The Trail Blazers today announced regional health insurance provider Moda Health has signed a 10-year naming-rights agreement to rename the Rose Garden as the Moda Center. Sources valued the deal at $40M. Television, radio and digital advertising inventory are included in the sponsorship and naming-rights package. Moda also will receive sponsor benefits with the Seahawks and MLS Sounders, which are also part of Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen's Vulcan Sports & Entertainment. The deal brings an end to a six-month search for the Trail Blazers' first naming-rights partner. Team President Chris McGowan, who joined the organization last November, made a naming-rights deal a priority when he joined the franchise. He hired California-based Premier Partnerships to lead the sales effort. The company focused on several categories including healthcare, technology and financial service. It approached Moda after learning that the company, which was formerly known as ODS Health, was renaming itself. McGowan said the company saw an opportunity to promote its new name by rebranding the Rose Garden, which hosts 200-plus events a year. The Trail Blazers have hired a local advertising agency to create a new logo for the Moda Center. The logo, which is expected to be completed by the end of September, will feature a rose in it. McGowan said, “We’re always going to be conscious of the Rose Garden. It’s part of our history and heritage. Paul Allen is OK with us doing a deal, but he wants us to incorporate a rose in the logo of the arena. We are doing that.” Moda reported revenue of $1.6B and profit of $10.4M in FY ‘11. The company also has a jersey sponsorship with the NWSL Seattle Reign FC.
BEHIND THE DEAL: Premier Partnerships Senior Dir of Corporate Partnerships Uzma Rawn first contacted Moda Health regarding the naming-rights opportunity. Premier President Randy Bernstein and Marketing Dir Erin Prober also worked on the deal. Trail Blazers Senior VP/Corporate Partnerships Steve Scott and McGowan represented the team. Moda President Dr. William Johnson and CMO Steve Wynne, who previously worked at adidas, led the deal for the health insurer.
The Cowboys and the city of Frisco yesterday approved a $115M deal that will “finance a new indoor training facility and corporate headquarters” for the team, according to Valerie Wigglesworth of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. The venue is "expected to become a destination for tourists, the home field for high school athletes and a boon to the local economy as it anchors a new mixed-use development called Frisco Station." The deal also "brings to an end the Cowboys’ longtime presence in Irving." The project will see the involvement of Blue Star Frisco, Blue Star Stadium and Blue Star HQ, which are "all newly formed companies" affiliated with Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones and his three children. Plans are to "have the complex ready" for the '16 season. Meanwhile, the Frisco Independent School District will "have priority to use the 12,000-seat stadium Thursday and Friday nights during high school football season." The stadium, corporate HQs and parking structure "will be built on 25 acres," while the remaining 66 acres will be "sold to the Blue Star companies for private development." The Cowboys-related companies "won’t provide capital up front for the project, but they will be responsible for any costs" over the $115M. They also will "bear the cost for maintaining and operating the sports complex," which is estimated at $1.5M annually. The Frisco Station development is expected to have 4.5 million square feet of office space "along with retail buildings, apartments, a hotel and restaurants on about 250 acres." Frisco officials said that they "expect the Cowboys to hold some training camps at the new complex" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/13).
SPLIT DECISION? In Ft. Worth, Charean Williams noted the Cowboys "have one year remaining on their training camp deal, with a three-year option" in Oxnard, Calif. The city "hopes upgrades to the Residence Inn River Ridge complex will entice the Cowboys to remain even after their Frisco training facility opens." Oxnard aims to make the facility "more fan friendly with better fan seating, while improving the locker room and meeting room facilities for the team." After the new training facility opens, the Cowboys are "interested in holding 2-3 weeks of training camp in Oxnard followed by 1-2 weeks back home in their indoor stadium in Frisco" (STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 8/12).
