SBJ/Oct. 14-20, 2013/Facilities

Maryland signs Global Spectrum to book events for arena

Don Muret
Comcast Center is breaking into show business after the University of Maryland signed a one-year deal with Global Spectrum to book special events at the 17,950-seat arena.

The agreement was driven by the school’s effort to find new ways to generate revenue for athletics and to bring more entertainment options to campus for students, Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson said.

The university as a whole also wants the arena to play a larger role in bringing the community together in College Park, Anderson said.

The deal is a revenue share between Maryland and Global Spectrum. The school projects it will receive $1 million to $1.5 million in revenue over the next 12 months from bringing seven to 10 events, mostly concerts, to Comcast Center, Anderson said.

PREPPING PEGULA: Penn State last week readied Pegula Ice Arena for its first hockey game Friday. Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula and wife Kim gave money to the university to establish men’s and women’s varsity hockey programs and build the $90 million arena.
Photo by: MARK SELDERS / PENN STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATION
Ticket sales will go directly to athletics and concessions income and parking fees will be split with campus partners through existing agreements, said Zack Bolno, Maryland’s senior associate athletic director of strategic communications and media relations.

Comcast Center opened in 2002 but has played host to few events outside of men’s and women’s basketball, gymnastics, volleyball and wrestling. It’s been mostly graduations and an appearance by the Dalai Lama last May, Anderson said.

The lack of a rigging system strong enough to support touring productions was part of the issue, he said. The school spent $250,000 to $300,000 to upgrade its system.

Comcast Center is situated on Interstate 95, 30 miles south of Baltimore and 15 miles north of Washington. Verizon Center, home of the Capitals and Wizards, will still get the acts it wants, but Maryland’s arena should be a good fit for some shows, Anderson said.

Global Spectrum primarily runs facilities but it does have booking agreements at three college arenas — Southern California’s Galen Center, Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center and Bowling Green’s Stroh Center.

In addition, Global Spectrum has worked with South Carolina on concerts at Williams-Brice Stadium.

At Maryland, bookings will be handled by Brock Jones, Global Spectrum’s vice president of bookings. Doug Higgons, one of the firm’s regional vice presidents, will oversee the account.

There are options to extend the deal with Global Spectrum after the initial term expires, Anderson said.

> BINGO WINNER: The San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino has renewed its sponsorship with AEG, a five-year extension valued at $4 million to $5 million annually that now covers three AEG facilities.

The agreement expands San Manuel’s presence to StubHub Center, where the casino replaces Farmers Insurance as a founding partner, said Bill Pedigo, senior vice president for AEG Global Partnerships.

The decision by Farmers to exit as a founding partner has no bearing on the company’s naming-rights deal for Farmers Field, the NFL stadium that AEG proposes to build across the street from Staples Center, AEG spokesman Michael Roth said.

At StubHub Center, San Manuel also becomes a new sponsor of the Los Angeles Galaxy. As part of San Manuel’s activation at the multisport complex in Carson, Calif., AEG is developing a San Manuel-branded bar that’s under construction, Pedigo said.

The casino receives hospitality and exposure on the field-level LED boards and billboard space on every major freeway in Los Angeles.

It will continue to hold naming rights for the San Manuel Club, a premium club on the suite level undergoing a partial retrofit at Staples Center.

The deal extends its partnerships with the Los Angeles Kings and with Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif., 40 miles east of Los Angeles. The minor league facility, run by AEG, is home to the ECHL’s Ontario Reign, a Kings affiliate.

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

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