SBJ/Sept. 30-Oct. 7, 2013/Facilities

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  • Deal triples value for Magic clubs

    Fields Auto Group has signed a three-year deal with the Orlando Magic to take over naming rights for Amway Center’s two event-level clubs, tripling the value of those premium spaces over the previous agreements, team President Alex Martins said.

    The new deal, valued in the mid-six figures annually, rebrands the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge as the Fields Ultimate Lounge. It is reserved for 300 courtside seat holders and 700 additional season-ticket holders sitting in the first seven rows in the lower bowl.

    Across the hall, the Icon Suite is the new name of the former Chairman’s Suite presented by the Ritz-Carlton Destination Club. It is the most exclusive club in the arena, where members pay $20,000 to $50,000 a year to consume gourmet meals and beer, wine and soda. Game tickets are not included.

    The term “Icon” is the dealership’s brand to describe the Bentley, Rolls-Royce and
    The Icon Suite (top), named for the auto dealer’s luxury car brand, and the Fields Ultimate Lounge are nearly sold out.
    Photo by: ORLANDO MAGIC (2)
    Lamborghini automobiles that it sells, Martins said. The Icon Suite is nearest the Magic locker room. Both clubs provide views to players from both teams as they enter and exit the court area.

    The “pure cash” deal also covers naming rights for the Fields Luxury Valet, the arena’s valet parking program, Martins said. It is the first time the team has branded valet parking.

    The deal is part of more than $2 million in new revenue the Magic have generated from selling corporate sponsorships for the 2013-14 season, including renewals, he said.

    Amway Center opened in October 2010. The intent at that time was to open the Mercedes-Benz and Ritz-Carlton clubs with short-term naming-rights deals and build equity over time in the arena’s two most exclusive spaces, Martins said.

    Both clubs became popular among the team’s high-end clientele and several companies approached the Magic expressing interest in buying naming rights after the original deals expired, he said.

    The Icon Suite, the smaller of the two rooms, is 80 percent sold with about 150 members. The seating inventory tied to the Fields Ultimate Lounge is close to being sold out as well. Some courtside seats are available for the coming season, Martins said.

    The 1,000 patrons who have access to the lounge pay per-game ticket prices of $150 on the low end up to $1,500 for seats next to the team benches. Those costs cover food and drink served in the lounge, excluding hard liquor.

    “Our strategy was to place a high level of service and food and beverage experience within those spaces in the first three years so we could increase value,” Martins said. “We believe we delivered on that promise. They are some of the most luxurious clubs in the country.”

    Mercedes-Benz and Ritz-Carlton had first right to renew their deals but decided against signing extensions after the Magic approached both companies with definitive numbers higher than what they originally paid to brand those rooms, Magic officials said.

    The Magic then turned to their first option, Fields Auto Group, a 41-year-old family-owned firm and a former team sponsor at the old arena. Fields has 34 dealerships across four states and Canada, including 14 in Florida alone, most in the state’s central region. It also sells Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Range Rover vehicles.

    “Amway Center is the premier venue in Orlando,” said John Mantione, a company vice president. “It’s always good to be in front of clients and prospects.”

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  • AEG converting dining space at Staples into two loge-style seating products

    Staples Center is getting rid of the “squatters” taking up valuable real estate in its San Manuel Club.

    AEG, the arena’s owner and operator, is introducing two new loge-style seating products in October for the 2013-14 season to generate revenue in a portion of club space previously reserved for sit-down dinners for suite and club-seat holders.

    Table and lounge areas expected to generate revenue for AEG.
    Image by: GENSLER
    The arena’s new Premier Tables and Premier Lounges are ticketed spaces designed to generate premium-seat revenue in the club’s dining space where there was none before. The San Manuel Club is situated on the first suite level at stage end on the arena’s north side.

    In the past, many patrons sat there for the entire game after finishing dinner, said Lee Zeidman, Staples Center’s senior vice president and general manager. In addition, the space was largely used by VIPs getting free passes from the teams.

    “We weren’t seeing a return on investment,” Zeidman said. “There were not a lot of [changeovers] for dinner.”

    The two new products, which will be separated by design, have four-seat configurations hugging the rim of the lower bowl. The Premier Tables start at $165,000 annually and the Premier Lounges at $150,000 a year. Terms are three and five years.

    Patrons get four season tickets to all Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers and Kings games, plus food and drink, including beer, wine and soda, for all games. Hard liquor is a separate fee.

    Both products have 27-inch televisions in front of the tables, lounges and charging stations for mobile devices. The right to purchase concert tickets elsewhere in the seating bowl for stage-end concerts and parking passes are tied to the packages.

    One hundred new seats are distributed among the 18 Premier Lounges and seven Premier Tables. Selling all 100 seats would produce more than $4 million in new revenue, said Mike Tomon, AEG’s senior vice president of premium sales for global partnerships. The arena’s three tenants will receive a portion of that income, Zeidman said. Construction costs are $1.4 million, and the new lounges should open by Oct. 18.

    In doing their research on the retrofit, AEG officials saw what other major league arenas have done over the past five years to replace unsold suites with smaller theater boxes and loge seats.

    At Staples Center, though, empty skyboxes are not an issue. AEG expects to sell all 150 suites this season at $300,000 to $500,000 a unit, Tomon said. This marks the fifth consecutive season Staples Center has sold all suites after eliminating eight units in 2009 to build the Hyde Lounge.

    AEG focused on the San Manuel Club to develop a midpriced product, which it can use to potentially upsell patrons to a full suite in the future, Tomon said.

    Teaming with Gensler, AEG’s architect of record, arena officials redesigned a portion of the club, keeping the remaining two-thirds intact for sit-down dinners.

    AEG plans to start selling the new inventory in early October, starting first with the firm’s corporate partners before going to the public, Tomon said.

    AEG expects to generate a total in the low nine figures for premium seat revenue for the 2013-14 season, the highest number in the arena’s 14-year history, he said.

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