mader Southeast Inc. Fireproofing Nelson & Affiliates Inc. Drywall PMK Consultants Sound and PA consultants Pro Sound AV installer Register Contracting Inc. Roofing SB Ballard Foundation concrete Shivers Painting & Waterproof Painting Trinity Fabricators Miscellaneous metals TSG Industries Inc. Curtain wall and glazing Watson Construction Site work WW Gay Fire Protection Inc./WW Gay Mechanical Contractor Inc. HVAC, fire protection and plumbing Sources: University of Florida, University Athletic Association
ASU’s football stadium being built in three phases, with first phase near completion.
A rainy summer could delay completion this fall of the first phase of construction on Albany State University's new football stadium, a project that ultimately is expected to cost $15 million.
The South Georgia university plans to cap its yearlong centennial celebration with the opening of Albany Municipal Coliseum on Nov. 8, which marks the Golden Rams' final home game of the season, against Morehouse College. School officials, however, say that if the poor weather that has plagued them in recent months continues, fans will have to wait another season to experience Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football on ASU's campus.
For more than 50 years, the Rams have played in Hugh Mills Stadium, which is about five miles from the university. Albany State will play three of its four home games this season at Hugh Mills, until it marks the Coliseum opening on Nov. 8.
The city of Albany and the school's ASU Foundation initially requested $10 million from the state of Georgia to go toward a joint-use facility. What ultimately was received, in May 2001, was a $5 million grant from the state, said Julie Duke, Albany's city manager. That forced organizers to amend their original stadium goals and plan instead to build the venue in three distinct phases.
The $5 million grant is being combined with $700,000 raised by the ASU Foundation through private fund-raising efforts to cover the costs of the project's first phase. That initial step calls for 5,500 seats and a reserved area with 250 additional seats, from which service to a club lounge will be available.
Clifford Porter, executive director of the ASU Foundation, said about 40 percent of those 250 seats had been sold as of early August.
Porter said phases two and three will develop over the next three years. He said the foundation and the university will begin fund-raising efforts to cover those additional costs after the 2003 football season. Those two phases will provide up to an additional 20,000 seats and between 10 and 15 more suites.
The ASU Foundation is donating the necessary land for the project.
Albany Municipal Coliseum
City: Albany, Ga.
Tenants: Albany State University football, city of Albany
Owner/operator: City of Albany/Albany State University
Architect: Rosser International Inc.
General contractor: Team Delta 2003 (joint venture of Alcon Construction and H.J. Russell & Co.)
No. of seats: 5,500
No. of suites/club seats: 0/250
Projected cost: $15 million ($5 million for each of three phases)
Funding: $5 million state grant; $700,000 from private fund raising by the ASU Foundation
Concessionaire: Aramark Corp.
Pouring rights: To be determined
Scoreboard provider: Trans-Lux Fair-Play Inc.
Turf provider: Trimlawn Services Inc.
Seat provider: Hussey Seating Co.
First game: Nov. 8 vs. Morehouse College
Albany Municipal Coliseum Subcontractors Subcontractor Work performed Albany Electric Electrical Atlas Fence Co. Chain-link fence and gates Bryant’s Millwright & Construction Co. Metal roof and metal wall panels Dukes, Edwards & Dukes General trades ESS Inc. Public address system Georgia School Equipment Stadium seating Gilman Gear Goal posts Holcomb Services Concrete, re-steel, placing/finishing Musco Sports Lighting Sports lighting National Construction Rentals Construction fencing Oxford Construction Sitework Ronald Akridge Contractors Painting Southeastern Welding Handrails and guardrail Sources: Albany State University, city of Albany, Rosser International Inc.
When San Diego Padres marketers began planning for their final season at Qualcomm Stadium, they wanted to stretch the farewell across the entire year, rather than jamming it into the final month.
So since Opening Day, the Padres have peppered their schedule with retro themes. April was dedicated to the Padres' first team, which took the field in 1969. May was a celebration of the teams of the '70s. June revisited the '80s; July the '90s. August commemorated significant moments and players from the team's 35 years.
September will be devoted to a "Goodbye to the Q."
"We've really taken the looking-back mentality and stretched it throughout the whole season," said Steve Violetta, executive vice president of business affairs for the Padres, who this week head into their last month at Qualcomm Stadium. "It's something that has been present in almost everything we do."
Retrospection is the route that most clubs have taken during farewells to ballparks that, while woefully short on revenue potential, were typically long on emotional connection with fans. This season, the Padres and Philadelphia Phillies say goodbye to their old homes.
The Padres began tapping into that connection before the season even began, sending season-ticket holders a winter mailing that invited them to contribute snapshots of their favorite memories as Padres fans. The club took 80 of those photos and used each of them as the artwork for their season tickets.
At each home game this season, the Padres honor the fan who provided the photo used on that day's ticket, bringing each onto the field to turn the page on a countdown clock that ticks off the number of games remaining at Qualcomm Stadium.
"Season-ticket holders are your stockholders," Violetta said. "They're the core of your business. Anything you can do to recognize them and make them part of the ballpark experience, I think you have to do it."
The Padres took that approach even though they realized that the vast majority of those loyalists would be easy sells for season tickets at the new park.
"If I'm committed enough to go searching through an old shoe box looking for a 20-year-old photo, I'm probably a die-hard fan who's going to have tickets no matter what," Violetta said. "But we want them to be a part of what we're doing. We're building an even deeper connection with them. That's the payoff that comes from making them part of the whole experience."
The Padres and Phillies, who both close out their seasons at home on Sept. 28, are planning similar events for their respective farewell weekends.
Both teams have slapped a moniker on the games to set them apart from the rest of the schedule and position them as special events. The Padres will host "Say Goodbye to The Q Weekend." The Phillies have the "Final Innings."
The Phillies even managed to land two title sponsors for their "Final Innings": MAB Paints and Tastycakes. Violetta said the Padres couldn't sell their final weekend because it would conflict with the seasonlong presenting sponsorship they sold to Sycuan.
Both clubs will host fireworks shows on Friday night. Both will give away bobblehead-styled statues and stadium replicas. The Padres will pay tribute to an All-Time Team; the Phillies to an All-Vet Team.
The Padres begin their weekend with a Friday night appearance by the iconic Chicken, giving away a shimmying chicken bobble doll. On Saturday night they'll give away Petco Park caps and announce their All-Time Team, handing out a trading card set that will include all the players. They'll follow the game with a "Lights Out" ceremony that marks the final night game at Qualcomm. At the final game they'll give away a stadium replica that doubles as a holder for a commemorative ticket. They'll also hold a postgame ceremony.
The Phillies will give away their stadium replicas on the Sunday before their final weekend. They'll give away a Phil's Phillies bobblehead on the final Saturday, when they'll also announce the All-Vet team. And they'll give away a ticket lanyard on the final game, which also will include farewell ceremonies.
The six teams that moved into new stadiums since 2000 each saw an attendance bump in their final homestand at the old ballpark. Before moving to new homes in 2004, the Padres and Phillies have held stadium farewell events throughout the season.