SBJ/Jan. 17-23, 2011/Facilities

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  • Mixing Coors and tequila: Camarena titles new bar at Rockies’ home

    Bullpen BarA computer rendering shows the new bar that will open midlevel in right-center field at Coors Field, sponsored by Familia Camarena Tequila.
    POPULOUS

    The Colorado Rockies have signed a three-year deal with Familia Camarena Tequila tied to a new branded destination at Coors Field, one of several upgrades to the 16-year-old ballpark for the 2011 season.


    Camarena, a maker of high-end tequilas distributed domestically by E.&J. Gallo Winery, will put its name on a new midlevel bar above the bullpen sign in right-center field, spanning sections 201 and 202. It will be enclosed by glass on three sides and open in front with a view to the field.

    The Rockies have yet to officially name the bar, but it will have Camarena’s name in the title, said Greg Feasel, the team’s COO and executive vice president of business operations.

    The team, in conjunction with Aramark, its food provider, converted a concession stand and 120 permanent seats into a 4,000-square-foot lounge setup with a central bar, 10 large televisions and table seating in front for 106 people. Those seats will be sold as individual game tickets, Feasel said.

    The lounge has standing room for an additional 50 fans that do not have to hold tickets for that specific area. The Rockies also plan to reserve the entire space for group sales for certain games.

    Officials are now setting ticket prices for the season, Feasel said.

    “We had an area on the mezzanine level where there wasn’t enough energy out there,” he said. “It is accessible from the main concourse and has a view looking back to home plate.”

    Camarena has deals with the Angels, Cowboys, Giants, Suns and Chivas USA, and new agreements starting in 2011 with the Braves, Magic and White Sox, in addition to the Rockies.

    “In-stadium exposure provides a great way to build awareness and, more importantly, Camarena trial … when customers are able to experience the quality and taste of our product,” said Gerard Thoukis, Gallo’s marketing director.

    In San Francisco, Camarena, entering year two of a three-year deal with the Giants, brands a “cable car” bar in the upper deck behind home plate. Centerplate, the Giants’ concessionaire, serves a signature Camarena cocktail from that stand and other locations, said Jason Pearl, the team’s managing vice president of corporate sponsorship and new business development.

    The Rockies developed the new bar after touring several MLB parks and Cowboys Stadium. In working with Coors Field architect Populous to revamp the outfield space, Rockies executives took note of the NFL facility’s SRO platforms in the end zones that bring together large groups of people to watch the game. It’s all about creating that go-to place to hang out, Feasel said.

    The Rockies and Aramark are also rebranding a deli stand on the main concourse and adding a nacho stand next to the Camarena bar, and Aramark is making other improvements, Feasel said. All told, the upgrades cost more than $1 million, shared by the Rockies and Aramark.

    Print | Tags: Colorado Rockies, Aramark, MLB, Facilities
  • New sponsor makes a giant impression at Penguins' arena

    Don Muret
    The Pittsburgh Penguins found the right fit for their newest sponsor, high-tech materials firm Bayer MaterialScience.

    The company, one of three business groups that make up corporate parent Bayer, is presenting sponsor of the World’s Largest Goalie Mask on the main concourse outside Section 120 at Consol Energy Center, near the First Niagara Club. The firm produced the lightweight protective plastic materials used to make the mask, measuring 9 1/2 feet tall, 8 feet wide and 12 feet deep. The same is true for a 30-foot-tall companion hockey stick.

    The attractions anchor the arena’s Science of Sport display, which features kiosks showing educational videos explaining the physics of hockey. All “vignettes” contain Bayer MaterialScience’s “Science for a Better Life” message, said Sean Kelly, a company spokesman.

    The Penguins had tried to get Bayer MaterialScience, whose North American headquarters are in the Steel City, on board as a corporate partner for several years, but it wasn’t until the new arena project came along that company officials saw the right opportunity to promote the brand, Kelly said.

    David Peart, Penguins vice president of business partnerships, said: “The concept of Science of Sport was developed specifically for Bayer MaterialScience based on a number of meetings with them. After we worked to understand their overall objectives, we developed this [deal] as the primary activation element for them.”

    Mask
    GETTY IMAGES
    Consol Energy Center’s giant goalie mask is made with materials from Bayer MaterialScience.
    The five-year agreement, valued in the mid-six figures annually, was completed in late November. Those sponsorship dollars cover the $200,000 to $250,000 cost to develop the mask and the stick, Peart said.

    Bayer MaterialScience, part of the larger company founded in 1863, does some advertising at PNC Park, home of the MLB Pirates, but this is the first time it has developed a team partnership that goes deeper than just putting a sign up at a sports facility, Kelly said.

    The company also sponsors the Penguins’ environmental programs, which include public and private tours of the arena’s green design features tied to the facility’s LEED gold certification. For school groups, the team is developing a special tour called Behind the Green, where students can learn more about LEED initiatives.

    All tours, which will be conducted three times a week by Consol Energy Center manager SMG, will start in early February.

    Dimensional Innovations, a Kansas City graphic design company, and James Frederick, the arena’s art consultant, were principally involved in the Science of Sport project. Dimensional Innovations also developed the building’s branded kids zone and all-time team displays. Noted NHL helmet artist David Arrigo painted the mask.

    WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY: The recession has cost many sports designers their jobs, but it provided Jim Edson a chance to leave a much bigger firm on his own accord to join forces with a former co-worker.

    Edson was an associate principal at Populous specializing in college sports. In August, he made the decision to cut ties with the company and team up with Patrick Lempka, who was laid off by the same firm in May 2009.

    Together, they formed Lempka Edson Architects in Kansas City and are putting the finishing touches on the design of a new 6,500-seat civic arena on Navajo Indian land in Window Rock, Ariz.

    Both had aspirations of striking out on their own and designing a project together. Lempka, after completing some contract work for 360 Architecture’s sports complex project in Iraq, won the $32 million Window Rock deal last February.

    Edson, meanwhile, had three college projects in development at Populous, including a renovation of Georgia Tech’s Alexander Memorial Coliseum, when he made the bold move to quit and team with Lempka.

    “The forecast for projects was slowing down [at Populous] and the amount of work in the whole office was slowing down quite a bit when I made the decision to leave,” Edson said. “It was a little bit risky, but it seemed like the right time to get the firm going.”

    Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @breakground.

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