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Archive for the ‘Venue Information’ Category

Taxpayers forced to pay off debts for sports stadiums

Posted by ZA on September 8, 2010

A good article from the New York Times that exposes the debt that still exists on many unused stadiums.  The tax payers in New Jersey still have over $75 million in dept to pay off on the Izod Center, yet no professional sports teams play there any longer (the Nets & Devils have already said bye, bye).  Indianapolis residents have over $60 million in debt yet to pay on the RCA Dome, even though the team is starting their second year at Lucas Oil Stadium.  Both are ridiculously unfair to the taxpayers, but that’s the price you can pay in big time sports.

While I agree that these stadium finance deals can turn out badly for taxpayers, I do think more has to be considered than just the dollars.  A stadium and the team that plays in it is a big part of the identity of a city.  The Meadowlands and RCA Dome are landmarks in their cities, even once they are no longer in use.  So while taxpayers need to be reluctant to pick up the entire tab on these stadiums, they don’t want to stop the next big sports venue from being built in their town.

Posted in New Venues, Stadium Construction, Venue Information | Leave a Comment »

Pontiac Silverdome sold for 1% of cost to build it

Posted by ZA on November 23, 2009

How bad are things in Detroit?  Pretty bad if the city is selling the former home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions for $583,000.  A stadium that cost more than $55 million dollars to build in 1975 just sold for a mere 1% of the cost to build it.  Now I’ve heard of depreciation, but that has to be a record for a major professional sports venue.  Particularly when you consider that the city had received offers to buy it for more than $22 million in the past decade.  I’m sure they are kicking themselves now that they didn’t sell it while it still had some value.

The buyer is an “anonymous Canadian firm” that plans to use the facility for a soccer league they are going to develop.  I’m not buying that they ever use for a professional sports team or league, at least not anytime soon.  I expect to see it sold again (quietly) in the coming months.  Perhaps to be used as a mega-Church like the one Joel Osteen has in Houston that used to be home of the Houston Rockets.  Because it seems that Detroit needs prayer a lot more than they need sports right now.

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Izod Center naming rights deal going up in smoke

Posted by ZA on October 22, 2009

In 2007 the New Jersey Devils and Seton Hall Pirates announced they would be moving their home games to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.  The Devils and Pirates were both leaving the Continental Airlines Arena, which had been their home venue for nearly 20 years.  That move had a domino effect which is still being felt today.

Continental Airlines subsequently backed out of their $1.3 million dollar annual contract for the naming rights the Meadowlands Arena; which had been called Continental Airlines Arena since 1995.  The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority then went out to get bids from companies who wanted to put their name on the building.  They received a few offers and finally settled on a deal with Izod at $1.4 million per year.  The new name of the arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey would be the Izod Center.

The Izod Center has been the home venue for the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, as well as, a host of concerts and events for the past two seasons.  But it appears now that could all come to an end.  The Nets have been made plans to move their franchise to Brooklyn to play at the Barclays Center; a move that should happen in 2011.  Which in theory would give the Izod Center a permanent resident for at least two more years, which would cover most of the three year’s left on the naming rights deal.  But now the Nets are considering moving their home games to Prudential Center, which would leave the Izod Center devoid a full-time tenant.

What does this loss mean to Izod’s naming rights deal? It means Izod would no longer get the millions of mentions that come from having a professional sports franchise playing in your building (mentions on Sportscenter and in every newspaper that prints a story on the Nets game).  It means that there would be approximately 800,000 fewer people attending events the arena bearing their name, because the 40 Nets home games are eliminated.  In-short, it would mean a huge decrease in the exposure the deal originally was set to provide.  On the plus side, Izod could save some money because the annual payment on the deal drops to $750k if the Nets are no longer the tenant.  But does a reduced cost really offset all that Izod loses in exposure on the deal?  No, Izod would be left with an aging venue sitting nearly empty next to the New Jersey interstate.  Izod will be the naming rights partner for an arena that is dying.  That is not exactly the kind of deal you want your brand associated with; Izod should look to get out of this deal if the Nets leave.

Posted in NBA, Venue Information, Venue Naming Rights | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Citi Field is gorgeous, but has too many advertisements

Posted by ZA on July 1, 2009

I was in New York City last week for work and took the opportunity to visit the new home of the New York Mets, Citi Field.  I was a guest of our work partners, NBC Sports, so I was treated to fantastic seats in row 1 behind the visitor dugout.  The seats not only afforded a great view of the action on the field, they also provided access to the array of clubs in the stadium.  So I feel like I got a complete look at what Citi Field has to offer, and I came away extremely impressed.

