SBJ/May 9-15, 2011/Facilities

Legends to help plan Farmers premium seating

AEG has signed Legends Premium Sales to a one-year consulting deal to help develop the premium-seat program for Farmers Field, the $1 billion NFL stadium AEG wants to build in downtown Los Angeles.

AEG
Legends Premium Sales signed a one-year deal to consult on the proposed Los Angeles stadium.
Legends Premium Sales is a division of Legends Hospitality Management, a food and retail concessions company co-owned by the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Yankees and two private equity firms.

The deal is strictly a consulting agreement, said Shervin Mirhashemi, AEG Global Partnerships chief operating officer. Chad Estis, president of Legends Premium Sales, will be the sole individual working directly with AEG officials to determine the right prices for selling PSLs, suites and club seats, as well as finding the right mix of those premium products. After that information is established, AEG Global Partnerships would sell the inventory, Mirhashemi said.

AEG has a track record for developing arenas and stadiums worldwide but has never worked in the NFL. It hired Legends after Estis spearheaded a Cowboys Stadium sales force that generated $500 million in revenue tied to the $1.2 billion facility’s 300 suites and 15,000 club seats. AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke and Todd Goldstein, president of AEG Global Partnerships, toured Cowboys Stadium last fall, and both officials were impressed with Estis’ role directing the massive sales campaign.

The design proposal Icon Venue Group issued for Farmers Field called for 218 suites, including 40 event-level units, and 14,700 club seats. AEG hired architect Gensler in March to do the design, so those numbers could change, project officials said.

“Our mind-set is the same as theirs, to maximize revenue,” Mirhashemi said. “They know the potential pitfalls and opportunities with an NFL team. PSLs is not something we have done and they clearly are the model. It’s a fantastic blueprint to look to and put our own AEG flavor on top.”

Legends Premium Sales continues to expand its business outside of north Texas and is already working with the San Francisco 49ers, who hired Legends as a consultant and then signed it to sell premium seats for the team’s proposed stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. The opportunity to do business with AEG gives Legends greater credibility in a space where there are few competitors outside of CSL Marketing Group in Dallas.

AEG doesn’t use a consultant to assist with a sports project very often, Estis said. “It’s a feather in our cap.”

Estis met with AEG officials in Los Angeles a few weeks ago and will make about four more trips to the West Coast over the next 12 months as Farmers Field’s premium-seat plan takes shape.

The project still has a long way to go before it breaks ground. AEG must get city approval to build the stadium across the street from Staples Center on land occupied by the Los Angeles Convention Center. AEG must also have an NFL team relocate from another market.

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