SBJ/August 27-September 2, 2012/Facilities

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  • Retail therapy: Panthers maximize space in team store refurb

    Don Muret
    The Carolina Panthers and Delaware North Sportservice have revamped the team store at Bank of America Stadium to improve customer flow and give it a fresh look tied to the team’s refined logo and new NFL licensees Nike, New Era and ’47 Brand.

    The Panthers and food and retail concessionaire Sportservice shared the investment to renovate the 16-year-old stadium’s 3,500-square-foot store, which is smaller than pro shops at newer NFL facilities Cowboys Stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium and MetLife Stadium.

    To free up space in Charlotte, officials relocated cash registers from the center of the store toward the west wall, similar to the setup at fast-food restaurants. The store now has six registers, two more than the old layout, Sportservice general manager Tom Crocker said.

    The Carolina Panthers moved registers to one side of their team store to help improve customer flow.
    Photo by: DON MURET / STAFF
    In addition, the Panthers and their vendor removed the low ceilings, creating more room to hang more products on the walls, effectively doubling the number of items Sportservice can put on display, Crocker said.

    As part of its leaguewide deal, Nike supplied new fixtures and graphics and installed a mannequin in motion showcasing the No. 15 jersey of Joe Adams, the Panthers’ rookie return specialist.

    The facelift has paid off during the Panthers’ two preseason games. Sales of branded, licensed product are up 25 percent over last year’s exhibitions, Crocker said.

    The timing of the project was perfect for the Panthers given the tweaks they made to their primary logo during the offseason and Nike taking over the NFL apparel deal, team President Danny Morrison said.

    In total, the team store upgrades, along with new HD cameras in the control room connected to the stadium’s video boards and improvements to the team’s meeting rooms and dining facilities, amount to a seven-figure investment, Morrison said.

    On the food side, Sportservice added 100 more points of sale at Bank of America Stadium to meet the halftime crush by increasing the number of portable food carts and coolers stocking soft drinks and bottled water. Qdoba and NoDa Brewing Co., a local microbrewery, are among the new food and drink brands in the building.

    MAYNE MAN: Brad Mayne discovered the magnitude of the Super Bowl when he arrived in New Jersey to interview for the job as president and CEO of MetLife Stadium.

    Joining Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch and Jets owner Woody Johnson for the interview process was Al Kelly, CEO of the 2014 Super Bowl Host Committee. The game is set for MetLife Stadium, the first Super Bowl to be played outdoors in a winter climate.

    “That tells me how important a role the stadium will play for that event,” said Mayne, who got the job.

    Mayne has been a facility manager for 30 years, including the past 14 years with American Airlines Center in Dallas, where he worked for Center Operating Co., co-owned by the Mavericks and the Stars. The organizational structure is similar to the one used by MetLife Stadium’s joint venture.

    For Mayne’s first official event at MetLife on Sept. 5, the Giants will play host to the Cowboys. “It is a fitting welcome to my new home,” he said.

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


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  • Major Southern California sports facilities team up to create new fan code of behavior

    A group of 11 sports facilities in Southern California has formed a new fan code of conduct to reinforce the message of appropriate behavior in their buildings.

    The program started when Rose Bowl officials wanted ideas to improve safety.
    Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
    The Southern California Fan Code of Conduct, organized under the auspices of the Los Angeles Sports Council, is a list of 10 bullet points tied to improving the fan experience at Dodger Stadium, Rose Bowl Stadium, Staples Center and eight other facilities.

    The code supplements the programs that each of the participating facilities already has in place for addressing fan behavior and enforcing those policies, said David Simon, president of the council, a group supporting economic development through sports.

    The biggest news to come out of this initiative is that for the first time a vast majority of teams and facilities covering a region of 20 million residents sat down together to share best practices, Simon said.

    Southern California
    Fan Code of Conduct

    Sports fans at major league and college venues in Los Angeles and Orange County are being asked to refrain from:

    1. Profanity or other offensive language, whether spoken or appearing on apparel.
    2. Smoking (except in designated smoking areas).
    3. Intoxication or excessive alcohol consumption.
    4. Bringing prohibited items into the venue.
    5. Throwing of items or liquids.
    6. Entering the playing field or court at any time.
    7. Fighting or other threatening behavior.
    8. Failure to retain ticket and/or present it to event staff if requested to do so.
    9. Resale of tickets at the venue.
    10. Violation of state or local laws.

