The Buccaneers are "set to embark on the fourth phase" of the $160M renovation of Raymond James Stadium, including a "new 8,000-square-foot sports bar concept," according to Alexis Muellner of the TAMPA BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL. The latest enhancements will "focus on a redesign of the East Stadium Club and Atrium, matching it with the West Stadium Club," which debuted prior to the '17 season. New to the East Club will be a "full-service premium sports bar in the east atrium that features a wide assortment of culinary stations, beers on tap," 58 TVs and three 15-foot by 9-foot video boards. The entire East Stadium Club will "include modern bars at both ends of the club lounge, with massive video displays, 162 TVs overall and a state-of-the-art audio system." It has been "designed with dark hardwoods, pewter accents and modern lighting." The club has 10,000 "fewer square feet than the West Stadium Club but maintains the same amenities in Wi-Fi, TV, video, food and beverage." Bucs COO Brian Ford said that there are "roughly 600 memberships for sale in the east club." East Club members can "view the games in new padded stadium seats while accessing club benefits such as early entry to the stadium, boutique concessions, discounted food pricing and autograph opportunities." Membership will be at a "less expensive price point than the West Stadium Club, an effort to appeal to different price points." Charlotte-based Wagner Murray & Associates has been the architect on the project (BIZJOURNALS.com, 3/13).
Indianapolis Motor Speedway will build a temporary premium club outside Turn 3 for the Indy 500 in May due to increased demand. The track is already sold out of suites for the race and has a limited number of slots remaining at its Hulman Terrace Club near Turn 4. Tickets to the new Turn 3 Club will cost $750 for the Indy 500 and include a grandstand seat on top of access to the club. It also includes food and beverage, parking passes and a souvenir event program. The temporary structure also features tented seating areas, restrooms and TVs. That compares to the 1,150-seat Hulman Terrace Club that costs $1,750 to attend and includes access to the track’s two IndyCar weekends and one NASCAR weekend. IMS President Doug Boles said that this offering is a differentiated product from the Hulman Terrace Club or traditional suite. Boles: “Before the Hulman Terrace Club, it was either an (80-person) suite or a grandstand ticket. Hulman Terrace Club gave us the opportunity to give someone the suite like experience but could do it individually. What we don’t have still is something for the six friends that want to go to a race and experience it like a race fan but also want something a little more exclusive. So this is an experiment for us is trying to provide that.”
Indiana-based CNO Financial Group will "not extend its partnership with Pacers Sports & Entertainment" once its naming-rights contract is up in June '19, meaning Bankers Life Fieldhouse will "soon get yet another name," according to Dakota Crawford of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. CNO Financial Group CEO Edward Bonach yesterday said that the partnership "would continue, but in a more limited capacity." When the deal was initially struck between the Pacers and Conseco, formerly the name of CNO, in April '98, a source "estimated the price tag" at $2M per year for the 20-year contract. The deal included $55M "more for a separate sponsorship, bringing the total commitment" to $95M. These agreements have "only become more lucrative since" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 3/14). Bankers Life Fieldhouse is home to the Pacers, WNBA Fever and "more than 600 events annually" (IBJ.com, 3/13).
In Atlanta, Dan Klepal notes City Council members last week "narrowly approved" $10M in additional funding for a pedestrian bridge over Northside Drive near Mercedes-Benz Stadium, after "being told if they didn’t vote in favor of spending the money they would likely be left with an ugly bridge and be hit with a lawsuit from the contractor." The bridge, with a "swirling design" that includes $6M in "decorative lighting and metal cladding, will connect a MARTA station" to the stadium. Many council members "thought the bridge would cost no more" than $12.8M when they voted in favor of it in '16 (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 3/14).
GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE... The BMO Harris Bradley Center will hold its final event in July, and in Milwaukee, James Nelson notes the arena will auction off its "kitchen equipment, seats, furniture and artifacts" starting sometime in May. How the sales will be conducted is not yet known, but Bradley Center President & CEO Steve Costello said that it "likely will be a combination of online and maybe a live auction." Costello said that the sales are "projected to generate $400,000 to $500,000." The money will go to "fund wind-down operations at the facility" and any additional money left over "would be returned to state coffers" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/14).
COMFORT ZONE: ISM Raceway in Phoenix is in the midst of a $178M renovation project, and ISC Exec VP & COO Joie Chitwood said of what fans want in the changes, "You've got to have a comfortable seat. It's not benches any more. It's chair backs. It's cup holders. It's escalators. It's having good food and beverage choices and more variety. It’s social engagement areas. People want space to hang out. Yes, they want to sit and watch the action on the track. But maybe they want to take a break for 30 laps and go hang out where they can converse or get connected to Wi-Fi" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/11).