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Volume 21 No. 2


Don Muret
The Sacramento Kings are targeting a small group of sports architects to design their new $448 million arena.

AECOM, 360 Architecture, Populous and Rossetti will be issued the request for proposal, industry sources said. Over the past several years, AECOM, 360 and Populous have all designed NBA arenas, and all three firms were involved in proposed arena developments in Sacramento.

Rossetti has not done work in Sacramento tied to the Kings, but the Detroit-based firm designed the Palace of Auburn Hills and the renovations to the Pistons’ arena over the past 25 years. In addition, the firm has worked on upgrades to Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

An interior look at AECOM’s initial design for a new Kings arena
Image by: AECOM
“Those are logical firms to consider because of their arena development experience,” said Adam Keigwin, a spokesman for Vivek Ranadivé, the Kings’ new majority owner. “With that being said … the final determination [for who gets the RFP] has not been made.”

360 Architecture, designer of a proposed arena in Seattle for developer Chris Hansen in his unsuccessful bid to buy the Kings and relocate them to that city, will not pursue the Sacramento deal because of other commitments, said Chris Lamberth, 360’s director of business development.

The Kings expect the design proposal to be issued this week by the team’s program manager, Keigwin said.

The team selected Icon Venue Group to fill that role, sources said. As of last week, Keigwin said he could not confirm the information until a contract is signed. Over the past two years, Icon officials have worked closely with Sacramento leaders in an attempt to get an arena deal done.

Streamlining the process for hiring an architect falls in line with the Kings’ efforts to meet the NBA’s deadline for building a new arena.

NBA Commissioner David Stern has given the Kings until 2017 to open a new arena, one year later than the commitment city officials made to help keep the club in town, according to local reports. If the arena does not open by 2017, the NBA says it holds an option to relocate the Kings.

California law requires an environmental impact review for all new construction projects before breaking ground. Those reviews can take 12 months to 18 months to complete.

> JOIN THE CLUB: Brad Henke got a pleasant surprise during his recent visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Henke, an actor, played briefly in the NFL as a defensive end for the Denver Broncos in 1989, and got to play in the Super Bowl that season.

Over the past 24 years, Henke has enjoyed greater success as an actor, appearing in several movies and television shows, including “Space Jam,” “The Fan” and “Arli$$,” three sports-themed productions.

Henke plays the role of a trainer in “Draft Day,” a new football movie being filmed in Cleveland starring Kevin Costner as the Browns’ general manager, who is trying to resurrect the team’s fortunes.

While on location shooting the film, Henke traveled to the hall, which recently completed a $27 million renovation, the most extensive upgrade in the facility’s 50-year history.

Shortly before its grand reopening in early June, Joe Horrigan, the hall’s longtime vice president of communications and exhibits, gave Henke a private tour of the building. One new exhibit tied to the renovation, “Teams of the NFL,” has team photographs of every club in the league’s 93-year history, both present-day and those no longer in existence. Horrigan pulled up the ’89 Broncos and up popped Henke’s image in the team picture.

“It’s cool for the guys who just had a cup of coffee in the NFL,” Horrigan said. “He was delighted and can now say he’s in the Hall of Fame.”

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

The Philadelphia 76ers are searching for an architect to design a practice facility proposed for the Philadelphia Navy Yard, which is less than two miles from the Wells Fargo Center, their home arena.

In a request for proposal sent to sports architects and obtained by SportsBusiness Journal, the NBA team says it has identified a vacant lot in the Navy Yard’s Historic Core district to construct a 55,000-square-foot facility. If everything goes as planned, it would open in June 2015.

The facility would include two basketball courts; fitness, training and rehabilitation space; player and coaching staff locker rooms; an audio-video review room; broadcast media facilities; a player lounge; food service; laundry; and 60 surface parking spaces.

The RFP says design of the team’s office space is “expected to reinforce Sixers management’s data-driven approach to decision-making by combining open, interactive office areas with collaborative shared workspace and quieter areas for focused, intensive work.”

