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Volume 24 No. 156


Mobile brand EE is “set to be the naming partner of Wembley Stadium,” according to John Reynolds of MARKETING magazine. The FA is “hoping to raise around” US$12.8M a year “from a commercial deal.” Sources said that EE is “close to signing.” The deal “will not mean that the Wembley name is given over to a corporate sponsor as the FA believes this would alienate fans, but it is likely to mean that EE will form part of the name, such as ‘Wembley in association with EE.’” The FA has been “on the hunt for a lead commercial sponsor since the new Wembley Stadium was opened” in ‘07. A deal between the FA and EE “would mark EE's first foray" into soccer. However, its Orange and T-Mobile brands “have a heritage in the sport” (, 11/28).

Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms yesterday "offered the first glimpse into how a deal to build an 18,500-seat arena and bring a professional sports team to the city might be structured," laying out what the city, the state of Virginia and a private company "would bring to the table to build the arena now estimated to cost $300 million," according to Aaron Applegate of the Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT. The city of Virginia Beach would "contribute $195 million," while the state "will be asked for $150 million, of which $70 million would be for the arena." Comcast-Spectacor, the company that would "lease and operate the arena and is working to recruit the pro sports team, would put in $35 million." Sessoms "declined to name the sports team targeted as the arena’s anchor tenant, but sources have said since August that it’s the NBA’s Sacramento Kings." Kings VP/Media Relations Troy Hanson yesterday said, “We’re not going to comment on relocation rumors.” Sessoms "put the odds of the deal coming together at 50-50." He said, “We have a long way to go. In no way do I want people to think we have a done deal.” City council member John Moss called a $35M contribution from Comcast-Spectacor “way too low.” Moss: “If they have such faith in the forecasts, they should be putting up more." But council member Glenn Davis said, "With all the other events this could attract, I think it’s exciting. The more that comes out, the more lucrative it sounds for the city and citizens" (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 11/28).

Global Spectrum will take over management of historic Boardwalk Hall starting Jan. 1 pending approval by the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority Board, according to industry sources. The board meets Dec. 6 to approve the measure. Authority President Jeff Vasser said it was premature to comment on the decision until after the board takes action. Global Spectrum, a division of Comcast-Spectacor in Philadelphia, would replace SMG, the arena’s current operator. SMG has been running Boardwalk Hall for 17 years. Boardwalk Hall, built in '29, does not have a sports tenant but the arena plays host to hockey, pro boxing and high school sports events. The AHL’s Albany Devils, the top affiliate of the Devils, play four games at Boardwalk Hall this season. The facility, which seats about 10,000 for hockey, went through a $90M, three-year renovation from '98-'01. Ovations Food Services, Global Spectrum’s sister company, has been Boardwalk Hall’s food provider the past five years.