SBJ/June 25-July 1, 2012/Facilities

Cisco parties at Petco Park; Mizzou plans stadium expansion

Don Muret
The San Diego Padres recently played host to Cisco Live!, the largest private event in the nine-year history of Petco Park.

The June 13 event, part of the technology firm’s annual customer appreciation celebration, drew 9,000 people to the ballpark and generated gross revenue for the Padres in the low to mid-seven figures, said Brent Stehlik, the club’s senior vice president of business operations.

Cisco paid for all expenses tied to booking a concert by Weezer on the field, setting up a small carnival at the “park in a park” beyond the center field wall with a Ferris wheel and midway games, and use of the Western Metals Building’s suites and bar and grill in left field. Delaware North Sportservice, the Padres’ concessionaire, catered the event and was paid a larger percentage of sales compared with a bar mitzvah or a high school prom — special events that typically draw fewer patrons, Stehlik said.

Cisco Live! drew 9,000 people to the ballpark …
Photo by: BE WATER PHOTO / JOHN AUDLEY
The concern for all MLB teams booking concerts and private functions on the field is potential damage to the playing surface. Stehlik said that both the players and the fans demand perfect field conditions in Southern California and that the diamond had held up nicely on inspection two days after the event. The club had a four-day window to repair damage before its next home game, June 18 against Texas, and has learned over the years how to better protect the field during setup and teardown of staging and other portable equipment.
… yet the field came away largely unscathed.
Photo by: SAN DIEGO PADRES

“The players couldn’t tell we had an event, and that is the important thing,” said Tom Garfinkel, the Padres’ president and chief operating officer.

The Cisco Live! booking, executed through a third party, was signed in late 2011. Earlier this year in a separate deal, the Padres and Verizon, their wireless partner, chose Cisco to upgrade the stadium’s infrastructure to improve communications for mobile devices.

MIZZOU’S MOVE: Sports designer Tom Waggoner has a unique perspective on the growth of Missouri’s athletic program, having worked on upgrades to the school’s football stadium over the past 17 years in addition to forming Missouri’s master plan for facilities.

As part of its move to the Southeastern Conference, Missouri is planning to expand Memorial Stadium to include a new structure with up to 2,500 club seats on the building’s east side and renovation of the press box on the west side. The total cost for both projects is $60 million.

Part of the master plan tied to stadium renovations is a focus on accommodating more visiting fans from SEC schools expected to attend road games, said Waggoner, a senior principal with 360 Architecture in Kansas City. As a result, Missouri will provide 6,000 tickets a game for SEC opponents, an increase of 2,200 a game from the Tigers’ Big 12 days. The decisions on ticket allotments are left up to the individual SEC schools, said Tim Hickman, Missouri’s senior associate athletic director for operations.

Said Waggoner, “There is a whole level of anticipation that is new to all those SEC fans. The whole idea of this flotilla of RVs that travel with the visiting team — the scale of that is new.”

For the stadium improvements, 360 Architecture has been selected to design press box upgrades and Populous to plan the new east-side addition. Both hires are pending approval by the Missouri Board of Curators, Hickman said.

POULSON GONE: NBA arena designer James Poulson is no longer employed with AECOM after leaving the company in late May. AECOM officials confirmed Poulson’s departure but would not comment further.

Poulson served as design director for Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Most recently, he had been working on AECOM’s master plan to renovate New Orleans Arena for the Hornets.

Poulson was a principal designer for the Rose Garden, Bankers Life Fieldhouse and FedEx Forum, three NBA arenas developed by the firm when it was known as Ellerbe Becket. He also worked on CenturyLink Field in Seattle, home of the NFL Seahawks.

PHILLING IN: The Philadelphia Phillies have signed a five-year deal with Tickets.com to be their new ticketing provider. The deal starts for the 2013 season at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies had been a Paciolan client since the stadium opened in 2004. The Phillies are the 15th MLB client for Tickets.com, which is owned by MLB Advanced Media.

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

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