    Participating venues

    Rose Bowl Stadium
    Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
    Dodger Stadium
    Angel Stadium of Anaheim
    Auto Club Speedway
    Santa Anita Park
    Staples Center
    Honda Center
    Galen Center (USC)
    Pauley Pavilion (UCLA)
    Home Depot Center
    “We got all the venues singing from the same hymn books, which is a first for our area,” he said.

    In that sense, the coalition gives added weight to the code, said Lee Zeidman, general manager and senior vice president of Staples Center.

    Rose Bowl general manager Darryl Dunn said, “At times, we are competitors and rivals, but in this instance, everybody is working together to make the fan experience as enjoyable as possible.”

    The program’s roots date to September 2010, six months before the beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow in a Dodger Stadium parking lot. At that time, Rose Bowl officials reached out to sports consultant Jim Steeg, a former NFL executive, to take a close look at what could be done to provide a safer environment for fans attending games in Pasadena. In December, a few months later, two people were stabbed during a brawl in a Rose Bowl parking lot before the USC-UCLA night game.

    The Stow incident in March 2011 added “fuel to the fire” for developing a uniform code that could be applied across the board at sports facilities, Steeg said, including Santa Anita Park and Auto Club Speedway.

    Two months later, in June 2011, a group of teams and venues, including AEG, owner and operator of Staples Center and Home Depot Center, met for the inaugural Fan Behavior Summit, which drew about 100 people, Simon said.

    A task force was formed after the summit with a working group of about 20 members. Together, they developed the new fan code.

    The group has not determined how the code will be spelled out to fans at sports events in Southern California. Most likely, there will be signs displayed at arenas and stadiums, with audio and video messages played over loudspeakers and scoreboards, Simon said. How arenas, stadiums and tracks enforce the code and whether they increase security forces is up to the individual buildings, Simon said. To this point, the only real costs involved have been a few thousand dollars tied to the cost of attending last year’s summit, he said.

    The group is set to publicly announce the fan code today.


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  • TD Garden suites getting $10M in upgrades

    Delaware North is investing about $10 million to renovate TD Garden’s 89 suites over a two-year span.

    The arena is 17 years old and the suites needed upgrades in technology, decor and food service to continue providing a high-quality experience for clients paying $150,000 to $300,000 annually for long-term commitments, said Amy Latimer, senior vice president for the arena and the Boston Bruins.

    Group One Partners has designed the renovations for the Boston arena’s 89 suites.
    Photo by: GROUP ONE PARTNERS / TD GARDEN
    The project started this offseason, when 39 of the suites were “torn down to the studs” during the first phase of the renovation in Boston, Latimer said. The remaining 50 will be improved next offseason.

    Two years ago, Delaware North began the renovation process by surveying suite holders to find out what was important to them for the refresh. The feedback included having a choice in decor and an opportunity to brand their spaces with company logos and messages.

    In turn, arena officials gave them two options for interior design, including countertops and cabinetry. Delaware North also developed a graphics package with the flexibility for suite holders to display their firms’ brands on the interior walls and change the images as needed.

    On the technology end, the Ticketmaster Suite Management system will be installed as an additional layer of security. The technology requires a suite ticket holder to scan the ticket bar code at the suite’s front door to enter.

    Over the years, unauthorized people wandering into suites to “help themselves” to food and drink has been an issue on occasion, Latimer said, and the suite access system should prevent those incidents.

    The access-control piece of the project will be in place for all suites this season.

    In addition, Delaware North is taking the next step with Cisco’s Internet protocol television network to activate a feature for suite patrons to order food and retail through flat screens connected to the system.

    Long term, TD Garden is in the early stages of developing a master plan for future upgrades that could include a new event-level club. Delaware North has been working initially with Rossetti on forming a list of potential projects, and the arena owner most likely will hire the Detroit architect after it completes a final plan for improvements, she said.

    For the suite renovation, local firm Group One Partners designed the interior spaces. The same firm has worked with Delaware North on other premium-seat projects.

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