MSG yesterday announced a long-term marketing deal with Lexus, which will sponsor the venue under the Signature Partner designation. The brand's assets will include naming rights for a new suite level that will debut this week as part of the second phase of renovations at the arena. Lexus becomes the official luxury vehicle of MSG, the Knicks, the Rangers, the WNBA Liberty and the Concert Series at MSG. It also gains a presence on MSG's RSNs and integration on the 7th and 8th Avenue marquees (MSG).
NO EXTREME MAKEOVER: In San Diego, Bill Center wrote, "I like the changes being made to Petco Park." The shortening of the fences "will not be turning Petco Park into a hitter-happy venue like Minute Maid Park in Houston, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia or Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati." Padres Dir of Baseball Operations Josh Stein said, "There are not going to be cheap home runs at Petco Park. ... These changes will not change the way the Padres play baseball" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 10/28).
A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME: In Louisville, John Karman III reports the Univ. of Louisville is planning an $8M, 40,000-square-foot, glass-enclosed academic center "at the south end of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium." The facility will be built "beneath the Norton Healthcare Terrace, which will serve as the center's roof." The school also is "planning a soccer facility" across the street from Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. UL officials said that the $18M, 5,500-seat venue "is in the early funding stages." Its design "was created by" Jeffersonville, Ky.-based architectural firm The Estopinal Group (LOUISVILLE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/26 issue).
NEWS FROM THE RUGGER: MARKETING magazine's John Reynolds reported the Rugby Football Union is "considering selling the naming rights to Twickenham, as it moves to boost revenues ahead of the 2015 World Cup" (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 10/29).