Fans watching a game at either of the New York City's two new baseball stadiums will be getting hit with marketing from every direction.
As franchises push to increase revenue, many of the lounges, restaurants and suites at both the Mets Citi Field and the new Yankee Stadium are named after companies looking to reach consumers in other ways than just the traditional logo in the ballpark.
For example, at Yankee Stadium, fans can have dinner at the Audi Yankees Club or grab a beer at the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar. Meanwhile, Mets fans can eat at the Delta Sky360 Lounge or watch the game from the Pepsi Porch.
"Teams are turning every stone for revenue sponsorship inventory, especially in this economy," said Andrew Brandt, cofounder and president of the National Football Post and sports business professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Delta, for example, looking to beef up its presence in New York has sponsorship ventures at both stadiums. At Citi Field, the Delta Sky360 Lounge and Suites is a 22,500-square-foot area behind home plate that will seat 1,600 people.
At Yankee Stadium, the Delta name is on a 16,400-square-foot space, also behind home plate, that will seat 1,200 people. Both spaces feature the company logo, and give it the opportunity to market products, like the SkyMiles program. Both lounges will serve higher-end food and serve a signature cocktail that is also available on the company’s flights.
Gail Grimmett, senior vice president of New York operations for Delta, said that branding the areas at both stadiums gave the company the opportunity to draw attention to the international and domestic destinations it serves from nearby JFK and LaGuardia Airports.
“Companies are demanding integration,” said Robert Tuchman, president of Premiere Corporate Events, which works with corporations to provide hospitality packages and marketing programs that engage customers through sports and entertainment events. Marketers are no longer just looking to place a logo in the ballpark, he says, they are now paying to have their areas of the stadium named after them. Sports teams are happy to offer the integration, says Tuchman, because “teams can charge more for that.”
Another example of integration is PepsiCo’s deal with the Mets that includes a 1,284-seat area called the Pepsi Porch. Yankee Stadium is jumping from Coca-Cola and making Pepsi the exclusive beverage provider.
Sharp also has an encompassing deal with the Mets. The team bought more that 800 Sharp LCD HDTV's to place throughout the stadium. The electronics company's sponsorship deal also includes rotational signage in the stadium, a permanent spot for a logo on the scoreboard and a deal to sponsor an anti-drug program for local students.
While the companies are mum on how much they’re paying for naming rights, experts say that the deals are a huge source of income for the teams after television rights and ticket sales.
Although official numbers are not available, it has been reported that Citi Field cost $850 million to build and $1.6 billion for Yankee Stadium.
Although there is less seating capacity at both stadiums, both have more expensive premium seating. The number of luxury suites at the new Yankee Stadium, 56, is triple that of the old one, while the Mets upped capacity from 45 to 54. Tickets at Citi Field range from $11 to $695, while tickets at Yankee Stadium range from $14 to $375.
Whether the new stadiums click with fans remains to be seen. “The oldest stadiums are more of an attraction now,” said Don Vaccaro, CEO of TicketNetwork.com. He believes the appeal of new stadiums will dwindle, and older stadiums like Fenway Park in Boston will be bigger attractions.
For the meantime, new stadiums are craming as much entertainment into their space as they can.
“These stadiums are huge malls of entertainment. It’s so much more than a game at this point,” said Tuchman.