Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, Legends Announce Partnership

Today, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment announced a multi-year relationship with Legends, a leader in global planning, sales and hospitality, to become its new food and beverage concessionaire at Pepsi Center, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and Paramount Theatre, located in the Denver metro area.


Legends will manage and operate food and beverage services at each venue. At Pepsi Center, as of today, Legends will manage and operate food and beverage services throughout the building, including the lower level, club level, suites, theatre boxes, upper level, special event catering and restaurant dining programs.


At Paramount Theatre and Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Legends will take over food and beverage operations for premium, general concessions, and catering effective Sunday, December 1, 2019 and Wednesday, January 1, 2020, respectively.


“Pepsi Center has been the epicenter of entertainment in the Rocky Mountain Region for the past 20 years,” said KSE EVP/COO Matt Hutchings. “We are extremely excited to move into the next era of food and beverage offerings with our new service provider, Legends. Concessions are a huge part of the event experience and KSE couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the future offerings at our Denver-area venues. The ability to provide our patrons top-quality food and beverage service and selection at our venues is of utmost importance to both KSE and Legends.”


As part of enhancing food and beverage offerings throughout Pepsi Center, a new Local Eats initiative is being implemented, which places an emphasis on the thriving Denver culinary scene, ensuring there is something for every patron to enjoy. The arena is poised to become not only the heart of entertainment in the region, but a culinary destination with acclaimed restaurateurs and artisans to provide a wide variety of selections.


James Beard Award winner and renowned Denver chef Jennifer Jasinski will be collaborating with Pepsi Center to offer guests a re-designed premium culinary program, in addition to guest chef nights throughout the season. Jasinski and her Crafted Concepts team own Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Euclid Hall, Stoic & Genuine and Ultreia in Downtown Denver, and will work with Pepsi Center’s Executive Chef, James Versfelt, to transform Pepsi Center into one of the city’s premier dining locations.


“Strategically aligning with the Kroenke Sports & Entertainment team, Legends’ Hospitality team saw a great opportunity to deliver our best in class culinary experience in Denver, starting at Pepsi Center,” said Dan Smith, President, Legends Hospitality Division. “We’re anxious to get started in Denver and offer fans a taste of our exceptional culinary acumen.”


Additionally, Pepsi Center will have a presence from other prominent Denver food and beverage experts, throughout all areas of the building, including Local Guest Chefs creating customized menus, rotating wines of the month curated by a master sommelier, a mobile cart serving hot dim sum, freshly baked goods and improved service levels from our newly trained staff.

Japan 2019 set to break Rugby World Cup licensing records

via SportBusiness

World Rugby and the IMG agency have announced that the 2019 Rugby World Cup is set to break records for the tournament’s licensing programme, as the event prepares to commence in Japan tomorrow (Friday).

The first World Cup to be held in Asia will run through to November 2, with IMG having landed the contract to manage the global licensing and merchandising rights for the 2019 and 2023 competitions, along with a number of World Rugby’s other major tournaments, back in October 2017.

With IMG signing more than 45 local and international licensees for the 2019 World Cup, pre-tournament sales of the official online store have already outperformed those of the 2015 tournament’s in England by over 50 per cent.

The hundreds of official products – ranging from merchandise and apparel to unique lifestyle and traditional Japanese items – are also available in more than 70 stores run by IMG-appointed official on-site retailer Legends International, including a 1,000sqm megastore in the centre of Tokyo.

Products are being sold in more than 75 countries worldwide, with best-sellers including national team jerseys and caps, fan apparel, face towels, keyrings and pin badges. In apparel, Canterbury serves as the tournament’s branded sports outfitter. In addition to the core Canterbury range and co-branded national team jerseys, consumers are also offered the likes of branded and non-branded shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, rain ponchos, footwear and fashion accessories.

The available merchandise assortment also features a diverse range of collectibles and lifestyle goods that seek to reflect the unique culture of 2019’s host country, including traditional Japanese Jimbaori coats and KIMEKOJI dolls, as well as jewellery and toys featuring the tournament’s official mascot. Food licensing has been another distinctive component of the local offering with branded ice cream, confectionary, cookies, rice crackers and Shumai dumplings.

