Everton’s Bramley-Moore Dock stadium given council approval

Via BBC News


Everton FC’s plans for a new 52,000-seater stadium have been unanimously approved by city councillors.

The club said the Bramley-Moore Dock site will be a “world-class addition” to the city’s waterfront and hopes to host games there in 2024.

The £500m scheme which it’s claimed will create 15,000 jobs will now go to the government for the final say.

Outline plans for a series of community-led developments at Everton’s Goodison Park site were also approved.

Historic England had objected to the new stadium on Bramley-Moore Dock saying it could harm the city’s heritage but this was dismissed by the city’s planning committee.

The Premier League club, which has been at Goodison Park since 1892, said it had been looking for a new home for 25 years due to limitations at its current home.

The development would be the “most inclusive and sustainable” stadium in the UK and would “preserve the area’s heritage”, Everton’s chief executive officer Prof Denise Barrett-Baxendale told the meeting.

She said it was a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to regenerate one of the city’s most deprived areas, creating thousands of jobs and be a “key part in the region’s post-pandemic recovery plan”.

Under the plans, the 52,888-seater ground could host up to four pop concerts a year as well as weddings, funerals, Christmas parties and conferences.

And the club’s current Goodison Park site is to be converted to “high-quality, affordable housing, a health centre, retail and leisure spaces and a youth enterprise zone” for the Walton community.

By BBC Merseyside political reporter Claire Hamilton

“I’ve got shivers down my spine. First the derby and then this – what a week!”

Everton fans have a lot to celebrate. After a 25-year search, a new stadium could be on the horizon.

That famous horizon – Liverpool’s waterfront – is a World Heritage site. It’s been on UNESCO’s “in danger” list since plans for tall buildings were first mooted in 2012.

Those skyscrapers haven’t materialised, and this stadium might beat them to it.

The planning committee had to decide whether the public benefit of the new stadium outweighed the harm to the heritage assets of the site… and they decided that they did.

The Secretary of State will now decide whether to overturn or uphold the committee’s decision, and the UNESCO World Heritage status will be reviewed later this year.

Club chairman Bill Kenwright said: “Whilst today is just one more step in our long journey, it is a very important one.

“It’s been a good week for Everton and Evertonians.”

Historic England said that while it supports Everton’s need for a “state-of-the-art” stadium and the benefits it could bring, it advised the council to refuse the application.

In a statement, it said the plan to infill the dock would “fundamentally change its historic character” and result in “substantial harm” to the significance of the Grade II listed dock.

It added it could also damage the waterfront’s World Heritage Site status.

The club said it had committed to spending £55m in preserving and celebrating the heritage assets as well as creating a heritage centre around the currently derelict Hydraulic Tower.

Green party group leader councillor Tom Crone had raised concerns about the environmental impact of the scheme.

He said he felt “reasonably reassured” with the club promising alternative forms of transport but added that would like to see “good footpaths” to the stadium.

The proposals will now be referred to the Secretary for State of Housing, Communities and Local Government for consideration.

SportBusiness Finance Weekly Podcast: Shervin Mirhashemi, President and CEO, Legends

Via SportBusiness Finance Weekly

In this week’s episode, podcast co-hosts Eric Fisher and Chris Russo interview Shervin Mirhashemi, president and chief executive of Legends. Eric and Chris also discuss the recent boom in sports collectibles and trading cards, as well as the rising interest of private equity in sports agencies.


Legends Named one of US’s Best Mid-Sized Employers by Forbes

Via Forbes

Legends has been ranked #175 out of 500 midsize companies on the 2021 America’s Best Midsize Employers list by Forbes, which rank the top companies who have risen to the occasion, adapting in ways that benefit both their customers and employees. Forbes partnered with market research firm Statista to compile our list by surveying 50,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees. Participants were asked to rate their willingness to recommend their own employers to friends and family, and to nominate organizations other than their own. The final list ranks the 500 midsize employers that received the most recommendations.

Bucs Fans Gobble Up Gear, Setting Record For Super Bowl Stadium Spend

Via Sportico

Super Bowl attendees spent a record amount on concessions and merchandise during Sunday’s big blowout, according to stadium operations company Legends, which worked with the NFL to manage the unprecedented experience this year.

Fans spent an average of $212 in the stadium, dropping $132 on food and drinks and $80 on merchandise, both Super Bowl records, Legends announced. The average spend was up nearly 40% over fans’ average spend five years ago in Super Bowl 50. Among the crowd of 24,835 were more than 7,000 vaccinated health care workers.

