SBJ/October 31-November 6, 2011/Facilities

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  • Legends taking Rose Bowl club seats to national audience

    Don Muret
    The group marketing new premium seats at the Rose Bowl Stadium is launching a national sales campaign for the bowl game itself.

    Starting Wednesday, Legends Premium Sales, a division of Legends Hospitality Management, will contact Fortune 500 companies in select Big Ten and Pac-12 markets in an effort to sell 400 of the 1,180 club seats for the Rose Bowl game. Firms in Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Denver, San Francisco and Seattle will be targeted, said Jason Gonella, Legends’ vice president of sales. Those seats are tied to the stadium’s $152 million renovation.

    NEOSCAPE / ROSE BOWL STADIUM
    Rendering shows the club that will serve ticket holders for the new club seats at the Rose Bowl, part of $152 million in renovations.
    The campaign is a “bit of a test,” according to Gonella. Earlier this year, Legends began selling the 54 new suites planned for the stadium and recognized two groups of buyers: those interested in skyboxes for UCLA games only and others who preferred to buy for the Rose Bowl. After observing the trend, Legends decided to expand the market for club seats.

    Club seat prices range from $3,000 to $4,000 a seat per season for all football games at Rose Bowl Stadium, $2,000 to $3,000 for UCLA only and slightly more than $1,000 for the Rose Bowl game only.

    The model is not unique in Pasadena. The NFL and NCAA market premium-seat packages to national companies for the Super Bowl and Final Four, respectively. The same is true for major league arenas that sell suites and club seats separately for their NBA and NHL tenants.

    As of mid-October, Legends had sold 34 suites and 14 of 48 loge boxes. Premium-seat revenue will pay for half the construction cost. The multiyear project will be completed in time for the 2013 college football season.

    GET RIO: The sports practice within the world’s biggest architect is starting to form a master plan for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

    AECOM, a global provider of technical and management support services, recently won an international competition to develop the plan for Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro. The 280-acre park, on the site of a Formula One racetrack, will be a mix of existing facilities and new venues serving basketball, gymnastics, swimming and tennis, among other sports. Olympic Park is one of five zones in Brazil carved out for Olympic competition. The racetrack itself is being moved to another location.

    This summer, about one month before AECOM won the job in Brazil, the company hired J Parrish and four other sports architects from Arup, a British design firm. Parrish designed the Bird’s Nest, the stadium that became the face of the Beijing Olympics, as well as Allianz Arena in Munich, the Singapore Sports Hub and Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City soccer. Parrish’s conceptual design of Olympic Park venues was key to AECOM capturing its second consecutive Olympics master plan, according to AECOM’s Bill Hanway.

    For Hanway, the firm’s London-based executive director for operations, planning, design and development, the Rio Games come on the heels of the master plan he was in charge of developing for the 2012 London Olympics.

    Aside from cultural differences between the two cities, London’s urban site with waterways and industrial buildings required major changes to the infrastructure before work could begin on Olympic construction. The Rio site, by comparison, has a relatively flat landscape with few buildings to tear down, so the layout provides a much easier starting point for AECOM officials to map out the components of Olympic Park, Hanway said.

    The common goal for both cities is sustainability. In that respect, the competition extends beyond the field of play to see whether London or Rio will be the greenest Games in history. The Rio Olympics, because it comes later, has the upper hand, Hanway said.

    “For Rio, because of its hydroelectric dams, water management and water resources are more important,” he said. “Sustainability is a priority in both London and Rio, but the approach in how we achieve those goals will be slightly different.”

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

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  • New Evansville venue packs three bank deals into one arena

    Ford Center was set to open in Evansville, Ind., last weekend with three banks as founding partners inside the 11,000-seat arena.

    VenuWorks, the firm managing the publicly owned arena, signed five-year naming-rights deals with Old National Bank for the suite level, German National Bank for club seats and Fifth Third Bank for the hospitality room.

    Many arenas sign exclusive deals with one financial institution and include the building’s ATMs in the inventory. In this case, VenuWorks bought the money machines and stocks them with cash, said Scott Schoenike, Ford Center’s executive director.

    “We decided not to offer [banking] exclusivity and instead sell good numbers to all of them, Schoenike said.

    All three bank deals are valued at more than $100,000 annually in a media market of just over 1 million people spread over the southern tips of Indiana and Illinois and a portion of Kentucky.

    The $127 million arena is home to University of Evansville men’s and women’s basketball and the Central Hockey League’s Evansville IceMen. The Purple Aces men’s team was scheduled to christen the building with an Oct. 29 exhibition.

    The IceMen’s first game will be Saturday. The sports tenants account for 66 of the arena’s 130-plus event days planned during the first year of operation, Schoenike said.

    The arena’s 21 suites and 95 loge seats are sold out. The suites cost $55,000 a year, include tickets to all events and seat eight to 20 people. The loge seats are $2,000 a seat and include tickets to basketball and hockey and first rights to purchase tickets for other events.

    Ford signed a 15-year naming-rights deal for the arena itself with a total value of $6.8 million. VenuWorks sold all the sponsorships and premium seats. All told, that inventory generates more than $1.2 million annually, Schoenike said.

    Ford’s deal is all cash, he said. In return, the automotive company gets the arena’s biggest suite, a 40-person unit, three exterior signs and scoreboard exposure.

    In addition, three days before the Purple Aces’ exhibition, officials were developing a separate piece of activation for Ford revolving around a truck “crashing” through a wall in the south end, behind the stage for concerts. It’s a tricky job to complete, Schoenike said.

    Coca-Cola holds Ford Center’s pouring rights. VenuWorks operates concessions in-house. TS Sports produced the scoreboard.

    Iowa-based VenuWorks operates 11 arenas among its 40 facilities in secondary markets. Ford Center replaces Roberts Stadium, which opened in 1956.

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