2Playbook: One-on-One: Mike Tomon, Legends

Via 2 Playbook

Mike Tomon (Legends): “Maintaining authenticity is key to connecting with the local market”

The co-president and director of operations of the consulting giant assures that some of the main clubs in the world are in Spain and that the new Iberian subsidiary will be supported by the parent company in its projects and investments.

By Alvaro Carter

That a giant like Legends lands in Spain has many implications, but also many readings. The country enjoys a mature and strong sports sector that presents notable growth opportunities. This is also the view of Mike Tomon, co-president and COO of Legends worldwide. The executive joined the company in 2014 to lead global operations from AEG, where he served as director of global sponsorships and managed $500 million in deals. He now assures in a conversation with 2Playbook that “we are in a unique moment in which sport is becoming more global, and maintaining authenticity to connect with the local market is one of the current keys”.


In 2021 Sitxh Street took over the majority shareholding of Legends. How has the business changed since then and after the pandemic?

The focus is the same, to be a 360 platform for sports properties. We have more than 2,500 employees around the world and when Covid-19 hit we already had a strong company to resist it. Then Sixth Street came along to give a new impetus, but we already had the main deals tied up, like the one with Real Madrid.


How is the relationship with the club?

Real Madrid is one of the best examples when it comes to working. We were already their retail partner before signing the agreement for the Bernabéu. They have a vision very marked by their president, with a very global vocation, but with the best local experience and in the stadium.


How do you see the future of the sports property business? Currently they are still very dependent on television income, which is beyond their control.

That is precisely the discourse that we must maintain. There is a huge opportunity for clubs to improve the income they can generate for themselves. And we’re not just talking about matchday , but about the entire experience for the fan, engagement , providing insights with data, merchandising , hospitality areas … It’s a whole new 360 marketing approach.


In what aspects are you working more with sports properties at the moment?

It depends on the type of agreement and needs of the property. What we do seek is long-term partnership agreements , adding value to the business, not short-termism. What we now see as more relevant is improving the experience outside of matchday and how to reach the fan.


What are the main differences you have found between the American and European markets?

There is a cultural leap, but it is shrinking because the sport is becoming more global. From a commercial point of view, there are global practices that we can replicate in each territory. In addition, we are in a unique moment in which globalization also forces us to maintain authenticity in order to reach local markets. And that is one of the keys to how the sector is evolving and what we have to contribute. The differences between the United States and Europe will always be, but also between England and Portugal, because European countries are also very different from each other.


At what point do you see Spain in relation to other markets?

The Iberian market is at the fore right now due to the opportunities it presents. The British is the most established and the one that continues to lead, it is where we have more confidence and a higher level of development. We have also focused on Central Europe, mainly Germany, and Paris, where there are a large number of opportunities. The most imminent with the Rugby World Cup. In fact, in France and Italy we will have big announcements soon.


Why did you choose Chus Bueno to lead the project in Spain and Portugal?

We needed someone who was capable of accelerating the business, but above all who had credibility in the world of sports in the region. In addition, he had to have it at the highest level. Chus ticks all the boxes, when we talked to him we knew he was the person we were looking for. In addition, he has a background in the NBA, which is very important for us, because what we are looking for are first-rate talent.



Mike Tomon (Legends): “Maintaining authenticity is key to connecting with the local market”

The co-president and director of operations of the consulting giant assures that some of the main clubs in the world are in Spain and that the new Iberian subsidiary will be supported by the parent company in its projects and investments.

By Alvaro Carter


That a giant like Legends lands in Spain has many implications, but also many readings. The country enjoys a mature and strong sports sector that presents notable growth opportunities. This is also the view of Mike Tomon, co-president and COO of Legends worldwide. The executive joined the company in 2014 to lead global operations from AEG, where he served as director of global sponsorships and managed $500 million in deals. He now assures in a conversation with 2Playbook that “we are in a unique moment in which sport is becoming more global, and maintaining authenticity to connect with the local market is one of the current keys”.


In 2021 Sitxh Street took over the majority shareholding of Legends. How has the business changed since then and after the pandemic?


The focus is the same, to be a 360 platform for sports properties. We have more than 2,500 employees around the world and when Covid-19 hit we already had a strong company to resist it. Then Sixth Street came along to give a new impetus, but we already had the main deals tied up, like the one with Real Madrid.


How is the relationship with the club?


Real Madrid is one of the best examples when it comes to working. We were already their retail partner before signing the agreement for the Bernabéu. They have a vision very marked by their president, with a very global vocation, but with the best local experience and in the stadium.


How do you see the future of the sports property business? Currently they are still very dependent on television income, which is beyond their control.


That is precisely the discourse that we must maintain. There is a huge opportunity for clubs to improve the income they can generate for themselves. And we’re not just talking about matchday , but about the entire experience for the fan, engagement , providing insights with data, merchandising , hospitality areas … It’s a whole new 360 marketing approach.


In what aspects are you working more with sports properties at the moment?


It depends on the type of agreement and needs of the property. What we do seek is long-term partnership agreements , adding value to the business, not short-termism. What we now see as more relevant is improving the experience outside of matchday and how to reach the fan.


What are the main differences you have found between the American and European markets?


There is a cultural leap, but it is shrinking because the sport is becoming more global. From a commercial point of view, there are global practices that we can replicate in each territory. In addition, we are in a unique moment in which globalization also forces us to maintain authenticity in order to reach local markets. And that is one of the keys to how the sector is evolving and what we have to contribute. The differences between the United States and Europe will always be, but also between England and Portugal, because European countries are also very different from each other.


At what point do you see Spain in relation to other markets?


The Iberian market is at the fore right now due to the opportunities it presents. The British is the most established and the one that continues to lead, it is where we have more confidence and a higher level of development. We have also focused on Central Europe, mainly Germany, and Paris, where there are a large number of opportunities. The most imminent with the Rugby World Cup. In fact, in France and Italy we will have big announcements soon.


Why did you choose Chus Bueno to lead the project in Spain and Portugal?


We needed someone who was capable of accelerating the business, but above all who had credibility in the world of sports in the region. In addition, he had to have it at the highest level. Chus ticks all the boxes, when we talked to him we knew he was the person we were looking for. In addition, he has a background in the NBA, which is very important for us, because what we are looking for are first-rate talent.


2Playbook: Legends assembles a team of 80 people with an office in front of the Bernabéu for its offensive in Spain

Via 2 Playbook

The consultancy will open its new headquarters in Paseo de la Castellana and aims to diversify beyond sports. Chus Bueno, who has been at the forefront of the Iberian market since this month, assures that “he does not have many restrictions” to make strategic investments.

By Alvaro Carter

The Spanish sports industry has come out of the pandemic affected, but strengthened. Not only have fans returned to the center of the conversation, but the interest of giants in the sector that perceive great opportunities in a phase of need for funds and, above all, of strategic partners that help push new lines of business where sports properties do not have that knowledge. That role is what Legends wants to play, which already has a team of 80 people in its subsidiary for Spain and Portugal and next month it will be installed in new offices next to the Santiago Bernabéu.

“Iberia is one of the markets where we see more growth opportunities. The time is right for further investment,” Mike Tomon , co-president and COO of Legends, tells 2Playbook. To this end, they have carried out a strong offensive, culminating in the signing of Chus Bueno as general director to pilot the business in the Iberian Peninsula, a potential center for large investments if the 2030 World Cup is awarded.

“A great bet has been made with a strong investment, but Legends already had a structure in Spain, which is now expanding,” Bueno tells this medium. “The idea is to have our own team because of the market volume and opportunities, but with the support of the parent company to be able to develop the 360 ​​project idea that we want to work on with our partners,” he adds.

The new offices will be located on Paseo de la Castellana, close to the home of its main partner in Spain, Real Madrid. The offensive comes after Sixth Street took over the majority shareholding in the consultancy created by the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees. Their entry was key to being able to close what is their biggest deal in Spain so far, for which they will pay up to 360 million euros to keep 30% of the profit generated by the company created to commercially exploit the Bernabéu during the next twenty years.

“Entering a market hand in hand with Real Madrid is the best possible letter of introduction because you don’t have to do a go to market ; the marketing is already done, but Legends already had a huge reputation that spoke for itself of the company”, affirms Bueno. The director, incorporated this summer from the NBA, assures that “there are more interested clubs”, but for now no proposal has gone beyond preliminary conversations.

The consultant also advises Sevilla FC to project a new Sánchez Pizjuán open 365 days a year. FC Barcelona and Atleti also had their services to carry out a study on Espai Barça and Civitas Metropolitano, respectively. In addition, Legends also has the operation of the Real Madrid retail business, a project independent of the Bernabéu and for which its structure in Spain has already been reinforced to pilot it.

“There are different projects, but above all we are looking for partnership agreements , not a one off ”, Bueno points out. “We want to be a strategic partner to help properties accelerate their business and organically improve not only their revenue, but other key issues in today’s industry like their brand exposure.”

The manager does not rule out that there are more investments like the one made in the white club. “We are not going to have many restrictions to invest, but it will only be done when it makes strategic sense and adds value.” Regarding billing forecasts, he maintains that “we are still making the numbers for next year.”

In what coincides with Tomon is in the opportunity detected in the Spanish and Portuguese markets. “Context always helps. That there are stadiums that have to undertake reforms as part of a World Cup bid is important. Also that LaLiga obliges to allocate a part of the CVC funds to the facilities ”.

And he points out: “The fact that funds like CVC or Sixth Street enter the business is the best news for Spanish sport, because that means that they perceive a solid, mature industry with potential, but the right investment must be made, because when invest so much money there is no more room for maneuver to go back into debt. That is why choosing the partner , as in this case Legends, that helps develop the business, is essential”.

Finally, the consultant sees fewer opportunities outside of football in Spanish sport. It does appreciate them in other sectors within large facilities. “We think of amusement parks, aquariums, museums… All those large venues that ultimately share common characteristics with football, such as the sale of merchandising , hospitality , ticket sales and the management of a venue”. “We have a global expertise that we want to bring to Spain and that is not limited to sport, although for now the center of attention is the Bernabéu”.


The company defines itself as “a premium experience company specializing in providing holistic solutions for sports and entertainment organizations and venues.” Among its business lines, six verticals stand out: sales, retail (both e-commerce and stores), technological solutions for sports venues, hospitality, consulting and strategic planning with clubs.

It was created in 2008 by the New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL, with the idea of ​​managing the sponsorship and hospitality sales of both franchises. In 2021, Sixth Street took over the majority shareholding in an operation that valued 100% of the capital at 1,350 million dollars (1,281 million euros), which was a boost at the worst moment for the company in the midst of the health crisis of the Covid-19 that led to the closure of the stadiums and the brake on investments in new sports venues.

Until the signing of his agreement with Madrid, the jewel in the crown in the world of football was the Tottenham Hostpur stadium. The home of the Spurs since 2019 has become a venue capable of generating experiences for fans throughout the year beyond football games. It also has agreements at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester City and Old Trafford with United, and other venues in the United States for teams such as the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, the University of Notre Dame and other organizations such as Wimbledon and the UFC.

FORBES: New York Yankees Working With Legends In Search For Inaugural Jersey Patch Sponsor

Via Forbes

The New York Yankees are in the market for a company to serve as its jersey patch sponsor beginning in the 2023 season, the first time Major League Baseball will allow teams to sell space on their uniform sleeves.

The Yankees are working with Legends, a company it own a stake in, to manage the search. Chris Hibbs, president of Legends’ Global Partnerships division, said the Yankees are looking to sign a multi-year deal with a sponsor, but he declined to discuss the potential financial parameters.

Still, Hibbs noted that the Yankees have chosen not to have a naming rights deal for its iconic Yankee Stadium, so the organization is looking at the jersey patch as garnering what a stadium naming rights deal would be for a major sports franchise. The high water mark for stadium naming rights occurred late last year when the Los Angeles Lakers signed a 20-year deal with Crypto.com for a total that could exceed $700 million or $35 million per year.

“I would characterize the investment as a top-tier naming rights-type investment,” Hibbs said. “That’s fairly well known in North America, what a naming rights deal for a top-tier venue in a top-tier market goes for. We have those kinds of ambitions.”

MLB reportedly could generate a combined $350 million to $400 million annually through the sponsor patches for an average of up to $13.3 million per team. But the Yankees would likely get much more than the average considering their presence in the nation’s largest media and financial market, storied history (27 World Series titles) and current success as they have an MLB-best 61-26 record.

The Yankees are valued at $6 billion, according to Forbes, making them the second-most valuable franchise in the world behind the Dallas Cowboys ($6.5 billion). The MLB average franchise value is $2.07 billion.

“I would say from a value perspective, you’re talking about the most successful franchise in maybe global sports, certainly North American sports,” Hibbs said. “They’re recognized universally…They’re a fashion brand to some. They’re an iconic baseball team to others. Putting a brand on the pinstripes for the first time ever is a super unique opportunity.”

The Yankees and Dallas Cowboys founded Legends in 2008, with the company initially focused on running concessions and retail merchandising at their stadiums and other sports venues and entertainment complexes. Since then, Legends has become a major player in the sports business ecosystem and expanded to hospitality, sponsorships and numerous other areas.

Sixth Street, a multi-strategy investment firm with more than $60 billion of assets under management, acquired a majority stake in Legends last year in a deal that valued the company at $1.3 billion. The Yankees and Cowboys now own significant minority interests in Legends.

Legends’ Global Partnerships division, which was formed in February 2020, represents franchises, colleges and venues in naming rights deals, jersey sponsorships, real estate developments, events and other areas. The division’s clients include SoFi Stadium, home of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Chargers; Allegiant Stadium, home to the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders; and the University of Notre Dame.

For MLB’s jersey patches, Legends has agreed only to work with the Yankees, eschewing any overtures from other clubs. Hibbs is leading the Yankees’ assignment with colleagues Dan Migala, co-president and chief revenue officer of Legends Global Technology Solutions; Doug Smoyer, senior vice president at Legends Global Partnerships; and Chris Foy, executive vice president at Legends Global Partnerships. They will be partnering with several Yankees executives, including Michael J. Tusiani, the organization’s senior vice president of partnerships.

The patches will be 4-by-4 inches on the right or left sleeve of players’ uniforms. In April, the San Diego Padres became the first MLB club to announce a jersey patch, signing a contract with Motorola.

The NHL will allow jersey patches for the first time in the 2022-23 season, while the NBA has had jersey patches since 2017. Boardroom, a media company owned by Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant and longtime sports executive Rich Kleiman, reported late last year that the total value of the NBA patches for the 2021-22 season would be $225 million, up from the $100 million that league commissioner Adam Silver envisioned a few years earlier.

For partnership inquiries, please contact Lauren Hutt, lhutt@legends.net

Legends Acquires Minority Stake In American Ultimate Disc League

Via Forbes

Legends, a sports advisory and experiences company co-founded in 2008 by the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys, has acquired a minority stake in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). The AUDL, which was founded in 2012, has 25 teams in the United States and Canada.

This is the second time Legends has made an equity investment in a sports league. In August 2021, Legends bought an ownership interest in the Professional Fighters League, a mixed martial arts organization.

Legends plans on completing more equity deals in the months and years ahead, primarily in small, recently launched leagues. The AUDL transaction is part of a strategy Legends has implemented since the company earlier this year acquired Maestroe Sports & Entertainment, a consulting and services company focused on so-called “high growth” leagues that are in their early states or have the potential to grow.

As part of that Maestroe deal, Legends launched its Legends Growth Enterprises division, through which the company invests in leagues and helps them with their sponsorships, media rights deals, merchandising and other areas.

Maestroe had been advising the AUDL since 2019, but this expands the relationship through the equity stake and providing more services such as merchandise, data analytics and possibly expanding to other countries.

“This is a very real world example of how now being a part of Legends, we’re able to do so much more for the AUDL than we previously would’ve been able to when we were just Maestroe,” said Gabby Roe, the president of Legends Growth Enterprises who founded Maestroe in 2012. “This is showcasing the vision we had for this Legends Growth Enterprises division.”

Roe would not disclose financial details of the AUDL investment. But a group led by Rob Lloyd, the former president at Cisco Systems CSCO -1.8% Inc., will hold a majority ownership stake in the AUDL. That group had bought a 90% stake in the league in December 2012.

Meanwhile, Steve Hall will remain the AUDL’s chief executive and commissioner. Hall, who started playing Ultimate in 1985 as a sophomore at Georgia Tech, worked for 13 years for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup C -0.1% and launched his own private-equity firm in 2011. He got involved in the AUDL in 2016 when he became co-owner of the league’s team in Atlanta. Two years later, he was named CEO and commissioner.

“I tell people this was the great opportunity of a lifetime where my hobby, my passion for playing Ultimate, comes together with my business acumen in terms of building companies and being in the private equity world,” Hall said. “I still have some private investments that I have on the side, but I’m pretty passive with those now. This is absolutely my full-time. I’m back to 12 to 14 hour days. I feel like I’m back to Goldman Sachs all over again, but like they say, it’s not a job if you enjoy what you’re doing, and I definitely am enjoying it. I’m fully active and fully engaged seven days per week.”

Since its founding 10 years ago, the AUDL has grown from 10 to 25 teams. The regular season runs from late April through late July, with each team playing 12 games. The games are usually on Saturday nights, but some are on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. The top 11 teams advance to the playoffs, culminating with a championship weekend on Aug. 26 and 27 at Breese Stevens Field in Madison, Wisc.

Players in the league receive a small stipend and have their uniforms and travel costs covered, separating it from other Ultimate leagues where players pay to compete. The teams also each have a physician, trainer and health and services manager that can help them train and recover from injuries. About 90% of the AUDL players are former college players who now have full-time jobs while the others are current college students.

Each team is independently owned and generates revenue through ticket sales, merchandise, concessions, local sponsorships and youth camps and clinics.

The AUDL’s league office, meanwhile, earns money primarily through national sponsorships and media and data deals. The league has a contract with Fox Sports, with the network’s Fox Sports 2 cable channel airing AUDL games on Saturday nights and showing replays on Wednesday nights. It also has its own streaming service, AUDL.tv, where fans can pay $9.99 per month to watch all the games.

In April, the AUDL signed a five-year deal LSports Data, an Israeli firm that will have access to AUDL’s player and game data and create gambling products for companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel.

Hall is looking to expand the AUDL’s betting deals and get into video games, non-fungible tokens, customized discs, shirts and gear and other areas. The AUDL plans on working with Legends’ technology group that specializes in collecting and analyzing customer data.

“We can make a lot smarter decisions in how we market and advertise to those people,” Hall said. “Now we have a lot more data behind us when we go and talk to a sponsor, discuss the breakdown and why the sponsor might really like the clientele of the AUDL.”

Last year, Sixth Street, an investment firm, acquired a majority stake in Legends that valued the company at $1.3 billion. Legends works with clients in professional and college sports and entertainment, helping them with business plans, sponsorships, arena naming rights, hospitality and numerous other areas.

“What we see Legends being able to do is they provide a level of service that we wouldn’t be able to touch for years and years,” Hall said. “We’re too small for the Legends’ typical clientele. The fact that they are excited to look at the emerging sports they think could be the next big thing and they want to partner with us is terrific. We think they’re going to really help raise our profile and provide high-quality talent at scale, which we wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise.”

United Soccer League Taps Legends for Decade-Long Sales and Fan Effort

Via Sportico

The United Soccer League has inked a 10-year deal focused on maintaining growth momentum with Legends, the experiential and data and analytics business, the two companies announced this morning.

Legends will seek to boost national sponsorship sales, generate actionable fan insights and uncover innovative business solutions for the men’s and women’s teams through the USL’s leagues. The USL has professional and club teams in about 200 communities in the U.S., and has designs on challenging MLS supremacy for the sport by aligning with the global soccer norms around season timing and possibly embracing relegation, according to an April story in the Sacramento Bee.

“This long-term partnership with Legends will help us take advantage of the tremendous opportunity ahead of us,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis in a press release. “We are aligning more closely with the global game than any other American soccer property, and as we enter a critical, new growth phase for our commercial business, Legends’ unmatched expertise in both global football and the domestic sports landscape will help us achieve our key business objectives.”

The USL operates three professional leagues: the USL Championship in men’s soccer, the USL Super League in women’s soccer and USL One, another men’s league. The organization also operations two “pre-professional leagues” and two national youth leagues.

Legends, started by the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees to operate their new stadium offerings in 2008, has extensive experience in working with soccer organizations, including a recent deal to revamp Real Madrid’s stadium. Legends will work with the USL to increase its local presence and grow through stadium planning, ticketing strategies, naming rights and sales, merchandising and other areas, according to the release.

In particular, the organizations see the 2026 men’s World Cup being held mainly in the U.S. as a key event to help market and promote soccer in the U.S., according to the release. Terms of the partnership with Legends weren’t publicly disclosed.

Click here to read the full article.


Real Madrid strikes €360mn events deal for revamped stadium

Via Financial Times

Club announces partnership with investment group Sixth Street as part of efforts to diversify revenues

Real Madrid has struck a €360mn deal with investment group Sixth Street and US sports entertainment group Legends to develop concerts and other events at its Santiago Bernabéu stadium and diversify its revenues.


The deal, which will be announced on Thursday, injects fresh cash into Spain’s best known football club as it recovers from the financial damage inflicted by the pandemic.


It also demonstrates the ways football clubs are attempting to increase revenues as the cost of buying and paying top players continues to rise.


Real Madrid is in the process of installing a retractable roof and pitch in its 81,000 capacity stadium. This will be completed next year and allow it to host concerts and other events at the venue.


Legends was formed in 2008 by owners of the New York Yankees professional baseball team and the Dallas Cowboys American football team to help venues develop live events. Sixth Street, which manages more than $60bn in assets, took a majority stake in the business last year.


The Bernabéu stadium lags major US sporting venues for the amount that fans spend per visit. Legends will work with Real Madrid to try to improve this, including by enhancing its VIP hospitality and the club museum.


As part of the deal, a new company will be set up to manage the stadium and the proceeds from the new business will be split 70 per cent for Real Madrid and the rest to Sixth Street. The agreement will run for 20 years.


“The transformation of the Santiago Bernabéu stadium will be a turning point in the history of Real Madrid. This alliance . . . will be fundamental in providing unique experiences in a stadium where multiple events can be hosted throughout the year,” said Florentino Pérez, the billionaire tycoon who is president of Real Madrid.


Real Madrid weathered the pandemic better than many of its European rivals, posting combined net profits of around €1.2mn across the 2019/20 and 20/21 seasons.


Next weekend, it will play England’s Liverpool football club in the Uefa Champions League final, the most prestigious club competition in Europe, with €15.5mn guaranteed regardless of the outcome and a further €4.5mn at least for the winner. Overall, each club stands to earn in the region of at least €100mn from the tournament as a whole.


Real Madrid has already won the Spanish league this year.


The club has clashed repeatedly with Spain’s top domestic league La Liga over the sport’s financial future. Pérez is among the main advocates of a new European Super League for the region’s top teams, although the project rapidly collapsed after its unveiling in April 2021, because of opposition from rivals, fans and politicians.


Pérez also tried to derail a deal between CVC Capital and La Liga, under which La Liga handed the private equity group a slice of its future broadcast and media rights over 50 years in exchange for €2bn.


Real Madrid is being advised by Key Capital and Sixth Street is working with JPMorgan.

Buffalo Bills Hire Legends to Help Plan and Market New Stadium

Via Sportico

The Buffalo Bills have hired Legends to lead project management, sales and partnerships for the new NFL stadium to be constructed in Orchard Park, N.Y. Legends started working with the Bills a year ago to help the team explore stadium feasibility and has been handling e-commerce for the team for about the same period of time.

“Why are we working with Legends? They’re the best,” said Ron Raccuia, Bills executive vice president, in a phone call. “We interviewed everyone, left no stone unturned. At the end of the day we felt best about their technical expertise, their strategic vision and a personality that fit best with us.”

The Bills are planning to replace their 48-year old stadium with a new facility nearby that will be jointly financed by the team, Erie County and New York state. Taxpayers will kick in at least $850 million toward the stadium, probably two-thirds of the total cost.

