30 Oct

MLS: Orlando City Breaks Ground on $100M Stadium

MLS expansion club Orlando City SC broke ground on a new $110 million, 20,000-seat soccer-specific stadium.  Building the stadium, which was paid for with a combination of public and private funds, was a prerequisite for securing expansion rights.  With few exceptions, MLS believes having teams play in soccer-specific stadiums is critical for their success.  This season, 15 of the 19 MLS clubs play home games at soccer stadiums, and the San Jose Earthquakes will open their new stadium next season.  In South Florida, David Beckham’s inability to find a suitable stadium site has slowed his expansion plans.

Orlando City will be the league’s 21st franchise when it begins play next year.  The team will play its inaugural season at the Citrus Bowl while its new stadium is being built.  The team is seeking a 10-year naming rights deal for the venue, and most MLS stadium entitlements are valued at $2 million annually.  Orlando City is pitching marketing opportunities to Brazilian companies because its owner, Flavio Augusto da Silva, and its highest profile player, Kaka, both hail from the country.

Photo: Alissa Barber Torres

30 Oct

MLS: Orlando City Breaks Ground on $100M Stadium

MLS expansion club Orlando City SC broke ground on a new $110 million, 20,000-seat soccer-specific stadium.  Building the stadium, which was paid for with a combination of public and private funds, was a prerequisite for securing expansion rights.  With few exceptions, MLS believes having teams play in soccer-specific stadiums is critical for their success.  This season, 15 of the 19 MLS clubs play home games at soccer stadiums, and the San Jose Earthquakes will open their new stadium next season.  In South Florida, David Beckham’s inability to find a suitable stadium site has slowed his expansion plans.

Orlando City will be the league’s 21st franchise when it begins play next year.  The team will play its inaugural season at the Citrus Bowl while its new stadium is being built.  The team is seeking a 10-year naming rights deal for the venue, and most MLS stadium entitlements are valued at $2 million annually.  Orlando City is pitching marketing opportunities to Brazilian companies because its owner, Flavio Augusto da Silva, and its highest profile player, Kaka, both hail from the country.

Photo: Alissa Barber Torres

29 Oct

KIA + GAP Factory Land Big Stars with Big Endorsements

image

Two of the most marketable athletes in the sports world have signed high-profile endorsement deals in advance of the holiday season.  LeBron James reached a multiyear agreement with Kia Motors to endorse the company’s new luxury sedan, the K900.  James wanted to partner with the company after voluntarily driving the car this summer.  As part of the deal, James is required to arrive at Cavs games in the car.  It’s always important for athletes to use and like the products they endorse.  Kia reportedly wasn’t looking for a new NBA endorser, but they were happy to oblige when they heard LeBron was testing out their car.

Meanwhile, New York Giants star Victor Cruz has signed a global endorsement deal with the clothing brand Gap Factory.  Cruz will appear in print ads in magazines such as GQ, People, and Cosmopolitan, and his image will be displayed in Gap’s 350 global stores.Gap signed the deal with Cruz before his season-ending knee injury, but the company has no plans to alter its marketing campaign despite his inability to do more press.

Photo: Automotive Rhythms

29 Oct

KIA + GAP Factory Land Big Stars with Big Endorsements

image

Two of the most marketable athletes in the sports world have signed high-profile endorsement deals in advance of the holiday season.  LeBron James reached a multiyear agreement with Kia Motors to endorse the company’s new luxury sedan, the K900.  James wanted to partner with the company after voluntarily driving the car this summer.  As part of the deal, James is required to arrive at Cavs games in the car.  It’s always important for athletes to use and like the products they endorse.  Kia reportedly wasn’t looking for a new NBA endorser, but they were happy to oblige when they heard LeBron was testing out their car.

Meanwhile, New York Giants star Victor Cruz has signed a global endorsement deal with the clothing brand Gap Factory.  Cruz will appear in print ads in magazines such as GQ, People, and Cosmopolitan, and his image will be displayed in Gap’s 350 global stores.Gap signed the deal with Cruz before his season-ending knee injury, but the company has no plans to alter its marketing campaign despite his inability to do more press.

Photo: Automotive Rhythms

28 Oct

NFL Returning to Los Angeles?

Could the NFL be as close as ever to returning to Los Angeles?  The L.A. City Council formally granted entertainment company AEG another six months to find a team for its proposed downtown NFL stadium, Farmers Field.  The original two-year deal with the city would have required the AEG to have a team by last week.  The decision to expand AEG’s window comes as multiple reports indicate the league hopes to have 1-2 L.A.-based teams within two years.  Both the Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams have been mentioned as possibilities given their history with the city and current stadium situations.  While AEG’s Farmers Field is the most high profile proposal, there are several other prospective stadium locations. 

If a team chooses to pursue relocation as soon as next season, they would have to submit an application to the league office in the first month-and-a-half of 2015.  The move would then be subject to the approval of three-fourths of the NFL’s owners.  Depending on if or when a team does move, they would probably have to play in the Rose Bowl for a couple seasons while a new stadium is built.

Photo: JBlackburn

28 Oct

NFL Returning to Los Angeles?

Could the NFL be as close as ever to returning to Los Angeles?  The L.A. City Council formally granted entertainment company AEG another six months to find a team for its proposed downtown NFL stadium, Farmers Field.  The original two-year deal with the city would have required the AEG to have a team by last week.  The decision to expand AEG’s window comes as multiple reports indicate the league hopes to have 1-2 L.A.-based teams within two years.  Both the Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams have been mentioned as possibilities given their history with the city and current stadium situations.  While AEG’s Farmers Field is the most high profile proposal, there are several other prospective stadium locations. 

If a team chooses to pursue relocation as soon as next season, they would have to submit an application to the league office in the first month-and-a-half of 2015.  The move would then be subject to the approval of three-fourths of the NFL’s owners.  Depending on if or when a team does move, they would probably have to play in the Rose Bowl for a couple seasons while a new stadium is built.

Photo: JBlackburn

28 Oct

NHL: Bust, Boom, Hope

Several NHL teams made off-ice headlines last week.  Let’s look at the good, bad, and ugly in Bust, Boom, Hope.

Bust: Florida Panthers President Rory Babich called the team’s home attendance “embarrassing” after drawing a record-low crowd of 7,311 fans for a recent game.  The Panthers this season have done away with the ticket giveaways that boosted the team’s attendance figures over the years.

Boom: The Dallas Stars signed an 11-year TV rights agreement with FS Southwest.  While financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, a Stars executive called the dollar amount “significant."   The deal expands the team’s media coverage to cities such as New Orleans and Tulsa.

Hope: The Toronto Maple Leafs entered into a partnership with analytics software company SAS to help judge player performance and improve the team’s on-ice strategy.  The company will provide the team with real-time analysis of standard NHL statistics and proprietary data.

Photo: Billy Bob Bain

28 Oct

NHL: Bust, Boom, Hope

Several NHL teams made off-ice headlines last week.  Let’s look at the good, bad, and ugly in Bust, Boom, Hope.

Bust: Florida Panthers President Rory Babich called the team’s home attendance “embarrassing” after drawing a record-low crowd of 7,311 fans for a recent game.  The Panthers this season have done away with the ticket giveaways that boosted the team’s attendance figures over the years.

Boom: The Dallas Stars signed an 11-year TV rights agreement with FS Southwest.  While financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, a Stars executive called the dollar amount “significant."   The deal expands the team’s media coverage to cities such as New Orleans and Tulsa.

Hope: The Toronto Maple Leafs entered into a partnership with analytics software company SAS to help judge player performance and improve the team’s on-ice strategy.  The company will provide the team with real-time analysis of standard NHL statistics and proprietary data.

Photo: Billy Bob Bain

27 Oct

World Series 2014: One of These Things is not Like the Other. Or is it?

As the 2014 World Series heads back to Kansas City with the Giants ahead 3-2, Major League Baseball’s Fall Classic this year is seemingly as much a contrast as were the scores of the Series’ first two games. The first, a San Francisco Giants 7-1 blowout. The second, a Kansas City Royals 7-2 blowout.  But culturally, viscerally, and economically, it goes much deeper than that.

It’s the City by the Bay vs. the City by the Hay.

San Francisco is an international tourist destination, renowned for its stunning scenery, world class cuisine, politicultural history, and cutting-edge technology. Kansas City is known for its stockyards and BBQ. The Giants play in $357 million AT&T Park, its bayside locale making it one of the most beautiful spots to take in a sporting event ever. The Royals play in Kauffman Stadium, which has the audacity to carry the name of the franchise’s founding owner rather than a mega corporation.

 The Giants’ fan base includes Journey frontman Steve Perry and on occasion, the surviving members of the Grateful Dead. The Royals’ most famous fan is nice guy actor Paul Rudd.

