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Volume 21 No. 6


Brailsford & Dunlavey, a firm tied to sports facility development, has formed B&D Venues as a separate division to focus on sports projects.

The Washington firm conducts feasibility studies and market research for several building types, including stadiums and arenas, as well as serving in the role of owner’s representative for the stakeholders financing the deals.

As the recession shrank parts of sports development over the past five years, Brailsford & Dunlavey continued to expand its business in other sectors to a point where it now has 100 employees working in seven offices around the country, said Chris Dunlavey, the company’s president and co-owner. As the sports industry has bounced back with an uptick in development, Dunlavey and co-owner and CEO Paul Brailsford felt the need to affix a brand and identity to their sports expertise.

“This brings together our business units with a focus on delivery,” Dunlavey said. “What was happening was that as we were spreading our wings geographically, we had leads coming in and there were strong local ties, but our people did not know the world of sports facilities in and out. B&D Venues gives the industry the attention and expertise it needs.”

The new group has eight people dedicated to sports led by Dunlavey and Bill Mykins, a company vice president. Mykins, an architect by trade, has worked at Brailsford & Dunlavey since 2006. Mykins’ work experience includes Coors Field,

PNC Park, M&T Bank Stadium and Gillette Stadium, from when he worked at the old HOK Sport, Barton Malow (a construction firm) and his own company.

In addition, Jason Thompson, a regional vice president in Detroit, runs B&D Venues’ minor league baseball program with expertise in financing.

Jim Bailey, former executive vice president of the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens, has worked as a senior consultant for Brailsford & Dunlavey in San Diego, and he will continue serving in that role with B&D Venues.

The Kansas City Royals have signed a deal with a cup holder maker to install 1,000 new Pepsi-branded displays for the MLB All-Star Game.

Branded Seats, a 1-year-old company founded by Phoenix graphic designer Shad Bruce, produces a cup holder retrofit to display sponsors’ brands. The flexibility of the design allows teams to insert multiple logos and messages into the cup holders through the course of the season.

The Royals are the first client for Branded Seats, which in addition to cup holders offers seat-back displays.
For the All-Star Game, July 10 at Kauffman Stadium, the Royals are installing the new cup holders in the Diamond Club Box and Diamond Club Seats behind home plate, said Mike Bucek, the team’s vice president of marketing and business development. A mix of Royals season-ticket holders and MLB sponsors will be sitting in those seats for the All-Star Game.

The Royals are paying Branded Seats a fee for the installation, but Bucek would not discuss specific terms.

Pepsi holds the ballpark’s pouring rights, and the deal with Branded Seats was driven by the team’s need to make improvements for the All-Star Game. It is not tied to MLB’s leaguewide agreement with Pepsi, Bucek said.

“We have had cup holders in the loge and our lower bowl sections for 10 years plus, prior to the renovation, with standard decals and dated Pepsi branding,” he said. “This seemed to be more convenient.”

Branded Seats’ marketing pitch is that its product snaps easily in place over existing cup holders in a tamper-resistant manner, thus eliminating the need to apply and remove stickers, a process that can be difficult and time consuming.

Bruce, a principal and creative director at DD&F, a firm that developed the Miller Lite Diamond Club and the kids zone at Chase Field for the Arizona Diamondbacks, designed the cup holder retrofit.

The Royals are Branded Seats’ first client, and Bruce plans to install the cup holders himself in early July with assistance from Scott Brubaker, the firm’s vice president of business development. It should take them eight to nine hours to complete the job, Bruce said.

By comparison, if the Royals were to use razors to remove hundreds of old stickers and adhesive residue, it could take days to complete the task, resulting in higher labor costs, according to Bucek.

Since introducing its new product last summer, Branded Seats has developed a rectangular-shaped seat-back display that is interchangeable with the cup holder unit. In August, the vendor will install 1,225 seat-back displays on those same seats as well as on the BATS Crown Club seats.

As part of the deal, an additional 5,000 seat-back displays will be installed at Kauffman Stadium before the 2013 season.

The Royals plan to activate the seat-back displays with branding for BATS, the stock exchange and sponsor of the Crown Club, as well as institutional branding with and MLB At Bat to drive more activity to the team’s in-park mobile application, Bucek said.

For the All-Star Game, Branded Seats officials will randomly print QR codes on about 20 cup holders, which when scanned with a mobile device will take fans to the company’s website.

As of last week, the Royals were studying the possibility of printing their own QR code on the cup holders, Bucek said.

Don Muret
The San Diego Padres recently played host to Cisco Live!, the largest private event in the nine-year history of Petco Park.

The June 13 event, part of the technology firm’s annual customer appreciation celebration, drew 9,000 people to the ballpark and generated gross revenue for the Padres in the low to mid-seven figures, said Brent Stehlik, the club’s senior vice president of business operations.