IMG president of licensing, Bruno Maglione, said: “Our objective from the start was to build a programme that celebrates the first Asian host country edition of this global tournament while also capitalising on the overall growth of the sport itself in traditional rugby markets and newer ones.

“Our Japan team and international offices have worked together to develop an extensive suite of products that captures the uniqueness of the host country, as well as providing typical sports merchandise for rugby’s growing legions of fans traveling or watching from their homes around the world.”

The six-week tournament is expected to draw a record 400,000 international visitors to Japan and will be the most digitally-engaged rugby event ever. World Rugby this week revealed that more than 96 per cent of tickets have been sold ahead of kick off.

World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper added: “Rugby World Cup 2019 will be a very special and global celebration of rugby and, these incredible sales demonstrate that it will not just be big in Japan, but is capturing the imagination of fans and new audiences globally.”

To read an in-depth feature on the Rugby World Cup licensing programme, including an interview with Mickael Andreo, vice-president, licensing at IMG, click here.

Rams’, Chargers’ new home named SoFi Stadium

via ESPN

LOS ANGELES — SoFi Stadium is the name of the palatial new home of the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers.

The growing personal finance company formally known as Social Finance has reached a 20-year agreement for the naming rights to the multibillion-dollar stadium complex in Inglewood, California, the teams announced Sunday.

The deal was negotiated by Legends, which is owned by Jerry Jones, and it is expected to be the largest naming-rights deal in the NFL, passing the Dallas Cowboys‘ AT&T deal, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

SoFi Stadium is on schedule to open next summer in Hollywood Park ahead of the 2020 season for Los Angeles’ two NFL teams. One season later, the stadium will host the Super Bowl.

SoFi was founded only in 2011, but the Bay Area-based online lending startup has grown rapidly into a prominent financial-services business particularly successful among people refinancing student loan debt. Led by CEO Anthony Noto, a former NFL executive, and fresh off a $500 million round of equity financing led by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund in May, SoFi bought the naming rights to reap extraordinary exposure from the world’s most prominent new stadium.

“It was something that really took a while for us to convince them that we were the right partner, and really gain the confidence that we could make that long-term commitment,” Noto told The Associated Press. “We’re super excited to have got to this point. They’re building something that’s unprecedented, and I think the impact it could have [on SoFi] will be equally unprecedented.”

The 70,000-seat stadium is the centerpiece of a 298-acre complex developed by Rams owner Stan Kroenke and shared by owner Dean Spanos’ Chargers. Along with the 2022 Super Bowl, the arena also will host the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship, an annual college football bowl game, and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2028 Olympics.

With SoFi’s name out front, the entire complex will have a prominent role in the future of the NFL and the Los Angeles metroplex.

“It’s one of these forward-thinking companies,” Spanos told the AP. “It’s in the forefront of innovation in their industry. That’s something and somebody we want to be associated with as our stadium takes on that same sort of energy, because it’s something that nobody has ever done before. I think what Stan has built here and done here, in his creativity with this whole development, this probably is going to redefine this area of Los Angeles for the next century. It’s going to be something that LA is going to be very proud to have.”

Spanos and Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff are both pleased by the addition of a young, technologically savvy partner with the naming rights deal.

“When Stan started to imagine what sports and entertainment district at Hollywood Park to be, he wanted to find not only world-class partners, but innovative partners,” Demoff told the AP. “He wanted to bring someone unique to the table that hadn’t been there before, and I think SoFi is a terrific partner because under Anthony’s leadership, you can see their vision for financial technology, for changing banking and loans, and really that process of putting the customer first is very similar to what we want to do at the stadium. I think it’s a unique fit for what we believe will be the greatest stadium in the world.”

Kroenke and Demoff also were pleased by the compact, alliterative name for such an expansive project, Demoff said.

“SoFi Stadium — I’m a fan of alliteration, so I love it,” Demoff said. “That may be very 10th-grade English of me, but I think it’s a very natural-sounding name.”

Noto has a personal connection to the stadium and to its primary sport: The former Goldman Sachs partner also is the former chief financial officer of the NFL, and he worked on the league’s groundwork efforts a decade ago to return to the Los Angeles market. After he became the chief operating officer of Twitter in 2014, Noto worked on its agreement to stream NFL games on the platform.

“I really had a front-row seat on seeing the impact [the NFL] could have on a business like ours,” Noto said. “It’s a small component of our overall marketing budget and our overall spending budget, but the benefit we get from reallocating the investment into this from other things is magnitudes greater.”

SoFi recently has partnered with sports brands ranging from college basketball conference tournaments to the US Open tennis tournament and the X Games. Noto said SoFi aggregated the audiences that saw their combined sponsorship efforts in 2018 and came up with about 15 million unique viewers for the entire year.

That’s roughly the same amount of exposure they’ll get from one prime-time NFL game in SoFi Stadium, Noto said.

Noto praised his former boss, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, for this culmination of the league’s years of patient planning for a return to the nation’s second-largest market.

“It’s a result of Roger’s vision back in 2008 and ’09 when he established he wanted the LA market to be not just another stadium, but to be this iconic destination,” Noto said. “Stan and Dean are bringing it to life in a way that no one could truly comprehend when Roger laid out the vision.”

Along with the name, SoFi members will have their own lounge inside the stadium, and the company will stage additional events and seminars at the complex.

The money from a naming rights deal typically offsets construction costs, and Kroenke’s project is expected to cost more than $5 billion. The Hollywood Park project already sold separate naming rights last month to American Airlines for a year-round performance venue and stadium entrance area.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

SoFi Takes The Field With SoFi Stadium

New Home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers Officially Named SoFi Stadium in Expansive Agreement with Hollywood Park

LOS ANGELES — September 15, 2019 — LA Stadium and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park (Hollywood Park) and SoFi are partnering in a 20-year agreement that makes the digital personal finance company the exclusive naming rights partner of the new SoFi Stadium, the future home of the Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angeles Rams. In addition, SoFi will be an official partner of each of the teams as well as a partner of the performance venue and surrounding entertainment district.

Opening summer 2020, SoFi Stadium is the centerpiece of Hollywood Park, a 298-acre world-class sports and entertainment destination being developed by Los Angeles Rams Owner/Chairman E. Stanley Kroenke. SoFi Stadium will hold year-round sports and entertainment events and will be the host of Super Bowl LVI in 2022, the College Football National Championship game in 2023, and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2028 Olympic Games.

We’re thrilled to be introducing SoFi Stadium to the world, through our partnership with Hollywood Park,” said Anthony Noto, CEO of SoFi. “This is a giant leap toward achieving our company’s mission of helping people get their money right by reaching our members where they are. The partnership with this transformative project taking shape under Stan Kroenke’s leadership is the perfect opportunity to drive awareness and trust in the SoFi brand as we continue to grow and reach members on a national level.

Said Kroenke: “It would be impossible to build a stadium and entertainment district of this magnitude without incredible and innovative partners who share our ambitions for Los Angeles, our fans worldwide and the National Football League. Since breaking ground at Hollywood Park, more than 12,000 people have worked side-by-side on this project, and we are proud to now have SoFi join us on this journey as we prepare to open in the summer of 2020.

“From our first meeting with Anthony Noto and his team, it was clear that SoFi wants to transform not only the financial industry but also the lives of its members. SoFi has a deep appreciation of the aspirations of its members – quality education, home ownership and achieve their ambitions. They are helping millions of people achieve their dreams and helping us realize our own promise at SoFi Stadium.

“Customer service and the fan experience is tantamount to everything we’ll do at SoFi Stadium. It was critical for us to find a tech-focused partner who is on the cutting edge and genuinely understands the needs of all of our constituents and who challenges us to think in creative ways to make every visitor to SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park feel special and at home.”

SoFi Stadium will have a seating capacity of approximately 70,000, expandable up to 100,000, with 260 luxury suites, more than 13,000 premium seats, and over three million square feet of usable space. A 27,000 square foot SoFi-branded VIP activation space inside the stadium will be utilized for special events, including a dedicated SoFi lounge for its members to access, one of the exclusive opportunities the company plans to offer members as part of this partnership.

“SoFi’s commitment to disrupting the status quo within its own industry and becoming a leading innovator in financial services makes them the ideal naming rights partner for our new home,” said Chargers President of Business Operations A.G. Spanos. “SoFi Stadium is reimagining how a stadium looks, feels and functions on gameday the same way SoFi is redefining access to financial tools for the next generation. We couldn’t be more excited to be aligned with a company as forward-thinking as SoFi, both as the naming rights partner for our new Hollywood Park home and as an official partner of the Los Angeles Chargers beginning in 2020.”

“We are working to deliver a fan-first stadium consistent with Mr. Kroenke’s dream to build a global sports and entertainment destination,” said Jason Gannon, Managing Director, SoFi Stadium. “SoFi Stadium will be a gathering place for the community, and we couldn’t have found a better partner to help us welcome the world when the building opens next summer.”

SoFi Stadium is the first indoor-outdoor stadium to be constructed. Adjacent to the stadium and under the same roof canopy is a 6,000-seat performance venue and the 2.5-acre American Airlines Plaza. The performance venue will host a variety of events, including concerts, esports events, award shows, as well as community gatherings. Hollywood Park will feature more than 1.5 million square feet of retail and office space initially, 2,500 residences, a hotel, and more than 20 acres of parks.

“In less than a year, the Rams will be running out of the tunnel into SoFi Stadium as people around the world see Mr. Kroenke’s creativity, dedication and hard work come to life through this game-changing building,” said Los Angeles Rams COO Kevin Demoff. “We are thrilled to be teaming with SoFi on a partnership that will extend beyond the columns of the stadium, one that will combine our passions for inspiring people to realize their ambition and climb higher.”

Community partnerships and programs will be announced in the coming months, leading up to the opening of the stadium.

Hollywood Park was represented by Legends Global Partnerships division, which sourced, negotiated and represented Hollywood Park in securing this wide-ranging partnership with SoFi. Financial terms of the agreement will not be disclosed.

Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium to host esports events in Twitch tie-up

Via SportsPro

The National Football League’s (NFL) Oakland Raiders have named Amazon-owned live video streaming platform Twitch as the latest founding partner of their new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

The deal, which starts in 2020 when the Raiders move to their new home, will see Twitch have a branded lounge in the lower level of the 65,000-seater stadium. The space will have streamer stations and viewing screens, while it will also host esports competitions and future Twitch events.

An official release added that the aim of the partnership is to make Las Vegas ‘the global hub for esports’.

“Being a founding partner at Allegiant Stadium is a perfect opportunity for Twitch to converge our passionate gaming and live esports community with the world of traditional sports,” said Sara Clemens, chief operating officer at Twitch. “As part of our long-term vision for multiplayer entertainment, we are excited to elevate the spectator experience at live events in the heart of the entertainment capital of the world.”

The deal with Twitch will also support the Raiders in their aim to stage 46 annual events at Allegiant Stadium. The venue is already slated to hold the 2020 and 2021 editions of US college sports’ Pac-12 Conference Football Championship Game, as well as the 2020 Las Vegas Bowl.

“We’re thrilled to announce our partnership with Twitch as the official streaming platform of the Raiders and Allegiant Stadium,” added Raiders president, Marc Badain. “The Twitch Lounge will elevate the spectator experience for Raiders fans in a brand new way — bridging the connection between fans in the stadium and at home unlike ever before.”

The agreement, which was brokered by Legends Global Partnerships, the ticketing and sponsorships agency for Allegiant Stadium, is the latest founding partnership to be announced for the new venue.

Other founding partners of the stadium include financial services companies Credit One Bank and America First Credit Union, Wi-Fi and internet provider Cox Communications and American airline Allegiant, which took the naming rights to the venue.

Understanding the Changing Demands of your Fans and Planning Accordingly is Crucial to Success Says Legends International After Foxes Deal Announced

Fans have higher expectations when they watch football matches and clubs have to understand those expectations and adapt to the changing marketplace if they are going to continue to thrive, according to Legends International President Andrew Hampel.

Leicester City recently appointed Legends International to carry out research relating to the proposed expansion of its King Power Stadium.

The research will provide Leicester City with a greater understanding of fans’ match-day routines and preferences. Legends will then use the output from the research to build accurate projections of future revenue, to provide a clear understanding of the optimal volume and specification for the redeveloped stadium and to create sophisticated pricing models to understand price sensitivity.  These models will then play a key part in the development of the full business plan for the redevelopment, which will ensure that with this ambitious investment in their stadium Leicester City are able to deliver the quality and variety of experience which their fans want both now and in the future.

With a wide range of leisure options for sports fans, clubs and events need to work harder to ensure fans are getting the best experience, says Hampel.

He said: “Leicester is a very diverse city and ensuring the development will deliver for the long-term fans and also bring new fans in and build on the club’s success means developing a market-appropriate range of options for the stadium.

“Not everyone will want to turn up just before kick-off, get a pie and a pint and walk home at the final whistle. Fans across the city have a wide variety of matchday routines and that means more food options and better facilities. When the stadium gets that right, and develops new fan zones and activities, this will give people a reason to come earlier and stay later.

Once the optimal business plan has been developed to meet the demands of the fans, Legends’ specialised project development team will be responsible for helping to integrate these into the design, to ensure that it works operationally and delivers the optimal returns from an experience and brand perspective as well as satisfying the financial objectives of the club.

“At Legends International, not only do we undertake research, we ensure that the vision for the superb facilities and services for sports fans is delivered – and that of course benefits the clubs in the long-run too because better facilities generate more revenue.”

Legends International were also integral to the development of the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium, which Hampel admits has raised expectations for clubs and fans alike across the country.

He added: “The work that Leicester City have engaged us to do is absolutely the right way to go about delivering to the fans the variety and quality of experiences that they want in a redeveloped stadium.

“There is an education process in the art of the possible as fans become more aware of the changing nature of the football matchday.

“We did very similar work with Tottenham Hotspur in the early stages of our engagement and throughout, from 2010 to the opening of the stadium earlier this year.

“But technology is also moving at such a pace that we have to continually reassess our strategy as new stadium developments emerge.”

The King Power Stadium has hosted England internationals including their recent game against Switzerland in September 2018.

It also hosted Rugby World Cup matches in 2015 as well as music concerts including local band Kasabian.

Leicester City moved into the stadium in 2002 from Filbert Street, which had been their home since 1891.

Legends International provides a range of services including feasibility and business planning, project development, ticketing and sponsorship sales, merchandising, retail, and food and drink provision.

Twitch Kicks Off Partnership With the Raiders & Allegiant Stadium

The new Las Vegas home of Raider Nation places Twitch’s growing live community in the Entertainment Capital of the World


SAN FRANCISCO – Sept. 9, 2019 – Twitch, the leading service and community for multiplayer entertainment, today announced a partnership with the Raiders as a founding partner of Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas starting in 2020. The partnership will include a Twitch-branded lounge in the lower level of Allegiant Stadium, featuring interactive elements that are native to the Twitch experience, including streamer stations, Twitch viewing screens, esports competitions and future Twitch events. The Twitch Lounge will also bring Twitch’s unique live streaming capabilities and active community to a variety of entertainment experiences that will take place at Allegiant Stadium, such as top-billed sporting events, concerts, esports competitions and more in the years ahead.


“At Twitch, we are constantly looking for new ways to engage with our community online and IRL. Being a founding partner at Allegiant Stadium is a perfect opportunity for Twitch to converge our passionate gaming and live esports community with the world of traditional sports,” said Sara Clemens, Chief Operating Officer at Twitch. “As part of our long-term vision for multiplayer entertainment, we are excited to elevate the spectator experience at live events in the heart of the Entertainment Capital of the World.”


Among the many events and experiences coming to Allegiant Stadium and sponsored by Twitch are the following:


  • Esports Competitions: Twitch is the home of esports and will be leveraging the company’s partnership with Allegiant Stadium to host a variety of real-world events and cement Las Vegas as the global hub for esports


  • Twitch Events: Twitch will host a wide range of live events at Allegiant Stadium


“We’re thrilled to announce our partnership with Twitch as the Official Streaming Platform of the Raiders and Allegiant Stadium,” said Raiders President Marc Badain. “The Twitch Lounge will elevate the spectator experience for Raiders fans in a brand new way — bridging the connection between fans in the stadium and at home unlike ever before.”