Legends has been involved with the planning of numerous arenas since its founding in 2008, including recent NFL facilities in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. “We’re proud of the fact we’re the go-to for these very important projects for one of the most important leagues the world,” said Legends CEO Shervin Mirhashemi, in a phone interview. “There’s a reason for that: There’s expertise and an acumen that we bring to the table about how these projects work, what their life cycles are and how you monetize them.”

The Bills and Legends have already held focus groups with fans and conducted surveys to help in planning, according to a release scheduled to go out later this morning. In addition to arena design, Legends will assist the team in selling seat licenses, naming rights and “founding partner” arrangements. “It’s been a data-driven approach, using our feasibility business and our data analytics business to help them formulate what is consumer demand—what are they looking for?” added Mirhashemi.

Since it’s early in the design process, there aren’t a lot of decisions yet settled about the stadium, but the club hopes to incorporate some features that work well in other NFL venues as well as elsewhere, said Raccuia, citing London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and LAFC’s MLS stadium as examples.

“We have a unique opportunity to build a football stadium for the Buffalo Bills and for our community, without having to worry about everything else,” Raccuia said. “We’re not hosting Super Bowl in our stadium, we’re not looking to be the driver for economic revitalization—we’re looking for the best football experience we can create. The best thing we can do for western New York is to win football games and create an unbelievable atmosphere in our community.”

The Bills, purchased by Kim and Terry Pegula in 2014, play in one of the smallest markets in the NFL, and Raccuia hopes the new bowl can provide an example for other small market NFL franchises. The team won’t pursue mixed use real estate development, as other teams have done (in part because New York will own the land and facility), but the team will support any related efforts, he added.

Legends was founded as a joint venture of the New York Yankees and Jones Concessions LP, an affiliate of the Dallas Cowboys. The business has evolved to incorporate strategic planning, marketing, commerce, branding and technology solutions for sports teams and non-sports businesses, such as Freedom Tower’s One World Observatory. Last year, Sixth Street Management bought control of Legends at a valuation of $1.35 billion, with the founding teams retaining sizable minority stakes. More recently Legends has been increasing its business outside the U.S., recently being named part of a redevelopment team for Manchester United’s Old Trafford.

“We’ve really been true to who we are,” Mirhashemi said, “humbly being an expert to help these projects achieving what they’re fully capable of achieving, and doing it in a white-label way, putting the client brand at the forefront.”

Legends extends record hospitality run at Super Bowl LVI

Via SportBusiness

The National Football League’s Super Bowl LVI followed up a strong domestic media showing with record-setting hospitality totals.

Legends, the league’s official retail merchandise concessionaire for Super Bowl LVI, said that it generated per capita spending of $167.37 (€147.25) across concessions, premium dining, and merchandise sales, marking the highest such figure for a full-capacity Super Bowl.

Last year’s Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida, generated a comparable spending average of $212, marking an overall event record. But that game was limited to about 25,000 attendees, less than half the capacity of Raymond James Stadium, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The total for Super Bowl LVI, a comeback victory for the Los Angeles Rams, beat by 14 per cent the prior full-capacity mark of Super Bowl 50 six years ago in San Francisco, California.

Legends is the concessionaire at SoFi Stadium, home of the Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, and the company in 2020 completed a deal with the NFL to handle event merchandise for the league’s marquee events including the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, and Draft.

Overall, Legends generated more than $18m in revenue for nine days of activities this month that included the Pro Bowl in Las Vegas, Nevada, the run-up to Super Bowl LVI, and gameday itself on February 13. In addition to selling merchandise on site at SoFi Stadium and Allegiant Stadium, Legends also managed the official merchandise shop at the Super Bowl Experience fan attraction in downtown Los Angeles, and pop-up and hotel locations around the city.

“Our team was incredibly proud to be a part of Super Bowl LVI, turning up the spotlight on Los Angeles and celebrating the diverse culture of the area through our food and beverage program at SoFi Stadium and unique merchandise partnerships with local artists,” said Dan Smith, Legends Hospitality president.

“The buzz around the game and the city was incredible, with the home team playing and back to a full-capacity Super bowl. Our team worked around the clock to ensure an expedient, first-class experience for fans inside the stadium and at the retail locations throughout the city,” Smith said.

In addition to an early-arriving crowd for the game, the totals were also boosted by more than 900 concession points of sale at SoFi Stadium between fixed and handheld locations, with temporary locations such as portable trailers installed to help manage the heightened demand.

Legends Acquires Maestroe Sports & Entertainment, Launches New Division

Via Forbes

Since graduating from the University of Virginia in 1991, Gabby Roe has devoted his professional career to launching, helping lead and consulting for niche sports properties. Roe’s experience includes founding a beach soccer league, serving as an executive for Major League Lacrosse and the AVP beach volleyball league and running his own sports consulting company for the past 10 years.

That firm, Maestroe Sports & Entertainment, has worked with dozens of clients to achieve and exceed their business objectives. And now, Maestroe is taking the next step in its evolution, as the company has been acquired by Legends, a company founded in 2008 by the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys that initially focused on running the concessions at their stadiums and others at sports venues and entertainment complexes.

Since then, Legends has grown to become a major advisory firm working with clients in professional and college sports and entertainment, helping them with business plans, sponsorship sales, arena naming rights deals, merchandising and other areas. Last year, Sixth Street, an investment firm with $60 billion of assets under management, acquired a majority stake in Legends in a deal that valued the company at $1.3 billion. The Yankees and Cowboys continue to hold a significant minority stake in Legends.

Mike Tomon, the co-president and chief operating officer of Legends, would not disclose financial details of the Maestroe deal. But he said the addition of Maestroe helps Legends expand into what he calls “growth” sports leagues that are in their early stages or have the potential to become a bigger part of the industry. As such, Legends has launched a new division, dubbed Legends Growth Enterprises, that will be led by Roe.

The division will continue to work with Maestroe’s existing clients, which include the International Axe Throwing Federation, Spikeball, USA Pickleball and Karate Combat. It will also pursue other sports clients as well as those in the entertainment industry.

“The underpinning (of Legends) has always been about growth for our clients,” Tomon said. “As we looked to further expand that approach, we saw Gabby and Maestroe as uniquely positioned to not only further that but to be a key differentiator on how they approach some of these earlier stage opportunities. As Gabby likes to coin them, they’re the tech stocks of the (sports) business.”

Roe describes Maestroe as “the unofficial but self-proclaimed flag-bearer of these emerging sports properties” that are overshadowed in the United States by the NFL, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball and other established leagues. The company’s work through the years has included helping new leagues get off the ground with their business plans, helping leagues secure venues and media rights deals and aiding with sponsorship sales.

A few months ago, Roe was talking about a new sports league with Shervin Mirhashemi, a longtime friend and the chief executive of Legends. The two had those types of informal conversations on a regular basis, but this time Mirhashemi brought up the idea of Legends acquiring Maestroe.

Roe said he was not looking to sell the company and had not hired an investment bank to pursue suitors. But the more he spoke with Mirhashemi, the more the idea of a sale made sense. By becoming part of Legends, Maestroe will expand their capabilities in sponsorships and other business lines while expanding to areas where they had not been active, including data and analytics and merchandising.

The new Legends division may also acquire equity stakes in up-and-coming sports leagues, something Maestroe had not previously done.

“I have loved and respected the Legends brand since it was launched,” Roe said. “It’s a dream come true for me to be able to join up with Legends and Shervin and Mike Tomon and the whole team.”

He added: “We see ourselves as the advocate for these (niche sports). Even more than the personal side of it, it’s showing these emerging sports are real and there’s a place for them in the sports hierarchy. We’ve been sticking up for the little guy for many years. It’s nice to have a large, extremely reputable company (in Legends) that believes alongside of us and is now going to pump as much of their expertise and resources into these sports properties. I think it’s awesome for the industry.”

The Maestroe acquisition is the latest deal for Legends. Late last month, the company announced it had bought 4FRONT, a data and analytics and digital media firm whose clients have included the UFC, Chicago Bears and New York Mets. Tomon noted that Legends will use 4FRONT’s technologies and capabilities to help clients that Maestroe has worked with and attract new business. He also expects Legends will complete more deals in the coming months, as well, thanks to Sixth Street’s investment.

“(Sixth Street) brings a ton of strategic and financial wherewithal to ultimately help the growth of the business,” Tomon said. “We are in growth mode. But we’re really focused on the right type of growth, to make sure it’s strategic and fits in with the overall vision. We’re aggressively pursuing that.”

Legends Expands Analytics Capabilities With 4Front Acquisition

Via SportTechie

Global sports and entertainment advisory company Legends has bought data analytics and digital media company 4Front. Legends’ Global Technology Solutions division will now be headed by 4Front co-founders Josh Kritzler as its new co-president and COO, and Dan Migala as co-president and CRO.

4Front brings with it a long list of customers in the sports world, having consulted with Chelsea FC, the Chicago Bears, New York Mets, Oklahoma City Thunder and the NCAA. Legends has provided technical solutions for major venues across the sports world, including SoFi Stadium, Yankee Stadium and AT&T Stadium. The company’s solutions span venue management, ticket sales and fan experiences.

Legends partnered with the Professional Fighters League last year and received an equity stake in the league. Legends will oversee sponsorship, ticketing sales and venue operations for the league, as well as help develop a training venue.

Leicester City submit plans to expand King Power Stadium


Leicester City Football Club have formally submitted plans for the expansion of the King Power Stadium.

The club confirmed they had applied for permission from Leicester City Council following a public consultation in August and September.

It also wants to build a new hotel and business centre, a flagship fan store, an events arena and residential flats.

The council is expected to make a decision on the proposed development next year.

The club is seeking to expand the capacity of their ground by 8,000 seats to 40,000.

If approved, their ground would become the 10th largest among current Premier League sides.

The club said more than 1,000 jobs would be created during the construction period, with another 1,000 permanent positions across facilities on the site.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “The club extends its thanks to its external project team – including project managers Legends International; planning and development consultants Turley; and architects KSS – for their ongoing contributions, and Leicester City Council for its participation and consideration for the project to this stage.

“Having now shared our proposals with a diverse range of stakeholders in the city, the club’s belief in the project’s transformational potential has been strengthened.”

Since revealing the plans, Leicester have purchased the site previously owned by energy company E.On on Raw Dykes Road close to the stadium.

The club said that site does not form part of the current application, but is essentially an additional asset for any future developments.

Legends names pair of managing directors in Europe

Via Sportico

Atlanta’s College Football Hall of Fame has agreed to an “all-inclusive” multi-year partnership with Legends—the sports hospitality, sponsorship and sales consultancy and experiential agency—to manage operations and fan experience at the Hall.

Legends will work across every major facet of the Hall of Fame’s business, managing services including sponsorship sales, ticketing, hospitality, merchandise and activation of its global tourism network.

“We’ve kind of been running solo for quite a while, and we’ve had success, but knowing the resources that we can take advantage of with Legends—a global company—to help us really meet some lofty goals that we have and continue to grow [is huge],” Kimberly Beaudin, president and CEO of the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, said in an interview.

Beaudin said the Hall’s attendance has steadily increased each year since it relocated to Atlanta from South Bend, Ind., in 2014. In addition to ticket salesand some ancillary income from merchandise sales, private event revenues and sponsor dollars were among the Hall of Fame’s top revenue streams prior to the pandemic.

“Like any live event venue or attraction, we’ve had our share of challenges in the last 18 months with all of our revenue streams pretty much decimated for a period of time due to COVID,” Beaudin said. “We’re seeing attendance getting pretty close to 2019 levels and some positive movement on the events side, but that’s really going to be the last thing to come back. So we’re excited to have Legends’ expertise in all of this as we continue to [position] the Hall as the premier Hall of Fame in the country.”

A shrine to college football’s greatest, the non-profit Hall of Fame houses both artifacts and interactive, experiential multimedia exhibits. With 50,000 square feet of event space and a newly constructed on-site podcast studio, home of SEC football podcast The JBoy Show, which was acquired by Colin Cowherd’s The Volume in September, the venue itself has potential, not to mention the market it’s in.

“Football is certainly one of the pillars when you look at sports entertainment, and so when we think about the College Football Hall of Fame, we think about it right up there with the iconic brands that are in our sphere,” said Mike Tomon, co-president and COO of Legends. “Our business is focused on premium experiences wherever people congregate. When you look at the proposition of the College Football Hall of Fame, that’s ultimately it…. It’s a great place for partners and sponsors to be engaged.”

The Hall, which falls under the National Football Foundation’s umbrella, counts Chick-Fil-A, Atlanta’s Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, Coca-Cola, Kia Motors, Allstate and The Home Depot, among others,  as current corporate sponsors.

The Hall is one of many properties Legends works with in Atlanta. The consultancy signed a partnership with Georgia Tech in late 2020, taking over the athletic department’s multi-media rights from Learfield IMG College and bringing all of the Yellow Jackets’ revenue streams under a single umbrella. Legends has also worked with the Atlanta Falcons and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, as well as the Hawks’ State Farm Arena and the NBA club’s Emory Sports Medicine Complex.

Legends, co-founded in 2008 by the New York Yankees and Jones Concessions LP, an affiliate of the Dallas Cowboys, was valued at $1.35 billion earlier this year, when private equity firm Sixth Street purchased majority ownership of the company. Sixth Street now owns 51% of Legends, while the Cowboys and Yankees each own just over 20%, and an undisclosed investor holds the rest.

Legends names pair of managing directors in Europe

Via SportBusiness

Legends, the United States-based premium experiences company, has bulked up its international presence further with the selection of two executives to lead key European markets.

The company named Martin Jennings as managing director of Legends’ operations in the United Kingdom, as well as head of global planning for Legends’ international business. Jennings joined Legends International in 2018 and had been senior vice president of project development. 

Legends also has named former Sportfive executive Jens König as managing director of central Europe. König – who will manage Legends’ operations in the area from Hamburg, Germany – had been Sportfive’s senior vice president and head of global business development.

The moves come after global investment firm Sixth Street earlier this year acquired majority control of Legends, with the deal containing a clear mission to grow the company’s international profile.

To that end, further managing director hires are also being planned for France, Italy, and Spain, and those managing directors will collectively comprise an international operating committee.

Andrew Hampel, previously president of Legends International, is now transitioning to a new role as senior advisor beginning in October.

“We have established a world-class foundation in the international market, and are poised for extraordinary growth,” said Mike Tomon, Legends co-president and chief operating officer. “To accelerate this growth, and to continue to deliver at the highest level for our clients, we are excited to launch an enhanced operations model led by two native-born, world-class experts in Martin and Jens. 

“This strategic approach not only represents the recognition of the uniqueness of each regional business environment, but also highlights our commitment to continue to invest in significant infrastructure across our unique 360-degree platform,” Tomon said.

Tomon, a longtime Legends executive, was recently named the company’s first co-president along with Curt McClellan, who comes to the operations from a prior role as executive in residence for KSL Capital Partners.

“As we ramp back up at a rapid pace, we are positioning our company to more effectively execute our long-term growth strategy and must match that with the right leadership and structure to support our teams and clients, ensuring that we can sustain and elevate the world-class service we deliver to partners,” said Shervin Mirhashemi, Legends chief executive.

Legends continues to have a sizable presence in numerous key sectors of the sports industry, including concessions, hospitality, naming rights and sponsorship sales and valuation, ticketing, merchandising, fundraising, and venue technology.

King Power Stadium Set for Expansion

Via The Stadium Business

English Premier League football club Leicester City has today (Wednesday) announced that it plans to expand King Power Stadium’s capacity to 40,000, as well as introduce a mixed-use development that will feature a new arena.

Leicester said initial plans for the project will be shared next month, as the club’s Thai owners, King Power International, press on with long-held ambitions to enhance facilities.

King Power Stadium opened in 2002 and has a current capacity of around 32,300. Current proposals for the site include the addition of 8,000 seats in the East Stand – which, if approved, would take King Power Stadium’s capacity to 40,000 – along with a wider proposal for a mixed-use destination.

This development would include a multi-purpose event and entertainment arena, new club megastore, 220-room hotel, club and commercial office space, a residential tower, and a new multi-storey car park.

The unveiling of initial plans next month will be followed by a period of public consultation throughout the summer and early autumn. Leicester City chairman, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, said: “The unveiling of these plans represents a significant milestone in the long history of Leicester City Football Club, and one that we hope will continue to put our supporters and our community at the heart of its long-term future.

“Through the consultation with our fans, our local community, businesses and stakeholders, we hope to achieve something that we can all be proud of for years to come. It’s these conversations that will help us communicate our vision to the people at its heart and take onboard the views of our community to help shape it.

“While this vision is in its early stages, I know the prospect of additional capacity for more Leicester City supporters in King Power Stadium, has long been anticipated by us all, particularly after seven near sold-out Premier League seasons.

“The plans to build on the club’s recent growth – with a stadium expansion as part of an exciting wider site development – is a wonderful demonstration of the shared ambition of both the football club and the city of Leicester.

“It is a project with the potential to generate enormous social value, starting with a substantial number of additional jobs for people in the region. We will be working with our partners and contractors to ensure this is a central consideration from construction through to long-term operation.”

Today’s announcement comes after Legends International was appointed by Leicester in August 2019 to carry out market research that was intended to underpin plans for the proposed expansion of King Power Stadium.

Sir Peter Soulsby, Mayor of Leicester, said: “These are ambitious plans that reflect the club’s ongoing commitment to the city and constant desire to build on its incredible achievements. LCFC has always been at the heart of our city, but thanks to the vision of the greatly-missed Khun Vichai, and his son Khun Top, it is now an integral part of our community that contributes to city life in so many ways.

“There is obviously a great deal of consultation to be done, including through the planning process, but these are really exciting proposals. The development would be very good news for the city as well as for the club, creating new jobs and a sought-after destination for visitors, locals and tourists.”

Legends Global Partnerships Adds Industry Vet Chris Foy

Via Sportico

Legends Global Partnerships has announced Chris Foy will join its team in a newly created executive vice president role. Foy will be tasked with Legends’ global partnership sales, collegiate partnerships, and venue and facility naming rights.

Foy previously was the president and founder of Impression Sports & Entertainment, a national sports sponsorship agency he launched in 2011. There he worked to market clients like the Fiesta Bowl Association, USA Swimming, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, the New Orleans Pelicans and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Before launching Impression, Foy was the managing partner of General Sports Alliances, where he worked with the Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Twins, Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals.

Foy spoke admiringly of his new company’s trajectory. “You can see very clearly that these guys are building a great culture, and that’s something that I wanted to be a part of,” he said in an interview. “When you look the incredible people that they have under the company and the cohesive drive that they have, it was something that really aligned well with me. As I look to take the next step in my career there couldn’t have been a better place to look at than Legends.”


President of Legends Global Partnerships Chris Hibbs said Foy’s experience, particularly with college sports, will serve him well. “Chris is going to bring his expertise with doing deals with brands but also new business,” Hibbs said in an interview. “I think he’s going to bring some ideas, and he’ll do that across our entire portfolio.”

While collegiate partnerships are a small part of Legends’ business, Hibbs said, he believes there will be chances to expand upon them. “We’re getting into the collegiate partnership space at an interesting time where some of the dynamics are changing,” he said. “Chris has a bunch of experience there.”

Foy emphasized what he thinks will makes Legends Global Partnerships special. “What I think is overlooked is the amount of attention we give to our clients,” he said. “I think continuing to build rapport with our clients is going to be critical and continuing to deliver results to them is going to be a priority across the entire staff and division.”

Jon & Vinny Promise Cheeseburger Subs and Fried Hot Dogs at SoFi Stadium This Year

Via EaterLA

More details are emerging about the upcoming Jon & Vinny collaborations at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, home of both the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers. Stadium officials recently announced the star duo as a kind of chefs in residence, working collaboratively with concessions company Legends on menus that will be available across the stadium.

The overall program, known as LA Eats, will be loosely constructed around four different menus, each named for a street or area within greater Los Angeles. First up is the Fairfax, harkening to Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo’s spiritual LA home, where their award-winning restaurants Animal, Jon & Vinny’s, and (nearby) Son of a Gun reside. The new Fairfax stadium menu “is a sub, deli, cheeseburger concept,” mixing everything from chicken salad subs to fried ‘ripper’ hot dogs and a burger-sub hybrid featuring elongated patties of beef on griddled rolls (seriously, it looks wild). A promo video for the Fairfax menu can be found below.

The Fairfax menu, which also includes vegan chili and a jalapeño cheddar sausage, among other options, represents one quarter of the full LA Eats menu. SoFi Stadium reps say the plan is to drop new announcements about the upcoming menus each week. Shook and Dotolo collaborated on menus throughout the stadium at each concession area, and will feature different themes based on local streets and areas. Next up is the San Vicente Boulevard menu.

As for the stadium overall, there’s still much to uncover about the food — including a different vendor setup at the box seat and VIP levels — both inside and out. Beyond the walls of the NFL stadium, built by billionaire Stan Kroenke, there are further plans to build an entire nightlife and hospitality community, with sit-down restaurants for pre-game meals, hotels, retail, and more. And while the Hollywood Park site project has been delayed by a full year as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom recently said that all counties would likely ‘fully reopen’ for business (including full-scale in person live events) by June 15, paving the way for a big year at SoFi Stadium, at least. As for the smaller longtime businesses around the stadium in Inglewood, that remains to be seen.

SoFi Stadium Partners with Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo to Make Food at Venue

Via Los Angeles Times

Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, owners of Animal, Son of a Gun and the Jon and Vinny’s restaurants, are working on the food lineup for SoFi Stadium, the 3.1-million-square-foot, indoor-outdoor sports and entertainment complex in Inglewood that is home to the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers.

“Most stadiums, the approach is, ‘Hey, let’s go get Domino’s to pay us to put a concession stand in our stadium,‘” Shook said. “The approach here is ‘Hey, we are going to build one of the nicest kitchens we’ve been in, underground in the basement, and we’re going to produce all the food that goes to the concession stands.‘”

Shook and Dotolo are acting as culinary consultants to help with menu development and product sourcing at the stadium, which can seat 70,000 to 100,000 people, depending on the setup. They’re working with executive chef Robert Biebrich and vice president of culinary innovation Gretchen Beaumarchais of Legends, the hospitality company that will operate the stadium’s culinary program. Legends also handles the concessions at Angel Stadium and a number of other venues around the country.

The James Beard award-winning chefs are used to cooking for a crowd. Dotolo and Shook operate a successful catering and events company called Caramelized Productions, and they also partnered with Delta Air Lines in 2019 to create dishes for select Delta One flights.

While they wouldn’t discuss specific stadium menu items just yet, they did share that they worked with the Legends team to create four concepts for the 42 concession stands. The idea is to offer re-imagined versions of stadium classics. Hot dogs, cheeseburgers and chicken tenders were all mentioned during our conversation.

“There’s going to be hot dogs, because it’s a stadium,” Shook said. “We tasted probably 50 different hot dogs.”

Shook said they narrowed down the choices to the top 10 and then made some calls to ensure that producers could handle the volume needed for a stadium of this size. He and Dotolo then tested buns, toppings and all the other components of the menu items.

Scaling items made it almost impossible to use select producers. But some were able to make it work.

“We were able to bring in DiNapoli tomatoes, the ones we use at Jon and Vinny’s,” Dotolo said.

The concession stands will feature glass windows that offer a view into their kitchens. They are also strategically placed to offer views of the field and the videoboard, a screen with 70,000 square feet of digital LED that will show whatever event is happening at the time.

“For a chef, it’s easy to get weird and funky,” Shook said. “One of the things we really try to keep in mind is out of the fans that come there, not everyone is going to be a chef. What are the items they are going to be looking for?”

Dotolo and Shook said they spent months working on R&D for menu items.

“One of the items that we were super stickler on was the chicken finger,” Shook said.

Crew Lands Sponsorship Deal with Columbus Tech Company

Via Columbus Business Journal

The scoreboard and other digital signage inside Columbus Crew SC’s new stadium will be powered by a public IT infrastructure company.

Vertiv is equipping the data center that will support the Crew’s administrative and game-related IT needs, as well as providing point-of-sale systems in the stadium, the entities announced Tuesday.

