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Volume 20 No. 42
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Front Row Marketing consulting on naming-rights pitch for Brazilian World Cup stadium

Front Row Marketing has signed a one-year deal to consult on the sale of naming rights for a 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer venue in Brazil.

Mineirão Stadium, a 64,000-seat facility in Belo Horizonte, a city with 2.4 million people, is undergoing a major renovation to prepare for the World Cup. The $400 million construction project has gutted the stadium inside a huge concrete shell.

Mineirão Stadium is the home pitch for the teams Cruzeiro and Atlético Mineiro.
Front Row, part of Comcast-Spectacor in Philadelphia, is working for Lusoarenas, a consortium of three Brazilian firms in charge of the redevelopment and operation of the stadium, owned by the regional government Minas Gerais. Together, Front Row and Lusoarenas are asking for $15 million annually over 10 years, said Marco Herling, president of Lusoarenas. Officials said they have held initial talks with some companies but declined to identify them.

The stadium is home pitch for two of Brazil’s top soccer teams, Cruzeiro and Atlético Mineiro, the city’s oldest soccer club, founded in 1908. They have relocated for the past two seasons while the stadium is under construction and will resume playing in the building in early 2013, after the renovation is complete, Herling said.

This would be Brazil’s first stadium tied to a deal of this kind, he said.

As part of the naming-rights pitch, Front Row is marketing the stadium’s renovation as a legacy project for the next 50 years, said Chris Lencheski, president of Front Row Marketing.

Two years from now, officials must present FIFA with a “clean” building for a World Cup free of commercial branding. Pending a naming-rights deal, there is a plan to activate before and after the World Cup, said Lencheski, who is principally involved in the naming-rights negotiations. The region’s chief industries are petroleum, information technology, construction equipment, raw materials tied to green technology and packaged goods, he said.

The list of international firms with a presence in Brazil includes Federal Express, Motorola, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Oracle, Duke Energy and Cargill, said Eric Smallwood, Front Row’s senior vice president.

The naming-rights package will extend to a new amphitheater that can accommodate 20,000 to 30,000 people and a new soccer museum being built in Belo Horizonte, Herling said. Those two facilities are part of the region’s $400 million investment.