Imagine a world in which sports fans eye an LED-lit brand logo on an arena's marquee as they arrive at an athletic contest, continue to see the brand's image as they enter the game's venue on its walls and columns and can then see the electronic symbol splashed across the facades of 128 luxury suites ringing the event space as they are seated.
It's a marketing sphere seven sponsors of the New Jersey Nets, including Izod, will enter in November 2010 via newly inked deals of $1.5 million to $5 million each, when the NBA franchise is scheduled to take the hardwood at the 18,000-seat Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn.
Beyond the visual bombardment, each of the seven sponsors, or founding partners, will dominate a "neighborhood" at the facility. Izod's neighborhood, for example, will be defined by a 4,000-square-foot Izod Nets Team Store — with a glass wall overlooking Atlantic Avenue — one element of a deal that calls for the Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. subsidiary to become the exclusive apparel sponsor of the Nets and Barclays Center, to outfit the arena's ushers in Izod sportswear and command a luxury suite, with 16 open-air seats and amenities such as a pool table and a pair of 52-inch flat-screen TV monitors, for $300,000 a year.
Izod is taking its name across the Hudson and East Rivers to Brooklyn, said Allen Sirkin, president and chief operating officer of PVH, as it's a chance to place the brand in a new sports and entertainment setting, marked by an unusual design and created by a celebrity architect, Frank Gehry. "We think our [Izod] brand is a sports-spirited brand — a family entertainment, lifestyle concept," Sirkin observed. "Doing more than a courtside billboard was important to us."
More, for Izod, will encompass the offer of Izod-made Nets, Brooklyn and Barclays Center logoed apparel as well as Izod-brand sportswear at the anchor store in the arena's main concourse and in three smaller satellite stores, two in the main concourse and a third in the upper pavilion. Sirkin declined to furnish sales estimates, stating the stores have not been designed and the hours have not been set. Usher uniforms will be designed about six months before the Nets hit the court in Brooklyn, he projected.Izod has no plans to vacate its naming rights to the Nets' current home, the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., a five-year pact with the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority that runs until October 2012. In fact, Sirkin said, Izod has agreed to open a retail store in the upcoming Xanadu entertainment and retail complex in East Rutherford, N.J., and is "looking for [similar] retail and marketing joint ventures."
The roster of Barclays Center founding partners features MGM Grand at Foxwoods, Jones Soda, Anheuser-Busch, Cushman & Wakefield, EmblemHealth and ADT Security Services, as well as Izod. The number of such partners is expected to be capped at 14, with seven additional sponsors signing on shortly, said Brett Yormark, president and chief executive officer of Brooklyn Entertainment, an affiliate of Nets Sports and Entertainment.
Brooklyn Entertainment is in talks to that end with brands from the jewelry, watch, spirits, automotive, telecommunications and insurance sectors, Yormark noted in an interview at the Gehry-designed Barclays Center showroom, which opened in May in The New York Times Building in Manhattan. The big sponsor deals are going for an average of seven years.
"We're trying to give people a taste of an experience at the Barclays Center," Yormark said of viewing parties and tours of a luxury suite showroom, a cutaway model of the arena, and visual presentations on a sculptural, flat-screen media cube. And it's doing this in an airy, high-tech environment, set off by warm accents like Douglas fir paneling and images of Brooklyn's past, including Ebbets Field, which once sought to relocate from Flatbush to the Barclays Center's new turf.
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