Buccaneers fans likely gobbled up souvenirs as Tampa Bay cruised to a 31-9 victory. Raymond James Stadium’s concessions, meanwhile, were set up to be contactless, thanks in part to a partnership with Visa. Many fans also walked into the game with $255 gift cards as a replacement for the lack of pregame festivities offered this weekend. Inside, T-shirts went for $45 while beers could be had for $13 to $15, with some prices marked down, like the “fan-friendly” $5 hot dog, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

“We’ve invested heavily in innovating the guest experience so that fans feel safe, confident and comfortable engaging with food, merchandise and other stadium amenities, all of which helped contribute to the record-breaking sales,” Legends Hospitality president Dan Smith said in an email.

It probably helped the average sales numbers that 2,000 attendees came from the stadium’s luxury suites. Ticket prices for the game were roughly in line with recent averages. Last-minute tickets went for a median of $8,300, compared to $8,500 last year.

The bump in in-stadium spending was not expected to correlate with a typical boom for the local economy, as COVID-19 dampened expectations despite a team playing a Super Bowl at home for the first time.

In 2019, Legends won the chance to manage event merchandise at key NFL events, including the Super Bowl and NFL Draft. Previously, the NFL was reportedly impressed by Legends’s work with the Cowboys, Browns, Titans, Rams and Chargers. The company was co-founded in 2008 by the Yankees and the Cowboys affiliate, Jones Concessions LP.

Legends Targets Global Growth with Sixth Street Deal Done

Via Sport Business

Premium experiences company Legends is actively targeting an aggressive international expansion plan now that its transaction for global investment firm Sixth Street to take majority control is now complete.

The deal, valuing Legends at a reported $1.35bn (€1.12bn) including debt, that was announced last month has officially closed. And with that completion, Legends after nearly 13 years of operation is broadening its ambitions. 

The company already holds some key relationships outside of its United States base, notably a broad-based pact with Spanish giant Real Madrid that saw the subsequent hire of Victoria Hawksley to lead international retail operations. 

But Legends is now thinking even bigger, particularly as it looks ahead to a period beyond the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and a point when full attendance at stadiums and arenas is again possible.

“When we do come back, we want to be really well positioned to continue growing our international business and have that be a bigger and bigger part of our overall pie,” said Shervin Mirhashemi, Legends president and chief executive. “The fact that Sixth Street has that experience, has that presence internationally, certainly in the pan-European market as well as other locations around the world, it fits exactly our vision of where the business is and is going toward in the future. There’s going to be immense focus on our behalf to make sure that international business becomes a bigger piece of what we do.

“Given that we are a global platform and are focused on these unique experiences for global brands, Sixth Street really fits our DNA, and their experience on that global stage is really going to serve us well,” he said. 

That targeted geographic expansion thematically continues a functional growth for Legends. The company started mainly as a concessions and hospitality outfit but over the years has expanded into numerous areas of sports and entertainment operations including naming rights and sponsorship sales and valuation, ticketing, merchandising, fundraising, and venue technology.

In the latest deal, Sixth Street will have a 51 per cent equity stake in Legends, with founding partners the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball and the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys holding minority positions. But even as those teams’ relative stakes have shifted, their involvement in the Legends business will not, Mirhashemi said.

“They’re going to be very much involved in the business going forward,” Mirhashemi said. “They’ve rolled their equity and they feel even more bullish about the business on a go-forward basis.”

The raising of as much as $500m in debt that was detailed shortly after the Sixth Street investment was announced has also closed, Mirhashemi said, and was part of the same overall recapitalization of the Legends. 

The existing Legends management team that includes Mirhashemi and chief operating officer Mike Tomon will remain in place.

Legends Announces Closing of Majority Investment from Sixth Street

Legends (“Legends” or the “Company”) today announced the closing of its previously announced majority investment from Sixth Street, a leading global investment firm.

Sixth Street leads the Legends partnership group alongside co-founders YGE Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of the New York Yankees, and Jones Concessions LP, an affiliate of the Dallas Cowboys.

The new majority investment from Sixth Street will support its current management team in its long-term growth of the Company’s global client relationships and further enhancements to its innovative 360-degree platform of premium experience offerings for the most iconic global brands in sports, entertainment, and attractions.

The transaction was originally announced on 12 January 2021.