“We see a lot of ourselves in the Crew story, as a Columbus-headquartered, global organization leveraging our skills, passion and international reach to succeed at the highest levels,” said Gary Niederpruem, chief strategy and development officer at Vertiv, in a release.

Financial terms of the deal are not being released.

Vertiv will be known as a “founding partner” for the stadium, as well as its “official data center equipment provider.” Legends Global Partnerships represented the Crew in forming the partnership.

Steve Lyons, executive vice president and chief business officer, said in a release that Vertiv’s equipment is “critical to the operation of our sideboards, digital signage and point-of-sale systems and will elevate the entire match-day experience at our new stadium.”

“The Crew is committed to providing a best-in-class experience for our supporters,” Lyons said in a release.

Vertiv is projecting growth in 2021, after managing to keep sales roughly flat in 2020, Columbus Business First previously reported. The Columbus company went public last year with a $5.3 billion valuation. Vertiv, which has about 1,500 employees in Central Ohio out of 20,000 worldwide, projects 7% sales growth to $4.8 billion in 2021.

The 2021 Class of Forty Under 40 – Scott Aronsky

Via Sports Business Journal

The individuals selected for Sports Business Journal’s 22nd class of Forty Under 40 are not afraid to go big, whether it’s a blockbuster media rights deal, the launch of a bold new product, the opening of a dynamic stadium or a career move that opens new doors to success. They are not afraid to take risks, and the organizations across the sports business that they represent have benefited from their accomplishments.

SBJ, along with presenting partners Anheuser-Busch, MGM Resorts and TurnkeyZRG, are pleased to announce our annual list of 40 executives who will be recognized for excellence and innovation in their careers, all before the age of 40.  

Over the past four months, an editorial committee has reviewed, studied and discussed more than 400 nominees, resulting in the 40 named for the class of 2021. The committee considered career achievements; entrepreneurial zeal; best-in-class approach and technique; innovative practices that others follow; and leadership and impact within their organization and in their community.

One of the honorees, Charlotte FC President Nick Kelly, joins SBJ’s Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame as a three-time selection to the list. Kelly, who was vice president of partnerships, beer culture and community at Anheuser-Busch InBev before joining the MLS expansion club in February, was a member of the 2017 and 2020 Forty Under 40 classes.

All 40 executives will be featured in the June 28 issue of Sports Business Journal, where we will tell the stories of their career paths and successes. They also will be honored in-person at the Forty Under 40 gala tentatively scheduled for November in New York City. The 2020 Forty Under 40 class, whose awards ceremony in March 2020 was postponed by the coronavirus pandemic, also will be recognized that night.


Scott Aronsky, Legends

Chara-Lynn Aguiar, ESPN

Will Ahmed, Whoop

Naz Aletaha, Riot Games

Jonathan Amoona, Winston & Strawn 

Chris Armstrong, Wasserman

Nana-Yaw Asamoah, National Football League

J Batt, University of Alabama 

Tim Bezbatchenko, Columbus Crew SC

Shelly Cayette, Cleveland Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse 

Kyle Charters, Inner Circle Sports

Seth Cole, Turner Sports

Will Deng, National Football League

Brandon Doll, Las Vegas Raiders

Jayar Donlan, WWE

Stuart Duguid, IMG

Logan Gerken, Mortenson

Jason Glushon, Glushon Sports Management

Hannah Gordon, San Francisco 49ers

David Haber, National Basketball Association 

Nick Kelly, Charlotte FC

Matt Kramer, Creative Artists Agency

Jason Krochak, Proskauer 

Aaron LeValley, LA Kings and AEG Sports

TJ Lynch, Allied Sports

Jason Miller, Excel Sports Management

Evan Parker, The Athletic 

Ryan Petkoff, Hunt Sports Group

Paul Rabil, Premier Lacrosse League

Gabriel Rose, CBS Sports Digital

Casey Schwab, Altius Sports Partners

Michael Shane, Philadelphia Flyers and Wells Fargo Center

Carrie Skillman, Scout Sports and Entertainment 

Jason Sondag, Chicago Cubs

Ania Sponaski, GMR Marketing

Malaika Underwood, OneTeam Partners

Scott Warfield, PGA Tour 

Zack Weiner, Overtime

Jarod Were, National Hockey League

Meka White Morris, Tappit

Legends Takes Another Step into College, Signs Miami to 10-year Deal

Via Sports Business Journal

The University of Miami has signed Legends to manage its corporate sponsorship program and the school’s marketing rights.   

The 10-year deal represents Legends’ second major property acquisition in the last four months and completes another major step into the marketing of college athletics. The firm landed Georgia Tech in December and also counts Notre Dame as a multimedia rights client. 

The Hurricanes previously had been with Learfield IMG College in a long-term relationship that went back to at least 2003. Miami’s deal started as a joint venture between Learfield and ISP Sports two decades ago and continued through ownership changes at both Learfield and ISP until the two companies eventually became Learfield IMG College two years ago. 

Terms of the new contract with Legends were not available. Miami, as a private institution, is not required to disclose financials. 

“We evaluated a number of different companies and Legends rose to the top,” Miami Athletic Director Blake James said. “With the energy created around this partnership, I think we’ll see a tremendous amount of growth, not just in our local market, but also nationally and globally.” 

The Hurricanes, who are preparing to have 100% of capacity available at Hard Rock Stadium once football starts, said Legends will have access to an array of revenue opportunities for the off-campus venue. There will be sponsorship and field signage assets, as well as myriad hospitality sales, an area that Legends knows well. 

Mike Behan, Legends’ vice president of collegiate partnerships, said the firm already has plans to launch a sales and engagement center that will be based in south Miami. He described it as a preview center where Legends can tell the story of the university to prospective sponsors, similar to what the company has created in some pro team markets. 

“We’re looking to bring that approach to our multimedia rights,” Behan said. “We want to be able to describe Miami to partners in a way that hasn’t been done in the past.” 

Behan took the lead for Legends on winning this deal. James had Deputy AD and CFO Jason Layton running point for the Hurricanes. 

Legends’ work in Florida extends to Orlando as well, where it is selling naming rights for the Magic’s NBA arena.

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 Valued At $1.35 Billion on Sixth Street’s Control of Hospitality Joint Venture

Via Sportico

Private equity firm Sixth Street is said to be buying a controlling share of Legends, the sports hospitality, sponsorship and sales consultancy co-founded by the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys, according to people familiar with the sale.

The deal values Legends at $1.35 billion, said the people, who were granted anonymity because the terms are private. Sixth Street will own 51% following the close of the transaction. The Yankees and Cowboys will split the rest.

The deal should help accelerate Legends’s long-term growth. It also comes at a critical time. After nearly 12 months of pandemic-disrupted seasons, matches and tours, the sports and entertainment industries are starting to prepare for life after COVID-19. The new business reality could upend stadium construction, merchandise sales, concessions and ticketing, all areas of focus for Legends.

New Mountain Capital—which in 2017 bought roughly a third of Legends in a deal that valued the company at more than $700 million—is exiting as part of the Sixth Street transaction. The current Legends management team, which includes CEO Shervin Mirhashemi and COO Mike Tomon, will remain in place.

Sixth Street, which has $50 billion under management, was founded in 2009 as an arm of TPG, a private equity firm part-owned by Seattle Kraken owner David Bonderman. The business was spun off of TPG last year, and Sixth Street immediately began raising money for its flagship fund, named TAO. The group raised $10 billion between April and the end of August, one of the largest pools of private equity ever gathered so quickly, according to the Wall Street Journal.

TAO is prioritizing assets that can grow double-digits annually and tend not to be subject to the moves of the broader stock market, according to a presentation given last summer. It also favors investments in which it is the only private equity owner—80% of the fund’s gains, according to that presentation, are from such companies.

The firm likely sees Legends as capable of growing fast enough to produce at least a 13% internal rate of return each year—the average for the TAO fund over its lifetime—without being correlated to stocks, a feature of sports-team related investments generally. And while most private equity investments are made with an eye toward cashing out in three, five or 10 years, TAO’s philosophy is more open-ended, an approach that should satisfy Legends’s long-term horizon.

Legends was co-founded in 2008 by the Yankees and Jones Concessions LP, an affiliate of the Cowboys. The company started primarily as a concession and hospitality service, but over time expanded its offerings to include sponsorship valuations, naming rights sales, hospitality, ticketing, fundraising, e-commerce and merchandising.

The company works with a number of teams, venues and entertainment companies, such as Liverpool FC, the University of Notre Dame, Ohio State University, UFC, the Cleveland Browns, Wimbledon and SoFi Stadium. It is also the sponsorship sales agent for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

Moelis & Company and Herrick & Feinstein advised Legends on the deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter. Sixth Street was advised by Ropes & Gray and Goldman Sachs. (Goldman was a founding Legends investor but sold its stake in 2012.)

(This story has been corrected and updated to show when Goldman sold its stake in Legends in the last paragraph.)

Sixth Street Nears Deal To Take Control Of Sports Group Legends Hospitality

via Financial Times 


The private investment group Sixth Street Partners is nearing a deal to take a majority stake in Legends Hospitality, the sports and entertainment company co-owned by New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys, that would value the group at $1.35bn, according to people briefed on the discussions.

The deal, which could be announced as soon as Monday night, would give Sixth Street a majority ownership of the company, which offers services including stadium concessions, naming rights and merchandise sales for a variety of professional and college sports teams. Baseball team Yankees and American football’s Cowboys would continue their involvement in the company, the people said.

The transaction underscores the influx of private capital into the realm of professional sports during the pandemic, as leagues and teams look to shore up financing as they contend with depressed or nonexistent ticket sales and associated concessions. 

News of the deal was earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal. 

The Legends deal by Sixth Street Partners, which has more than $50bn in assets under management, is its latest investment into an industry hard-hit by pandemic restrictions. In April the firm joined Silver Lake in raising $1bn in debt and equity for Airbnb, the short-term accommodations platform. In addition to Legends’ businesses for sport franchises, whose clients include the University of Notre Dame and Spain’s Real Madrid, the company also provides sales and experience planning at attractions including London’s View from the Shard and the One World Observatory at New York’s World Trade Center. 

Sports leagues across the US and around the world have been hamstrung by the surging Covid-19 pandemic, particularly Major League Baseball, which relied on ticket sales and stadium concessions for almost 40 per cent of its revenues in 2019. 

At the same time, valuations of clubs have only accelerated over the past year. In October the hedge fund titan Steve Cohen bought baseball team New York Mets for more than $2.4bn, a North American record. Last month Qualtrics founder Ryan Smith finalised a purchase of basketball team Utah Jazz for more than $1.6bn, according to a person familiar with the deal, up from the $24m paid by the previous owners in the mid-1980s. 

In recent months private capital has been undeterred by pandemic distress and encouraged by steady or increasing appreciation of sports assets, seeking investments in the industry in anticipation of an eventual return to normalcy. “People are going to want to go to sports events, they’re going to want to go to concerts — whether that’s six months from now or 12 months from now, it’s going to come back at some point,” said one of the people briefed on the Legends deal.

Legends Signs Mega Rights Deal with Georgia Tech

Via Sports Business Journal

Georgia Tech has signed one of the most comprehensive rights partnerships in college sports in a long-term deal with Legends.

In a rare move, the Yellow Jackets combined their traditional multimedia rights, which includes corporate sponsorship, with ticket sales and marketing, premium seating sales, fundraising, events, hospitality and e-commerce. They are all included in the arrangement with Legends, with the hope of exceeding the school’s estimated $6 million per year received from its current multimedia rights deal with Learfield IMG College.

“All of their revenue streams are going to be flowing in the same direction now,” said Michael Behan, Legends’ vice president of sales. “It’s probably a first-of-its-kind deal in college sports.”

The Yellow Jackets previously outsourced the rights to different partners. In addition to the Learfield deal for multimedia rights, The Aspire Group had ticketing, Fanatics handled e-commerce and Georgia Tech managed seating and events in-house.

Now, all of those revenue-generating functions will be under one umbrella with Legends, which is making an aggressive push into the college rights space with more deals expected to be announced soon. Financial terms with Georgia Tech were not released. The Learfield deal is in its final year, with Legends assuming the rights on July 1, 2021. The structure of the Legends deal is believed to be a guarantee plus revenue sharing on its sales.

Chicago-based Navigate consulted with Georgia Tech’s athletic department on the deal.

“Timing is everything, and it’s really exciting to know that we’re going to have a partner like Legends developing a revenue strategy with us as we’re coming out of COVID,” Georgia Tech Athletic Director Todd Stansbury said.

Stansbury, a Tech alum who played linebacker on the football team, wasn’t convinced that this was the best time to take Tech’s multimedia rights to market. But the school’s contract with Learfield IMG College was near an end, and the Yellow Jackets had to make a move, pandemic or not.

Stansbury was pleasantly surprised by the response from the marketplace. Seven companies submitted bids for the Yellow Jackets’ rights, some of which included a guarantee while others were straight revenue-share.

“COVID complicated matters,” Stansbury said. “This is not the kind of decision you want to make from Zoom calls, but that’s what we had to do. Now we can pull all of our revenue levers at once and have them working in conjunction.”

It remains to be seen what kind of revenue increase Legends can generate for the Jackets. Two clear challenges are programming more events at Bobby Dodd Stadium and creating more premium spaces at the stadium, which was built in 1913.

Georgia Tech has sold all of its football premium seating and needs more inventory. CSL, Legends’ project planning business, will review the fan experience at Tech’s football and basketball venues.

“The financial implications of COVID on the schools are well-documented,” Behan said. “Schools are willing to step back and have conversations about revenue and reimagining how they’re going to do that.”

Stansbury’s senior leadership team of Deputy AD Mark Rountree, Senior Associate AD Ayo Taylor-Dixon and CFO Marvin Lewis were involved in the negotiations. Legends also has a joint venture with JMI Sports at Notre Dame for multimedia rights.

Detroit Pistons Turn to Legends for Ecommerce Merchandising

Via SportsPro Media

The National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Detroit Pistons have appointed experiential services agency Legends to operate their ecommerce merchandising.

The agreement has already led to the launch of Pistons313shop.com as the new official team merchandise website for the Pistons.

As well as featuring designer apparel and official NBA team-licensed gear, the site will also serve as the merchandise home for the Motor City Cruise, the Pistons’ NBA G League affiliate, and the club’s NBA 2K League esports outfit, Pistons Gaming Team.

In conjunction with the launch of the online store, the Pistons also unveiled new ‘313’ and ‘DET’ logo treatments as part of a new fashionable lifestyle-inspired line of off-court apparel called ‘DETail Threads’. Sold exclusively on Pistons313shop.com, the private label offering focuses on unique silhouettes and designs that celebrate the city, team and history of the franchise.

In partnering with Legends, the Pistons will look to lean on the company’s strategic relationships with high quality and boutique vendors to help broaden selection and increase value for consumers.

Legends already has a number of high-profile partnerships in sport, including with Spanish soccer giants Real Madrid, who appointed the agency in July to manage their vast retail operation.

“We are pleased to partner with Legends on the creation of a new merchandising partnership that will deliver fans unparalleled selection with an easy and reliable online shopping experience,” said Mike Zavodsky, chief business officer for the Detroit Pistons.

“Our DETail Threads private label and new ‘313’ and ‘DET’ logo treatments provide fans a directional glimpse of our merchandising future and how we intend to utilise the power of Legends’ global expertise to diversify the look and feel of our team apparel offerings.”

Dave Moroknek, president of Legends Global Merchandise, added: “It was important for us to deliver exclusive merchandise that is true to Detroit, which offers a unique way for fans to support their teams.

“We put an emphasis on making the site easy to navigate and are thrilled with the end product. It’s been rewarding to work with the Pistons organisation and can’t wait to tip-off this partnership.”

Scrapped plans, Salzburg, small details: How the AXA Training Centre was designed

Via Liverpool FC

A traffic-free drive from Melwood to Kirkby takes around 15 minutes.

But the journey completed by Liverpool Football Club this month – to bring together first team and Academy operations on the latter site, with the new AXA Training Centre – was one of wide-ranging global research, development and collaboration over more than four years.

The Reds’ new day-to-day home represents the final product of the many inter-connected requirements and ideas, as well as multiple sources of design inspiration, that have fed into the huge undertaking.

Ultimately, one vision lay at the heart of the whole process: to provide a world-class, industry-leading base for Liverpool’s current and long-term ambitions.

“Since I have been at Liverpool there has been a desire for us to all be on the same site,” sporting director Michael Edwards told Liverpoolfc.com. “To be honest, I think many people before me wanted the same thing and now we have been lucky enough to deliver that.

“The other key reason was to make sure that we were giving our players and staff up-to-date, world-class facilities.

“Melwood is a great place to work, with some great memories for all those people that have worked there, but we needed more space and the chance to include all the things our players and staff need to fulfil their roles on a daily basis.”

The result is a 9,200sqm base that features three full-size pitches, goalkeeping and warm-up areas, and state-of-the-art indoor facilities including two gyms, a sports hall, pool, hydrotherapy complex and specialist sports rehabilitation suites.

Jürgen Klopp, his staff and the players officially move into the AXA Training Centre today, bringing an end to the Reds’ 70-year stay at Melwood and settling into an environment crafted to continue their success.

Work towards the new training ground began to gather pace back in mid-2016, when initial plans were drawn up by the contracted architects, KSS, and subsequently presented to Edwards shortly after his appointment as the club’s first-ever sporting director.

Melwood, the club’s training home since 1950, was still headquarters for the steady revolution being overseen by Klopp and his backroom team, a hub of analysis, preparation, problem-solving and togetherness. A place for commiseration and celebration.

But the West Derby complex was simply too small to accommodate the needs of a first-team set-up growing in size and expanding its objectives. The Reds would have to move.

KSS soon presented blueprints to the club for feedback but a decision was taken to shelve those original plans in favour of relaunching the design project anew, for two key reasons.

Firstly, it was deemed imperative for the architects to engage more closely with the various departments at Melwood and – given the new base would be their working environment to maximise – understand their specific needs from a football perspective.

Secondly, the club wanted to conduct a benchmarking review of training ground innovations and best practices in this country, across Europe and in the United States.

There was a hurdle, though: time. An alternative plan would have to be produced within three months. Research began quickly.

Edwards and Academy director Alex Inglethorpe travelled to Brighton & Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur’s training grounds – the other two bases in England designed by KSS, which had been completed in 2014 and 2012 respectively – for a first-hand look at what was possible and improvable in conjunction with the London-based company.

Liverpool liaised especially closely with Red Bull Salzburg, the champions of the Austrian Bundesliga for the past seven seasons and a club with a stellar reputation for recruiting and developing elite players, including the Reds’ own Naby Keita, Sadio Mane and Takumi Minamino.

During extensive conversations with senior staff, architects and designers at Salzburg, their much-admired facility in Liefering – the Red Bull Academy – made a hefty impression on the visitors from Merseyside and became a reference point for the look and feel of the AXA Training Centre.

Its abundant natural light, spacious corridors, open offices and use of glass, wood and concrete provided a template that was subsequently shaped and tweaked to Liverpool’s own culture and needs in Kirkby.

The Reds examined the approach of Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim, too, and conducted virtual tours of training centres in America across several sporting disciplines.

Back at home, meanwhile, KSS drilled into the detail at Melwood, regularly meeting with each of the departments that make up Liverpool’s football operation to compose a wish list for their future HQ. Their input was critical to the process, ensuring each space at the AXA Training Centre would be optimal for the people working within it.

A busy three months ended with a design concept established and after receiving planning approval for the development from Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, the club ‘broke ground’ at Kirkby to begin the building process in September 2018.

The next phase of the process was managed by Martin Jennings from the club’s capital projects department, as building contractors McLaughlin & Harvey set about creating Liverpool’s vision.

“There have been so many people on site that you wonder how they are all managed and sequenced to make sure the build runs smoothly,” explained Edwards.

“That’s where Martin Jennings comes in really, I have a huge amount of respect for the job he has done in making sure the reality matches the plans. It’s not easy to balance so many stakeholders and to hit their expectations, especially when a few of them are trying to win football matches at the same time.”

Jennings’ primary link at Melwood was David Woodfine, an ex-naval officer and former head of analysis at West Ham United who joined the Reds as scouting co-ordinator.

In recent years, however, Woodfine’s efficiency in organisation and planning was identified as an ideal fit for wider football projects, too. So, when the vast challenge of moving the entire first-team squad and staff from one site to a completely new one arose, he was the man to handle it.

The pair worked tirelessly with KSS to turn drawings on a page into the structural reality of a training centre not only fit to house the world champions now, but futureproofed for the generations to follow them.

For full article, please visit Liverpool FC.

Legends Names VP International E-Commerce

Via License Global


Legends has announced the appointment of Tom Tregelles to the new role of vice president, international e-commerce.

In the role, Tregelles will be responsible for oversight of the end-to-end customer journey for Legends’ rapidly expanding global e-commerce platform including the seamless customer journey, targeted digital marketing, real time data segmentation and strategies, as well as key e-commerce partnerships to support the omnichannel visions for partners.

Specializing in customer-centric digital transformation, Tregelles brings a holistic view to Legends’ growing global retail team.  He joins Legends from Frasers Group PLC, formerly Sports Direct International PLC, the largest sports goods retailer in the U.K. He was most recently group head, digital at the company.

During his time with Frasers Group, Tregelles worked across several brands including Sports Direct, Flannels and House of Fraser, where he achieved triple digit growth and record online revenues. Earlier in his career, Tregelles held a variety of digital and marketing roles with Orlebar Brown, Arcadia Group’s Topshop Topman brand and Jack Wills.

Tregelles is a graduate of Oxford Brookes University. Based in Legends’ corporate office in London, he will report to Victoria Hawksley, vice president, international retail.

McAlpine gets green light to start £260m Gateshead arena

Via Construction Enquirer

Gateshead Council has approved plans for the development of a £260m arena-led regeneration scheme.

Main contractor Sir Robert McAlpine will now start site enabling work before the end of the year with construction expected to commence in March 2021 and the new complex open in 2023.

The scheme sits on the NewcastleGateshead waterfront at Gateshead Quays and includes a world class arena, purpose built conference and exhibition centre, restaurants, a dual branded hotel and large areas of outdoor realm and performance space.

Venue management company ASM Global will operate the campus, which includes a 12,500 capacity, 29,000 sqm arena and over 7,000 sqm of flexible event space.

The plans by HOK Architects were submitted by Gateshead Council’s development partner Ask:PATRIZIA.

Councillor Martin Gannon, Gateshead Council Leader said: “This project is transformational, and today’s decision signals confidence in the North East.

“Newcastle Gateshead Quays will be a global leader in entertainment, leisure, and hospitality but most importantly it is about creating new employment and training opportunities for thousands at a time when they are badly needed.

“Despite the current challenges, we need to remember the worth of the events industry. We look forward to opening the venue late 2023.”

Speaking on behalf of the Ask:PATRIZIA partnership John Hughes, managing director of Ask Real Estate said: “We have brought together a world-class team of designers, architects and operators to deliver this scheme which will be one of Europe’s key cultural locations.

“We look forward to now starting construction work and bringing these superb public facilities to life.“

The project team also includes: Project Manager and Contract Administrator, Legends International; Lichfields, Planning Consultants; Landscape Architects, Planit:IE; Gardiner and Theobald, QS; ARUP, structural engineers/ M&E and Vectos for transport planning.

FC Barcelona gets a unique financing model for Espai Barça based on incremental revenue generated by the Camp Nou over 25 years

Via FC Barcelona

The vice-president for finance and real estate and head of the Espai Barça project, Jordi Moix, used his speech to present the financial results for the 2019/20 season and to also deliver an explanation of the current status of the Espai Barça project and the plan to finance its construction. This innovative financial operation remains in force despite the effects of the pandemic, and is fully adapted to the club’s needs, respects the red lines set out in the referendum and means that the Espai Barça can be financed by the sale of part of the rights to the future incremental revenue that the project is expected to generate when it is finished.

This operation will be conducted in association with Goldman Sachs, a world leader in investment banking that in recent years has been directly involved in financing the infrastructure of 45 stadiums around the world with more than $20 billion, and other local and international financial institutions that are also interested in participating in this operation.


The conditions for the new financing plan consider that the aggregate amount of the agreement is 815 million euros (725 for investment and to pay for the work and 90 million for capitalizable interest over the five years of work plus the initial financial costs).

The duration of the contract would be 30 years (5 years of construction and 25 years of management), and the payment period would be 25 years from the 2024/25 season, when the project is completed. As for the interest rate, the estimated annual cost would be 3-4% for an annual interest repayment plus amortization with the incremental income estimated at $50 million annually.

The formula for the operation is technically a sale of a part of the rights to collect the additional revenue from the Espai Barça generated by the club to an instrumental vehicle managed by Goldman Sachs. The club would return the investment over those 30 years in the form of 50 million a year that it would obtain from the 150 million extraordinary revenue that it would earn from the Espai Barça. The remaining 100 million in revenue would be used for the club’s regular activities and to boost its competitiveness.

The incremental 150 million would come from the new assets created via Espai Barça, such as the title rights to the stadium and new sponsorship deals (50 million), VIP boxes and seats (50 million) and new visitors to the new museum, greater revenue from ticketing due to the expanded capacity, new catering, venue hire and parking (50 million).

Moix pointed out that when the Espai Barça referendum was approved in 2014, the budget for the project was 600 million euros that was to be paid with 200 million of the club’s own funds, 200 million from a sponsor whose trade name would be attached to that of the Camp Nou (title rights) and 200 million from a bank loan. In the original funding plan, the club undertook not to cross three red lines: the work would not cost the members anything, payment could never jeopardise the sporting side of the club and the club’s assets would never be mortgaged as collateral.

Evolution of construction costs

The construction costs have risen since 2014 from 600 million to 725 million. The initial budget included the complete remodelling of the future Camp Nou, the construction of a new Palau Blaugrana for 10,000 spectators, with a Petit Palau for 2,000, an Ice Rink for 500, as well as the Barça Campus.

The investment in the construction of the Espai Barça has evolved over the years with the addition of new costs that have arisen from developments to the project and the agreement with the City Council and municipal groups for a urban modification plan (MPGM) amounting to 50 million, plus compensations to the City Council in the form of 49,000 m2 of tertiary office buildings and hotels. The rest of the increase in costs is due to modifications to the projected facilities, such as a new Palau Blaugrana for 15,000 rather than 10,000 spectators (60 million), and certain investments in the future Camp Nou to improve services and thereby achieve further incremental revenue, such as improvements to the museum and a new adventure experience (15 million).

Improved business plan and incremental revenue

The key to this finance plan lies in improving the Espai Barça business plan and the incremental income that the project will generate once the Camp Nou is finished. While in 2014 the project was expected to provide incremental revenue of 50 million euros a year, in 2020 an expert consultant in the valuation of commercial assets associated to stadiums, ISG Legends, estimated that Barça will earn more than 150 million additional euros each season thanks to Espai Barça, from the 2024/2025 season onwards. The construction process was also audited by a highly prestigious international real estate consultant in the sector, JLL, which expressed absolute confidence in the management of the project and its schedule. 

The club’s commitments

However, FC Barcelona assumes a series of commitments that must be met, such as always playing at the Camp Nou, competing in one of world’s top five football leagues, complying with financial Fair Play, having a guaranteed maximum price stipulated in the construction contract to avoid deviations from the budget and the right for banks to hire a commercial consultant if the club does not generate the expected incremental revenue to return the investment.

Another of the great advantages of this finance plan is that the club will be able to use 100 of the 150 million annual increments that the Espai Barça will generate for ordinary usage after using the remaining 50 million for the repayment of the finance structure. This income can be invested in making the club stronger and more competitive, and will allow Barça to compensate for the increase in income that other rival clubs in Europe are already benefitting from due to the improvements made to their own stadiums.

In addition, through this operation the club would be protecting its current revenue, by not offering as a guarantee amounts received from contracts that it has already signed, such as TV rights and shirt sponsorship, nor the ownership of its assets or the transfer of their management.

Moreover, the risk is borne by the funds. If the planned incremental income is not generated there is no possibility of any claim against the club. The fund could hire a commercial consultant to monitor the sale of the new assets.

These are two of the differences between this operation and what has been done by other leading clubs to finance their stadiums.

In short, with this new financing plan, the three red lines of the 2014 referendum are not crossed, the club’s current assets are not used as guarantees (land and facilities, stadium ticketing, TV rights and sponsorships), there is greater flexibility for reaching the best title rights agreement when the Camp Nou is finished, the risk is assumed by the financial institutions and banks, and finally, it boosts competitiveness as the 100 million euros a year in incremental revenue can be allocated to other uses.

Construction status and schedule

Jordi Moix also spoke about the status of the current project, now that the Estadi Johan Cruyff Stadium is complete, an application has been made to Barcelona City Council for a license for the future Camp Nou and with the tender for the project in progress. Work on phase 1 of the exterior development (Avinguda Joan XXIII and the Cemetery) has begun together with preliminary studies of the car park, and work is also underway on the Barça Campus project and the interior development plan in liaison with the City Council and local residents.

The draft project for the new Palau Blaugrana for 15,000 spectators and the preliminary design of the Petit Palau, Ice Rink and coach park is to be executed in two phases due to the impact of metro Line 9. The club hopes to bring the draft for the new Palau Blaugrana forward in order for the design and license application phase to be completed by the end of 2021, and thus be able to physically construct the new Palau Blaugrana between 2022 and 2023.

All of this work is being carried out in parallel with the fulfilment of the club’s sustainability goals, for which the Espai Barça project has already been awarded DNGB Gold Standard pre-certification.

As for the revised timetable, it is envisaged that this new finance plan, which still need to be approved by the club members, should be submitted to a referendum towards the end of the first half of 2021 before work can begin on the stadium next summer. Given that there shall be presidential elections next March, Jordi Moix will offer candidates who so wish the chance to receive an in-depth explanation of the project and the new finance plan so that a referendum can be called in sufficient time for work to be able to commence in the summer and thus comply with the planned schedule.

Game Changers – Denise Taylor

Denise Taylor points to her ability to unify people from different backgrounds on one team to enhance products or services in sports and entertainment technology as her biggest career accomplishment.

“Whether it’s an ownership group, a team, a fan, a guest, a developer, a project manager, it’s ultimately about bringing those groups together to drive to a much more impactful service or product or fan experience,” said Taylor, president of global technology solutions at Legends. “I think that has just continued to evolve over my 25-year career, and I think that’s something in today’s day and age continues to be a skill set that is so hugely required.” 

One of the few women to hold the title of chief information officer at a major American company, Taylor has had previous careers stops at AEG, NBCUniversal and Universal Music Group. Before joining Legends in January, she was global CIO for Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.

Taylor is working with Legends’ clients on initiatives in the COVID-19 era that will deliver live events on digital platforms to fans — events that the company hopes will rival the experience of attending a live game. Some of these experiences include designing and ordering team merchandise to food and beverage delivery. 

Taylor is also working on Legends’ esports efforts to create immersive experiences that connect stars to fans over live broadcasts.


Biggest work/life adjustment in quarantine: Fortunately, the adjustment with my son at home is nothing short of great — deeper quality time and commitment to each other — which is saying a lot about a senior boy in high school!    

Guilty pleasure: Reading tabloid magazines — a little longer at home now instead of the grocery line!

Woman in sports business I’d most like to meet: Serena Williams. The unparalleled impact she is having on women of all ages around the world is inspiring. =

Change I’d make related to women working in sports: I would start to educate and highlight at a much younger age the multitude of opportunities that exist in sports for woman. 

Sports can grow its role in the social justice movement by: Sports can be a huge platform for change. We are seeing athletes, organizations, teams, and leagues use their platform and voices to bring awareness to important issues.

Legends Wins Best in Property Consulting, Sales & Client Services

Via Sports Business Journal’s 2020 SBJ Awards


Here is the full list of tonight’s winners:  

• Best in Property Consulting, Sales and Client Services: Legends

• Best in Digital Sports Media: Bleacher Report

• Best in Mobile Fan Experience: The Masters Tournament App, produced by Augusta National and IBM  

• Best in Sports Social Media: Louisiana State University  

• Best in Sports Technology: Mixed Reality Baltimore Raven

• Best in Sports Media: CBS Sports

• Sports Event of the Year: 2019 NFL Draft

• Sports Breakthrough of the Year: Premier Lacrosse League  

• Sports Sponsor of the Year: Visa

• Athletic Director of the Year: Scott Stricklin, University of Florida

• Best in Sports Event and Experiential Marketing: Bespoke Sports & Entertainment  

• Best in Talent Representation: Wasserman

• Best in Corporate Consulting, Marketing and Client Services: Octagon  

• Sports Facility of the Year: Chase Center

• Sports Team of the Year: St. Louis Blues

• Sports League of the Year: Major League Soccer

• Sports Executive of the Year: Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN  

• Celebration of Service Award: Team IMPACT

• Lifetime Achievement: Larry Tanenbaum

Legends hires Hawksley to lead international retail operations

Via SportsBusiness

Legends has hired veteran sports merchandising executive Victoria Hawksley to a newly created role of vice president of international retail, where she will lead global merchandise operations and strategy for the growing segment of the premium experiences company.

Hawksley, previously head of retail and visitor attractions for the Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur, will lead Legends’ efforts in this area, including in-venue retail, ecommerce, brick-and-mortar stores, and custom merchandise.

She will be based in Madrid, Spain, where her first major project will be executing the newly developed omnichannel retail program for La Liga’s Real Madrid, an expansive initiative that will include the revamp of several official club stores, the development of a new flagship megastore, and the rollout of a new online shop.

“I see a huge opportunity to merge the expertise and capabilities of Legends Global Merchandise division, with the insights and local expertise that Legends has in markets across Europe and Asia, to develop customized strategies,” Hawksley said.

Hawksley spent 14 years at Tottenham Hoptsur, where she oversaw the club’s set of visitor attractions for its new stadium that opened early last year.

The international retail operations have been a quickly developing area for Legends, whose historical base has been primarily in American premium seat sales and concessions.

“Legends has significantly grown our international footprint during the past few years, and we are fortunate to add Victoria to our leadership team in Europe as we continue to invest in our global merchandise vertical,” said Andrew Hampel, president of Legends International.

Legends Puts Large Stamp on SoFi Stadium, Allegiant Stadium

Via Sports Business Journal

As SoFi and Allegiant stadiums prepare to open, the depth of work by Legends on the projects has fully come into focus, including previously undisclosed details about the company’s involvement at SoFi on retail, technology and its food and beverage program. 

With Allegiant Stadium announcing that no fans will be allowed at Las Vegas Raiders games this season, and SoFi Stadium announcing the same at least at the start, the extent of Legends’ work won’t be fully functioning as expected. Still, the projects gave Legends the opportunity to demonstrate the depth of its expertise.

Legends President and CEO Shervin Mirhashemi said the company was involved in both projects early on from a feasibility and planning standpoint. Later, he said, “we then were engaged with each one of those projects separately, it was really about activating our full 360 capabilities to work on two iconic, state-of-the-art NFL projects, arguably two of the greatest stadiums in the world at the exact same time.” 

Legends’ involvement with SoFi Stadium was more extensive compared to its work on Allegiant, which was primarily focused on partnerships and its naming-rights deals, and a sold-out personal seat license campaign that garnered the Raiders $549 million in revenue ahead of the 2020 NFL season.

Legends is also handling the Rams’ and Chargers’ PSL campaign, which has generated more revenue than Allegiant’s thus far, but the venue’s reported sales targets have been less than expected, according to previous reports. 

At SoFi, Legends handled the stadium’s $30 million-a-year naming-rights deal and project management of the adjacent 300-acre Hollywood Park entertainment district, which will have a performance venue, retail and office space, residential units and green spaces. 

SoFi’s Stadium’s food and beverage program for premium and general concessions areas will be representative of Los Angeles’ diverse culinary offerings and will be inspired by the indoor and outdoor aesthetics of the aviation-inspired stadium.

“We’re going to be authentic to this vast culinary culture in Los Angeles that spans 18 to 19 million people across all walks of life,” Mirhashemi said. “So, I think what you’ll see ultimately when fans are allowed in there … you’ll see just this really unique, diverse, innovative approach to food and beverage.” 

Legends also plans to roll out a customized and immersive VIP tour program for SoFi Stadium. 

“That’s going to connect the applicable fan to their favorite team and go really behind the scenes of what this state-of-the-art stadium is all about,” Mirhashemi said. “So, how do you experience that venue from the perspective of the player, a broadcaster or potentially, and obviously, as a fan?” 

On the retail front, SoFi stadium will feature a 7,000-square-foot retail store catering to Rams and Chargers fans. “There will be two different floors and obviously we’ll have exclusive items that we’re going to have only specifically at that location for both the teams,” Mirhashemi said.

When it comes to the disappointment of not being able to showcase Legends’ work on SoFi and Allegiant stadiums because of the absence of fans, Mirhashemi is still excited for the future. 

“I would say life is a marathon, it’s not a sprint, and these venues weren’t built for 2020 only, they were built to be pillars of their respective communities and really examples of what the art-of-the-possible is,” he said. “They will have their moments to open, and hopefully, that’s going to be sooner than later in the next few months.”

Legends’ Denise Taylor Selected as SBJ’s 2020 Game Changers: Women in Sports Business

Congratulations to Denise Taylor, Legends’ President of Global Technology Solutions, on being selected for @SBJSBD‘s 2020 class of “Game Changers: Women in Sports Business.”


Via Sports Business Journal


Leader. Innovator. Trailblazer. Change agent. Rock star.

These are just a few ways the 50 women selected for Sports Business Journal’s 2020 class of “Game Changers: Women in Sports Business” have been described. They represent every sector across sports business from teams and leagues, to agencies and sponsors, to technology companies and media outlets. 

Together, they make up the 10th class of Game Changers. SBJ will profile each of these women and offer a glimpse into their lives away from work in a special section on Oct. 19.   

In 2011, SBJ created Game Changers to “tell the stories of women in the sports business — women with broad, deep, and varied responsibilities and oversight who contribute to the success of the industry in multiple ways.” The 392 women honored in all 10 classes of Game Changers follow in the progressive heritage of their colleagues who have been part of SBJ’s Lifetime Achievement, Champions and Forty Under 40 programs — women such as Billie Jean King, Val Ackerman and Bea Perez. 

In 2013, SBJ launched an annual one-day conference in New York City to recognize the Game Changers honorees and examine the key issues facing women in sports. Over the years, the conference became one of the most successful and dynamic events on our calendar. This year, while we will not be able to gather in person, we are conducting the conference virtually on Oct. 27, with plans to honor the 2020 class and for a full day of content and networking. 

For more information or to register for the virtual conference, visit www.game-changers-conference.com.

Our goal today remains the same as in the inaugural year of Game Changers: to honor women — some you might know, others you might be reading about for the first time — who offer new solutions, ideas and perspectives that will change the sports business in the years to come.


Introducing the 2020 class of
Game Changers: 
Women in Sports Business



President, Global Technology Solutions




Senior Director of Sponsorships




Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

National Hockey League



Chief of Staff

USA Triathlon



Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer

Turnkey Search



Vice President, Partnership Marketing




Director of Athletics and Recreation

University of Pennsylvania



Senior Vice President, Talent and Culture

Major League Soccer



Vice President of Business Strategy and Management

Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum



General Counsel

New York Red Bulls



Senior Vice President of Championships




Senior Vice President, Media




Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel – IP




Chief Financial Officer, NBC Sports Group




President, SeatGeek Enterprise




Director, Sports Marketing

PepsiCo Beverages North America



Founding Member and Attorney

Apollo Sports & Entertainment Law Group



Chief Growth Officer

Athletes First Partners



Senior Vice President, Production and Content Strategy




Senior Vice President and Head of Basketball Marketing

Excel Sports Management



Chief of Staff

CAA Sports



Sports Consulting Lead

Deloitte Consulting



Vice President of Community Affairs and Engagement

Los Angeles Rams



Senior Associate Athletics Director for Administration and Senior Woman Administrator

University of Wyoming



Executive Vice President and Spectrum Center General Manager

Hornets Sports & Entertainment



Vice President, Player Agent




Founder and Commissioner

National Women’s Hockey League



Chief Executive Officer and Founder




Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer

Miami Heat and AmericanAirlines Arena



Chief Financial Officer, Philadelphia Flyers and Wells Fargo Center

Comcast Spectacor



Sports Agent and Attorney

Young Money APAA Sports



Senior Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion

National Basketball Association



Senior Vice President, Broadcasting

Major League Baseball



Senior Vice President of Marketing

Golden State Warriors and Chase Center



Senior Project Designer

Generator Studio



Director, Diversity and Inclusion

Minor League Baseball



Director, Brand Partnerships and Amplification




Chief Executive Officer

Women Leaders in College Sports



Executive Vice President, Global Insights




Chief Revenue Officer

Bleacher Report



Vice President, External Affairs and Community Relations

Los Angeles Dodgers 



Director, Traffic, Broadcast Operations

CBS Sports



Chief People and Culture Officer

Learfield IMG College



President, UK Sports and Campus Marketing

JMI Sports



Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer

National Football League



Senior Vice President, Merchandising and Planning

PGA Tour Superstore



Chief Strategic Retail Officer




Assistant Vice President, Sponsorships and Experiential Marketing




Vice President, Properties

CSM Sport & Entertainment



Chief Revenue Officer

Houston Dynamo, Houston Dash and BBVA Stadium

Legends to Lead the Redesign of Army’s Classic Stadium

Via SportsBusiness Journal

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point has signed Legends to handle sales and marketing of what’s expected to be a $100 million modernization of historic Michie Stadium.

The 96-year-old stadium has long represented what’s good about college football. The cadets, the setting along the waterfront, the awe-inspiring flyovers and the history combine to make an Army home game one of the sport’s bucket-list events.

If there was one shortcoming, however, it’s that Michie Stadium lacked most of the revenue-generating features, namely premium seating, that have become common in college athletics. The stadium renovation will largely rebuild the East stands along the Lusk Reservoir and create premium spaces for more than 2,000 fans with majestic views of the lake and the Hudson River in the distance.

Legends will take the lead on creating new premium experiences for Army fans while also tapping into the corporate hospitality opportunities that exist in the immediate area as well as in nearby New York City.

Mike Buddie, who is entering his second year as Army’s athletic director, projects that the new premium spaces could generate $3 million to $4 million annually in new revenue.

Mike Behan, Legends’ vice president for collegiate partnerships, has been talking to Army about the project since last year, and Legends recently completed a market analysis to identify the revenue potential.

“The opportunity to go to a game at West Point is really unique, but once you get in there, the hospitality options are very limited,” Behan said. “So this is a chance to become more relevant in that space. They’ll now have a hospitality platform to build stronger relationships with local businesses in addition to West Point fans.”

Army is in the fundraising stage of what it’s calling the Michie Stadium Preservation Project, which will totally renovate the East side. Philadelphia-based firm EwingCole is leading the design.

Within the updates, with a goal of completion for the  2024 season, will come a full complement of new premium spaces, including suites, club seats, loge boxes and ledge seating. Legends’ comprehensive deal with Army goes beyond the sales strategy and planning. The 12-year-old agency also will create a year-round hospitality and event program that will provide corporate opportunities to be on campus and experience different elements of the U.S. Military Academy that would fit into leadership retreats or team building.

“We’ve been compared to Wrigley Field, in terms of offering this timeless experience,” Buddie said.

Legends in the college space has selectively worked on blue-chip projects like event planning and sales strategy for stadium renovations at the Rose Bowl and Notre Dame.

Army represents another historically relevant challenge.

“We’re a national treasure, but we’re also a college campus,” Buddie said. “We’re balancing the need to provide an upgraded experience with what’s sacred. We think this design plan will do that.”

Real Madrid teams up with Legends for overhaul of retail business

Via SportBusiness

Real Madrid has announced that it has entered into a new partnership with US-based merchandise solutions provider Legends, which will oversee and manage Los Blancos’ retail business as the club looks to boost its revenues.

The appointment of Legends is part of a wider revamp of Real Madrid’s retail and digital strategy, and will involve the relaunch of three official club stores in Madrid, a brand new online store, and a new flagship megastore on the site of the side’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.

The stadium is currently undergoing a $590m (€525m) renovation, and the launch of the new club store will come as part of the venue’s reopening next season. Legends has outlined plans to open an interim store on the site until the new megastore is completed, saying that further details will be released in the coming weeks.

The official club stores in Barcelona and Mexico City will also be relaunched.

Legends says it will provide an “omnichannel” retail programme for the club, leveraging its expertise in merchandising, sales, partnerships, planning, technology and hospitality to boost merchandise and retail revenues. The new e-commerce platform will launch this week in eight different languages as Real Madrid looks to greater capitalise on its global popularity.

In 2019, Forbes valued Real Madrid at $4.24bn, making it the world’s most valuable football team, in a year in which the club was also ranked as the world’s most-followed football side on social media. The club itself claims that its official website is the most-visited football team homepage on the internet.

Despite this, Real Madrid has struggled to maximise its revenue potential from retail and merchandise. Its revenue from store sales, which includes online and in-store purchases, stood at €24.3m for the 2018-19 season, the most recent for which figures are available, slightly down on the figure of €26.5m in the previous campaign. By contrast, Manchester United claimed retail and merchandising revenues of £102m for 2018-19, while for the same period, Real Madrid’s Spanish rivals Barcelona listed turnover of €61.5m for its wholly-owned Barça Licensing & Merchandising subsidiary.

Legends has worked in an advisory capacity with Real Madrid since 2018, and replaces licensed sports merchandise company Fanatics as the club’s retail partner. Fanatics took up that position after acquiring Global Merchandising, previously a subsidiary of Real Madrid’s long-standing kit provider Adidas, in 2019. At that time, Real Madrid renegotiated its agreements with Fanatics, and regained control over its own retail operations on June 30 this year, leaving it free to sign the new partnership with Legends.

Legends is part-owned by Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees and the National Football League side the Dallas Cowboys – the only two sporting properties in the world valued higher than Real Madrid by Forbes.

Legends Introduces Community & Social Impact Circles

Over the past several weeks we have all witnessed the heartbreaking acts of racial inequality and injustice that have taken place in our country including the death of George Floyd at the hands of those who took an oath to serve and protect. This unfortunately is not new, for black people and people of color these unconscionable acts are all too familiar. We have heard the cries for change and accountability, and we stand with the black community in the movement and push to ensure that black lives matter. We don’t have all the answers, but we will seek to have the important conversations with our internal team members and our community and take action.

As an extension of Legends’ Diversity & Inclusion platform, this week we’ve launched our Community & Social Impact Circles, an internal program designed to harness the power of our team members’ collective voices and our platform to create change in the communities in which we work and live.

These circles are smaller format discussions that will provide all of our team members with a safe space to share and learn together and have the difficult and much-needed conversations about what is happening in society and throughout our communities. Additionally, one-to-one engagement with the Legends Diversity & Inclusion Team and Executive Team is available for all members, with a Legends Day of Service in the works.

From top to bottom, we’re committed to participating in these important conversations and initiatives as we contribute our collective resources for positive change and unity.

Legends rolls out hygiene and safety consultancy services

Via SportsBusiness Journal


Legends is adding a venue safety consultancy to its suite of hospitality, concessions, project management and merchandise sales services.


It’s the latest move in the sports venue industry to expand hygiene programs and provide best practices to ease the concerns of fans and employees once they are allowed to return to live events.


The Legends Venue Reintegration Platform offers the company’s clients and the sports industry as a whole a comprehensive program that will help protect guests and employees, said Legends President and CEO Shervin Mirhashemi. Legends will offer the same program to nonsports facilities such as office and retail buildings, and attractions.


Along with medical and government experts, Legends’ platform will bring in hospital-grade hygiene experts, professional vendors and operational expertise to assess a venue’s readiness to host fans and other guests.


Advisory partners include representatives from the International Association of Venue Managers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some of the assessment partners include Venue Solutions Group, Environmental Infection Prevention and CrowdRx. On the cashless and contactless payment front,  vendors include FreedomPay, Square, Ingenico, Clover, Apply Pay, Google Pay, Tap to Pay, Zippin, ReadyCredit, Tapin2 and Appetize.


The move to develop structure and resources across venue safety has understandably accelerated in the past eight weeks. Tim Leiweke’s Oak View Group has plans for a new division to make certain that venues are sanitized properly. ASM Global also has launched a similar initiative and the Houston Texans have posted a position for a facility hygiene coordinator.


The Legends platform has two phases. 


“There’s an initial assessment and planning portion, which we call phase one of the analysis, that’s a two-to-four week process, which is very customized and involves over 150 checklist items to assess and ultimately provide a plan of what that venue or event needs to safely conduct business in this new COVID environment,” Mirhashemi said. “The second phase is based on those recommendations, we have solutions with various different vendor options, with different paths that will address each one of those over 150 checklist items.”


Mirhashemi noted the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees — which own Legends — were using the platform in preparation for the eventual return of live sports. He said Legends will charge a one time consulting fee that will be customized for the specific client. 


Some of the hypothetical recommendations Legends may make include providing branded personal protective equipment to fans, a revised ticketing and manifest process, a policy addressing season-ticket holders if venues have to reduce capacity, a plan for a contactless and cashless environment, an app-managed safety checklist for employees, and revised food and beverage and merchandising operations.

“We’re addressing that entire journey, for both the employee as well as the fan, from the time they leave their home, to the time they return, which includes egress, ingress changes to the event and venue, and new hospital-grade cleaning and hygiene options on how they need to go about cleaning that venue or that event,” Mirhashemi said.

New Images Revealed For Landmark Gateshead Quays Scheme

via Insider Media

New images have been revealed for the landmark Gateshead Quays scheme as Ask:PATRIZIA submit full proposals for the £260m plan.

The 80,000 sq ft development, which will host international conferences and exhibitions as well as music and cultural events, is situated on the NewcastleGateshead Quayside, directly in front the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

The scheme will include a 12,500-capacity arena, an international conference and exhibition centre, a dual branded hotel, restaurants, and extensive areas of public realm.

It is expected to add more than 1,000 jobs and £29 million GVA per annum to the regional economy.  The council will be submitting a planning application later this year for a multi-storey car park on Baltic Quarter to service the development.

Ask:PATRIZIA is a joint venture between Ask Real Estate and PATRIZIA AG, the pan-European real estate investment partner, for the development of Gateshead Quayside.

Global architect, HOK is designing the overall masterplan for the site, with the project team also including Legends International, Lichfields, Gardiner and Theobald, QS, ARUP, M&E and Vectos.

John Hughes, managing director of Ask Real Estate, said: “We have undertaken a  programme of public consultation with local stakeholders and neighbours which has informed our plans for Gateshead Quays and we are pleased that we are now able to take this through to the final stage of the planning process.

“Our appointed contractors Sir Robert McAlpine have been engaging with the technical teams and with the arena operator ASM Global and we have signed-off stage 2 designs for what will be a world-class events destination.

“We are hopeful that the scheme will achieve full planning consent later this year and look forward to delivering this superb facility for the North East as soon as possible.”

The hotel operator is expected to be revealed in the coming weeks and the new complex is set to open 2023.

Legends’ Community Efforts Around COVID-19

As the world has changed since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March, Legends has worked closely with partners to give back to communities in need.

Legends has donated tens of thousands of pounds of food to nonprofits, food banks, and other community partners. Additionally, Legends has donated merchandise, masks, supplies, and hygiene kits to various organisations in need. In support of game-day workers and other seasonal employees whose jobs have been impacted, Legends has made significant contributions to various funds that assist these staff members.



Browns launch ‘Hats Off to Our Heroes’ Fund to benefit COVID-19 community leaders

Via ClevelandBrowns.com



The Browns today launched the “Hats Off to Our Heroes” Fund, which will focus on aiding health care professionals, first responders, educational professionals and other groups who are pivotal in the community year round and are valiantly serving as role models in the face of significant adversity due to COVID-19.


For a significant period of time, the Browns will commit 100 percent of the team’s net proceeds from 2020 Browns jersey sales at FirstEnergy Stadium’s Pro Shop, in partnership with Legends, and online through Fanatics to the “Hats Off To Our Heroes” Fund beginning Wednesday, April 15, when the team will share its new uniforms on ClevelandBrowns.com and its social media platforms.


“When finalizing our uniform announcement, we realized we had an incredible opportunity to further our support of heroes battling COVID-19 on the front lines for our entire community,” said Executive Vice President JW Johnson. “We hope the excitement surrounding the new uniforms can help make a significant impact through the ‘Hats Off to Our Heroes’ Fund, and we greatly appreciate the support from our fans, retail partners and team to make this special way to give back to those leaders possible.”


In addition, team members, partners and fans can contribute directly to the “Hats Off to Our Heroes” Fund at www.clevelandbrowns.com/COVID-19, which also features community resources and information relevant to coronavirus.


An extension of the “Hats Off to Our Heroes” Honor Row hosted during all Browns home games, the team is recognizing and assisting COVID-19 heroes by supporting those who have selflessly taken on burdens in their personal and professional lives to benefit the community. The “Hats Off to Our Heroes” Honor Row program was created following the 9/11 tragedy to salute service members and first responders in the local community.


Since April 2017, the team has donated 100 percent of its net proceeds from all sales within the stadium’s Pro Shop to benefit Browns Give Back’s commitment to education and youth football.


Fans who purchase a new jersey directly from the FirstEnergy Pro Shop will also receive a 30 percent coupon by mail for future use at the location once it reopens (full details to be listed on coupon). To place an order from the FirstEnergy Stadium Pro Shop, call 440-824-3427 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Monday-Friday. The Pro Shop will also host special call-in hours this week from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Wednesday (April 15) and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday (April 18-19). In-store purchases are currently unavailable in adherence to all policies and social distancing best practices related to COVID-19.

FC Dallas & Toyota Partner To Feed North Texas Volunteers

via FC Dallas

FC Dallas and Toyota are taking care of those who are taking care of the community by delivering meals to the volunteers at Frisco FastPacs, an organization that provides meals for students in the Frisco Independent School District today.

The donated meals were originally intended for upcoming FC Dallas matches at Toyota Stadium. Because of the suspension of MLS play and the growing need for resources and volunteers, FC Dallas and Toyota recognized the need to help the volunteers who are providing such a vital service in our community. Legends Hospitality chefs worked to prepare and package the meals.

“We’re proud to work with Legends Hospitality and the food and beverage team at Toyota Stadium to provide these meals to the volunteers who are tirelessly working to ensure that FISD students do not go hungry during this unprecedented time,” said FC Dallas Foundation Manager Brooke Leverette.

Frisco FastPacs is a service that delivers weekend meals to all 72 Frisco Independent School District campuses, serving more than 1,000 children, to ensure they do not go hungry when school is not in session. Following FISD’s response to extend spring break until Friday, March 20 due to COVID-19, Frisco FastPacs is currently working with the district and Lovepacs Frisco to provide meals to those students in need at six different middle schools.

“Mr. Rogers always said that in scary times, we should look for the helpers,” said Frisco Fastpacs Executive Director Heather Canterbury. “Our Fastpacs volunteers have stepped up unbelievably to be those helpers in in this crisis. To have FC Dallas and Toyota take care of our people so they can keep taking care of these kids means everything.”

LAFC Teams With Partners To Donate Food To Local Charity


LAFC is continuing to be a force for good in the community during a difficult time. On Tuesday, the Club teamed with partners Legends and the LAFC Foundation to donate fresh fruits and vegetables to local community partner Union Rescue Mission.

“We wanted to support our local community during this time of hardship and need,” said LAFC Director of Community Relations Aida Morrow. “Union Rescue Mission focuses on helping men, women, and children experiencing homelessness. As a force for good in our local community, we wanted to align with an organization that is working to make a difference in our city.”

The food donated to the mission was originally purchased for LAFC’s upcoming matches at Banc of California Stadium. Due to the suspension of the MLS season and the urgent need for such supplies, the Club and its partners felt donating the perishable goods would be the greatest help to the surrounding community.

“Union Rescue Mission is based in downtown LA and speaks true of LAFC’s goal to positively impact the heart of Los Angeles,” Morrow said. “Throughout our growing partnership, LAFC has donated food and clothing, served food at URM’s events, and thrown a holiday party for their residents.

“We want to continue that partnership with the help of Legends and the LAFC Foundation by supporting Union Rescue Mission’s ongoing efforts to care for the homeless population in and around downtown Los Angeles.”

For more information on Union Rescue Mission and how you can help, visit www.urm.org. And for more community information, including the latest COVID-19 news, tips to stay safe, and updates from state and local officials, go to publichealth.lacounty.gov or bookmark lafc.com/covid-19.

Legends sets up Global Partnerships division led by Hibbs

Article via SportBusiness

US-based sport and entertainment agency Legends has created a global partnerships division led by industry veteran Chris Hibbs, president of the new unit.

Legends Global Partnerships will offer consulting services in areas such as naming rights and venue entitlement positions, jersey sponsorships, premier events, emerging entertainment platforms, universities, and mixed-use real estate developments.

Hibbs, who joined Legends in 2016, most recently served as chief commercial officer for Legends’ representation of SoFi Stadium – the future home of the National Football League’s Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angeles Rams – and Hollywood Park. Legends and Hibbs will continue to work on the project into early 2021. SoFi Stadium will open July 2020.

Hibbs said: “Legends’ experience with recent partnership executions at SoFi Stadium, Banc of California Stadium/LAFC, and Allegiant Stadium are a good preview of where we see this division headed.”

The new division includes existing Legends personnel such as senior vice-president Matt Pope, who will help lead the global partnership portfolio, with an emphasis on US Olympic & Paralympic Properties (USOPP) – the commercial joint venture between the LA 2028 Organising Committee and the US Olympic Committee.

Senior vice-presidents Doug Smoyer and Jamie Guin, formerly of the Legends Global Sales team, will lead the east and central partnerships teams, respectively. Kristen Condo has been promoted from the global sales unit into the new role of director. Ben Martin, Legends vice-president, EMEA, will lead partnership efforts  from London.

Last month, Legends and LA28 announced the appointment of Katy Chambers Mollica as the head of partnership sales USOPP.  Mollica will lead sales efforts for the LA 2028 and Team USA properties for the Legends Global Partnerships team, as part of Legends’ sponsorship representation of LA 2028.

Legends’ services now span six divisions operating worldwide: Global Partnerships, Global Planning, Global Sales, Hospitality, Global Merchandise, and Global Technology Solutions.

MGM Resorts Pledges ‘Unique Experiences’ Through Allegiant Stadium Deal

Article via TheStadiumBusiness

MGM Resorts International has said it will create “unique and world-class entertainment experiences” for Allegiant Stadium after signing on as the latest founding partner for the new home of NFL American football franchise the Las Vegas Raiders.

The global entertainment company will also serve as the official gaming partner of the Raiders and the official home of the team’s pre- and post-game party. MGM Resorts will have prominent signage throughout Allegiant Stadium year-round, including in-stadium branding and naming rights to the west VIP entry and drop off zone.

The partnership features entitlement of the MGM Club at Allegiant Stadium, an ultra-exclusive experience with a full-service premium bar, luxury lounge and upgraded stadium seating for game-viewing. MGM Resorts will provide exclusive fan experiences before and after Raiders home games throughout its portfolio of resorts.

MGM Resorts and the Raiders said they are also committed to collaborating on community outreach programs benefiting Southern Nevada. MGM Resorts chairman and CEO, Jim Murren, said: “Las Vegas is becoming one of the top sports destinations in the world, and this partnership is a natural fit of culture and vision. Together, we look forward to creating unique and world-class entertainment experiences for our guests and Raiders fans.”

Raiders president Marc Badain added: “MGM Resorts is an institution in the gaming and hospitality industry and the activations they have planned for Raider games and all events at Allegiant Stadium will bring their best-in-class expertise to the entertainment experience.”

Legends Global Partnerships represented the Raiders to secure the founding partnership with MGM Resorts as a part of their duties as the stadium’s official premium ticketing and sponsorships agency. Desert Ford Dealers and San Manuel Casino were named as founding partners of Allegiant Stadium in November and October, respectively. Las Vegas-based travel company Allegiant signed up as the naming-rights sponsor of the stadium in August.

It was revealed last week that the Raiders had sold all available personal seat licenses (PSLs) for their move to Allegiant Stadium, generating $228m (£174.7m/€205.2m) more than was originally projected. Stadium officials also maintained the new 65,000-seat venue will open on time on July 31 amid concerns over its roof.

Legends brings in Denise Taylor to run new technology division, plus more

Article via SportsPro


Hospitality, sales and experiential agency Legends has confirmed the appointment of Denise Taylor to lead its new global technology solutions division after as president.


Taylor was previously global chief information officer for premier shopping centre owner Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW). In her new role, she will oversee EDGE Experiential, Legends’ technology joint venture with Productive Edge and also focus on strategic direction, guest-facing technology and business development opportunities.


The new technology solutions division as a whole will serve Legends’ new and existing partners, focussing on data analytics, revenue generation strategies, in-venue technology design, digital and mobile solutions and technology consulting.


“Legends has a tremendous opportunity to further integrate technology into our client solutions,” said Taylor. “Our new division will focus on developing innovative strategies and utilising technology to create new business opportunities, enhance the guest experience, add value, and create solutions for partners across all of our verticals.”

Legends International Hires UK-Based Global Planning Director

Article via Sports Industry Group

Legends International has appointed Richard Seymour as Global Planning Director.

The former Head of Consulting, UK and Ireland, Nielsen, will work alongside Legends International SVP, Global Planning Richard Cheesman to manage the agency’s feasibility, data analytics and business planning.

The London-based international arm of the US agency, which develops and delivers commercial platforms for sports and leisure experiences, has worked on projects such as the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium as well as with Liverpool, Manchester City, Barcelona and Real Madrid. Away from sport, it has also produced work such as The View from the Shard, the viewing deck of London’s tallest building.

Discussing his appointment, Seymour said: “I am tremendously excited to be joining Legends International and delivering best-in-class services to businesses in the sports, entertainment and attractions space as well as Legends International’s growing portfolio of long-term clients.

“Their clients are a who’s who of the greatest names in sport and I am delighted to be given the opportunity to join their fantastic team.”

Cheesman added: “Since the acquisition of International Stadia Group in 2016, the feasibility and business planning offering has more than doubled in size and scope.

“We are working with some of the top brands and teams in sport and continue to help them meet their growing aspirations. Richard’s passion and deep understanding of the sports landscape fits well within the Legends International business, and he will play a key role in ensuring we best utilise the wide array of data we have to provide high-value, actionable insight for clients.

“His proven track record in growing a team and dedication to high quality analytics, output and service will be a great asset for Legends International and our clients.”

Safety design standards in sports stadia: How Green Guide 6 is applied

via Planning & Building Control Today

Martin Jennings, senior vice president at Legends International, discusses how recent changes to safety design guidance for modern sports stadia are being applied in practice

Professional sports and the stadia they are played in are developing at an increasingly rapid pace. Fans expect more from their experiences on match days, and quite rightly expect to be kept safe and secure.

Changing fan behaviour and the development of safety and security threats and solutions have been key reasons for new design guidelines to be published for safety in stadia.  All stadia must adhere to new safety guidelines if they are to be licensed for use.

Premier League and English Football League grounds are all subject to licensing from the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA). The SGSA has oversight of Local Authorities in their duties in issuing Ground Safety Certificates and they also publish the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (more commonly known as the Green Guide).

Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds – the Green Guide

The Green Guide was revised in November 2018 to its sixth edition, which came 10 years after the publication of the fifth edition. The latest version was produced following extensive consultation with industry experts and Local Authority Licensing and Building Control Officers and introduced some significant changes.

Every club must hold a Ground Safety Certificate if they operate a designated sports ground in England, Scotland or Wales that holds more than 10,000 spectators, or a Premier League or Football League ground in England and Wales that holds more than 5,000 spectators.

This certificate is issued by the Local Authority in which the stadium resides, and it sets out the safety regime for the stadium and establishes its certified capacities, based on a range of physical and safety management factors.

In addition to updating physical and safety management factor standards, the updated version also introduced guidance on safety outside stadia, establishing the term Zone Ex to refer to the ‘last mile’ of the approach to a stadium by fans on their journey to watch a match.

Changes to stadium design standards

A year after its publication, the application of the guide to new and renovated stadium projects is becoming clear.

The majority of changes to stadium design standards have been welcomed, including the acknowledgement of the value of computer simulation crowd modelling in stadium design safety rather than outdated static calculation methods based on physical dimensions.

The introduction of rail seating is another architectural consideration that the new guide covers. It refers to seats that can improve safety where fans persistently stand on all-seated terraces and have successfully been installed by Tottenham Hotspur, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Glasgow Rangers and Wycombe Wanderers.

However, there are some areas where the new guide needs greater clarity, for example, the limitation of no more than 40 rows of seats being served by a radial gangway, which does not take account of where the vomitory that serves that gangway is placed on the terrace.  If the vomitory is at the very front of the terrace then a fan would have to climb a gangway of 40 rows to get to the back row, but if the vomitory is placed halfway up the terrace, the maximum gangway climb reduces to 20 rows.

The new guide also missed the opportunity to clarify some key design standards, such as the number of wheelchair and amenity seats that should be provided, instead referring to other published guides which lack clarity on such matters.

Although the introduction of guidance on Zone Ex is welcomed, the guide refers to its assessment and management being a ‘multi-agency’ responsibility, avoiding allocating responsibilities to the football club, Local Authority, Police and emergency services. In practice, this lack of clarity is hampering the application of the new guidance.

Stadium design and safety standards for the future

Whilst the sixth edition of the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds is not perfect, it is a substantial progression from the previous guide and positively addresses the majority of stadium design and safety standard changes over the last 10 years and in the foreseeable future.

This includes the options for Premier League and Championship clubs to consider whether safe standing should be allowed in the future (legislation banned this from those grounds following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989). However, for fan comfort and safety, my expectation is that the new rail seating solution adopted by several clubs is likely to become the de facto answer to terraces where fans persistently stand. Rail seating does not significantly increase the capacity over a fully seated stadium, but it does provide a safer environment for fans to stand.

The new guide also makes reference to the multi-use nature of sporting venues, which we see an increasing trend towards as clubs look to increase both the revenue and social value to the community that their facilities can provide. This multi-functional approach is key to the work we do for our sporting clients, where Legends becomes a trusted partner from the start of the journey in developing a new stadium or venue to its completion and operation.

Legends International’s understanding of the business model that underpins sports stadia, its technical knowledge of design and safety standards, and its operational and commercial expertise combine to provide a service for its clients, who include Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, Fulham and several major European teams.


Martin Jennings

Senior vice president

Legends International

Twitter: @thelegendsway

Do English clubs actually know their fans and what they want on a matchday?

via Off The Pitch

  • Consultants from the US, who have worked with Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Spurs, explain how they help clubs to boost their revenues.
  • A deep understanding of the needs and wants of fans and partners is the foundation of improving experiences and revenue generation on matchdays.
  • Creating differentiated offerings for fans acknowledges that not all fans are the same and can help attract a more diverse group of people to the stadium.

Many consider The US to be at the forefront of developments in the business of stadium experiences. Legends is an agency which originated in the USA and has now expanded internationally.

This article is subscription-based. To read the full article please visit Off The Pitch.

McAlpine Secures Gateshead Quays Contract

via TheStadiumBusiness

Sir Robert McAlpine has been awarded the contract to build a new £260m (€303m/$334m) waterfront conference and events destination in Gateshead, UK.

The development on Gateshead Quays will feature a 12,500-capacity arena, as well as 6,300 square metres of conference and exhibition space, two hotels, bars, restaurants, car parking and “extensive areas of public realm”.

The contract was awarded to McAlpine by Ask:Patrizia, a joint venture between Gateshead Council, Ask Real Estate and investment development manager Patrizia.

The new complex is set to open in 2023 with a full planning application expected to be submitted early next year.

“The appointment of Sir Robert McAlpine brings us a huge step closer to delivering this world class events destination for the region and we’re glad to have them on board,” Gateshead Council’s chief executive, Sheena Ramsey, said.

“This development will act as a catalyst for renewed economic growth, maximising local employment, training and supply chain opportunities. This is about being ambitious for Gateshead, we need everyone in the borough to be able to fulfil their true potential and projects like this create the conditions for them to thrive.”

Last month, ASM Global was confirmed as the venue management provider for the arena, conference and exhibition centre.

HOK is responsible for designing the complex, which will be situated on the banks of the River Tyne.

It is estimated that the development will attract up to 300,000 new visitors to the region every year, boosting the economy by up to £30m annually.

Speaking on behalf of Ask:Patrizia, John Hughes, managing director of Ask Real Estate said: “Sir Robert McAlpine has a reputation for technical excellence and delivering complex developments safely, on time and within budget. We are looking forward to working with them to see this superb facility materialise.”

How brands and clubs alike are poised to take advantage of the 5G revolution

Via SportBusiness

Florent Coulon, vice-president, sales, at Legends International, examines the possibilities of where 5G technology can take us in the way we experience sport.

The rollout of 5G technology across Europe and the US is promising to transform fan engagement, offering rights-holders new ways to monetise their assets and presenting brands with the opportunity to become part of a team’s fabric by associating themselves with in-stadium activities rather than traditional sponsorship forms.

The US is often at the forefront of in-stadia entertainment and innovation, with the likes of the NFL, NBA and MLB, putting fans at the heart of the action and interacting with them via apps and offering special perks to those in attendance.

Approximately half of the NFL teams are currently deploying 5G in some capacity, but it remains in the early stages and often only certain parts of the venues can access the network.

Though changing rapidly, the market is still quite immature in the UK and Europe, with fans often spending little time inside stadia before or after the match. Reports have suggested that elite football clubs across Europe are working with network providers to see how they can utilise 5G in the long-term.

It is German Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg, however, who are setting the trend in Europe. Currently in the process of trialling their 5G app, Wolfsburg are focused on putting fans at the heart of the game and providing them with in-game features such as enhanced match statistics and player performance data.

With broadcast and over-the-top media providers giving fans at home in-depth coverage of every aspect of the matchday, teams need to give spectators a reason to attend the match and 5G will undoubtedly work alongside virtual reality and augmented reality to add value to the overall fan experience.

As well as offering fans real-time replays and other live match incentives, 5G could also provide spectators with information and data that improves their experience around the game.

An example of this would be using the technology to guide fans towards an area of the bar where there is a smaller queue during half time or using an app that allows spectators to place an order from their seat.

This would help to reduce waiting times in venues that will in turn help stadium owners to generate more revenue.

Recent research from network provider Vodafone revealed that more than three quarters of business leaders from sports organisations see improving fan engagement – and delivering new and innovative fan experiences – as key to future success, with 5G, more than any other technology, helping to drive change and enable such experiences.

As we have seen in the NFL, it’s very likely that we will see 5G technology being widely deployed and tested in US venues initially before it is fully rolled out across Europe and other territories.

This has been a trend for a number of years now, with the US often trying out new innovations in other areas that impact the fan experience, such as the Tunnel Club Premium Seating concept that has now been replicated by football clubs such as Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham Hotspur.

Last month, the Dallas Cowboys launched their revolutionary ‘Pose with the Pros’ feature at AT&T Stadium as part of their 5G experiences for fans.

A video of fans posing to take their picture taken in the venue went viral and quickly showed the capabilities and opportunities that exist with this new technology.

Other features introduced by the Cowboys included a virtual game that involves dodging defensive robots, and an app that allows fans to record their own touchdown dance over a 3D video that looks like players are dancing right next to them.

Over time, these fan engagement activations are going to offer increased commercial opportunities for stadium owners, clubs and sponsors.

I do not think it will be long until we see brands associating their names with these experiential activations, as well as fans being rewarded with gifts and perks for unlocking certain levels or features on apps.

If you’re selling sponsorship for a stadium or a team then the introduction of 5G as part of an activation platform makes it a very compelling offer.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes to deploy 5G in UK stadia, with the majority of venues having been around for several decades and possibly unable to integrate the technology in their existing capacities.

For some fans, it is more commonplace to simply have a food and drinks experience, chat to their friends and watch the match, but if you want to appeal to different types of customers and drive attendance to your venue, then you need to look at developing elements that can be complementary to the match experience.

It will take time until we see the full extent of the capabilities that 5G will bring to stadia around the world, but the early signs have certainly been promising.

If you think of the leap from 3G to 4G technology as a day-to-day experience, then the gap has been massive, and we can now access content on our mobile devices and tablets instantly wherever we go.

As with all new technologies and innovations, I don’t think anyone can be entirely sure of where this will take us as consumers and brands, but 5G is here to stay and looks set to play an important role in shaping fan engagement over the coming years.

MLB enlists Legends to run first US retail store

via SportsPro

Major League Baseball (MLB) has announced plans to open its first permanent US retail location next summer in New York City.

The 17,000 square-foot MLB Flagship Store will be spread over two floors and located on the Avenue of the Americas in the heart of Manhattan.

The store will sell officially licensed merchandise from all 30 MLB teams and authenticated game-used memorabilia, while it will also offer unique New York City products along with customisation options.

“This new retail location in a busy area of Manhattan gives us another unique way to market our players and teams and help continue to grow the sport,” said Tony Petitti, MLB deputy commissioner, business and media.

MLB has enlisted hospitality, sales and experiential agency Legends to operate the store, while Legends Project Development has been tasked with overseeing the design and construction of the new space.

“Building an iconic retail footprint in the United States’ most dynamic city, celebrating America’s greatest pastime is a significant moment for our company,” added Legends president and chief executive Shervin Mirhashemi. “Off the strength of our deep experience in merchandise solutions, we are committed to creating an unparalleled shopping experience for baseball fans worldwide.”

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.

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.

Leicester City FC Appoint Legends International

via The Stadium Business

Legends International has been appointed by Leicester City to carry out “crucial” market research that will underpin plans for the proposed expansion of the English Premier League football club’s King Power Stadium.

The research process will establish a better understanding of supporters’ matchday routines and preferences, which will in turn assist the club in planning the development of fan-orientated facilities and services to enhance the experience for visitors.

The work will commence with supporter and consumer studies in the coming days, the club said. The multi-staged study will include all current season ticket-holders, combined with “focused market testing” to gauge interest in other possible offerings.

The club, which has upgraded its stadium lighting ahead of the start of the 2019-20 season this weekend, has long-held ambitions to increase the capacity of the 32,300-seat stadium.

“Comprehensive market research is an essential element of any development of this scale to ensure all decisions are supported by robust feedback and analysis,” the club’s chief executive, Susan Whelan, said. “We are delighted that process will now commence and will be led by the experience and expertise of Legends International.

“Rather than simply increasing capacity, our aim is to transform King Power Stadium into a world-class sporting and events destination, opening a range of options, now being explored as part of our longer-term development.

“Supporter and stakeholder insights will help us to sharpen our focus based on meaningful intelligence and will ensure that we deliver the best facilities for our fans, and for the city of Leicester.”

Legends’ sporting and events portfolio includes work commissioned by some of the biggest brands and most famous venues in the world.

Rugby World Cup taps Legends to run retail operation

via SportsPro

Experiential services agency Legends has been named the official retail partner and operator for this year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The appointment, made by the international rugby union tournament’s licensing agent IMG, will see Legends operate 73 official merchandise stores across the country.

Each of the event’s 12 host cities will have retail stores at the venues and in their respective fanzones. The stores will sell merchandise featuring all 20 participating nations, as well as exclusive memorabilia for men, women and children, and a range of official licensed products.

World Rugby, the sport’s global governing body, has also revealed that the Rugby World Cup’s flagship 1,000 square metre megastore will open in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Odakyu Park on 22nd August.

World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper said: “The official merchandising programme is a Rugby World Cup success story and the opening of the flagship store in one of the world’s iconic and busiest locations further underscores why we believe that Japan 2019 will be a very special tournament for fans as we reach the 50 days to go milestone.”

Legends chief commercial officer Nick Price added: “We are excited to engage with the Rugby World Cup organisation as the next step in the expansion of our leading event retail offerings platform. The megastore and the other 73 locations will provide fans with the most convenient, rewarding, and memorable experience at a once in a lifetime event.”

IMG secured the global licensing and merchandising rights for the 2019 and 2023 Rugby World Cups back in October 2017.

The 2019 Rugby World Cup, the first to be staged in Asia, takes place from 20th September to 2nd November.

Legends To Acquire MainGate, A Leading Event Retail & Merchandising Company

Via The Stadium Business

Legends have announced today the acquisition of MainGate LLC, the premier event retail and merchandise company. The Acquisition will Create a Robust Omni-Channel Retail and Ecommerce Platform to Streamline the Connection between Brands and Fans.

Founded more than 50 years ago, MainGate provides custom merchandise marketing solutions through event retail, team stores and e-commerce platforms. In addition, the company has custom design and production capability at its distribution center, headquartered in Indianapolis.

MainGate will integrate into Legends existing industry-leading hospitality experience division—led by veteran executive and President, Dan Smith. The focus will be on expanding Legends’ current retail merchandise business operations (pictured above) to offer partners a best-in-class experience. This full-service vertical platform including design, production, ecommerce, brand marketing, analytics, large scale live event, venue, and flagship store retail operations is built for the global stage, with base operations domestically as well as internationally.

Shervin Mirhashemi, President and CEO of Legends, said, “The MainGate acquisition represents another significant step in our ambition to build the most compelling, flexible and effective retail and e-commerce platform for our clients across the globe. MainGate’s capabilities across e-commerce, merchandising and retail event operations strategically align with our focus towards building a platform that delivers omnichannel retail services leveraging cutting-edge technology and robust data, to present our partners with the best option to successfully grow their business.”

MainGate’s current client work portfolio includes major professional sports leagues and teams across the NFL, NBA, NHL; collegiate properties and its governing body the NCAA; along with marquee motorsports names, such as National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and properties, such as International Speedway Corporation—a NASCAR property; and well-recognized media and consumer brands.

Dave Moroknek, President & CEO, MainGate stated, “Combining forces with Legends is a great opportunity for our employees, partners and customers and we look forward to bringing our shared expertise to a broader customer base where we can offer unique best-in-class services to realize their retail and merchandising needs. Through our current success with mutual clients, we are confident the market is looking for the end-to-end solution we deliver together.”

Legends expands business operations with MainGate takeover

Via SportBusiness

Experiential services agency Legends has taken a significant step to expand its business operations by taking over Indianapolis-based event retail and merchandise company MainGate LLC. Financial terms were not disclosed.

MainGate – which provides custom merchandise marketing solutions through event retail, team stores and e-commerce platforms – will integrate into Legends’ hospitality division, which manages major sports brand retail and merchandise programs and e-commerce platforms.

MainGate’s current client work portfolio includes NFL, NBA and NHL teams, college teams and governing body the NCAA, and motorsport properties such as Nascar track owner International Speedway Corporation.


Via SportsBusiness Daily

The USWNT’s World Cup win is helping U.S. Soccer’s official website to multiyear highs when it comes to merchandise sales. The USSF’s online store, operated exclusively by official retail partner Legends, saw its best day of sales on Sunday in either ’18 or ’19, and numbers are also pacing ahead the same period in ’15, when the USWNT also won the World Cup.

The top seller has been the championship T-shirts, which U.S. Soccer worked with Nike on to have available as soon as the final whistle blew. The four-star jerseys are also doing well in pre-sales and will ship later this week. USSF Head of Marketing Mike Gressle said there was more product available overall to go out immediately after the final than there was after ’15.

Gressle also pointed to the early start time of Sunday’s game providing a nice post-match window for sales. Gameday sales on the site increased 350% over what they been pacing at throughout the tournament. Online sales are beating expectations, and Gressle believes they should stay steady for the rest of this month and throughout the fall during the USWNT’s victory tour that kicks off Aug. 3.

“We’re a little different than a normal sports league because the hot market doesn’t necessarily end when the parade’s over with,” he said. “We’ll have a nice opportunity for fans to interact with the team as they play across the U.S.”

GIVE IT SOME POP: U.S. Soccer partnered with Legends on a pop-up shop in downtown Chicago that contains the largest line of U.S. Soccer merchandise anywhere. It opened at the start of the World Cup and will stay open until July 15, with championship items available this week.

In addition to providing a retail space, the pop-up shop has interactive elements like a replica USWNT foosball table and a photobooth. “Overall, you see more branding elements that provide Instagram-able moments for that Gen Z target that we’re trying to communicate with and interact with,” Gressle said.


Via SportBusiness (UK)

Last month’s MLB London Series generated higher per-capita revenues than any other MLB international game, SportBusiness has learned.

Speaking at the SportBusiness Decision Makers Summit in London, Andrew Hampel, president of Legends International, said the two-day series between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees was an unprecedented success in revenue terms, helping to underscore London’s reputation as a world-class host city.

Over 138,000 fans filled the London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Park for the two sold-out matches, with roughly 30 per cent of fans traveling from the US and 70 per cent being local.


Hampel, whose Legends International held the retail concession for the series, praised the MLB for transforming the London Stadium into an authentic American ballpark, helping to drive revenues across the board.

“It was phenomenal, it felt like an American ballpark,” said Hampel. “You can’t just pick up a baseball diamond, with its physical size and sightlines, and plonk it down in any football ground.

“It worked at the London Stadium for precisely the same reason that it doesn’t work for football, because it’s got the physical size to accommodate it.

“Did it work for baseball? – absolutely. They did a brilliant job of bringing baseball to London.”

Hampel said he expects the MLB to return to London beyond its two-year spell at the London Stadium, following in the footsteps of the NFL. Though he warned that the MLB may struggle to export itself to other markets.

“As a platform it’s great, but they’ve got some real logistical issues about where they can take the sport.”


Via Washington Business Journal

The Observation Deck at CEB Tower has a new name to reflect what it is.

The View of D.C., as it is now called, remains the tallest destination inside the Beltway that is open to the public — until the Washington Monument reopens, likely in August. The Rosslyn observation deck offers unobstructed views of Greater Washington, from the nearby National Mall to the farthest reaches of the suburbs.

Graham Dunn, The View of D.C. general manager, said in a statement the formerly named CEB Tower has been rebranded as Central Place Tower, so “we felt it was the ideal time to refine our brand to better define and simplify the signature experience we provide.” CEB is now a subsidiary of Gartner Inc., but building owner JBG Smith Properties (NYSE: JBGS) apparently opted not to rename the 390-foot tower after Gartner (NYSE: IT).

The observation deck experience includes HoverDC, a simulated flight over the area, a bar, and weekly programming like yoga, food and beverage tastings, brunches and happy hours. The 12,000-square-foot attraction opened in June 2018 on the 31st and 32nd floors of the building.CEB

Tickets range from $21, if acquired online, for general admission, to $28 for admission with a glass of champagne, $10 for happy hours and $49 for weekend family four packs.


Via Associated Press

The stadium that will house Los Angeles’ NFL teams has reached another milestone with its opening less than 16 months away.

Officials with LA Stadium at Hollywood Park and representatives from the Rams and Chargers held a ceremony Monday to celebrate the completion last week of the outer shell for the canopy that sits above the stadium’s seating bowl, Champions Plaza and performance venue.

The steel roof shell is one of three parts of the canopy. The other two parts are the cables to keep the roof and suspended Oculus scoreboard in place and a single layer of ETFE (Ethylene Tetrafluorethylene), which is a lightweight and transparent plastic. It was also used to construct the roof of US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, which hosted the 2018 Super Bowl and this year’s Final Four.

“Each time we come here it gets more and more real,” Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff said. “When the NFL envisioned coming back to Los Angeles, this is what they had in mind — a two-team iconic stadium that anchors a sports and entertainment district.”

LA Sports and Entertainment District managing director Jason Gannon said the stadium is two-thirds complete. When it opens, the stadium will measure more than 3 million square feet and will be the largest in the NFL.

“I’ve seen a lot of NFL stadiums, but this is the largest. It’s grand but it’s befitting of Los Angeles,” said A.G. Spanos, the Chargers’ president of business operations. “You need a stadium to match the city.”

The seating capacity will be 70,240 but can be expanded to 100,000 for major events. It is already slated to host the Super Bowl in 2022, the College Football Playoff title game in 2023 and the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2028 Summer Olympics.

The Chargers have one more year at Dignity Health Sports Park and the Rams are going into their final season at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Both teams have started to bring their staff to the construction site on a regular basis to begin planning game presentation and other details.


Via SportsBusiness Daily

Eric Sudol grew up in a town of 1,500 in the cornfields of Iowa, part of a family of teachers. He figured that was his calling when he went off to a tiny college in the state.

In one way, Sudol did become a teacher, teaching sales to his staff, first at the Memphis Grizzlies and now at the Dallas Cowboys and Legends, where he sells sponsorships for AT&T Stadium, The Star in Frisco, Texas, and the under-construction Raiders stadium in Las Vegas.

“I always tell our sales team, it’s the last three to five minutes” of a pitch that is most important, he said. Why? Because that’s when the salesperson should detect red flags and know whether it’s worth pursuing the prospect.

“A lot of salespeople fall for the false prisoner of hope,” Sudol said. Sales reps can get taken in by the flash of a project and not see caution in the responses that might not make follow-ups worthwhile. A lot of time is wasted on those follow-ups, he explained. “I have a lot of comfort in letting go.”

Sudol quickly let go of his plans to teach when he was exposed to college. A five-sport athlete in high school, he decided sports business was for him. Coming from small-town Iowa, that could mean one thing: becoming the athletic director of the University of Iowa.

He enrolled in a sports management program at Ohio University, and like undergraduate school before, it similarly opened his eyes to more jobs in sports business than just Iowa’s AD.

He cold-called the Grizzlies because of the high concentration of Ohio graduates there and secured a summer internship. The team hired him soon after and he’s been selling ever since.

Sudol doesn’t rule out one day returning to Iowa, but for now, he has some sales prospects to go meet — and just maybe not call back.

The Big Spur: Gamecocks Going Extra Mile To Enhance Fan Experience

Via The Big Spur/247Sports

The South Carolina athletics department announced last month that it is partnering with Legends, a group that specializes in planning, sales and hospitality with an emphasis in the realm of sports, to enhance the fan experience at Williams-Brice Stadium.

The first step was a survey asking for feedback to guide long-term decision-making for the future at the 80,000-plus seat venue. The goal is to develop ideas to make attending a Gamecocks football game a more attractive investment for the average fan and beyond.

The school has already pledged $21 million in work at Williams-Brice Stadium to be completed in 2020, which will predominately provide premium upgrade opportunities.

Legends is assisting with the already planned project, and going beyond that scope to design a plan to enhance the environment in the future.

“The challenge today is bringing in people to the ballpark and creating that type of environment, and also generate revenue to support your programs,” athletics director Ray Tanner told TheBigSpur.com in a one-on-one interview.

“Legends is taking a look at (the $21 million project), plus the future to what we need to do to create a fan experience at the highest level. They’ve done some really big projects, and they’ve been contracted to take a look at Williams-Brice and things we can do to make the fan experience as good as it possibly can be.”

South Carolina is one of the few colleges to partner with a company like Legends.

The Dallas Cowboys, Manchester City, New York Yankees and Atlanta Falcons are just a few of the professional sports teams that have partnered with Legends to create case studies for their organizations. Legends is a company that has worked primarily with professional sports teams with collegiate clients including Notre Dame and Oklahoma.

“I think we probably are (going the extra mile) because nothing stays the same,” Tanner said. “You’re either moving forward or going backwards, and we want to continue to move forward. We think that our programs, as they compete in the SEC and nationally, we’re in a good place. You always want to get better, we’re in a good place, but you don’t stay there. You have to continue to make investments and resources, opportunities for student-athletes, and you’ve got your donors and fan base. It all works together. Legends is the best in the business in taking a view of things you can do going forward to create the ultimate fan experience and also generate revenue.”

One of the major pieces of contention among the fan base seems to be concessions for the average fans. Turning on the radio talk shows, clicking on message board posts and general conversation seems to indicate a lack of satisfaction with the process and quality of concessions.

Tanner has heard the complaints about concessions and while he didn’t bring in Legends specifically to address those issues, it is a topic to discuss.

“Its not directly related but is it on the list, absolutely,” Tanner said. “Points of sale, things you do and the way you handle concessions, all those things – self-serve, grab stations – you’re always looking to grow and do things. Will alcohol be a part of the future? When? Those things, you have to take a look at. It’s important to continue to make progress. You can’t stay in the same space you’re in.”

Tanner is certainly willing to admit that not everything is perfect when it comes to fan experience at Williams-Brice Stadium, and that’s why Legends is coming in to make game days for Carolina football a more enjoyable experience.

The school is going the extra mile to make sure its fans are content with their experience.

SportsBusiness Journal: Shelby Jordan Named Forty Under 40, Class Of 2019

Via SportsBusiness Journal

Shelby Jordan is an L.A. kind of guy. He grew up there and went to USC, where he played basketball.

And like other Hollywood stories, Jordan got his big break there.

“One of my dad’s good friends took me to a Lakers game, and we are sitting out on City View Terrace [restaurant] and he’s all like ‘I want to introduce you to somebody.’ It was Tim Leiweke,” said Jordan of the meeting in 2000 when he was a senior in college and realizing his basketball playing days were winding down.

After a little online research, Jordan learned that Leiweke was president and CEO of AEG at the time. “I literally peppered his assistant for the better part of three or four months. Phone calls, emails,” Jordan said.

That persistence turned into a meeting and a job with AEG.

Jordan shares a name with his father, a former NFL offensive lineman who won a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Raiders and taught him the importance of humility and how success and personal development are enabled by others.

“At the end you may accomplish something, you may do something but usually not just because of you,” he said. “Someone along the way has helped you.”

While at AEG, Jordan worked on project management, financing and development of Dignity Health Sports Park, New York’s PlayStation Theater and hotel, entertainment, residential and other components of L.A. Live.

He moved to Legends in 2017 and was a senior project manager for LAFC’s $350 million Banc of California Stadium. He has been consulting on the new $150 million Class AAA baseball stadium in Las Vegas. It’s those L.A. projects and their economic impacts that appeal to Jordan.

“I’m doing something in my own backyard,” he said. “That’s really easy to get up and get motivated on a daily basis.”



Recognised by Sports Business Journal/Daily as 2019 Power Players: The Culinary Influence, Legends is thrilled to have five culinary leaders honored for spearheading Legends’ hospitality division, which features some of the best premium experiences in all of sports and entertainment.

From the article:

“The individuals highlighted in the following pages have demonstrated a vision to deliver across the entire range of fan experience, from creative menus and dining spaces, to ease of ordering and pickup, to local sourcing of ingredients. They are executives leading some of the largest food, beverage, hospitality and fan experience companies in the industry, consultants and designers offering a fresh perspective on the sports space, and some of the most gifted chefs and experts on cuisine.”

President, Legends Hospitality Division

Regional Vice President-East

Regional Vice President-Central

Regional Vice President-West

Smith, who worked in high school as a vendor at Yankee Stadium, leads Legends’ concessions and hospitality division, which recently added Raymond James Stadium in Tampa to its client list.

Lippman introduced diverse menus to Angel Stadium in Anaheim, including themed food items after Japanese star Shohei Ohtani joined the Angels, and partnered with local ethnic eateries and food truck operators at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.

At Yankee Stadium, Porteus opened new communal areas, a wine bar and grab-n-go spaces aimed at younger fans attending games for the social experiences.

At AT&T Stadium, Nice delivers for myriad special and mega events with expansive and diverse food and beverage needs.

Regional Executive Chef

LaManna has overseen culinary and concessions and premium food operations at AT&T Stadium and helps engineer new menu items and pricing for Legends’ concessions arm. The Canadian-born chef earned high honors from the Culinary Institute of America and worked at high-end hotels including the Four Seasons in Ottawa. LaManna got his start in the food business as dishwasher at a hotel in Thunder Bay, Ontario, when he was 15.



SEATTLE, WA – MAY 07, 2018 – Sky View Observatory and Columbia Center today announced sweeping changes to the visitor experience, highlighted by an immersive elevator transformation that whisks guests 902 feet to the top of the tallest observatory in the Pacific Northwest in just 70 seconds, set to be implemented in the Summer of 2018.

Seattleites and visitors alike will now be able to enjoy direct access from the distinctive new entrance at 700 4th Avenue, one block from Sound Transit’s Pioneer Square Link Light Rail Station. A re-designed atrium featuring a grand staircase on the ground level invites guests to explore the new retail location, first-floor ticketing and queue for the elevators. From there, for the first time, guests will have a single, direct-access elevator to the 73rd floor. This new pathway bypasses the tenant elevators and offices, features a visual journey of the Pacific Northwest, and deposits guests on the threshold of Sky View’s breathtaking views.

Upon arrival, the upgraded observatory offers visitors a 360-degree full spectrum panoramic view, which includes Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainier, the Cascade Mountains, Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains, the city of Seattle and The Space Needle. The refreshed interior features new technology displays at each vantage point to tell the story of what awaits guests in the city and the region. A heightened food and beverage experience will feature craft cocktails, local beers, boutique wine and artisanal light bites.

“The innovative upgrades implemented this year only reinforce Sky View Observatory as the first essential stop upon arriving in Seattle,” said Jennifer Tucker, Sky View Observatory General Manager. “The view is unparalleled, creating the perfect vantage point to begin any visit to the Emerald City. From 902 feet, guests will discover so many interesting opportunities to explore that may never have been noticed otherwise.”

Sky View Observatory is still open for visitors every day from 10 AM to 8 PM. While the transformation process is on-going, guests can access the observatory through the 5th Avenue entrance and the elevators in the main lobby of Columbia Center.

The building was designed by architect Chester Lindsey and is currently managed by Urban Renaissance Group., Inc. Sky View Observatory operation managed by Legends.


Located on the 73rd floor of Columbia Center, Sky View Observatory features 360-degree views of Seattle and the surrounding region. Open seven days a week, this observatory sits at a height of over 900 feet. 

SkyRise Miami and Legends Announce Development and Investment Partnership

Renowned Hospitality Company to Assist in Design and to Operate the Highly Anticipated  Iconic Structure Deemed “Symbol of the New Miami”

Upon completion, SkyRise Miami to stand 1,000 feet tall on the shores of Biscayne Bay and offer unique guest experiences, including observatory space, thrill rides, family attractions and dining options

Miami — June 27, 2016 — Legends, the premier sports and entertainment company, today announced that it will help design and operate SkyRise Miami, the highly anticipated, 1,000 foot tall vertical entertainment observation tower currently planned on the shore of Biscayne Bay.

SkyRise Miami was conceptualized by developer Jeff Berkowitz and  will stand as Florida’s tallest building and the country’s southernmost observation tower.  Upon expected completion in 2020, it will offer guests a multitude of entertainment options, including multiple observation venues, interactive exhibits, thrill rides, family attractions and dining options.

Legends, owned by the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys, will be responsible for the overall development and operation of the SkyRise experience, creating innovative guest interactions and food & beverage offerings, executing marketing, programming and sales strategies, and overseeing day-to-day management of the distinctive vertical attraction.

“We are honored to partner with and invest in SkyRise Miami, an innovative, state-of-the-art space considered by many to represent a ‘symbol of the New Miami,’ said Shervin Mirhashemi, President of Legends. “As the SkyRise structure takes its place on the city skyline, we look forward to bringing our expertise to the ongoing development, and helping to create an experience that will provide a new way for visitors to view Miami and its surrounding area.”

“We are confident that Legends, well-known for its best-in-class business acumen, will serve our project well in the years ahead,” said developer Jeff Berkowitz. “This partnership is a win-win for all involved, and we look forward to bringing a high-quality iconic attraction to the South Florida community and its millions of visitors.”

“SkyRise Miami takes everything exciting about Miami and displays it for the world to see,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “With this new landmark, Miami takes its rightful place amongst the great cities of the world.”

“Miami is already the most exciting tourist destination in the hemisphere,” said William Talbert, President of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. “SkyRise Miami will instantly become the icon the rest of the world will know us by.”

SkyRise Miami will represent the third observatory space under the direction of Legends. The company currently owns and operates One World Observatory, atop One World Trade Center in New York City, and operates OUE Skyspace, debuting in Los Angeles at the end of June.

Legends conceived, constructed and now manages the award-winning guest experience at One World Observatory, which opened in May 2015. Positioned on levels 100, 101 and 102 of  One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, the space provides guests with panoramic views of New York City’s most iconic sites from above 1,250 feet. One World features groundbreaking interactive exhibits and technology, retail and dining options, as well as a premium special events space.

Across the country from New York, Legends works with OUE Americas, owner of the US Bank Tower, on California’s tallest open-air observation deck. At OUE Skyspace LA.,  Legends is responsible for managing the guest experience that includes panoramic, 360 degree views of Los Angeles, and Skyslide, a fully enclosed glass slide perched on the exterior of the building to provide guests an “outdoor ride” from 70th floor to the 69th floor.

Super Bowl 50 generates $4.6M In Stadium Merch Sales

Read Full Article HERE

Source: Don Muret, Staff Writer

Super Bowl 50 produced a record $4.6M in merchandise sales at Levi’s Stadium, according to sources. Officials with Legends, which ran the event’s retail operation in conjunction with FMI, could not confirm the numbers, but said in addition to the in-stadium sales, they hit records in the week leading up to Super Bowl at their location outside nearby Santa Clara Convention Center. On the food and drink side, Centerplate’s total sales were $6.2M, which with the game attendance of 71,088 results in a per cap of $87.57. MetLife Stadium, host of Super Bowl XLVIII, holds the record of $94.60.

OWO to Receive Prestigious Industry Honor from the Themed Entertainment Association

One World Observatory Welcomes Its One Millionth Guest

Today we paused to appreciate a historical moment. Our One Millionth guest walked through the doors of the One World Observatory. Thank you to all who have joined us and all who plan to join us to #‎SEEFOREVER!

One World Observatory Welcomes Its One Millionth Guest

One World Observatory Welcomes Its One Millionth Guest

Today we paused to appreciate a historical moment. Our One Millionth guest walked through the doors of the One World Observatory. Thank you to all who have joined us and all who plan to join us to #‎SEEFOREVER!

Legends Retained for Sacramento Stadium Project

The parent company of USL club Sacramento Republic FC has hired Legends as project manager for the development of a soccer-specific stadium in downtown Sacramento, a project it believes is key to an MLS expansion bid.

The privately financed stadium could be ready as soon as the 2018 MLS season, pending the league awarding the city a franchise, according to sources familiar with the project.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber has stated that the 20-team league is committed to reaching 24 teams by 2020. Future teams are slated for Atlanta and Los Angeles, but ongoing stadium issues in Miami and recent developments in Minneapolis have kept the door open for Sacramento.

The possibility of the league expanding beyond 24 teams has fueled hope as well.

Dale Koger, Legends senior vice president of project development, will lead the Sacramento project.

“Our goal is to have feasibility studies, concept designs, pricing and a term sheet all completed by Q4 of this year so that there can literally be a package presented to the league that will outline the development plan,” Koger said.

The hiring of Legends represents the next step in Sacramento’s Operation Turnkey, the initiative launched this year by Mayor Kevin Johnson and by Kevin Nagle, managing partner of Republic FC owner Sac Soccer & Entertainment Holdings, to obtain an MLS team for the city.

Legends brings a degree of local expertise to the stadium effort. The company was retained by the Sacramento Kings to manage food and beverage services at the team’s new Golden 1 Center, opening in fall 2016. Legends also was retained by the San Francisco 49ers to manage the sale of premium inventory for the launch last year of Levi’s Stadium.

Both the Kings and 49ers are investors in the parent company of Republic FC.

LAFC Chooses Legends for Multiple Roles

The Los Angeles Football Club, the MLS expansion team set to begin play in 2018, has hired Legends to provide multiple services for developing the most expensive stadium project in the league’s 20-year history.

The $250 million, privately funded complex covers a 22,000-seat facility and more than 100,000 square feet of restaurants, office space, a conference center and an international soccer museum. Pending city approvals over the next several months, the star-studded ownership team — which includes Magic Johnson, Nomar and Mia Hamm Garciaparra, Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber and motivational speaker Tony Robbins — plans to build the stadium on the site of the Los Angeles Sports Arena. The targeted opening is 2018, the team’s first MLS season.

Legends, co-owned by the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees, has deals in place to serve as owner’s representative managing the project and sell premium seating for the Gensler-designed stadium. The inventory includes three levels of club seats, including field-level, and cabana-style suites with a water feature, all on the stadium’s west side. The open-air cabanas will have views to downtown Los Angeles and the peristyle at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the signature arched entrances to the seating bowl on the east side of the historic stadium, said Ron Turner, Gensler’s principal-in-charge of the project.

For Legends, the role of owner’s representative is its first big league project outside of the Cowboys’ new training center in Frisco, Texas. Fifteen months ago, Legends hired construction executive Dale Koger to expand its services to owner’s representation. (SportsBusiness Journal Feb. 17-23, 2014). In Los Angeles, the job falls in line with Legends’ goal of providing “360 degree services” for facility development and came about after the team first hired its sister company CSL International last fall, said Shervin Mirhashemi, Legends’ president and chief operating officer.

CSL, which along with Koger’s group is part of Legends Global Planning, launched a feasibility study in October to determine the best site for the stadium and conduct market research tied to premium seating.

Now that the site has been determined, CSL will send a survey in the coming weeks to potential season-ticket holders to collect information on their seating preferences. The survey will draw upon several databases for contacts, including a database compiled by MLS of past ticket buyers attending international matches in Southern California outside of LA Galaxy games at StubHub Center, said Bill Rhoda, CSL’s president. From the results of the survey, CSL will schedule focus groups to help determine the right mix of seating products, Rhoda added.

LAFC officials have not made a decision for who will lead the sales effort for the stadium project, Mirhashemi said.

Last week, after a news conference to announce the project, LAFC starting taking $50 deposits from fans interested in becoming season-ticket holders, said Tom Penn, LAFC’s co-owner and president.

“We’re at the beginning of this process,” said Penn, a former executive with three NBA teams. “We have a 10-month time frame to get the site entitled and government approvals for demolition and construction. Gensler is working its tail off on design.”

Ownership’s vision is to draw on the best of what North American soccer facilities offer, such as Sporting Kansas City’s Sporting Park and the San Jose Earthquakes’ Avaya Stadium, plus European venues such as Loftus Road, home of Queens Park Rangers, which played in the Premier League this season. QPR owner Ruben Gnanalingam is an LAFC director and owner.

The closeness of the stands to the pitch at Loftus Road, which at 18,500 seats is the same size as most MLS venues and creates a distinct home-field advantage, is one aspect the Los Angeles group wants to emulate, Rhoda said.

In addition, LAFC’s goal is to develop one of the largest supporters sections in MLS — more than 3,000 seats in the north end — to create a raucous feel and set the tone for game days, Turner said.

Those supporter groups typically vary in size depending on the stadium and opponent, MLS officials said. But they often stand and cheer for the entire game and are critical to the success of some of the better clubs in MLS such as Portland, Seattle and Sporting KC, Penn said. At LAFC, those spaces could extend to large decks overhanging the bowl to create a “thunderdome” effect, he said.

For the mixed-use component, LAFC has not made a decision whether to serve as the developer or hire a specialist in that space, Penn said.

Besides MLS games, the team will seek to book international friendly matches, concerts, food festivals and corporate events, he said.

Observation Deck at World Trade Center’s Freedom Tower to open May 29

That’s one helluva view.

The long-awaited Freedom Tower observatory at One World Trade Center is opening to the public May 29.

Housed on floors 100, 101 and 102 of the nation’s tallest skyscraper, the One World Observatory will provide panoramic views and an “unparalleled opportunity to experience New York City,” said David Checketts, head honcho at Legends, which will be running the observatory.

“From sweeping panoramic views, to innovative interactive exhibits, to world-class dining options, we expect One World Observatory to be the premier destination and attraction in New York City for both tourists and local residents.”

Bryan Stanley, 42, visiting from Baltimore, can hardly wait.

“I’d love to see the city from up on high. Where I’m from, we don’t have buildings anywhere near that tall,” Stanley told the Daily News, as he stood in the shadow of the building. “It’s historic … I love the skyline in New York, and I never had the chance to go in the original World Trade Center.”

All three levels will be outfitted with the latest interactive gizmos.

But the visit will start on the ground floor at the Global Welcome Center, which will feature greetings in dozens of languages and a world map highlighting the hometowns of what’s expected to be millions of visitors.

Guests will then be steered to a “preshow program” called “Voices” that tells the personal stories of the folks who raised One World Trade Center out of the ashes of the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks.

Then it’s off to the “Foundations” program, which goes into more detail about the building itself and its history.

Finally, visitors will board one of five “Sky Pods” — dedicated elevators — and whoosh up to the 102nd floor in less than 60 seconds.

There, passengers will head to the “See Forever Theater” for a two-minute video that “combines bird’s eye imagery, time-lapse shots with abstract textures and patterns to present the unique rhythm and pulse of New York City,” according to the press release group.

The main observatory is on the 100th floor and features a “Sky Portal” where “guests are invited to step onto a 14-foot wide circular disc that will deliver an unforgettable view, using real-time, high definition footage of the streets below,” the release states group said.

Cafes and restaurants will be on the 101st floor and the fare will range from “casual cafe fare to seated fine-dining.”

While prices will vary, admission for visitors ages 13 to 64 will be $32, children ages 6 to 12 will be $26, and kids under age 5 will be free. Seniors ages 65 and up will be charged $30.

The Observatory will be open year-round. From May 29 until Sept. 7, operating hours will be 9 a.m. until midnight, with the last ticket sold at 11:15 p.m. Non-summer operating hours are 9 a.m. until 8 p.m., which will be expanded during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

There will be special discounts for active and retired members of the military. And admission will be free for 9/11 family members as well as rescue workers who toiled on The Pit.

Live Nation, Legends Hospitality Q&A with Shervin Mirhashemi

Legends Hospitality has just signed one of the largest venue F&B contracts in history. In December, the company was awarded 34 amphitheaters under Live Nation management in a multiyear deal. Amplify caught up with Shervin Mirhashemi, president & COO of Legends, on Friday to discuss the deal.

How did this deal come about?

Mark Campana (co-president of Live Nation’s North America Concerts) is the one who got this started. They opened up F&B to an RFP process to find the best solution. He and I had an initial conversation in early 2014 — he told me about the RFP and asked if I was interested. I told him we absolutely were interested. Looking back at that conversation, it really resonated with both of us. The RFP process began in June 2014, and they made their decision in early December.

Is Legends creating a separate division to administer this contract?

Yes, we felt the amount of revenues involved here for Live Nation deserved having a dedicated structure focused on the Live Nation account. We created a dedicated team that is solely focused on Live Nation’s 34 amphitheaters across North America.

Where is the company going to be based?

It’s under the hospitality division of Legends Hospitality, which Dan Smith oversees as its president. They’ll be headquartered at our offices here in LA. Because this agreement covers all of North America, we’ll have regional teams in various locations.

Let’s talk about Legend’s vision. Amphitheater food has certainly not been great. What are some of your early plans for the sheds?

These facilities aren’t open year-round, and some of them don’t have the infrastructure for large-scale food delivery. We’re going to be really focused on developing innovative food and beverage programs, including premium services. We’re also going to look at POS systems and concepts that are a little more digital and seamless. Not only do we want to expedite service, but we also want to reach more customers over a long span of time. And the last piece is innovative technology — how do we engage with the customer and the fan earlier in the process? We want them to look at the venue as a place to hear music and to really experience something that includes a high-end, value-oriented food and beverage component. We are currently developing the programs and putting the pieces together, and we’ll roll them out over the next few months.

So this contract begins this summer concert season?

Yes, and you’ll see constant innovation as we develop this relationship from year to year. It is absolutely our intention to have many of these concepts kick off immediately. We’ll have more details as we go through this process — we’re going to look for things, like a picnic basket program, that resonate with customers around certain shows and within certain markets. We’re also going to look at grab and go, so fans can get tremendous quality and value in an expedited fashion. We’re going to look at increasing vending services, potentially in the lawn areas. There’s also a technology component — we’re looking at reaching customers in a much different way, not only from a time standpoint but also from an access standpoint. And it’s important to point out that we are creating custom experiences for the venues. We don’t want to take a concept that works in Los Angeles and roll it out across all venues. We’re going to give some flexibility to our general managers to create their own programs that work in their regions and venues.

Is this deal a contract or more of a 50-50 partnership?

This is absolutely a contract with Live Nation as the client and Legends as the concessionaire. But we have also agreed that our businesses are very complementary, and we’re going to be very strategic in how we approach the market. We’re going to look at delivering solutions together to third-party clients, and we think that this strategic relationship is going to be a real game-changer.

Legends Selling New Premium Seats in Oklahoma Renovation

The University of Oklahoma has hired Legends Global Sales to sell new premium seats tied to the $370 million renovation of Gaylord Family-OklahomaMemorial Stadium.

The project covers a mix of suites, loge boxes and club seats to be built in the south end zone and along the west sideline. The revenue generated from selling the new seats will help pay for construction costs, said Larry Naifeh, OU’s executive associate director of athletics.

Legends comes on board after its sister company CSL International consulted with the Big 12 school to help determine the appropriate number of new premium seats and their market value.

School officials spoke with other sports marketers but felt comfortable with Legends based on its relationship with CSL, Naifeh said.

Legends is responsible for selling about 14 Founders Suites; 24 smaller, traditional suites; more than 50 loge boxes; and an undetermined number of club seats. In addition, Legends will take over all season-ticket sales as part of the project.
School officials won’t release pricing on the new inventory until Populous’ drawings are complete and the university’s board of regents approves the final design in the coming weeks, Naifeh said.

But it’s safe to say the Founders Suites, the most luxurious spaces, will cost seven figures over a long-term commitment, he said. Those 18-seat units, targeted for the west sideline, are modeled after similar high-end suites at fellow Big 12 schools Baylor and TCU.

In Fort Worth, the six Founders Suites, part of a major renovation of Amon G. Carter Stadiumtwo years ago, carry terms of $15 million to be paid over five years. In Waco, new McLane Stadium’s half-dozen Founders Suites all sold for at least $10 million over 20 years.

The difference is at TCU those patrons share a 6,400-square-foot lounge outside of their private boxes. At Oklahoma, there will be ample hospitality space in a common area for 250 to 300 Founders Suite ticket holders, Naifeh said.

To give all Sooners season-ticket holders a better idea of what the new premium seats will look like, including 11,800 donors at the top of the list, Oklahoma has opened a preview center at a building across the street from campus.

OU signed a five-year lease with the owner of the building, situated on “Campus Corner,” a busy intersection in town. Inside are a mock suite and models of loge boxes and the new club seats.

Upon entering the center, season-ticket holders walk down hallways containing a historical timeline of Sooners football before encountering an image of the renovated stadium and rooms showcasing the seat models. Touch-screen technology lends to the visual effects.

OU spent about $550,000 to lease the 7,700-square-foot space and build the preview center.

Legends ultimately will have nine employees working in the preview center alongside Oklahoma’s development staffers, said Mike Ondrejko, Legends Global Sales’ chief operating officer. Tim Statezni, the agency’s on-site general manager, previously sold premium seats at Rose Bowl Stadium.

OU’s premium-seat additions are expected to open during the next two seasons.

Sporting KC Adds Legends for Food and Beverage

Sporting Kansas City has signed a five-year deal with Legends Hospitality to take over all aspects of food service at Sporting Park.

The concessionaire, co-owned by the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees, replaces Delaware North Sportservice after the MLS team mutually agreed to part ways with the food provider and American Vending, its local partner at the facility.

The decision to switch vendors four seasons after the stadium opened in 2011 was less about the American Sportservice joint venture and more about Legends’ “best-in-class” philosophy to upgrade the food operation, said Jake Reid, Sporting KC’s chief revenue officer. 
“We thought they were a good aesthetic fit in general,” Reid said. “We have five clubs in addition to concourse concessions, and they should all have a different look and feel.”

The team issued an RFP and did extensive research on food service. Sporting KC officials thought seriously about going in-house to run general concessions and premium dining, and talked to teams that run food internally, before deciding that subcontracting remained the best option.

Legends, born out of serving AT&T Stadium and Yankee Stadium, came closest to the self-operation model, Reid said.

“Ultimately, going in-house is a two- to three-year learning curve, and as a young brand and stadium, we weren’t ready to take on that responsibility,” he said.

It didn’t hurt that Reid and Mike Tomon, Legends’ president of North American sports and events, have a business relationship dating to eight years ago, when they both worked for the old Charlotte Bobcats. Tomon later went to AEG, owner of MLS’s Los Angeles Galaxy and co-owner of the Houston Dynamo, and kept in touch with Reid over the years before landing with Legends. Tomon’s ties with Reid helped open the door for Legends to begin conversations about potentially taking over the Kansas City stadium.

“We had some conversations and it became apparent they were making a switch early from Delaware North,” Tomon said. “It’s a key account for us. The value they put on the customer experience is almost obsessive.”

Legends’ on-site general manager, Harry Smith, is a holdover from Sportservice. The new food provider is in search of an executive chef and sous chefs.

Sporting KC is Legends’ second MLS account, in addition to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

Legends Making Food Part of the Show

By Linda Deckard/Venues Today

New concessions deal with Live Nation amphitheaters is about the fan experience

Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas is one of 34 Live Nation-owned and -operated amphitheaters Legends Hospitality will serve under its new concessions contract.

While the long-term plan is to shop Live Nation and Legends Hospitality services to third-party clients as a turnkey option, the immediate task is to launch new food and drink services by Legends Hospitality at 34 Live Nation amphitheaters as the season opens over the next 30-60 days.

Legends Hospitality and Live Nation struck a deal for food and drink services at those North American sheds in mid-December, finalizing the agreement just Jan. 1, said Shervin Mirhashemi, president and COO of Legends. His counterpart at Live Nation in negotiation and implementation is Mark Campana, Live Nation co-president for North America.

“He and his team were looking at a bid for their amphitheaters. He and I had a conversation. I knew him from my days at AEG,” Mirhashemi said. “Coming out of that call it seemed what they were looking for as far as concessionaire operations going forward matched with the mindset and innovation we have as a company, certainly on the hospitality side of the business.”

The process took over a year as the contract for those sheds went out to bid, said Mirhashemi, who moved over to Legends a year and a half ago from AEG. But the turnaround is just three months. He didn’t anticipate everything will be done the first season.

Legends Hospitality had an edge over the competition because it is focused on the fan experience, adding value and innovation to the operation, he added..

“We have many different facets to our company — a robust sales arm, a global planning group. On all fronts of our business we’re in the customer experience business and enhancing that customer experience,” Mirhashemi said of the deal. “Live Nation is at a point where they were looking at these venues and ways to enhance the experience, and certainly food and beverage is one of those. As we got into more details and into the weeds as to what all that meant, it came to life for all of us that what they wanted to accomplish and what our desires were a perfect complement.”


At this point, over 75 full-time people have been hired with year-round responsibility for Live Nation business. Mirhashemi said they began recruiting in mid-December and the result is a mix of Legends personnel, existing amphitheater employees and industry veterans.

Bill Wilson came on board as vice president, Live Nation Hospitality, responsible exclusively for Live Nation Business. He answers to Michael Bekolay, newly named Legends Hospitality Group COO and, ultimately, to Dan Smith, President of Legends Hospitality.

“We had a unique approach to this business. We suggested to Live Nation that these venues deserve and need year-round dedicated attention and staff,” Mirhashemi said. Legends created a dedicated structure just focused on the Live Nation Business, under the Hospitality umbrella, but 100 percent focused on Live Nation. Then four more dedicated folks responsible for clusters of amphitheaters in their region joined Wilson.

Those four regional VPs include:

·    Kevin Austin, South Eastern Regional Manager

·    Don Griffin, North Eastern Regional Manager

·    Brent Sloan, Western Regional Manager

·    Geno Svec, Central Regional Manager

Legends regional infrastructure already in place will be involved as well, but the key is the dedicated staff concentrating only on Live Nation Business, which also includes general managers and dedicated staff below them, such as finance and human resources. “Then layer in the not-for-profit groups involved with all these venues and we’re talking thousands of people,” Mirhashemi said.

“That dedicated infrastructure was hired within two weeks of Jan. 1, when we got the keys to this new car,” he added. “We put together an all-star team. All the GMs are now on board and going through the process of the transition.”

Live Nation Business will be overseen from Legends new Culver City, Calif., offices, relocated just this week from Century City. “With Live Nation assets out here, plus we have the L.A. Coliseum, Rose Bowl (Pasadena), US Bank Tower (L.A.) and Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Los Angeles and this region are very important for us,” he said.


The winning bidder promised to make food part of the show, helping create an environment where fans would come earlier and stay longer and spend more.

To “elevate the food and beverage program” Legends Hospitality Group will create diverse food offerings, like a picnic basket program and an enhanced grab-and-go market concept, Mirhashemi said. “Some concepts only fit in certain markets.”

They are also looking at increased vending services, “making sure we go out to the customers and fans so they don’t have to miss the action by coming out to the concessions area,” he continued.

They will also institute a regional chefs program where appropriate, customized to each market. There may also be a national chef program.

Enhanced POS (point of sale) offerings so fans spend less time in line so Legends has the flexibility to go out to the customer is in the works, as are VIP premium services at various levels and price points.

Innovative technology is a hallmark for Legends and “we are developing an app that can enhance the experience for the customer. We’re currently in the process of identifying what, which one, how quickly and what level,” Mirhashemi said, promising an announcement in the next few weeks.

The plan, or course, is to drive revenue. Per caps on food and drink are normally in the midteens at amphitheaters. “We can certainly increase those numbers,” he said, saying they will be setting internal goals soon. “We think you get what you pay for. The deal structure was the right deal structure on these venues. We will provide them with the opportunity to grow the pie.”


“We wouldn’t have been able to do this without this partnership approach,” Mirhashemi said. “They’ve been amazing as partners.”

Both parties have committed significant capital which will be deployed over the next several years, he said, declining to say how long or how much.

“We need enough buying power to do what these venues deserve,” he added, confirming Legends has been on a major buying spree.

The deal does not include equity in Legends for Live Nation and does not include sponsorships. Both companies have robust sponsorship sales divisions. “We don’t take our own sponsorship revenue when it comes to our venues,” Mirhashemi said. “We will identify opportunities and inventory for Live Nation and their team that can be monetized through sponsorships. We’ll bring that to the table.”

The differentiator for Legends is that “we are not just a food and beverage company. We have this robust global sales and global planning group that allows us to be involved with the life cycle of a venue from inception to opening and operating a venue,” he said. That diversity may lead to yet more Live Nation business.

It’s a game changer for Legends in that this is the firm’s first significant foray into the music side of the business. It was founded on sports, owned by the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys organizations. They dipped their toes into music festivals last year and have spent the last year and a half developing the attractions side of the business, namely One World Observatory atop the World Trade Center which opens in June in New York City and has a robust food and beverage business.

While this deal with Live Nation is transformative as a different vertical of business, it also opens new doors to other strategic ways Live Nation and Legends can work together going forward, Mirhashemi said. “The core businesses Live Nation is in, we’re not in. Strategically, we are going out to third-party opportunities in the marketplace, where we could deliver our best-in-class operations in our verticals of business – global planning, global sales and hospitality, in addition to Live Nation’s content. We could provide a real turnkey solution to third-party assets out there. We will be strategically aligned and looking at going out there and presenting together an opportunity for other third-party assets.”

It is comparable to what is happening in the venue construction business, where architects and construction companies are aligning for an initial design/build, versus the traditional design/bid/build where each entity is contracted separately.

As to third-party deals with Live Nation, sometimes the approach will be more traditional and one or the other will secure a contract and work to bring the other on board, but where opportunity presents itself, Legends and Live Nation will bring a unique, collective solution to the table, he said.

Where and when? “Within a month, we’ve identified a couple of third-party opportunities and we’ve already started having those discussions about how do we then go to market,” Mirhashemi said.