I had heard from friends who have been to both new baseball stadiums in New York, that the aesthetics of Citi Field blow away those of new Yankee Stadium.  And after visiting the new stadium in Queens, I can see why people have been impressed with the Mets new home field.  The architecture is impressive, the views from the seats are all great and the amentities are all first-class.  But there was one thing I didn’t like; Citi Field has too much signage on the outfield walls.

I should start by saying that I’m an advocate of teams & stadiums doing sponsorship deals.  I believe they are an essential ingredient for teams/venues to make money today.  But I also think there is a fine line between effective stadium sponsorship deals and overkill.  The Mets and Citi Field have sold too many sponsor positions on their outfield wall.  It doesn’t detract from the game, but I don’t feel that having that many brands listed is doing their sponsors any favors.  Corporations buy these ad placements to promote their their brand, but few probably enjoy being squeezed in between dozens of other sponsor logos.  The clutter kills a lot of the effectiveness that could have been garnered from the sponsorship deals.  Overselling the space also puts name brand sponsors like Budweiser and Pepsi next to off-beat ads for Spongetech.com, Buy US Gold Coins.com, FreeCreditReports.com and the NYC union represented the construction workers who built Citi Field.  I’m sure execs from Anaheiser-Busch and Pepsico are not thrilled with their placements.

Below are photos of the abundant stadium signage at Citi Field in New York.  During a quick count of the sponsors on the outfield wall I counted over 30 different brands, including; Budweiser, Chevrolet, Dunkin Donuts, FoxBusiness, Geico, Pepsi, Planters, Subway & Verizon.

Citi Field has over 30 sponsors on outfield walls

Citi Field has over 30 sponsors on outfield walls

Too many ads are one of the only drawbacks of Citi Field

Too many ads are one of the only drawbacks of Citi Field

It was a great experience at Citi Field, but Mets executives should consider thinning out the number of sponsors they display so prominently on the outfield walls.

Posted in MLB, Sponsorship Deals, Stadium Signage, Venue Information | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Historic Rosenblatt gives way to TD Ameritrade

Posted by ZA on June 16, 2009

Right now one of the best, and least heralded, sporting events in the World is occurring at a stadium in the heartland of America.  The 2009 College World Series is being played at historic Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska.  The College World Series, or CWS as it is commonly called, is the postseason tournament to decide the NCAA Division I Champion from men’s college baseball.  The tournament brings together 8 of the best teams to compete in a double elimination tournament.  What makes it so great is the emotion these teams and their fans display; the emotions that come out when you have reached your goal (Omaha) and have the championship in sight.

Every division I college baseball player, fan and coach starts the season with one goal in-mind.  That goal is to get to Omaha for the College World Series.  Teams typically play a 40+ game regular season schedule and then a dozen postseason games just to try to earn a spot in the CWS field.  So naturally those fortunate few that make the trip to historic Rosenblatt Stadium are excited to be there.  That excitement comes through as a tangle buzz of emotion that surrounds each game.  And Rosenblatt Stadium is the grand, old ballpark that plays host to that excitement.
For over 50 years the CWS has been played at Rosenblatt Stadium on the outskirts of Omaha.  Rosenblatt is full of stories about great teams, players or moments that occurred on that field.  It is one of those stadiums that you say ‘if these walls could talk’ because you know it would tell a ton of great stories.

But very soon, that is all going to end.  No, not the College World Series.  That will continue on in Omaha through at least 2035, thanks to a new deal with the NCAA.  But the games will no longer be played at historic Rosenblatt Stadium.

The City of Omaha is currently building a new $128 million dollar stadium that will become the new home of the CWS in 2011.  The new stadium will be located in downtown Omaha and will more closely resemble a modern professional baseball stadium.  That means the stadium will have higher priced club seating and luxury suites, which bring in more revenue.  Following another tradition common with professional stadiums; the new stadium will have a corporate sponsor paying for the naming rights to the stadium.  TD Ameritrade announced on June 10th that they would be to be the title sponsor of the new ballpark, paying approximately $20 million over the next 20 years.  That means the new home of the College World Series in Omaha will be named TD Ameritrade Park, not Rosenblatt Stadium.

As sad as I am to see Rosenblatt Stadium put out to pasture, I understand this is how sports work today.  Sports are a revenue generating venture, so it is necessary for Omaha (and the NCAA) to upgrade the facility to make more money on the CWS.  Part of that money will be made from the aforementioned venue naming rights.  Although it would be great to still have games played at a stadium named for Johnny Rosenblatt, there is a great opportunity with TD Ameritrade.  TD Ameritrade stepped up to the plate to support this venue and thereby the event that will be played there each June.  They should be commended for their investment, and I believe their $1 million per year will be well worth it in the exposure they receive.  Their name is now linked to one of the best events in college sports and will be on the lips of media around the country.  So it’s easy to see how they will recoup their annual investment in the CWS.

