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Volume 24 No. 156


The N.Y.-area Hyundai Dealers has increased its sponsorship with the Mets to an annual six-figure deal that now encompasses naming rights for the premium field-level club area at Citi Field. What had been known as the Champions Club will be known as the Hyundai Club in what Mets Exec VP/Business Operations Dave Howard described as a multiyear commitment. The Hyundai Dealers will have a vehicle display just outside the club that will bear its name. The deal also packages outfield wall signage, rotating signage on the first- and third-base lines, hospitality and tickets. The New York/New Jersey/Connecticut Hyundai Dealers co-op has been a Mets sponsor since Citi Field opened in ‘09. With the Mets hosting the MLB All-Star Game this year, Howard said the club has seen Hyundai and other incumbent sponsors increase their stadium and activation plans. Also included in that group are StubHub, Duane Reade, Cholula Hot Sauce and Old Dominion Freight Lines. Howard said the team expects to sign some larger deals before the season begins next month. Already signed on as a new Mets corporate patron is Amway, which will have display space for its b-to-b distributors, signage, hospitality rights and rights to use Citi Field on non-game days for corporate functions. With the Mets’ Triple-A team now in Las Vegas, tourism marketing for the city also will be evident in Citi Field this year. With the All-Star Game, Howard said the Mets budgeted for a substantial increase in sponsorship fees this season, adding, "We are right on target there.” The game also has helped sell more suites, and Howard said the Mets have seen “a substantial uptick’’ in 20- and 40-game plans, and those customers will get access to certain All-Star strips. “Overall, we are ahead of a year ago, both in terms of number of tickets sold and ticket revenues," Howard said.

NFL owners are expected to approve $200M in league financing for the Vikings' new $975M stadium at the annual three-day meeting that commences this morning in Arizona, sources said. The vote is slated for today. The money would come under the league’s G-4 stadium financing program, in which teams apply for loans they pay back in part by diverting team revenue that otherwise would have gone to the league. This is the second G-4 loan since the system was implemented following the '11 CBA, replacing a similar program under the previous labor pact. The 49ers received $200M, the maximum amount, under G-4. Three clubs that are renovating stadiums -- the Ravens, Broncos and Bills -- are applying to the league for what are called club-seat waivers. Fees from club seats that teams would otherwise pay the league get diverted to pay for capital expenses. These renovations, however, do not meet the scale necessary for a G-4 loan (Daniel Kaplan, Staff Writer).

JOHN THE BUILDER: In Minneapolis, Richard Meryhew profiled Mortenson Construction Senior VP John Wood and wrote he "faces his most formidable building challenge yet: the nearly billion-dollar Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis." With "all of Minnesota watching, Wood knows success rests on whether the project gets built on time and within budget and whether Mortenson delivers the state-of-the-art gem that a region, its team and is purple-and-gold following not only want, but demand." Wood's portfolio "boasts dozens of sports venues coast to coast." But of all the projects, the Vikings' is the "biggest, and by far the most expensive." With talk of "a retractable roof or wall, it may well be the trickiest to build." More than that, it is a "chance to add to the company's hometown legacy." Wood said, "It's the biggest project in the history of the state. And it's one that every single member of our organization here in Minnesota is excited about. It's just captivated the interest of the whole community" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/17).

The Eagles "will no longer be holding training camp" at Lehigh Univ. after 17 years at the school, and will instead hold preseason practices at the team's HQs "at the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia and at Lincoln Financial Field," according to Jeff McLane of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. Eagles President Don Smolenski said that the team had been "leaning in that direction for some time." But the transition from longtime coach Andy Reid to new head coach Chip Kelly this year, "along with the logistics of having to move the entire football operation to Bethlehem, Pa., for three weeks each summer, spurred the decision." Smolenski called it "an organizational decision." But if Kelly wanted to "continue having camps at Lehigh, the team likely would have gone along." As NFL facilities have become "more advanced, more teams have opted to stay home." The Eagles said that 21 of the league's 32 teams "now hold training camp at their practice facilities." The Eagles intend to "hold practices that will be open and free to the public." Smolenski said, "We view it as an opportunity for our partners, our season-tickets holders, fans. We have the ability to invite them and have them be a part of it." He estimated that the team drew "anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 fans a day at Lehigh." Lehigh AD Joe Sterrett said that he was "disappointed but that he understood why the Eagles chose to end their relationship." He said, "I don't think it will be the complete end of our relationship, but I don't know what that means going forward" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/16).

MLS Commissioner Don Garber said that the league is “making progress on their stadium push in Queens" for a second N.Y. team, and wants to "get the situation wrapped up soon,” according to Brian Lewis of the N.Y. POST. Garber said of the NASL N.Y. Cosmos’ plans, “We’re not at all focused on them or what they’re doing. We are very focused on our plans in New York. We continue to meet with the city, continue to meet with community leaders and investors, and making a lot of progress, too.” Lewis wrote MLS is “pushing forward with plans to build a stadium in Flushing Meadow Park -- although there are significant hurdles to clear with regards to their desired 10-acre plot.” Garber said, “We still have work to do in the community, but we continue to meet with the community and we’ve got work to do there.” Garber “wouldn’t be pinned down on a timeframe, but did say time is of the essence” (, 3/17).