Van Wagner targets consulting work around fan experience
“Everyone from David Stern to Bud Selig to Roger Goodell is seeking to generate a better fan experience and make sure they keep people coming to the stadium, because otherwise with $300 and a credit card anyone can buy an HD screen and sit at home,” Knapple said. “This is a consulting-driven business model to create better fan experiences at a time when new builds are fewer and renovations are greater.”
|Jeff Knapple is building a consulting-driven business model around the fan experience.
As an example of Van Wagner’s new model at work, Knapple cites the Minnesota Vikings, who have Van Wagner working in a variety of areas with the team’s $975 million stadium that’s scheduled to open in 2016. Van Wagner is helping with sponsorship strategy and marketing, among other things. Jordan and his team, a group already assisting MLBAM with Wi-Fi conversions in Major League Baseball parks, are helping with technology and infrastructure in the Vikings’ new stadium. Van Wagner also helped to design a marketing center for the facility, and it will help market and sell more than $125 million in seat licenses and premium seating.
Knapple said he’s looking to beef up Van Wagner’s corporate consulting, which counts Pepsi, Sanofi, York and MetLife as clients. Third-party rep business continues with national governing body U.S. Figure Skating as a principal client, and he’s hoping to expand the digital content business through an equity investment with CineSport.
“This is about trying to row the boat in the same direction as our clients when it comes to team and venue,” Knapple said.
> NAME GAME: Along with new ownership for the NHL’s beleaguered Phoenix Coyotes franchise has come a search for a new naming-rights sponsor for the hockey team’s home. Sources tell us that employment site Jobing.com, which has had its name on the not quite 10-year-old Glendale, Ariz., arena, is looking to get out of its deal.
|The Phoenix Coyotes may be searching for a new naming-rights sponsor for their home.
The real question is how much money there is in the Phoenix market. We recall that the neighboring University of Phoenix Stadium, home to the local NFL team, was not an easy sale and opened as Cardinals Stadium in 2006. Jobing.com was Glendale Arena for its first three years. Certainly, there’s some value in the Coyotes’ home rink being proximate to the home of the 2015 Super Bowl. And having been named and then lost two prior opportunities to host the NHL All-Star Game, the Coyotes should be near the head of that queue.
The Coyotes are hoping for a 10-year deal. Rob Yowell at Gemini Sports Group in Phoenix, who’s orchestrated naming-rights deals, including the Honda Center in Anaheim and Oracle Arena in Oakland, said the building is worth between $3 million and $4 million a year. Other sources tell us team officials are hoping for $5 million a year. It will take a lot of howling to get there.
> GOLDEN LINEUP: Rawlings’ annual Gold Glove awards ceremony returns to the Plaza Hotel New York this week, with headline talent including “King of Queens” star Kevin James. Mike Thompson, Rawlings senior vice president of marketing, said sponsors include Gold Sport Collectibles as the title, along with American Airlines, Bank of America, Baseball America and Sony.
Jamie Robinson’s Alliance Marketing Partners, Wynnewood, Pa., is Rawlings’ sports marketing agency of record.
> NEW BALANCING ACT: Two-time American League home run champ Jose Bautista is back as a New Balance endorser. The Toronto Blue Jays outfielder had earlier switched from New Balance to Reebok but is back with New Balance now in a head-to-toe deal that will make him the “face of New Balance in Canada,” said Radegen Sports Management President Alex Radetsky, Bautista’s marketing agent. Other high-profile New Balance MLB endorsers include Dustin Pedroia and Miguel Cabrera.
Terry Lefton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.