But it will be sad to longer see games after 2010 CWS at Rosenblatt.  Since I was a kid I have memories of games there.  And there are thousands of fans who have great memories of games at Rosenblatt, that will have to remain memories…because the reality is that after next season there will be no more CWS games played at Rosenblatt.  A great legend of sports will be leaving us, but hopefully it will be adequately replaced by the new venue.

New home of College World Series

New home of College World Series (photo from Wikipedia)

Posted in College Sports, Stadium Construction, Venue Information, Venue Naming Rights | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Nets arena in Brooklyn already drawing criticism

Posted by ZA on June 8, 2009

The Nets have yet to even set foot in Brooklyn.  Jay Z has not yet played one of his tunes over the PA system.  The uniforms still New Jersey on the front, not Brooklyn.  And the arena has not even been built yet, but that’s not stopping people from lobbing criticism at the future home of the Nets.

A writer for the New York Times says the Nets developer has “betrayed” Brooklyn by dropping the design of Frank Gehry in favor of less expensive plan by another architecture firm.  He refers to the new design as a “colossal, spiritless box” and says it won’t help bring the community together the way Gehry’s design would have done.  He says the decision to drop Gehry’s decision puts making a profit above the “public good”.

I think the writer is right that Gehry’s design would have been more inspiring for the community.  Great architecture can become a boon to a city and much of New York City is full of great styles.  But I think he’s too quick to sweep the economics of the decision under the carpet.  The city, the developer and the organization have to make different decisions in the current economy than they might have a few years ago.  They need to balance form and function, making sure they are equally weighted.  So downsizing the Gehry plan in-favor of something more affordable, that fits their needs, is a responsible choice.  It will not kill the community.  In-fact the author overlooks the fact that the team will become a rallying point for the community once they start playing in the building.  So I think it would have been nice to have the more inspired design, but think the Nets, their fans and City of Brooklyn will all be well served by the current design.

Posted in NBA, Venue Information | Leave a Comment »

Wrigley Field expansion on the horizon

Posted by ZA on May 26, 2009

Wrigley Field has been the home of the Chicago Cubs since 1916.  The park was build in 1914 at a cost of $250,000.  It currently seats just over 40,000 people.  It is the second oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, just behind Fenway Park which opened in 1912.  Wrigley Field is one of the most iconic sports venues in the World.  So naturally it is constantly at the center of debates of how to change it for the better.

Andrew Ziola who runs a website devoted to building a public park in Wrigleyville across from the famous ballpark.  Andrew’s idea goes in contrast to what the Cubs and City of Chicago have agreed upon, a project called the Triangle building.  The purpose of the Triangle building is to provide to more revenue generation opportunities for the ball club, by building restaurants and other stores that would be accessible by fans throughout the year.

I think we know which concept has won; the writing is already on the wall that the Cubs will build the Triangle building.  It’s just a matter of when the new Cubs ownership kicks in the money to start the project.  Something the Tribune’s architecture critic, Blair Kamin, has said the Cubs need to do right away.  Someone just needs to break the bad news to Mr. Ziola.

I applaud Ziola for pushing forward a different concept, one that is more earth friendly and therefore greener than the alternative.  One that will obviously do more for the residents of Wrigleyville, who could get year round use out of a park.  But the problem with his ideas is that the Cubs and city are most interested in is the green that comes on dollar bills.  They need to develop the land across from Wrigley into the Triangle in order to house some of the amenities that many other modern stadiums can incorporate into their building.  Wrigley Field is a historic monument, so that limits the scope of changes that can be made to the structure.  There is no way to have the restaurants and shops unless the Cubs convert the parking lot across the street.  So it truly is the right decision for the Cubs to build the Triangle.  A park would be great, but unfortunately it cannot generate the revenue that a retail development can.  That’s just the world we live in and money helps make the world go round.

You can follow Andrew Ziola’s quest on Twitter (@wrigleyfield4u).   Follow BrandDunk on Twitter (@BrandDunk).

Posted in MLB, Stadium Construction, Venue Information | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Dolphins stadium naming rights deal model for future?

Posted by ZA on May 5, 2009

From the buzz going around it sounds like the Miami Dolphins will enter into a one-year stadium naming rights agreement with Anaheuser Busch product, Land Shark Lager.  How does Land Shark Lager have the clout to pull off a major venue naming coup like this?  Landshark beer is part of the marketing arsenal of legendary performer and South Florida native, Jimmy Buffett.  Buffett promotes Landshark Lager under the flag of his “Margaritaville” products.

A Land Shark Lager deal with the Dolphins would be historic for a couple of reasons:
1) It would be the shortest length of time ever cut for an NFL venue naming rights deal.
2) The deal would include an in-kind component, when these venue naming rights are typically just cash.  Jimmy Buffett would play two concerts at the newly named stadium; the team/venue would receive the majority of the profit from these shows as payment on the naming rights deal.

