SBJ/June 30-July 6, 2014/Franchises

Hospital names Nets’ new practice facility

New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery signed a 10-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets to put its name on the team’s training center, which will be just over three miles from the team’s home Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The 70,000-square-foot facility, scheduled to open before the 2015-16 NBA season, is being built on the eighth floor and rooftop of a rehabbed warehouse in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood.

The Nets’ practice facility is set to open before the 2015-16 season.
Rendering: COURTESY OF BROOKLYN NETS

Sources said the title sponsorship for the Hospital for Special Surgery Training Center, along with an accompanying package for Nets team rights, totaled in the low seven figures per year. The package includes branding inside and outside the practice facility, signage at Nets games in the Barclays Center, logo placement on the Nets’ practice jerseys, and hospitality at the practice facility and at the Barclays Center.

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“We’re happy to continue and expand our association with what is a world-class health brand and have their help in building deeper community ties in Brooklyn,” said Nets CEO Brett Yormark.

The orthopedic hospital’s team rights with the Nets start with the 2014-15 season. The hospital is no stranger to sports marketing, as it also has medical and commercial relationships with the Yankees, Giants, Knicks, Red Bulls, several local universities, the New York Road Runners/New York Marathon and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Hospital for Special Surgery is the latest of a plethora of health care providers to brand practice facilities for pro teams. Hospital President and CEO Lou Shapiro said that “taking care of athletes who need their bodies to perform at the highest levels is a validation of what we do, so we’re hoping more professional athletes, even outside of the Nets, will come to us for care. From a consumer perspective, we look for a halo effect from the association to help influence awareness and choice.”

Hospital for Special Surgery has been a business partner and provided team medical care to the Nets for some time. However, when the Nets moved to Brooklyn in 2012, the team was seeking local roots, so it signed Maimonides Medical Center as the team’s official hospital. Under the new agreement, Hospital for Special Surgery becomes the “official hospital of the Brooklyn Nets,” while Maimonides’ new designation is “hometown hospital of the Brooklyn Nets.” Additionally, Brooklyn Hospital has a deal through which it is the “official hospital of the Barclays Center.”

Dr. Riley J. Williams III, a surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery who has been the team’s medical director since the 2005-06 season, will see his role expanded as the Nets’ head orthopedic surgeon. Shapiro emphasized Hospital for Special Surgery’s authentic medical ties as a principal reason behind the naming-rights deal.

“If you’re not actually taking care of the players, it’s just like being the official car,” he said.

The Nets’ practice facility has been in East Rutherford, N.J., since 1998. When that facility is shuttered next year, it will mark the team’s last connection to the Garden State, where it moved from Long Island in 1977.

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