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Volume 24 No. 116

Facilities

Phoenix Raceway will become ISM Raceway starting next year under a deal with N.J.-based digital ad agency Ingenuity Sun Media, which will make an "investment that could approach" $100M over 10 years, according to Michael Knight of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The deal also includes the installation of "leading-edge digital technology designed to enhance the at-track experience for fans and corporate partners alike." ISM will pay an "annual single-figure million-dollar fee during the next decade for the track's first-ever naming-rights sponsorship." The official announcement of ISM Raceway is scheduled for tomorrow. ISM's Connect network will "provide digital display screens, interactive fan experiences, a mobile app and social-media integrations throughout the facility, including in the new pedestrian tunnel connecting the infield and grandstands." ISM Connect also will have "naming rights for one of the two interactive entrances called 'Canyons.'" While Phoenix will no longer be part of the official name, track President Bryan Sperber said that it will be "included in a new track logo" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/25).

Univ. of Kansas athletics on Friday "unveiled renderings for the renovation of 97-year-old Memorial Stadium," part of a five-year, $350M fundraising effort, according to Jesse Newell of the K.C. STAR. The project, called "Raise The Chant," will earmark roughly $315M for football while also "providing upgrades for Allen Fieldhouse, volleyball's Horejsi Center and baseball's Hoglund Ballpark." There are also plans to construct a $15M indoor football practice facility "immediately following this season" and make $170M in "improvements to the south end zone and west side of the stadium." The north end zone and stadium's east side will be enhanced at a "to-be-determined time." The $130M overhaul would "include Legacy Loge Boxes with in-seat service." KU "didn't announce what the new capacity would be or how many suites would be added, but renderings of the project show two new video boards in the north end zone, with the east and west stands splitting into multiple tiers with new suites." KU alum David Booth -- whose name is on the KU Hall of Athletics -- has made a $50M pledge, the "largest in the program's history." Additionally, longtime KU benefactor Stu Horejsi had pledged $10M for the "new 3,000-seat volleyball arena" (K.C. STAR, 9/23).

CHALK IT UP: KU AD Sheahon Zenger announced that the school has “signed a new deal with Adidas" that will provide $191M in sponsorship and apparel over the next 14 years. RIVALS.com's Jon Kirby noted the deal will pay the school $13.6M a year and “would be the second largest Adidas contract among all colleges.” Kansas’ pact would surpass Adidas’ $160M deal with Louisville in “total dollars” to be the “largest-known” deal for Adidas at the college level. KU was “under an agreement with Adidas” until ‘19. But the new deal will “take over now replacing the final two years and add 12 more to the total” (RIVALS.com, 9/22).

Premier Partnerships has been retained to sell naming rights to Esports Arena Las Vegas, now under construction inside Luxor on the Strip. The 30,000-square-foot facility, slated to open in early '18, marks Premier's first public foray into esports after a year of confidential consulting for several clients, President & CEO Randy Bernstein said. The Vegas arena is one of three North American locations opened or announced so far by Allied Esports, a joint venture of Chinese gaming concerns. Premier believes the facility has potential beyond what the still-emerging esports market would normally carry because of its prominent location, said VP/Corporate Partnerships Bryan Stewart. It is intended to act as a high-profile showcase to esports neophytes. "It’s not just about the venue itself when the tournaments are going on,” he said. “It’s that you’re sort of ushering people into the experience, to get a feel for it. Because you’re going to have a lot of people going to the Luxor that perhaps have never heard of esports before.” All of Allied Esports' facilities are designed to host both day-to-day casual video gaming by members and guests and elite competitions, with streaming production capabilities. The likely contract will be a long-term deal, Bernstein said, but still much shorter than the 20- or 25-year deals common in traditional sports. He declined to give impression estimates for the arena. Earlier this year, ELeague sold naming rights to the esports arena at Turner Studios in Atlanta to Gamma Labs’ G Fuel brand.