I imagine the one-year deal will be extended if successful.  Of course Land Shark might only want this year when both the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl will bring significant exposure to the South Florida venue.  But it is the fact the team is willing to do trade out on their stadium name that is truly amazing.  The team probably does not have many other suitors willing to step up, so doing this deal insures them revenue in the short-term.  While still keeping open their options for a long-term venue naming rights deal when the economy turns around.

The concerts that are part of the deal is unique, but mostly because an entertainer has never been involved in stadium naming rights.  Payments in kind have been used in many stadium deals, but they are typically only a small portion of the deal or for signage in the stadium, not the entire venue naming rights.  For example the New York Yankees agreed to a deal to include the Casio brand on the outfield wall in exchange for service.

How many other professional sports venues might look for a similar type deal?
Lots of them.  A short-term deal that gives them some cash now, but doesn’t block their ability to sign a more lucrative long-term partnership in near future is attractive to a lot of teams.  The current economy has put a freeze on naming-rights deals, which are a huge source of revenue for many teams.

The downside of these type of short-term naming rights is over exposure.  The risk to teams is that by renting their stadium name for a year they could scare off potential long-term partners who don’t want their company name associated with a revolving door.  The home of the San Francisco Giants (AT&T Park) changed names three times in six years due to acquisitions in the telecom industry, so many fans still refer to it with the original Pac Bell Park name. Corporations could shy away from venues where they think their brand association will be hard to connect due to frequent name changes.

But for teams without stadium naming rights deals the upside of these short-term deals could be too lucrative to pass up.  I’m sure many of them will be watching closely to see how the Dolphins fare in their deal with Land Shark beer.  As I’m certainly many corporations will be eyeing the success of the deal from a brand building perspective.  That is what makes this Land Shark Lager and Miami Dolphins partnership such a historic endeavor in venue naming rights spectrum.  Success will breed a lot of imitation, failure could end it for everyone.

Posted in NFL, Stadium Signage, Venue Information, Venue Naming Rights | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Yankees caught with performance enhancing substance?

Posted by ZA on April 20, 2009

The New York Yankees have been caught red handed providing a performance enhancing substance to members of their team.  The result has been an overabundance of home runs at new Yankee Stadium.  Yankee home games are averaging 4.5 home runs per game, which translates to approximately 350 home runs over the course of a season.  The current rate of home runs is more than 3x greater than the 1.35 home runs per game average at Camden Yards and US Cellular Field, which shared the top two spots in 2008.

The performance enhancing substance being provided by Yankees brass?  Wind.  The design of new Yankee Stadium is causing a wind tunnel that has caused the rash of home runs.  Darren Rovell at CNBC was first to report on the story and said the Yankees are examining the “wind tunnel” effect causing all of the home runs.  Then a Accuweather story said that the angle of the seating in the new stadium “could have an effect on wind speed across the field”.  Accuweather went on to say that the “wind tunnel” conditions are most prevalent now and in late Fall, so the homers presumably would not keep up at this pace.

I’m sure this story will continue to evolve as it is investigated by the team, league and media.  But there is one thing that I’m already sure, that the Yankees are not happy at the thought that their $1.5 billion dollar stadium has a flawed design.  And if that turns out to be true, then I expect Populous, the architects who designed new Yankee Stadium, might be looking to change their name back to HOK Sport to hide from this embarrassment.

Posted in MLB, Stadium Construction, Venue Information | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Budweiser gives up rooftop overlooking Wrigley

Posted by ZA on April 19, 2009

If you ask someone to name the brands most associated with Wrigley Field, that person would undoubtedly include Budweiser on their list.  That is because for years the King of Beers has been positioned in a prime location just across the street from Wrigley.  The iconic, red Budweiser sign was visible in the background of many photographs of the bleachers at Wrigley.  It has become part of the experience of attending a Cubbies home game.  Until now…

Anheuser-Busch decided to not renew the sign for the 2009 season.  A-B says they have sufficient signage within Wrigley Field that they no longer need the rooftop sign.  The Budweiser rooftop has been replaced with an advertising for Horseshoe Casino.  Me thinks this probably has something to “bitter contract dispute” that occurred between A-B and the building’s owner last fall.  Which needed a temporary restraining order from a Chicago judge to prevent the building owner from covering the Budweiser billboard during the Cubs playoffs run.

Advertising comes and goes.  Billboards are constantly being replaced.  So what is the big deal about this story?  I feel like the Budweiser rooftop belonged in the brand hall of fame.  It was an original idea that stood above the rest for decades.  It wasn’t so much an advertisement for beer as it was a part of the game day experience.  It will always rank as one of the top sports related branding vehicles in the history of advertising.

Posted in MLB, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing, Stadium Signage, Venue Information | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »