SBJ/May 7-13, 2012/Facilities

All-inclusive suites on the menu for Kansas State stadium

Don Muret
Kansas State University has sold all 40 suites tied to a $75 million renovation of Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

The new suites are part of the West Stadium Center, a new 250,000-square-foot, four-story expansion with premium seats, retail space, team store, concessions and rest rooms, a large outdoor party deck for high-level donors and an athletics dining hall.

The suites introduce a new product at K-State, an all-inclusive package that covers the cost of food and drink served in a communal space outside the skyboxes. Alcohol is a separate cost.

The West Stadium Center expansion, shown in a rendering, will deliver new premium seating.
Image by: KANSAS STATE ATHLETICS
Generally in sports, catering is a separate fee on top of the cost to buy a suite, but the trend appears to be shifting toward the all-inclusive model in the college ranks, project officials said. Donor feedback at the NCAA Division I level indicates a desire to eliminate the hassle of managing catering orders, said Jon Niemuth, principal in charge of the K-State project for AECOM, one of two architects hired for the job.

In Manhattan, Kan., the strategy for selling suites, and the center’s 800 club seats and 36 loge boxes, both all-inclusive products, was to streamline the process and make it simple for prospective buyers to make a decision, said Laird Veatch, senior associate athletic director of strategic initiatives.

The suites cost $45,000 to $75,000 annually, plus one-time “construction gifts” that run up to six figures. Suite terms are five, seven and nine years.

The suites have 12 to 20 seats with both indoor and outdoor seats and access to the 15,000-square-foot lounge. The 32 older suites on the stadium’s east side start at $40,000 a year without tickets, food and parking, and are all interior seats.
As of last week, K-State has sold about half the loge boxes and 20 percent of the club seats. The school recently started marketing that inventory and has not yet released prices for those seats publicly.

AECOM and Heery have teamed to design the West Stadium Center, scheduled to open in fall 2013. Mortenson is the general contractor. Sodexo is K-State’s food provider.

FLY-ERS ON THE WALL: A subsidiary of the company that owns the Philadelphia Flyers would operate a proposed 20,000-seat arena in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ backyard under an agreement with the facility’s developer.
Global Spectrum, a division of Comcast-Spectacor, which also owns the Flyers, would manage the arena for GTA Sports and Entertainment.

GTA Sports wants to build a $325 million arena in Markham, Ontario, a Toronto suburb with a population of 300,000. Construction could start this summer pending local approvals of financing, said Frank Russo, Global Spectrum’s senior vice president.

The plan is to fund the project equally with private and public money. Should it move forward, Global Spectrum, a consultant for the project, would sign a multiyear deal to manage the arena, Russo said.

The arena initially would be home to a minor league hockey tenant, with a long-term goal of securing an NHL team.
Global Spectrum already runs three smaller arenas in Ontario as well as the old Maple Leaf Gardens, now an athletic center for Ryerson University in addition to housing a supermarket.

Bob Hunter, executive vice president and general manager of Air Canada Centre, home of the Maple Leafs and Raptors, said his company, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, owner of the arena and both teams, was “keeping an eye on what’s happening.”

Hunter said, “We know Global … and if Markham wanted a private management firm to go into a new facility there, Global would be my recommendation.”

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

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