Cisco paid for all expenses tied to booking a concert by Weezer on the field, setting up a small carnival at the “park in a park” beyond the center field wall with a Ferris wheel and midway games, and use of the Western Metals Building’s suites and bar and grill in left field. Delaware North Sportservice, the Padres’ concessionaire, catered the event and was paid a larger percentage of sales compared with a bar mitzvah or a high school prom — special events that typically draw fewer patrons, Stehlik said.

Cisco Live! drew 9,000 people to the ballpark …
The concern for all MLB teams booking concerts and private functions on the field is potential damage to the playing surface. Stehlik said that both the players and the fans demand perfect field conditions in Southern California and that the diamond had held up nicely on inspection two days after the event. The club had a four-day window to repair damage before its next home game, June 18 against Texas, and has learned over the years how to better protect the field during setup and teardown of staging and other portable equipment.
… yet the field came away largely unscathed.

“The players couldn’t tell we had an event, and that is the important thing,” said Tom Garfinkel, the Padres’ president and chief operating officer.

The Cisco Live! booking, executed through a third party, was signed in late 2011. Earlier this year in a separate deal, the Padres and Verizon, their wireless partner, chose Cisco to upgrade the stadium’s infrastructure to improve communications for mobile devices.

MIZZOU’S MOVE: Sports designer Tom Waggoner has a unique perspective on the growth of Missouri’s athletic program, having worked on upgrades to the school’s football stadium over the past 17 years in addition to forming Missouri’s master plan for facilities.

As part of its move to the Southeastern Conference, Missouri is planning to expand Memorial Stadium to include a new structure with up to 2,500 club seats on the building’s east side and renovation of the press box on the west side. The total cost for both projects is $60 million.

Part of the master plan tied to stadium renovations is a focus on accommodating more visiting fans from SEC schools expected to attend road games, said Waggoner, a senior principal with 360 Architecture in Kansas City. As a result, Missouri will provide 6,000 tickets a game for SEC opponents, an increase of 2,200 a game from the Tigers’ Big 12 days. The decisions on ticket allotments are left up to the individual SEC schools, said Tim Hickman, Missouri’s senior associate athletic director for operations.

Said Waggoner, “There is a whole level of anticipation that is new to all those SEC fans. The whole idea of this flotilla of RVs that travel with the visiting team — the scale of that is new.”

For the stadium improvements, 360 Architecture has been selected to design press box upgrades and Populous to plan the new east-side addition. Both hires are pending approval by the Missouri Board of Curators, Hickman said.

POULSON GONE: NBA arena designer James Poulson is no longer employed with AECOM after leaving the company in late May. AECOM officials confirmed Poulson’s departure but would not comment further.

Poulson served as design director for Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Most recently, he had been working on AECOM’s master plan to renovate New Orleans Arena for the Hornets.

Poulson was a principal designer for the Rose Garden, Bankers Life Fieldhouse and FedEx Forum, three NBA arenas developed by the firm when it was known as Ellerbe Becket. He also worked on CenturyLink Field in Seattle, home of the NFL Seahawks.

PHILLING IN: The Philadelphia Phillies have signed a five-year deal with to be their new ticketing provider. The deal starts for the 2013 season at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies had been a Paciolan client since the stadium opened in 2004. The Phillies are the 15th MLB client for, which is owned by MLB Advanced Media.

Don Muret can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @breakground.

The Cleveland Browns have signed a multiyear deal with Aramark to take over premium dining at Cleveland Browns Stadium and the food service at the team’s training facility in Berea, Ohio.

The new operation, branded as Cleveland Browns Hospitality Group, will serve the stadium’s suite and club levels, as well as cater special events and corporate functions at the 73,200-seat building.

Jim Ross, the Browns’ senior vice president of business development, would not disclose the length of the contract other than to say it runs more than three years. Delaware North Sportservice manages the stadium’s general concessions.

A new club level stand will showcase Rosie & Rocco’s, run by local chef Rocco Whalen.
Aramark replaces Levy Restaurants, which had been the Browns’ premium food provider for the past several years after assuming the contract from Restaurant Associates, its sister company that opened the stadium in 1999. Compass Group owns both firms.

After 12 years with those two vendors, the Browns wanted to upgrade the premium food experience for their fans and issued a proposal earlier this year for the business. Over time, the team will consider having one firm operate both concessions and premium, Ross said.

“We felt we owed it to our ownership to see what else was out there,” said Ross, a veteran sports executive who the Browns hired in March 2010 after spending seven seasons with the Miami Dolphins. “We didn’t want to shortchange ourselves.”

Aramark is making an undisclosed investment to revamp the stadium’s high-end food offerings by bringing in three well-known local chefs who run restaurants in town: Michael Symon, Rocco Whalen and Jonathon Sawyer.

Together, they will serve their signature dishes on the club level and in the suites, with Aramark paying them a fee to use their recipes. All three chefs have worked with Aramark at Quicken Loans Arena, where the vendor has run all food service at the Cavaliers’ facility since it opened in 1994.

