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Volume 21 No. 13
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AEG finds new sponsor category with disaster recovery firm

Don Muret
Belfor Property Restoration, among the world’s biggest disaster recovery firms, has filled a new sponsorship category for AEG Global Partnerships.

AEG recently signed a multiyear deal with Greater Detroit-based Belfor to become the official restoration partner for both Staples Center and T-Mobile Arena, which AEG co-owns with MGM Resorts International.

The agreement extends to a partnership with the Los Angeles Kings and AXS TV, a network co-owned by AEG.

Belfor specializes in restoring commercial properties damaged by fire and floods. Its services extend from structural repair and cleanup to the restoration of office equipment and documents.

Belfor got a lot of media exposure this fall after an extremely active hurricane season. The company has 300 offices across 34 countries and 7,700 full-time employees.

Jon Werbeck, AEG vice president of global partnerships, would not discuss terms other than to say the sponsorship is one level below AEG’s founding partners, whose deals are typically seven figures annually.

Belfor Property Restoration’s deal includes a Los Angeles Kings in-game feature.
Courtesy of: AEG
The Belfor agreement has three components, Werbeck said. For one, the two arenas receive “red alert” status, by which AEG pays an annual fee to Belfor in case of a natural disaster such as an earthquake or flood. In that situation, Belfor would “come to us first” for restoring those venues over other commercial buildings in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Werbeck said.

The other two pieces are vendor agreements. For the two arenas and L.A. Live, Belfor will supply kitchen equipment it produces as well as janitorial services, another of the company’s lines of business.

As part of the deal, Belfor sponsors the “Hero of the Game” feature during Kings games, recognizing military veterans and first responders among local police and fire and ambulance officials.

In addition, Belfor has the rights to be presenting sponsor for disaster relief concerts broadcast on AXS TV. One benefit for Puerto Rico residents affected by Hurricane Maria is in the works, but as of last week, nothing had been completed, Werbeck said.

Werbeck first thought of Belfor as a potential sponsor after watching an old episode of “Undercover Boss” featuring Belfor’s CEO, Sheldon Yellen, and he began thinking it could be an interesting category to explore. Werbeck dug deeper into the company’s history, recognizing that Belfor already had deals with every big league team in Detroit, plus Little Caesars Arena, where it sponsors the Red Wings’ practice facility.

About six months after AEG first met with Belfor officials in Michigan, the two parties signed the deal. Yellen was traveling last week and was not available for comment.

The AEG deal is Belfor’s first sponsorship outside of Detroit. Depending on the market, the relationship could expand to more arenas run by AEG Facilities.

“It will also open doors for Belfor to speak with our [other] partners such as the casinos and banks, anyone with commercial property, about their services,” Werbeck said. “They’re now strengthening their ties with MGM as well on a global scale.”

> HULLA-BALLEW: Todd Ballew has joined HNTB as associate vice president and sports director. He’s been in the sports design business over the past 25 years and most recently served as vice president of Heery Sports.

For HNTB and other sports architects, it’s a busy time. HNTB is designing stadiums for the future Las Vegas Raiders and Sacramento Republic FC, plus the Milwaukee Bucks’ new arena and college football upgrades at Arizona State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas and LSU.

As a result, over the past 18 months, in addition to bringing Ballew on board, HNTB has hired more staff in Kansas City from HOK, Populous and AECOM, said Gerardo Prado, vice president and sports group director.

“There’s incredible talent that is hungry for an opportunity to do more than what they have been trusted with at other firms, and we have been fortunate to be in a growth mode,” Prado said.

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