Despite their marked differences, from a baseball business standpoint, the two franchises are remarkably alike – they’re far from the mega-payrolls of the Dodgers and Yankees, have veteran staffs that are fanatical about sticking to the process, adhering to the long term plan, and loyal fan bases that may not always show up in droves to every single game but are there when the teams need them most.

With that in mind, here’s a random look at this series through an economic lens, from internal strengths to outside forces. 

In small market Kansas City, it has taken owner David Glass, the former Wal-Mart CEO, over 20 years since his ownership tenure began in 1993 to fulfill his promise of bringing a World Series berth back to a franchise that hadn’t seen one since 1985. “Our goal,” Glass told the Kansas City Star, “has never been to make money on this franchise: It’s to keep the franchise in Kansas City, to win pennants and to try to break even.”  Glass has exhibited patience with General Manager Dayton Moore, on the job for nine years, giving Moore time to implement a long-term vision that has included “a new minor-league team, exponential increases in executive and scout staffing, and new training facilities in Latin America and beyond. Building the team with key international draftees, savvy trades, and free agent signings has been the core of the plan, which looks to have come to fruition this year.

The Royals’ slow build is now paying off for other stakeholders as well.  On Fanatics.com, Royals apparel has been the online merchandiser’s top selling MLB gear since the beginning of October, and regional sporting goods stores throughout Kansas and Missouri are reporting flash Royals gear sales that equal or top a normal days’ worth of all sales, period. The Kansas City Star printed twice as many copies for street sales as usual and still couldn’t keep up with the demand. And the city itself is garnering hundreds of hours of free international advertising.

Bob Marcusse, CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council, told the Kansas City Business Journal all the exposure and widespread support for the underdog Royals is “fantastic.”

“There’s nobody that could afford to buy the kind of exposure that Kansas City is getting,” Marcusse said. “We often hear that people are not aware that Kansas City is as large a region as it is. When you see the shots of the stadium and other shots of the region, it becomes obvious this is in every way a major league city.” 

On the left coast, the Giants are dancing to a whole different vibe – but not to Lorde’s hit song “Royals,” which was pulled by local radio stations for the duration of the World Series.

The Giants are gunning for their third World Series title in five years, and General Manager Brian Sabean, hired 18 years ago (and currently baseball’s longest-tenured GM), has led his franchise to seven postseason berths, four National League pennants, and two World Series crowns. Bobby Evans, the Giants’ assistant GM, has been in the organization since 1994, as has head of player personnel Dick Tidrow.  And while the Giants are “not one of the industry’s darlings in scouting and player development, their entire infield is home grown,” notes the Los Angeles Times. Since “no player received” more than $20 million in salary this season, the Giants “had the organization and financial depth to survive the postseason absence of four of the seven highest-paid players on their opening-day roster.”

Among players, the Giants’ current reputation within MLB “is huge,” added MLB Network’s Darryl Hamilton. “I think every player who is borderline, ‘Should I stay another year or two or call it a career?’ – they’re looking at the Giants,” Hamilton said. “The fan base is huge, it’s a great ballpark, awesome city and you got a chance to win. What better place to go and finish your career if you’ve got something left?”

If you want to go to the World Series now—if you’re a fan, that is—it’s going to cost you. Tickets to World Series Games 1 and 2 at Kauffman Stadium skyrocketed to record prices, with the average seat going for more than $1,400 and standing-room-only tickets listed for around $600, according SeatGeek. 

At AT&T Park, secondary market ticket prices have escalated in the last three days, reaching an average list price of $1,233 per ticket for Games 3-5, according to ticket aggregator TiqIQ. Standing-room tickets have particularly jumped in price in recent days, rising 15% to an average of $651.

If the Series extends to 6 or 7 games, the average price for Game 6 is $1,168 and Game 7 is $1,272.

For avid fans, though, that’s a small price to pay for the Bay and the Hay.

Follow Rick Horrow (@RickHorrow) and Karla Swatek (@kswak) on Twitter.

Photo : Randy Chiu

27 Oct

World Series 2014: One of These Things is not Like the Other. Or is it?

As the 2014 World Series heads back to Kansas City with the Giants ahead 3-2, Major League Baseball’s Fall Classic this year is seemingly as much a contrast as were the scores of the Series’ first two games. The first, a San Francisco Giants 7-1 blowout. The second, a Kansas City Royals 7-2 blowout.  But culturally, viscerally, and economically, it goes much deeper than that.

It’s the City by the Bay vs. the City by the Hay.

