Barclays Center has "struck a two-season marketing deal with" BlackBerry, according to Garett Sloane of the N.Y. POST. A source said that the deal is "valued at" $1-5M. Barclays Center Senior VP/Corporate Sponsorship Mike Zavodsky said that BlackBerry and its new Z10 phone will get "prominent ad placement throughout the arena -- plus its own customer 'experiential' area and a suite-level lounge." He said BlackBerry is paying for "brand domination" at the arena, where people will see marketing for the smartphone maker from "street to seat." Sloane notes BlackBerry has been "on a marketing push of late to revive its market share in smartphones since losing ground to the likes of Apple and Samsung." BlackBerry has "targeted other sports," like F1, with a reported $12M deal announced in February. BlackBerry also markets "heavily with the NHL." Barclays Center has "similar deals with Calvin Klein and MetroPCS for branded 'mini-neighborhoods' within the arena" (N.Y. POST, 4/4).
Firing six-shooters with blanks will "remain a part of the Texas Motor Speedway Victory Lane celebration" for the April 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series NRA 500, according to David Newton of ESPN.com. TMS President Eddie Gossage last month said that he planned to "meet with some Cup owners to see whether they or their sponsors opposed having the six-shooters as part of the celebration because of a potential conflict with the NRA's involvement." Gossage said that he would consider altering the tradition "if some were opposed." But he has "since reconsidered." Gossage: "The more thought I gave to it, the more I realized that it is purely a celebration." He added, "As a result, I decided we would go through our normal Victory Lane celebration, including the Cowboy Boot Trophy, the cowboy hat and the six-shooters. It is my decision, and I'm sure it will be fine" (ESPN.com, 4/3).
TAKING A GANDER: The AP's Stephen Hawkins notes St. Paul-based national outdoors retailer Gander Mountain yesterday said that it "will sponsor" Clint Bowyer's car for the NRA 500 with a "paint scheme that includes the words: 'With Rights Comes Responsibility; Secure Your Firearms.'" Gander Mountain's partnership with Bowyer is part of an "initiative the company is also launching in its stores and through newspaper ads in markets where its stores are located." Gander Mountain Exec VP/Marketing Steve Uline said, "The fact that the NRA was on that (race) was not by any means the deciding factor" (AP, 4/4).
Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney yesterday said that the Cubs are "considering construction of a parking garage north" of Wrigley Field to help relieve "parking woes that residents worry would worsen if the city allowed more night games and concerts at the stadium," according to Byrne & Dardick of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. A major sticking point has been the "desire of residents to add parking in the congested neighborhood as part of a deal that includes" a $300M ballpark rehab and a $200M neighborhood development plan. Tunney yesterday noted that the team "owns a gravel lot near Clark and Grace streets and suggested" Cubs Owner the Ricketts family could "build a multilevel garage on the lot." Tunney said the garage "is as big as the stadium." Rooftop owners opposed to outfield signage at the ballpark were "not present" at recent talks between the Cubs and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to discuss the issue. Emanuel, Tunney and the Cubs have said that they want a "comprehensive solution that addresses signage inside the park, on the rooftops and elsewhere in the neighborhood; the hotel development; parking; and security -- as well as permission to stage more night games and concerts." But Tunney yesterday suggested it may be "difficult to resolve all those issues anytime soon" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/4).
LONG WAY TO GO: In Chicago, Fran Spielman notes Tunney "portrayed an agreement as nowhere in sight," two days after Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts' "self-imposed deadline to nail down" a deal to renovate Wrigley and develop property around the stadium. Tunney: "I just think there’s a lot of new issues that have come up over the last couple of weeks that weren’t part of what we were talking about six months ago. Six months ago, there wasn’t the hotel. So now we’ve got a hotel. Things like that" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/4). Also in Chicago, Phil Rogers writes Ricketts and Cubs Senior VP/Community Affairs & General Counsel Mike Lufrano need to be more "efficient in their talks" with Tunney, which "continue as if Monday wasn't really a deadline at all." Not that Emanuel "is surprised." He "never bought into Ricketts family's time frame, and at the end of the day, Emanuel is the guy who is going to get this deal done" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/4).
What "could be the most impressive feature" of the more than $100M renovations at Dodger Stadium "can't be seen by the public: the home clubhouse,” according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. TIMES. Dodgers 1B Adrian Gonzalez said, "It's probably the best clubhouse in baseball. Something comes up, we feel bad to even bring it up now." The players' dressing quarters “aren't much larger than they used to be.” But the room is “only one in a subterranean maze that was created by” Dodgers Senior VP/Planning & Development Janet Marie Smith. The area of the “entire clubhouse has doubled.” Under the field-level seats is “a new batting cage, as well as a spacious weight room befitting a college football team.” Meals, which “were catered, are now prepared by a chef in a kitchen” (L.A. TIMES, 4/4). In L.A., Chris Erskine wrote Smith has “done some good work” at the stadium, in particular “not mucking up the essence of the place, which is respectful of the game and the remarkable men-children who play it.” Smith said, “You don't need a focus group; you don't need a survey. You just need to walk the park and listen to the fans." Erskine wrote the renovation is a “good job overall with the visuals, with the ‘drink rails,’ but concessions need some work and those popular beer carts seem positioned in the worst possible places” (L.A. TIMES, 4/3).
In St. Paul, Doug Belden reported Xcel Energy Center and Target Center “would be run jointly under a bill" backed by Minnesota lawmakers from St. Paul and Minneapolis. The bill “calls for a study by February of the feasibility of establishing joint administration, financing and operations of the facilities.” A new governance structure “coordinating marketing, promotion and scheduling efforts" would take effect by ‘15. The bill states that the joint governance "could come about as part of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which was set up in law last spring as part of the Vikings stadium bill” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 4/1).
HOUSE MONEY: Belden reported the Minnesota legislative panel set up to oversee sports facilities yesterday in its first meeting "delayed grappling" with the issue that electronic charitable gaming revenue intended to pay the state's $348M share of the new Vikings stadium is "just a slow trickle." State Rep. Jim Davnie said that he "believed lawmakers would have to consider delaying the August bond sale if they're not confident payments could be made without tapping the state's general fund -- even if it delays start of construction on the new stadium, scheduled for this fall" (TWINCITIES.com. 4/2).
CAN'T GOPHER THAT: In Minneapolis, Amelia Rayno wrote under the header, "Could Tubby Smith Buyout Hurt The U's Chances Of Getting Funds For A Practice Facility?" The Univ. of Minnesota, which last week terminated men's basketball coach Tubby Smith and agreed to a $2.5M buyout, has “a lot of new facilities on the brain, the master blueprint" of which could cost as much as $125M and would include "a long-coveted practice facility.” UM AD Norwood Teague “has not stated how much money, if any,” the school “would be seeking from the state, but it asking for some assistance wouldn’t come as a surprise” (STARTRIBUNE.com, 4/2). Minnesota state Rep. Gene Pelowski called the buyout "obscene" (POSTBULLETIN.com, 4/1).