For Aramark, incorporating the chefs into its bid and proposing a name for the company to reflect its strategy to generate more non-game-day business was key to winning the Browns’ deal, said Carl Mittleman, Aramark’s regional vice president.

“From a consumer-facing perspective, the real mission for us is to create the sense that this is the place to be,” Mittleman said.

“The stadium has not been very active beyond the Browns,” he said. “The name of this company says ‘We are a hospitality group.’ We pitched this idea to the team as a way to differentiate Cleveland Browns Stadium as a premium experience, both game day and non-game day.”

Symon, whose B Spot gourmet burger stands will anchor both sideline clubs, hosts ABC’s daytime show “The Chew,” and has been at the forefront for transforming Cleveland into a culinary haven, according to Mittleman, a Cleveland native.

“I grew up in Cleveland and have seen the city evolve over time, and Michael is the leader of the Cleveland food scene,” he said. “As a whole, the following behind these three chefs is incredible. But it’s not only about the chefs, but what they stand for.”

In addition to Symon’s burger locations, new club level stands will showcase Whalen’s Rosie & Rocco’s, serving homemade meatballs and pizza by the slice, and Sawyer’s Street Frites, showcasing its french fries topped with gravy and mozzarella curds. Pricing for the new food items has not been established, Mittleman said.

Aramark has moved Jessie Jacobson over from Quicken Loans Arena to manage Cleveland Browns Hospitality Group. Troy McKenna, most recently with the Overland Park (Kan.) Convention Center, replaces Jacobson at the Q.

The Browns are Aramark’s ninth NFL food account. The vendor will take the lead on booking non-game-day business, Mittleman said.

Yankee Stadium has become the first sports venue to be covered with a federal Safety Act designation and certification from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, marking the start of what many in the security field believe will be a new era for how threats of terrorism are handled in sports.

The federal recognition gives the New York Yankees, as the award recipient, protection from having to pay claims that might be filed by victims against the club in the event of a terrorist attack at the ballpark. The standing could serve to lower the club’s insurance premiums down the line, as well — a path others in sports could follow by working to receive the DHS-backed recognition.

Officially known as the Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act, the Safety Act aims to promote the creation, deployment and use of anti-terrorism technologies and practices. It was enacted in 2002 in response to the multibillion-dollar lawsuits filed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that left companies concerned they would be sued if security equipment they made or were using failed to stop terrorists.

The designation and certification protect the team from liability in the event of a terrorist attack at Yankee Stadium.
Before September 2001, terrorism was included in most commercial insurance policies in the United States. After the 9/11 attacks, the majority of insurers moved to exclude terrorism from their contracts. Federal lawmakers in 2002 passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which required all insurers to offer terrorism coverage to their policy holders. The Safety Act followed later in 2002.

Under the legislation, an attack must be certified as an “act of terrorism” by the federal government.

Lori Shaw, director of Aon Risk Solutions’ global entertainment group, said that as more venue owners receive a Safety Act award, it will give that group leverage to negotiate lower premiums.

“From an insurance standpoint we would believe that having this award is something that the insurance carriers will look favorably upon,” she said. “Now that we actually have a team that has received certification, I think carriers will see that it is a viable program, and we can begin to have conversations with insurers who understand this line of business as to what collectively we think it’s worth — and what discounts can we negotiate as a result.”

Shaw likens the prospect of cost savings to the discounts or credits that most carriers now give a team when it gains certain liquor or food service certifications. She also said having a Safety Act award could help teams get better financing terms on loans for future construction or renovation at the venue.

The Yankees would not comment on details of the process. In a statement to SportsBusiness Journal, the club said: “The safety and security of our fans is our top priority, and this award recognizes the extensive measures that we have taken towards this end.”

A Safety Act designation guarantees that the liability for the recipient is limited to the amount of liability insurance coverage already recommended by DHS. The higher certification rating extends those benefits by calling for a court to dismiss lawsuits against entities whose products are DHS-certified. This protection can be overcome only if a lawsuit presents clear and convincing evidence that the company acted fraudulently or with willful misconduct when applying for Safety Act protections.

The Yankees hired Washington, D.C.-based Catalyst Partners to work on the team’s behalf with DHS to secure the award.

DHS evaluated the Yankees’ range of security practices, including physical and electronic game-day policies, documents that spell out various evacuation plans, cyber security, and the hiring, vetting, training, and management oversight of its employees and contractors.

The Yankees’ award is in effect through June 30, 2017. The team will meet with Catalyst frequently through that time to document needs and modify processes.

The NFL received designation and certification standing in December 2008, running through January 2014. In so doing, the league itself received liability exemption against future claims stemming from an attack at any of the nation’s NFL stadiums and at any NFL-run event, such as the Super Bowl, but the benefits do not flow down to the teams themselves.

While the awards are most often given to technology providers, other Safety Act award recipients include the New York Stock Exchange and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

“The Yankees are leaders, and when you look at brands that are leaders in their industry, those are the guys that will guide the others through the process,” said Lou Marciani, director of the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety & Security.