“But make no mistake about it, our focus this year certainly and going forward, we want to do a tremendous job on these 34 amphitheaters. That’s the core of what we signed up for, that’s why they chose us.”

Interviewed for this article: Shervin Mirhashemi

Legends – Puck Combo Will Handle Rose Bowl Premium Dining

By:  Don Muret/Sports Business Daily

Legends Hospitality has formed a partnership with Wolfgang Puck Catering to take over premium dining at Rose Bowl Stadium.

The five-year deal covers the Terry Donahue Pavilion, a new structure on the stadium’s west side named for the former UCLA football coach. The 55,000-square-foot addition, the centerpiece of a $181 million renovation, has 54 suites, 1,400 club seats and 48 loge boxes.

The Legends-Puck partnership, in place since July 1 but not made public until now, has worked four concerts plus the Manchester United-LA Galaxy soccer match at the venue, generating an 18 percent bump in sales compared with comparable events last summer, Legends officials said.

UCLA’s first home football game this season is Sept. 6, against Memphis. Legends replaces Bristol Farms, a local caterer.

Over the five-year term, the Legends-Puck partnership could produce about $2 million in commissions paid to the Rose Bowl Operating Co., the stadium’s management firm, said Darryl Dunn, the Rose Bowl’s general manager.

For Legends, landing the premium food piece comes more than three years after its sales division started selling premium seats for the Rose Bowl.

The relationship between Legends and Rose Bowl officials on the sales side evolved into discussions about Legends potentially running premium food, said Shervin Mirhashemi, the company’s president and COO. Legends brought Wolfgang Puck Catering on board as a partner to help win the business.

The two firms worked together on a few smaller projects last year at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, another Legends food account.

Mirhashemi is friends with Carl Schuster, Puck’s president and CEO, dating to Mirhashemi’s days working for AEG. They were talking about business in general one day, and the Rose Bowl food situation came up.

“We thought it would be interesting and fun to collaborate and we were fortunate enough to win the bid,” Mirhashemi said. “Wolfgang Puck fits perfectly within our infrastructure and the way we look at assets … trying to do things at a very high level and create a great guest experience.”

In general, Legends will run the suites while Wolfgang Puck Catering’s focus is on the club spaces, including Puck’s Tavern, branded after a similar restaurant it runs at Honda Center, home of the Anaheim Ducks.

On its own, Wolfgang Puck Catering has done corporate hospitality in the Rose Bowl parking lots and provided food service for the last three national championship parties tied to the Tournament of Roses Parade, Schuster said. In the past, it has has teamed with Levy Restaurants at sports venues; Compass Group North America owns Levy Restaurants and co-owns Wolfgang Puck Catering.

“We’ve had a history with the Rose Bowl for 15 years,” Schuster said. “It’s our home field in L.A. Our commissary is right up the street.”

In Pasadena, the deal extends to Legends-Puck helping stadium management book non-game-day functions at the Rose Bowl.

Keri Johnson, most recently employed by Legends at Yankee Stadium, is general manager of the Rose Bowl’s premium food business.

The Rose Bowl is Legends’ third food contract in Southern California, joining the Coliseum and Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

Ovations Food Services and Patina Restaurant Group were the other two finalists.

SodexoMagic, a joint venture between Sodexo and Magic Johnson Enterprises, maintains the Rose Bowl’s general concessions.

Legends, The University Of Notre Dame to Collaborate on Ticket Sales Planning And Execution

By:  Don Muret/Sports Business Daily

Notre Dame has hired Legends Global Sales to market new premium seats for the school’s $400 million expansion of Notre Dame Stadium.

The seven-year deal extends to Legends selling season tickets for men’s basketball at Joyce Center and developing premium experiences for marquee ACC matchups such as North Carolina, said Rob Kelly, Notre Dame’s assistant athletic director of ticketing and technology.

Notre Dame’s football program remains an independent, and for Legends, football is driving the project. The company’s experience selling premium seat products for the Cowboys, 49ers, Falcons and Rose Bowl Stadium tipped the scales in its favor, Kelly said.

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Yankees to Introduce New Amenities and Food Options At Yankee Stadium in 2014

The New York Yankees announced today that they will offer guests numerous new amenities, seating and food options in 2014 as part of the club’s efforts to continually improve the fan experience at Yankee Stadium. Fans are encouraged to visit www.yankees.com for more information on what Yankee Stadium has to offer.


  • Field MVP Outdoor Suite Boxes: The Yankees are proud to introduce a new concept in professional baseball seating. The 10 open-air suite boxes are located on the Field Level concourse and can accommodate between six and eight guests per suite. Catered food and staff service are provided in these suites, which are available on a full-season basis.
  • Field MVP Club Lounge: Full-season ticket licensees in Sections 116 through 124 (Rows 12-21) will have access to this newly constructed lounge, which is located on the Field Level concourse. With a 45-foot bar and a full menu, this space will open each game at the same time that Stadium gates are opened to fans.
  • Yankee Stadium Home Plate Team Store: Located on the Field Level behind home plate, this store, which is the largest apparel and merchandise location in the Stadium, has been completely renovated to provide additional checkout locations and display areas and an improved shopping experience.
  • Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar: Located outside the Delta SKY360° Suite in between the 100 and 200 Levels, this space has been redesigned to incorporate couches and lounge seating for the enjoyment of all fans. New specialty drinks, including a classic citrus mojito, hibiscus lime cooler and baja margarita, have been added to the menu.
  • Jim Beam Suite Lounge: One of the Stadium’s most popular locations has been renovated with an updated interior and improved food offerings, including Red Stag Glazed BBQ Wings. Guests who don’t want to miss any on-field action may purchase made-to-order, 3-minute pizzas. Located on the 300 Level, guests with Jim Beam Suite Lounge tickets may access this location.

Fans interested in learning more about the locations above can call the Yankees Premium Sales and Service Department at (718) 508-3955, e-mail premium@yankees.com or visit www.yankees.com/premium. Fans may also call 212-YANKEES — [212-926-5337].


  • Chicken and Waffles Cart located in the Great Hall at Gate 6.
  • Tacos and Empanadas Cart located at Section 321.
  • Sweetfrog Frozen Yogurt Stand located at Section 224.
  • Papa John’s Pizza is now a proud sponsor of the Yankees, with locations on all levels of Yankee Stadium.
  • Build Your Own Nachos, including the “Nacho Helmet” is available at Wholly Guacamole portable stands on the 200 and 300 Levels and in the Bleachers. Fans may pick their toppings in a regular-sized order of nachos or have an official plastic replica Yankees helmet filled with 12 ounces of nacho chips with their choice of toppings added.
  • Unlimited Popcorn Bucket allows fans all the popcorn they care to eat for $12 in a souvenir bucket. Sold in various locations throughout the Stadium.
  • Bacon Cheddar Stuffed Burger and Coconut Rum Glazed BBQ Smoked Ribs will be available at the Malibu Rooftop Deck on the 300 Level in right field. This area is open to all fans.
  • Fresh-Cut Fries features a platter full of fried potatoes, cut-and-fried as you order.
  • Made-to-Order, 3-Minute Pizzas will feature five different toppings. They will be available in the Jim Beam Suite Lounge and Delta SKY360° Suite.
  • Red Stag Glazed BBQ Wings will be available at the Jim Beam Suite Lounge.
  • Specialty Drinks Menu has been added to the Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar, which is located in between the 100 and 200 Levels near the home plate team store. Drinks will include a classic citrus mojito, hibiscus lime cooler and baja margarita.


  • NYY Steak Yankee Stadium, located at Gate 6, offers an upscale dining experience, including dry-aged USDA prime steaks, fresh seafood and an impressive collection of premium wines. Reservations are strongly suggested. Please call (646) 977-8325.
  • Mohegan Sun Sports Bar is located behind the glass of the center field batter’s eye. Sandwiches and drinks are available in an indoor setting that provides one of the most unique vantage points in sports (Requires Mohegan Sun ticket or club membership).
  • Malibu Rooftop Deck, located adjacent to Section 310, features a view of the Manhattan skyline and offers a fun setting for individuals or groups to socialize and eat before the game. Malibu Rooftop Deck tickets includes all-you-care-to-eat baseball fare and non-alcoholic drinks for 90 minutes, ending 30 minutes prior to the scheduled first pitch. Beginning 30 minutes prior to first pitch, all fans may purchase a la carte items at this location.
  • Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar, located in between the 100 and 200 Levels adjacent to the escalators by the Home Plate Team Store, features a revamped drinks menu and lounge seating with a view of the site of the original Yankee Stadium.
  • Field MVP Club Lounge, located on the 100 Level by Gate 4, has a 45-foot bar and a gourmet pub menu (Requires a full-season ticket license in Sections 116 through 124 in Rows 12-21 or a Field MVP Outdoor Suite Box ticket).
  • Peeps Mini Picnic Area is a popular area for group events and is located at Gate 2.
  • Legends Suite Club offers the Stadium’s premier dining experience. Located at Gate 4, this space can be accessed only by Legends Suite ticket holders.
  • Delta SKY360° Suite is located at Sections 218A through 222. This expansive lounge is climate-controlled with gourmet food, an outdoor patio and breathtaking views of the field. (Requires a Delta SKY360° Suite ticket).
  • Jim Beam Suite Lounge is located on the 300 Level behind home plate and features delicious pub food in an indoor setting (requires Jim Beam Suite ticket).
  • Audi Club, located on the SAP Suite Level in left field, features a cocktail bar, dining lounge and a sweeping view of the field (Requires Audi Club ticket or club membership).
  • DKNY Lounge and Ketel One Lounge are located at Section 27 and Section 11, respectively. They offer unlimited gourmet grab-and-go baseball fare for Legends and Champions Suite ticket holders only.
  • Hard Rock Cafe is located at Gate 6 and open to fans year-round. Reservations can be made at (646) 977-8888.

*(Please note that with the exception of the Hard Rock Cafe Yankee Stadium, entry to all dining locations requires a valid ticket for that day’s game.)

MASTERCARD BENEFITS IN YANKEE STADIUM IN 2014 (benefits below are available only when using your MasterCard):

  • MasterCard Deal of the Game: Daily discounts on select concessions and/or merchandise will be announced prior to and during each home game on the centerfield video board.
  • $60 for $50: Buy a $50 Legends Hospitality merchandise gift card (for use at all Yankee Stadium merchandise stores and portable stands) and have $10 added compliments of MasterCard.
  • MasterCard Family Meal Deal: Receive a free liter of a Pepsi product with the purchase of a value bucket of sandwiches and fries at select concessions stands in the Stadium. New to this option in 2014 is the pulled pork or pulled chicken Sliders & Fries Bucket.
  • MasterCard Meal Combo: Save money by purchasing a Combo Meal instead of a la carte items at select concessions stands throughout the Stadium.
  • MasterCard Preferred Pricing: Save up to $15 off each ticket when purchasing select 2014 regular season individual game tickets.
  • MasterCard Mondays: Every Monday during the 2014 regular season, all yankees.com subscribers will receive a newsletter with ticket discounts compliments of MasterCard.
  • MasterCard $5 Games: Select 2014 regular season individual game tickets in eligible areas of the Terrace, Grandstand and Bleachers will be available for $5 per ticket, subject to availability. (At present, dates include: April 9 vs. Baltimore, April 29 vs. Seattle, April 30 vs. Seattle, May 1 vs. Seattle, June 3 vs. Oakland and June 17 vs. Toronto).
  • MasterCard Half-Price Games: Select 2014 regular season individual game tickets in eligible areas of the Terrace, Grandstand and Bleachers will be available for 50 percent off their game-day price, subject to availability. (At present, dates include June 4 vs. Oakland, July 24 vs. Texas, August 7 vs. Detroit, August 21 vs. Houston and September 24 vs. Baltimore.)
  • MasterCard TBA Games: For select games with a start time of TBA during the 2014 season, fans can purchase tickets in select areas at up to 25 percent savings. Tickets for MasterCard TBA Games must be purchased in advance of the official game time announcement for the game. (At present, dates include: June 29 vs. Boston, August 10 vs. Cleveland and August 24 vs. Chicago-AL.)

For a complete list of ticket specials, including game dates, seating locations, and terms and conditions, fans should visit www.yankees.com/ticketspecials. Fans with questions may call 212-YANKEES — [212-926-5337] — or e-mail tickets@yankees.com. Please note that all ticket specials are subject to availability.


  • Bazzini Nuts (Great Hall at Gate 6)
  • Boar’s Head Sandwiches (Sects. 113, 221B)
  • Brother Jimmy’s BBQ (Sects. 133, 201, 214, 320A)
  • Carl’s Steaks, featuring cheesesteaks (Sects. 107, 223, 311)
  • Cocktails (Sects. 110, 126, 206, 323)
  • Dippin’ Dots (Sects. 125, 228, 323)
  • Farmers Market presented by Melissa’s (Sect. 121B)
  • Fresh-Cut Fries (Sect. 127)
  • Garlic Fries (Sects. 108, 206, 331)
  • Hebrew National hot dogs (Great Hall at Gate 6 and Sects. 107, 129, 202, 204, 214B, 236, 312, 329)
  • Highlanders Baseball Fare, including hot dogs, pretzels and Pepsi products (Sects. 111, 233A, 305, 311, 318, 325 and Bleachers)
  • Johnny Rockets (Sects. 132, 212, 326 and Bleachers)
  • Kosher Options (Sects. 110, 214, 229, 322, Sunday through Friday afternoon only)
  • Lemonade, fresh-squeezed (Sects. 117B, 124, 215, 227A, 317, 324)
  • Lobel’s of New York, feat. gourmet steak sandwiches (Sects. 134, 321)
  • NY Grill, featuring Nathan’s Hot Dogs and Premio Sausages (Sects. 121B, 211, 221B, 227B, 230, 308, 318, 321, 334)
  • NY Grill Gluten Free, featuring items above plus Udi’s Gluten Free Hot Dog Buns (Great Hall at Gate 6)
  • NYY Steak Express, feat. USDA prime steak sandwiches (Sect. 109)
  • Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs (Sects. 127A, 225, 313)
  • Noodle Bowl, featuring Asian noodle dishes (Sect. 127B)
  • Otis Spunkmeyer cookies (Sects. 125, 233 and Bleachers)
  • Papa John’s pizza (Sects. 125, 212, 309 and Bleachers)
  • Parm, featuring hot Italian sandwiches (Sect. 104)
  • Premio Sausage (Sects. 217, 320A)
  • Popcorn (Great Hall & Sects. 107, 130, 202, 210, 229, 307, 327)
  • Pretzels by New York Pretzel (Located throughout the Stadium)
  • Sushi (Sect. 127A)
  • Triple Play Grill, feat. sliders and fries (Sects. 116, 205, 321, 334)
  • Turkey Hill Ice Cream (Sects. 112, 126, 207, 224, 313, 319, 324 and Bleachers)
  • Wholly Guacamole, featuring “Build Your Own Nachos” (Sects. 233A, 314, 327 and Bleachers)
  • Wings, featuring chicken wings (Sect. 109)


  • Beer Stands – Domestic (Sects. 106, 117A, 130, 205, 215, 216, 224, 229, 232B, 234, 307, 318, 323, 330, 332B)
  • Beers of the World (Sects. 110, 134, 204, 206, 226, 233A, 237, 238, 315, 320C, 331)
  • Blue Moon/Leinenkugel Beer Stand (Sects. 109, 314)
  • Budweiser Beer Stands (Sects. 105, 117B, 121B, 127A, 202, 204, 235, 239, 308, 315, 328, 332A)
  • Coors Light Beer Stand (Sect. 231)
  • Goose Island Beer Stand (Great Hall and in the Bleachers at Section 239)
  • Mohegan Sun Sports Bar is located behind the glass of the center field batter’s eye. Beers and mixed drinks are available.
  • Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar, located in between the 100 and 200 Levels off the escalators by the home plate team store, features a revamped specialty drinks menu and lounge seating.


  • Draft beers include: Budweiser, Bud Light, Batch 19, Becks, Blue Moon, Blue Moon Seasonal, Coors Light, Corona Light, Dos Equis, Goose Island, Goose Island 312, Goose Island Honkers, Guinness, Heineken, Heineken Light, Hoegaarden, Kirin Ichiban, Leinenkugel, Miller Lite, Modelo, Newcastle, Redds Apple Ale, Shock Top, Smithwick’s, Stella Artois and Yuengling.
  • Glass-bottled beers include: Bud Black Crown, Bud Light Lime, Bud Light Platinum, Amstel, Becks, Blue Moon, Coors Light, Corona Light, Dos Equis, Guinness Black Lager, Heineken, Heineken Light, Hoegaarden, Magic Hat #9, Miller Lite, O’Doul’s, Presidente, Red Bridge, Stella Artois and Yuengling.
  • Can beers include: Budweiser, Bud Light, Bud Lime-A-Rita, Bud Mango-Rita, Leinenkugel, Michelob Ultra, Miller Lite, O’Doul’s, Redds Apple Ale, Shock Top, Shock Top Apple, Shock Top Lemonade, Stella Artois and Yuengling.
  • Plastic-bottled beers include: Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Ultra.

Dallas Stars Select Legends To Operate Merchandising At American Airlines Center

Dallas Stars Select Legends To Operate Merchandising At American Airlines Center

FRISCO, Texas – The Dallas Stars announced today that Legends has been selected to operate all on-site merchandising at American Airlines Center.

“The proven track record of customer service along with the unique and innovative retail concepts in the stadium merchandise retail industry by Legends set them apart during the selection process,” Dallas Stars President and CEO Jim Lites said. “Partnering with Legends allows us to provide our fans with the best possible retail experience and selection of Dallas Stars-branded merchandise at American Airlines Center.”

“We are excited to be begin our new partnership with the Stars,” Legends Chairman and CEO Dave Checketts said. “Together we will look to redefine the retail experience at American Airlines Center for their passionate fans, relying on our operational best practices, market knowledge and dedication to first-class customer service.”

Legends will oversee the operations of the Fan Shops and all retail points of sale of Stars merchandise at American Airlines Center. Along with the Stars, Legends will oversee the on-site merchandising of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.

About Legends:

Born from performance and inspired by icons, Legends has created a legacy of success, delivery and results with the icons of global sports, entertainment and business. Our passion for delivering remarkable experiences, at every occasion, has enabled us to redefine the role of a solutions provider and set a new expectation within the industry.

Legends owned by the New York Yankees, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Checketts Partners Investor Fund, is an industry leading sports entertainment company with multiple best-in-class disciplines including: Legends Global Planning which provides project feasibility, project development, and analytics; Legends Global Sales, which offers team owners, facility operators and athletic departments premium and individual ticket sales and service, PSL sales execution, sponsorship and naming rights capabilities, stadium/arena tours, special event sales and sales training; and Legends Hospitality, the premier provider of general concessions, premium food & beverage, catering, and retail merchandise.

Falcons Select Legends To Oversee New Stadium Ticket Sales

The Falcons have announced that Legends Global Sales has been selected to oversee the franchise’s premium and season ticket sales project for the New Atlanta Stadium.

January 16, 2014 – The Atlanta Falcons announced today that it has selected Legends Global Sales (LGS) to oversee the franchise’s premium and season ticket sales project for the New Atlanta Stadium scheduled to open by the beginning of the 2017 NFL season.

“Legends has a proven ability to tailor stadium seating options and amenities to serve the needs and desires of the local market,” Falcons EVP – Chief Marketing & Revenue Officer Jim Smith said.  “We look forward to partnering with the group as we work to finalize our offerings and begin the new stadium sales process later this year.”

LGS will be responsible for all aspects of the sales strategy and execution for luxury suites, as well as for premium club seat and season ticket sales, including staffing, training, product creation and marketing.  LGS is also collaborating with 360 Architecture on the innovative stadium’s premium and club spaces, as well as on the layout and design of a state-of-the art sales preview center, which will include an interactive online sales experience.

“It is an honor to be selected by the Falcons to represent them in this transformative sales project,” said Chad Estis, president, Legends Global Sales.  “We are excited to get started and are committed to becoming a seamless extension of the team and a steward of their brand, working closely with them as we weave ourselves into the DNA of their fan base and the Atlanta community.” 

LGS’s project team will be led by Mike Drake, who as a key member of LGS’s executive team helped to oversee the suite, club and season ticket sales for the San Francisco 49er’s Levi’s® Stadium project over the last three years, will work closely with the team to hire a 25-30 person sales staff this year.  Suite sales are currently expected to begin in mid-2014, with club and season ticket seat sales following in the ensuing years.  Current premium seat owners and season ticket holders will be given the first opportunity to view and select seating in the new stadium.

Mavericks Jump In With Cowboys, Yankees for Merchandising Boost

By:  Eddie Sefko – Dallasnews.com

The Dallas Mavericks have announced a partnership with Legends to operate all on-site merchandising at American Airlines Center.

The Legends company, run by former NBA executive Dave Checketts, does the same job for the Cowboys, Yankees and Manchester United soccer club.

“We’re excited to start this new relationship with Legends,” said Terdema Ussery, Mavs President & CEO.  “We’re pleased to be joining the family.  This partnership is going to be great for our fans as we expand our merchandise operations in North Texas.”

Legends will oversee the operations of the Fan Shops and all retail points of sale at American Airlines Center.

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Angels Select Legends to Operate Concessions, Premium Catering

Award-Winning Hospitality Company Also Set to Operate Team’s Spring Training Facility in Tempe

ANAHEIM, CA (September 26, 2013) – The Los Angeles Angels today announced that they have selected Legends Hospitality to operate all on-site food and beverage concessions and premium catering at both Angel Stadium of Anaheim and Tempe Diablo Stadium.  Terms of the deal were not announced.

Legends will take over operations on October 1, 2013 at Angels Stadium and at Tempe Diablo in the spring of 2014.

“We have been very impressed with the Legends Hospitality model at Yankee Stadium and AT&T Stadium and look forward to bringing that level of food quality and customer service to our fans,” said John Carpino, Angels President.

“We are honored to be selected by the Angels,” said Dave Checketts, Legends Chairman and CEO.  “We look forward to working closely with them to develop new, innovative food concepts and amenities for their fans. It is a relationship that we are proud to have and are excited about bringing the Legends experience to.”

“This is a powerful addition to the Legends growing West-Coast family,” said Shervin Mirhashemi, Legends President and COO.  “We are committed to introducing a new Guest experience to Angels fans through our passion to provide a first-class atmosphere built on the highest level of customer service.”

Both venues are now added to Legends already impressive hospitality venue list which includes: Yankee Stadium, where the company was recently honored with the Five Star Diamond Award by the Academy of Hospitality Sciences, AT&T Stadium, Home of the Dallas Cowboys, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Los Angeles Sports Arena (USC), FedEx Field (Washington Redskins) and Etihad Stadium (Manchester City).  In addition, the company also oversees the retail operation for FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland Browns) and EverBank Stadium (Jacksonville Jaguars) as well as eight minor league stadiums across the country.

About Legends

Legends (www.legends.net) owned by the New York Yankees, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Checketts Partners Investor Fund, is an industry leading sports entertainment company with multiple best-in-class disciplines including: Legends Hospitality, the premier provider of general concessions, premium food & beverage, catering, special event sales, Tours and retail merchandise; Legends Global Sales, which offers team owners, facility operators and athletic departments premium and individual ticket sales and service, PSL sales execution, sponsorship and naming rights capabilities and sales training; Legends Global Planning which provides project feasibility, economic impact studies, funding plans and business operational reviews; and Legends Attractions, which combines design, sales and marketing, hospitality and merchandise services to create memorable Guest experiences in the Observatory industry.

Browns Sign Legends Hospitality to Multiyear Merchandise Deal

The Browns have signed Legends Hospitality Management to a multiyear deal to run the merchandise at FirstEnergy Stadium and on the team’s website, replacing FMI. The switch was made to increase variety for Browns fans and produce customized products in a more efficient and timely manner, said Browns VP/Media Relations Neal Gulkis. Legends took over the stadium’s team store and the website this week. Richard Kravan, formerly of Aramark and Delaware North Sportservice, is Legends’ on-site General Manager. Legends is also the retail provider at Cowboys Stadium and Yankee Stadium.