eBay and AEG today announced that they have signed a deal for a global partnership to create multiple venue sponsorships and technology integrations. Beginning in the first quarter of ‘13, StubHub will become the exclusive secondary ticketing source for AEG venues and AEG’s AXS Ticketing. StubHub also will serve as the official secondary ticketing partner of Staples Center, the NHL Kings and the MLS Galaxy starting with the ‘13-14 season for each franchise. The deal could reach a number of major venues across Europe as StubHub continues to expand internationally. In addition, PayPal will become one of AXS Ticketing's new methods of payment. StubHub will become the official Fan-to-Fan Ticket Marketplace for more than 30 AEG facilities worldwide, including Staples Center. Beginning in January ‘13, StubHub will be designated as one of 11 Founding Partners of Staples Center, receiving a variety of customized signage and activation components including prominent interior and outdoor marquee signage, in-game/event branding elements and enhanced online presence (eBay/AEG).
GOING GLOBAL: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Smith & Bensinger write the deal marks the “latest attempt by the live-event industry to capture the sky-high prices sometimes commanded by scalpers and other third parties.” AEG will “collect an unspecified share of revenue … on transactions originating on its websites” from StubHub’s commissions. AEG President of Digital, Ticketing & Media Bryan Perez said that it “remained to be determined whether AEG's revenue from StubHub sales would be considered part of a concert's gross, a sum that is often the primary basis for a concert performer's compensation.” Perez said, "That's something we're trying to figure out.” eBay President of Global Marketplaces Devin Wenig said, "Today, StubHub is largely a domestic U.S. business. This is a significant move to globalize StubHub." Smith & Bensinger note AEG and eBay “plan perhaps to buy startups together and to create new technologies” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/12).
TICKET PRICE: In N.Y., Claire Atkinson reports AEG, which “put itself up for sale in September, is looking to fetch as much as $10 billion.” Sources said that Blackstone Group, which “handled the sale of the LA Dodgers earlier this year, is getting ready to release a sale book.” AEG so far has “only put out a ‘pictorial’ sales brochure.” Investment firm Colony Capital “has been floated as a potential bidder, with sources speculating the firm has backing from a Qatar sovereign wealth fund” (N.Y. POST, 11/12).
Vikings officials “recently e-mailed surveys to season-ticket holders to gauge their willingness to pay thousands of dollars more for a personal seat license or ‘stadium builders license’ to secure the right to the best seats,” according to a front-page piece by Richard Meryhew of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Revenues generated by the licenses “would go toward the Vikings' share” of the $975M construction cost for the team’s new downtown stadium. Although the Vikings “say no decision has been made, some fans are already upset.” Minnesota and Minneapolis are “contributing $498 million to stadium construction, with the Vikings picking up the remainder, to be financed through an NFL loan, stadium naming rights, other sponsorships and possibly, seat licensing fees.” Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley said that the team's survey is “part of a ‘broader market study’ involving stadium amenities and products” and was “sent to season-ticket holders, sponsors and fans who bought premium or club seats or suites in an attempt to evaluate the market." Bagley added that the Vikings “have made ‘no decision’ on whether to sell licenses and have established no ‘price points’ on license costs.” But with $477M owed, Bagley said that the team is “looking at ‘all avenues’ for construction financing.” Meryhew noted at the time the Vikings stadium legislation was “debated last winter and spring, team officials discussed seat licensing, but did not commit to it.” Bagley said that as of Friday, the team's ticket office had “received little direct feedback from season-ticket holders.” He said that the “fees, if charged, would likely be substantially less than those set for some other NFL stadiums.” Bagley: "You can't look at Dallas and San Francisco and think this market generates anything near that. This is a small, Midwestern market” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/11).
NAME GAME: In this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Terry Lefton reports the Vikings have “hired Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment as the sales and marketing agency” for the new stadium, which is scheduled to open in ‘16. The project is the “first naming-rights assignment for Van Wagner.” In addition to naming rights, Van Wagner “will be developing a revenue plan for the stadium.” Neither Vikings VP/Sales & Marketing and CMO Steve LaCroix nor Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment Exec VP Jeff Knapple would “comment on pricing for the naming rights.” However, a source said that the “asking price was $10 million to $12 million a year over a 25-year term” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/12 issue).
