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.”