The Texans today are preparing to “unveil the biggest, flashiest addition” since the opening of Reliant Stadium -- $16.5M videoboards, according to David Barron of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. For total acreage, Reliant now "outstrips the Cowboys' boards." The AT&T Stadium boards, however, "more closely match consumer TV's 16-by-9 aspect ratio, so the Cowboys can use the entire board for live action or replays.” The Reliant Stadium boards will have a smaller space dedicated to live action or replays due to “limited space between the roof and upper deck.” Despite the new superlative, Reliant will “lose its Texas brag as having the longest video boards in 2014, when EverBank Field will add new end-zone boards.” Texans Exec Producer & Dir of Video Production Gavin Gehrt said that the boards “can be programmed in any configuration, from full-screen, sideline-to-sideline video to a mixture of text, graphics and live or replay video elements.” Barron notes like the AT&T Stadium boards, the Reliant boards "were manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric's Diamond Vision Systems division.” Comparing the Texans’ board with that of the Cowboys, Reliant Park Technical Services Dir Paul Darst said, “This one is not in your face. Their board is beautiful, but it's so in your face that you can't help but watch it. It almost detracts from what is taking place below it. With ours, you have the luxury of watching the game and the benefits of a video board on a grand scale without forcing you to look at it. You look at it when you want to” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/13). Texans President Jamey Rootes said, “You’re seeing these large installations partially because that’s what the fans have come to expect, but the cost of ownership has come down to a point where it is affordable to do something like this and it’s a major part of the entertainment offering that we provide.” Rootes also said that "one-upping" Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones "was never a part of the plan" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/9). NOT-SO-OPEN HOUSE: In Houston, Eric Berger noted that since the Texans began an open roof policy at Reliant Stadium in ’05, the Texans have “adhered to their own policy half the time.” In 22 of the 46 closed-roof, regular season and playoff contests “the game time temperature was between 50 and 80 degrees and there was not a good chance of rain.” Team officials said that they are “simply catering to public desire.” Texans Senior Communications Dir Kevin Cooper said, “It's kind of a juggling act of trying to keep 70,000 people happy.” Berger noted with the exception of the ’08 season when damage from Hurricane Ike “forced the team to open its roof for all games, the Texans have closed their roof in 57 of 80 regular season games," or 71% of the time. The team also has “opened the roof less often as it has become more competitive.” Cooper “firmly denied that noise and a desire for a stronger home field advantage factor into the team's roof decisions” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/11).
The Bears and Olivet Nazarene Univ. yesterday announced a nine-year extension to keep the team's training camp at the school's Bourbonnais, Ill., campus, where it has been held since '02 (Bears). In Chicago, Brad Biggs writes NFL teams are "trending toward remaining at year-round facilities for training camp, but the Bears remain committed to making it a shared experience for fans while also taking advantage of an environment that promotes natural bonding." The Bears this summer were "one of only 13 teams to go away for camp." Plans for the near future include "a complete rebuild of the practice fields, doubling of the locker room space and the addition of walkways and lighting to enhance the fan experience" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/13).
HAIL TO THE SKINS: In Richmond, Michael Martz reports Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe yesterday "endorsed the deal that Gov. Bob McDonnell cut" with the Redskins last year, which included $4M in state money and $2M from Loudoun County to "keep the team headquarters and year-round training facility in Ashburn." McAuliffe also "commended Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones for building the summer training facility in six months" through a partnership with Bon Secours Health System. McAuliffe "held up the Redskins training camp as an example of how Virginia needs to find new ways of generating business" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 8/13).
VIKING QUEST: In Minneapolis, Richard Meryhew notes the development of the Vikings' $975M downtown stadium "moved ever so slightly closer to reality Monday when the Minneapolis Planning Commission signed off on the stadium’s bold and glassy design." The design plan will be "forwarded to the city’s zoning and planning committee next week before going to the full City Council for a vote Aug. 30" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 8/13).
GREEN JEANS: In San Jose, Lauren Hepler reported Levi's Stadium construction crews are "working on a garden and event area atop the stadium's luxury suite tower." Turner Construction VP & GM Kavinder Singh said, "There's a garden roof on top. That's one of the green elements. I think it will be open for weddings and other events" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/12).
CSNPHILLY.com's John Gonzalez noted the 76ers' lease with Wells Fargo Center is "believed to be at least 20 years," and sources said the contract contains "significant lease provisions and protections" that would make it difficult for the team to break the contract. In light of reports that 76ers Majority Owner Josh Harris will purchase the Devils, there has been speculation that Harris could "move the Sixers to northern New Jersey to play in the Prudential Center" (CSNPHILLY.com, 8/8). Philadelphia radio host Howard Eskin wrote on his Twitter feed, “#sixers owner josh Harris may be good in business but obviously a 'Sports Idiot' … Still can't understand how #sixers owner josh harris doesn't understand how he will anger phila fans w purchase of #njdevils” (TWITTER.com, 8/10)
KINGS' RANSOM: Sacramento Vice Mayor Angelique Ashby on Friday announced that the city "received payment in full with interest" from the new owners of the Kings "for the deferred fees that became due a year ago this month." In Sacramento, Kelly Johnson noted the Kings "had received a 15-year deferment of North Natomas public facilities fees under a 1997 agreement with the city." Ashby "has been pushing for the repayment since the debt became due." The payment totaled $1.4M (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/9).
THE BUCKS STOP HERE? A MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL editorial stated, "Discussion of a new arena in Milwaukee for the Milwaukee Bucks and Marquette University Golden Eagles has barely begun, and already the anti-tax hawks are swooping in. ... How about if we have a discussion first?" The editorial continued, "And how about if part of that discussion recognizes that thousands of fans of basketball and other events at the BMO Harris Bradley Center come from [Ozaukee and Racine] counties? ... How about everyone concerned join the debate before taking anything off the table?" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 8/12).