San Francisco is an international tourist destination, renowned for its stunning scenery, world class cuisine, politicultural history, and cutting-edge technology. Kansas City is known for its stockyards and BBQ. The Giants play in $357 million AT&T Park, its bayside locale making it one of the most beautiful spots to take in a sporting event ever. The Royals play in Kauffman Stadium, which has the audacity to carry the name of the franchise’s founding owner rather than a mega corporation.

 The Giants’ fan base includes Journey frontman Steve Perry and on occasion, the surviving members of the Grateful Dead. The Royals’ most famous fan is nice guy actor Paul Rudd.

Despite their marked differences, from a baseball business standpoint, the two franchises are remarkably alike – they’re far from the mega-payrolls of the Dodgers and Yankees, have veteran staffs that are fanatical about sticking to the process, adhering to the long term plan, and loyal fan bases that may not always show up in droves to every single game but are there when the teams need them most.

With that in mind, here’s a random look at this series through an economic lens, from internal strengths to outside forces. 

In small market Kansas City, it has taken owner David Glass, the former Wal-Mart CEO, over 20 years since his ownership tenure began in 1993 to fulfill his promise of bringing a World Series berth back to a franchise that hadn’t seen one since 1985. “Our goal,” Glass told the Kansas City Star, “has never been to make money on this franchise: It’s to keep the franchise in Kansas City, to win pennants and to try to break even.”  Glass has exhibited patience with General Manager Dayton Moore, on the job for nine years, giving Moore time to implement a long-term vision that has included “a new minor-league team, exponential increases in executive and scout staffing, and new training facilities in Latin America and beyond. Building the team with key international draftees, savvy trades, and free agent signings has been the core of the plan, which looks to have come to fruition this year.

The Royals’ slow build is now paying off for other stakeholders as well.  On Fanatics.com, Royals apparel has been the online merchandiser’s top selling MLB gear since the beginning of October, and regional sporting goods stores throughout Kansas and Missouri are reporting flash Royals gear sales that equal or top a normal days’ worth of all sales, period. The Kansas City Star printed twice as many copies for street sales as usual and still couldn’t keep up with the demand. And the city itself is garnering hundreds of hours of free international advertising.

Bob Marcusse, CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council, told the Kansas City Business Journal all the exposure and widespread support for the underdog Royals is “fantastic.”

“There’s nobody that could afford to buy the kind of exposure that Kansas City is getting,” Marcusse said. “We often hear that people are not aware that Kansas City is as large a region as it is. When you see the shots of the stadium and other shots of the region, it becomes obvious this is in every way a major league city.” 

On the left coast, the Giants are dancing to a whole different vibe – but not to Lorde’s hit song “Royals,” which was pulled by local radio stations for the duration of the World Series.

The Giants are gunning for their third World Series title in five years, and General Manager Brian Sabean, hired 18 years ago (and currently baseball’s longest-tenured GM), has led his franchise to seven postseason berths, four National League pennants, and two World Series crowns. Bobby Evans, the Giants’ assistant GM, has been in the organization since 1994, as has head of player personnel Dick Tidrow.  And while the Giants are “not one of the industry’s darlings in scouting and player development, their entire infield is home grown,” notes the Los Angeles Times. Since “no player received” more than $20 million in salary this season, the Giants “had the organization and financial depth to survive the postseason absence of four of the seven highest-paid players on their opening-day roster.”

Among players, the Giants’ current reputation within MLB “is huge,” added MLB Network’s Darryl Hamilton. “I think every player who is borderline, ‘Should I stay another year or two or call it a career?’ – they’re looking at the Giants,” Hamilton said. “The fan base is huge, it’s a great ballpark, awesome city and you got a chance to win. What better place to go and finish your career if you’ve got something left?”

If you want to go to the World Series now—if you’re a fan, that is—it’s going to cost you. Tickets to World Series Games 1 and 2 at Kauffman Stadium skyrocketed to record prices, with the average seat going for more than $1,400 and standing-room-only tickets listed for around $600, according SeatGeek. 

At AT&T Park, secondary market ticket prices have escalated in the last three days, reaching an average list price of $1,233 per ticket for Games 3-5, according to ticket aggregator TiqIQ. Standing-room tickets have particularly jumped in price in recent days, rising 15% to an average of $651.

If the Series extends to 6 or 7 games, the average price for Game 6 is $1,168 and Game 7 is $1,272.

For avid fans, though, that’s a small price to pay for the Bay and the Hay.

Follow Rick Horrow (@RickHorrow) and Karla Swatek (@kswak) on Twitter.

Photo : Randy Chiu