Team ownership, including CEO Adam Aron, declined to comment for this story.

Purchase of the 3.3-acre property is pending, and the location is subject to change until a deal is completed, according to the document.

The 76ers have not established a construction budget, but industry sources said it could cost $20 million to $25 million to build the practice facility, based on similar NBA projects.

The team expects to sell naming rights to the facility, as stated in the proposal, and the architect designing the building will coordinate graphics and signs to support the sponsor’s branding.

If the 76ers move ahead with developing the site, they have some regulatory approvals to meet before they can break ground on the project.

At one time a Navy aircraft factory operated on the site, and it is not known whether the land has been evaluated for environmental issues, the document said. As part of the Historic Core, one of seven sections that make up the Navy Yard, the site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The middle third of the site contains a prehistoric archeological area, a designation that triggers oversight by the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission, the RFP says.

The site, though, is ideal for the 76ers considering its proximity to the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, site of the Wells Fargo Center. Last summer, most team administrators moved to an office elsewhere in the Navy Yard, but the club’s ticket sales staff remains at the arena. The new training facility would be much more convenient for the team, compared with the 10-mile trip from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine’s student activity center, where the 76ers have practiced since 1999.

The parcel is one of the Navy Yard’s few remaining undeveloped properties. Urban Outfitters, GlaxoSmithKline and regional snack food company Tastykake have all moved into new and renovated buildings.

Proposals are due June 17, with a selection to be made July 15, the RFP said. Construction would start in January.
Philadelphia-based real estate services company AthenianRazak is the owner’s representative.

StubHub’s friendly marketing persona, Ticket Oak, is branching out to the stadium experience in Southern California.
Ticket Oak’s Backyard, an outdoor space branded after the talking tree that dispenses event tickets to surprised customers in StubHub commercials, is the centerpiece of the ticket reseller’s activation plans around its six-year naming-rights deal at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. The deal was announced in March.

Ticket Oak’s Backyard will welcome fans at StubHub Center starting this month.
Image by: STUBHUB
The 1,600-square-foot “backyard” in the stadium’s southwest plaza is themed with green turf, white picket fences, Adirondack-style lawn chairs and a string of light bulbs overhead. Ticket Oak itself comes to life on a digital wall made of nine flat-screen TVs, greeting spectators as they enter. The greeting will be customized depending on the event, said Gabby Duno, StubHub’s senior manager of partnerships and activation.

StubHub “brand ambassadors” will roam the backyard armed with iPad minis to sign up fans for the company’s fan rewards program and sell tickets to events at StubHub Center and other venues.

“It will have this Southern California feel where people can hang out,” Duno said. “There will be a social media element as well for fans to generate content displayed in real time on the digital wall.”

The activation officially kicks off June 19, the date of the Los Angeles Galaxy-Portland Timbers game.
In addition, StubHub will set up commemorative ticket booths in the stadium’s north end zone for fans to create their own personalized keepsake using iPad photo technology, Duno said.

The four portable structures are an extension of the permanent kiosk at Staples Center tied to StubHub’s founding partnership with AEG. The attraction has been a hit with arena patrons since it opened in March, Duno said.

StubHub’s activation at StubHub Center also includes a free seat upgrade program tied to the company’s midfield suite and a pair of field-level seats. The skybox is reserved for members of the rewards program and fans participating in its social media promotions.

“We won’t use our suite for the typical corporate schmooze-fest,” Duno said.

Those eligible for seat upgrades are selected by StubHub’s rewards team two weeks in advance to watch the game from the suite. The upgrade covers complimentary food and drink and free valet parking, a $50 to $75 value depending on the event.

In general, driving the activation is StubHub’s commitment to providing first-class customer service with a goal to develop StubHub Center into one of the most fan-friendly facilities in the world, Duno said. CAA Sports Consulting’s Greg Luckman assisted with the creative elements.

“From our research, it is really important that this be a family environment,” Duno said. “We want to provide a best-in-class experience.”