Legends Global Partnerships represented the Raiders to secure the Founding Partnership with Twitch as a part of their duties as the stadium’s official premium ticketing and sponsorships agency.


About Allegiant Stadium

Located adjacent to the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, with construction scheduled to be completed in 2020, Allegiant Stadium will become a global events destination, highlighted by the arrival of the NFL’s iconic Raiders.  Allegiant Stadium will be ideally located for both visitors and locals, fully enclosed and climate controlled with a capacity of 65,000.  The technologically advanced stadium will host world-class entertainment including globally recognized sporting events such as the Pac-12 Championship Game and Las Vegas Bowl, concerts, as well as be the future home of UNLV Football.  The Allegiant Stadium project is expected to generate an economic benefit of $620 million annually, while creating 6,000 permanent jobs in Southern Nevada.


About Twitch

Launched in 2011, Twitch is a global community that comes together each day to create multiplayer entertainment: unique, live, unpredictable experiences created by the interactions of millions. It brings the joy of co-op to everything, from casual gaming and world-class esports to anime marathons, music, and art streams. Twitch also hosts TwitchCon, the biggest community event of the year, where tens of thousands of people come together to celebrate and connect with others who share their interests and passions. We’re always live at Twitch. Stay up to date on all things Twitch on Twitter and on our blog.

University of Utah Partners with Legends for Stadium Project

The University of Utah Athletics Department has finalised a partnership with Legends, a leader in global planning, sales and hospitality, to manage sales and marketing services; business intelligence and data analytics capabilities across one integrated platform for the $80M Ken Garff Performance Zone Project within Rice-Eccles Stadium.


Expected to be completed for the 2021 Utes football season, the project will create a fan-centric end zone that provides a mix of general and premium seating including suites, loge boxes, club seats, ledge seats, rooftop terrace seats and field level club memberships.


“We are thrilled to partner with Legends,” said Scott Kull, Utah’s Deputy Athletics Director for External Operations. “Legends is the leader in this space, and together with Mike Behan and his team we have been aligned in our goal from day one to provide a state-of-the-art facility for our coaches and student-athletes while providing an exceptional experience for our great fans.”


“Ken Garff Performance Zone has long been known as one of the premier college football venues in the country,” said Mike Behan, Legends Vice President, Collegiate Partnerships. “The expansion project will further enhance the game-day experience by introducing innovative hospitality concepts that combine recent industry trends and direct feedback from Utes fans. We are pleased to partner with forward-thinking leaders Mark Harlan, Scott Kull and Kyle Brennan, along with the entire Utah Athletics team, on the project to leverage the expertise we have honed through successfully delivering on many of the industry’s most ambitious recent collegiate stadium and arena projects.”


The University of Utah has been engaged with Legends since 2017 through the company’s U.S. research arm, CSL, for services that included market research designed to measure interest for enhanced seating options at Ken Garff Performance Zone . Legends will work closely with the project architect, Populous, to incorporate the feedback to design cutting-edge hospitality experiences for ticket holders, athletics donors, alumni and Utes fans.


“For many years, the demand for Utes football tickets has far exceeded the stadium’s seating capacity,” said CSL Principal Jay Lenhardt. “This project will expand the stadium capacity to allow more football fans access to home games, while positioning the program to continue its sellout streak well into the future. Supported by extensive market research, this project will bring fans closer to the on-field action and create an intimidating game-day environment for opponents.”


An industry leader in providing market research, data analytics, and sales and marketing services in the collegiate sports marketplace, Legends collegiate partners include the University of Wisconsin (Camp Randall Stadium), San Diego State (Mission Valley Stadium), Notre Dame (Notre Dame Stadium), USC (Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum), Missouri (Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium) and Villanova (Finneran Pavilion) among others, representing more than $2B in stadium and arena projects since 2014.