Butler Univ. on Friday announced the “launch of a public fund-raising campaign to repair and modernize" the 84-year-old Hinkle Fieldhouse, according to David Woods of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. Butler President James Danko said that the school has “already raised nearly $12 million in gifts and pledges.” Woods noted the campaign “ends Dec. 31, 2013, and there is no timetable for completion of a project that could exceed $30 million.” The first phase “began over the summer with tuck-pointing of 820,000 bricks and replacement of 9,700 window panes with energy-efficient glass.” Plans also include “more chairback seats in the arena, restrooms, scoreboard with video replay, coaches’ offices, academic center, remodeled locker rooms, and training and weightlifting rooms.” Danko said, “A place like this, you could spend $100 million. We’re trying to keep it in the $25-33 million range.” Woods noted Hinkle Fieldhouse is a National Historic Landmark, so “there are restrictions on what revisions may be made.” University leaders have “maintained they don’t want to change the appearance of the fieldhouse anyway.” The arena's “distinguishing features -- bricks, windows, ramps, raised floor, architecture -- will be unaffected in the building’s appearance” (INDYSTAR.com, 11/9). In Indianapolis, Scott Olson noted the announcement “comes about 2-½ years after the university began targeting its traditionally larger donors during the campaign’s ‘silent phase.’” The original renovation plan “called for $25 million in improvements but has been scaled back.” The university said that to complete the campaign, it will “offer several sponsorship options.” Donors can “put their names on brick pavers for $500, on chair-back seats for $1,000 and on lockers for $5,000” (IBJ.com, 11/9).
Georgia Tech's on-campus arena "reopened as McCamish Pavilion last week after a $50 million retrofit that brings fans much closer to the action," according to Don Muret of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The centerpiece of the project, the "500-seat Callaway Club, is part of a reconfigured seating bowl that hugs the court compared with the facility's original circular seat pattern." School officials said that fixed seating is "now 8,600, down from the initial setup of 9,191 seats." That includes "a new balcony that holds about 1,700 seats." The arena's 12 suites "were eliminated to help clear space to build three center sections of club seats on the arena's east side, opposite the team benches." The Callaway Club has "cushioned, theater-style seats with cup holders, and those premium patrons have access to a private lounge behind the seats." GT Athletic Association Premium Sales Dir Kyle Shields said that the school has "sold about 450 club seats." The cost is "$2,000 a seat per year, covering the price of season tickets, food and drink, and an annual donation." GT had "no problem marketing an improved courtside seat." Shields said that the 48 seats, "40 distributed along the east side and four along each baseline, were priced at $5,000 a seat per season and sold out in about an hour" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/12 issue).
GENERATING BUZZ: In Atlanta, Ken Sugiura noted GT's men's basketball game against Tulane Friday night was held "before a sellout crowd of 8,600 that included about 150 former players, coaches and staff." McCamish Pavilion, which "bears almost no resemblance to the Alexander Memorial Coliseum structure that it replaced, crackled with energy" (AJC.com, 11/9). Also in Atlanta, Mark Bradley noted the arena "was nice and bright and, at least for this one night, nearly full." If the arena "comes to house a serious basketball team the redo will have been worth the cost." McCamish gives GT "a momentum it hasn't known since the architects of the run to the 2004 NCAA championship game departed" (AJC.com, 11/9).
MSG President & CEO Hank Ratner “gave a tour of the new ‘Garden 366’ display on Friday that rings the Madison Concourse,” according to Marc Berman of the N.Y. POST. The exhibit “touts one thrilling moment in Garden history for every day of the calendar year -- including Feb. 29.” The Knicks, NHL Rangers, college and high school basketball, wrestling, tennis and boxing “get their share of days.” Also “part of the 366-piece ensemble are historical music concerts, political moments and miscellaneous events, such as Pope John Paul II’s visit on Oct. 3, 1979.” The “most offbeat selection is Feb. 6, 1887, when Buffalo Bill’s first Wild West exhibition was chosen.” The “trend in new arenas is housing a Hall-of-Fame room to commemorate a team’s history.” Ratner said that “that idea wasn’t good enough.” In addition to the display, 20 days are “spotlighted in a special ‘20 Defining Moments’ exhibit on the same floor -- each getting its own window-enclosed display” containing “memorabilia, artifacts and photos.” Only 10 of the 20 window displays are “ready for this season, including Marilyn Monroe singing ‘Happy Birthday’ at a Democratic fundraiser to John F. Kennedy -- May 19, 1962.” The other 10 moments “will be done for next season but placed on an upstairs floor, ‘The Garden Concourse’” (N.Y. POST, 11/11).