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Volume 24 No. 156


Chesapeake Energy Arena will be the “new name of Oklahoma City’s downtown arena, formerly known as the Ford Center,” according to Randy Ellis of the DAILY OKLAHOMAN. Under the 12-year naming rights deal, Chesapeake, one of the Thunder’s “five founding partners,” will pay the team $3M the “first year, with a 3 percent annual escalation clause for each year, thereafter.” The Thunder “received the rights to most proceeds from the naming rights agreement under the deal it reached with the city to bring the NBA team to Oklahoma City from Seattle.” The city “will continue to receive $409,000 a year plus an escalator amount tied to the Consumer Price Index.” The amount the city receives is “based on its original naming rights contract with Oklahoma Ford Dealers before an NBA team arrived in Oklahoma City.” Ellis notes the deal “includes Chesapeake branding throughout the building including on the basketball court, prominent premium placement on the high-definition scoreboard and new state-of-the-art interior and exterior digital signage.” Most of the signage is “expected to be in place by the start of the Thunder’s 2011-12 season.” Horrow Sports Ventures CEO Rick Horrow said he believes the deal is “imminently fair” and a “win-win for all concerned.” Chesapeake Energy is based in Oklahoma City, and Horrow said the deal "provides another showcasing opportunity of a homegrown company that is now evolving into a national and international corporate sponsor” (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 7/22). Thunder investor Aubrey McClendon also serves as Chesapeake Energy CEO (THE DAILY).

The Marlins have decided to use at least "seven fan suggestions” in building their new ballpark, according to Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD. The “most significant” suggestion the Marlins will implement was to “have a clear view of the city beyond the outfield seats, in left and left center.” That will be “one of the stadium’s most appealing features.” Marlins President David Samson said, “In most ballparks, there are bleachers there." Samson noted fans "will be able to stare out and look at the skyline” through six transparent glass panels that can be opened. Another successful fan idea was “installing a 39-by-21 Jumbotron in the west plaza outside the stadium, where fans can mingle.” The Jumbotron will air Marlins games live. The Marlins also accepted ideas to maintain a "little-league baseball field in the parking lot near the west plaza,” and to bury a “time capsule.” Samson: “We thought, wouldn’t it be interesting if 50 years from now, when the building was taken down, people discovered some of the artifacts.” Jackson notes the Marlins “will keep the dome closed for about 70 games next year.” It will “stay open on nights (likely in April) before it gets too hot.” The new ballpark also is expected “to host a three-game series against the Red Sox next June and likely, a March exhibition against the Yankees” (MIAMI HERALD, 7/22).

A Phoenix designer has developed a new cup holder retrofit for sports facilities. Shad Bruce, Principal & Creative Dir at DD&F, launched a separate company called Branded Seats. The new firm makes a product that fits over existing cup holders and has four advertising positions to display sponsors’ brands. The flexibility of those retrofits allows teams to insert multiple logos and messages over the course of the season. The cup holder snaps in place in a tamper-resistant manner and eliminates the need to apply stickers that can be difficult and time-consuming to remove, Bruce said. Depending on the size of the building, the installation cost per cup holder is about $5 per unit, about 30% less expensive than an average $7 cup holder, he said. Branded Seats has no deals signed to this point. The company will introduce the new cup holder next week at the International Association of Venue Managers trade show in Phoenix. At DD&F, Bruce designed Futures Field, a children’s play area at Chase Field.

The Blue Jackets have signed a multiyear sponsorship agreement with OhioHealth that will result in new names for the team’s practice facility, currently the Ice Haus at Nationwide Arena, and the team-owned Chiller Ice Rinks, according to Tim Feran of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH. OhioHealth “hasn't settled on a name for the rinks,” and financial terms of the deal were not available. The Columbus-based health care provider has been a sponsor of the Blue Jackets since the ‘00-01 inaugural season, and the new deal “extends and expands” that sponsorship through the ‘15-16 season. As part of the new deal, OhioHealth “will have more signs and promotional rights” at Nationwide Arena. The company logo will also appear in the ice and on the Zamboni and, "in a first for the team, on a patch on the Blue Jackets' practice jerseys.” OhioHealth physicians and athletic trainers will continue to provide health care for the team’s players and personnel. The Ice Haus practice facility had been sponsored by the Dispatch Media Group since ’05, but the company chose not to return as the rink sponsor this year. The five Chiller Ice Rinks “have never had a sponsor name.” Dispatch Media Group continues to be a team corporate sponsor, and Dispatch VP & CMO Phil Pikelny said of the Ice Haus sponsorship: "We got great exposure and liked the outdoor signage, but we realized we weren't quite as visible during the game. We're now on center ice and have as many as 18 signs in the bowl area” (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 7/22).

In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman reports the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Thursday awarded a contract to CG&B Enterprises “to start the installation of new turf” at the Metrodome on Aug. 1 “at a cost of $476,984 and with a completion date of Aug. 18.” The Vikings “put their stamp of approval on the product that is used in the Georgia Dome and the Superdome.” The Metrodome “will have an open house -- free to the public -- on Aug. 20, when Viking players will test the turf.” The “old turf, only a year old, suffered water damage -- despite being covered by panels -- after the roof collapsed” in December (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/22).

STATING THEIR CASE: A SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS editorial states the city of Santa Clara "should be celebrating the news" that the tentative NFL CBA "probably will include money for a Santa Clara football stadium." Bringing the 49ers -- and "possibly the Raiders, as well -- to Santa Clara will boost the valley's civic pride and provide economic benefits and intangibles for all residents.” Santa Clara makes “far more sense as a potential NFL site than either San Francisco or Oakland, since voters have already approved a stadium.” The editorial continues, “Let's continue working to bring professional football to Silicon Valley” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 7/22).

VIEW OF THE WILDCATS: In Phoenix, Bob Young reports the Univ. of Arizona “will unveil a new video board at Arizona Stadium this season” that reportedly will “at least be one of the bigger ones at a college-football facility in the West and probably ranks among the more humongous in the country.” The new board for the south end zone, which “will measure 5,356 square feet, dwarfs the largest video board at Sun Devil Stadium." UA AD Greg Byrne announced that “some lucky fan who follows him on Twitter will get a chance to play the video game ‘NCAA Football 12’ on the new” video board (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 7/22).

CALLING ON LONDON: In L.A., Garrison & Pham note as AEG seeks approval to build Farmers Field in downtown L.A., its work with London's O2 arena is "just one example of the global firm's aptitude for spotting, shaping and selling risky projects.” AEG is “leaning on that record to pull off” what AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke indicated is the company’s “riskiest project yet: a $1.35-billion football stadium in downtown Los Angeles” (L.A. TIMES, 7/22).